Aug 14, 2013

Akihabara, AKA Nerd Heaven (Tokyo Part Three)

Welcome to Akihabara!

Akihabara is a shopping district in Tokyo known for its electronics, computers, games, and anime. The area is known to attract many an otaku. To use Google's definition, an otaku is "a young person who is highly skilled/obsessed with computer technology/anime to the detriment of their social skills."
The popular girl's singing group, AKB48, set to perform at the department store.

Welcome to the mother of all Don Quixote's - the AKB48 flagship store. AKB48 derives from Akihabara and it's staggering forty-eight members. The musical group is a microcosm of Japan's cultural importance on the group over the individual. With so many members, the group's power lies with the producers who can easily replace the girls because they have no distinguishing characteristics from one another. Of course, this makes them very popular, as any girl can dream of becoming one of them.

Enough about them, though - look who else was shopping at Don Quixote that day:
"Well I'm Boba the Fett, Well I bounty hunt for Jabba the Hutt to finance my 'Vette, wicky wicky woo." (This is a real song)
Oh Don Quixote, you truly are the cave of wonders.
A maid enticing passing guys to her cafe.

Maid cafes are cosplay restaurants where waitresses (the "maids") treat customers like masters and mistresses. These cafes have a regular menu, with the additional option to have drinks spoon fed to you. Just like Hooters, no one goes there for the food.

Maid cafes have spread around the world, and it all started right here in Akihabara. I find it a bit creepy, yet it fits in well with Japan's undercurrent of otaku/fetish culture. Though these girls seemed omniprevalent along the streets, it proved difficult to capture a photo of them. They can spot a tourist stealthily pulling out their camera from a block away!
Super Potato! Three floors of vintage gaming goodness.

One special gem in Akihabara is Super Potato, a retro used gaming shop and arcade. Be still my beating heart! They have games for platforms I've never even heard of before (WonderSwan anyone?). It was a lot of fun to walk down memory lane in the form of Game Boy Color and N64 cartridges. They have a lot of game-themed stuffed toys and merchandise, too.

Ah, the nostalgia!
Old school arcade on Super Potato's third floor.

What a cool district! Would you want to visit there, too?


Part three of a four part series!

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