Monday, November 14, 2011


One night we ventured into Akihabara. This area of Tokyo is known for electronics and wide selection of pop culture shops. There were lots of specialty shops for electric appliances, gaming, and anime. Electric City is the main hub and became our launching point for exploring Akihabara.

So many flashing lights!
 We went into a small store that was so jammed with people that you had to squeeze around blind corners. If you value your personal space this was not the shopping place for you. I was squished between some kids going to a display case at one point. So many people! The store was multiple stories and the higher we went the fewer people were on the floors.

Lined up at Gundam Cafe

One thing we haven't really talked about on here are the arcades. In the States arcades are kid traps on boardwalks and mall corners, but here they are everywhere. And they are clean. And always full. Always full.

Gone are the 8-bit standing arcade games. These seats are cushioned! This picture was from a 7-story arcade in Akihabara. The only negative is you are allowed to smoke in the arcades. Makes it pretty stuffy...

We also bought a new camera at an electronics store. We were able to communicate pretty well about what we wanted and found a model that was a little better than what we were looking for at a better price. The difficult part came trying to explain why we didn't have stamps in our passports. Gaijin, or foreigners, often can avoid taxes on certain items. We didn't know this at the time otherwise we would have just paid the taxes and gone on our way. Half an hour later we had pointed at calendars showing when we came into the country, where we were from, and tried to show we were military from Iwakuni. We were all laughing by the end from our frustration and gestures. Side note: why is it when you are gesturing and someone doesn't understand, you just do the same gesture again only bigger? By the end we were full arm gesturing!

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