Akihabara Special Report
by Joel R. Voss aka. Javantea
April 30, 2006 16:31 JST
Akihabara is a great place for geeks in Tokyo. It has anime, manga, pr0n, hentai, Evangelion, and more electronics than you can shake a stick at. At first look it has cool stuff, but not really the stuff you're looking for. As you go look deeper, you'll find some awesome stuff. By the time you really understand where to go, you're in good shape. I'll try to go over every aspect that I undestand in this essay.
The south end of main strip is close to Kanda Station, however getting from Kanda station to the south end of the main strip is a game of chance and like Pachinko, the odds are 10:1 against. The north end of the strip is close to Suehirocho Station, which is a good station as long as you remember which side corresponds to which direction of the Ginza line that you want to go.
Once you're on the main strip, you'll see a lot of stuff. Towards the north end there's a bunch of good stuff. There's the 6-7 story tall manga/anime/hobby stores like Liberty and Tarawarago. There's the 6-7 story tall game sellers like ... There's the 6-7 story pr0n dealer Lamtarra. There's Akiba Island which is 8 stories of video games, retail, and other stuff. In the first floor of Akiba Island, there's a pachinko place that is themed on Evangelion. It stole 3000 yen from me which I would have rather spent on video games. On the 6th floor of Akiba Island there's video games. I recommend pop'n music 4 plays for 200 yen. The driving game Metal Gear 3 was very fun also.
At the south end of the strip, there's mostly retail. There's a bunch of 6-7 story retail electronics stores like LAOX, Ishimaru, etc. One ground floor hawk store is filled with high-tech radios for the HAMs (10000-60000 yen). There's a bunch of cell phone retailers.
It's quite important to memorize your katakana here because Adult, Anime, Hobby, etc are all in kana. Here's a list of them.
Off the main strip, there's some good stuff. Towards the south end to the east there are two streets that have good stuff: a cheap Liberty store (anime, manga, hobby) and Gamers (anime, manga, hobby). To the east there's also Akihabara station, which is useful to get to many other places in Tokyo.
Off the main strip to the west there's a massive amount of stuff. Sofmap's used hardware is over there with good deals on used Sharp Zaurus's. Two robot stores are over there, Tsukomo 3F and LAOX Computer 4F. If you go further to the end of the west side, there is a sweet electronics shop. They're out of ATmega microcontrollers, but they have plenty of pics and kits. There's also another Evangelion themed pachinko place.
A few words of advice on Lamptarra: the first floor has a few games, a few expensive anime. It has a tv out front with a guy in a speedo dancing poorly. In the back of the first floor is idol dvds. The girls are very young and pretty. Your puritan sensibilities are telling you not to get one. So instead you go to the second floor. Shock. This is pr0n. In fact if you were to check, each floor is more hardcore as you go up. But don't let me fool you, the second floor is way hardcore. In fact, if you look around, you'll see stuff and say to yourself: isn't that illegal? But more than that, it's immoral. They have a small hentai section, true. It's got all the good stuff. But the rest of the stuff is friggin outrageous. If you have a weak heart or any sensitivity to sexual conduct, don't make your way upstairs there.
Other stores that focus on manga and anime will have sections of hentai mixed in with the anime. You'll just have to turn quickly. Also look for the number 18 on any sign. The basement of many places is dedicated to hentai. My advise to those who are curious: take off your blinders for just a moment grab one that looks not too hard and take it up to the register hentai side down (if possible). There's nothing better to reduce your sensitivity to sex than the purchase of one hentai.
The truth is that about 50% of all hentai is actually quite well done with as much plot, character development, and a/v quality as normal anime. In fact, H-games are often quite good. I have a list of games of which I have played for hours without seeing a single shot of nudity: Season of Sakura, Runaway City, Mizuiro no Chizu, Snow Gathering, Hotaru, and Once More Again. I think all Liberty stores have a good section of H-games. There are two H-game shops right next to each other on the main strip that I wholly recommend: Liberty and Messe Sanoh. They are right next to each other. Liberty has a few used H-games for 300-500 yen. Messe Sanoh has a massive selection of Hentai: games, CG albums, DVDs, and other stuff. There's another place south on the strip that has the super-high quality H-games, but I haven't stopped long enough to get their name.
There is such a thing as Akihabara Mania. The picture above is an accurate representation of me after 20 days in Akihabara. You probably won't find it in a Google search, but I have experienced it. When I started spending large amounts of money and started planning on spending large amounts of money, it started to get to me that I couldn't do 1% of the stuff I wanted to. But that was ok. Just spending the money was enough for me. This is mania. Actually I didn't end up spending too much money. I've been on budget the whole time. How is this possible? Let's look at my budget!
Manga: 300 yen * 5 = 1500 yen
Anime: 1500 yen * 4 = 6000 yen
Games: 400 yen * 6 + 1000 yen * 2 = 4400 yen
Music: 2000 yen * 2 = 4000 yen
Video Games: 100 yen * 8 = 800 yen
Rental: 400 yen * 5 = 2000 yen
Food: 500 yen * 3 * 14 = 210000 yen
Pachinko: 1000 yen * 3 = 3000 yen
Electronics: 300 yen * 5 + 2000 yen * 4 = 9500 yen
2 weeks cost 52200 yen, which is way under budget (30000 yen per week).
If I could have done it over, I would have played a lot of pop'n music, no pachinko, and not worried so much. I feel that I did it quite well. And I got this nice Tron Light Cycle, too.
My advice, take in a lot of scenery, don't get pulled into a big purchase, and you'll be AOK.
I failed at my first attempt to get a list of wireless networks due to my laptop failing, but I'm going to try again Tuesday. This time I think my laptop problem is fixed. If your Dell Lattitude is acting horribly (capslock blinks 10 times, bluescreens, freezes), try taking the extra memory out. It only requires a small screwdriver and gentle hands.
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- Manga in Tokyo
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- Looking for Inspiration in Japan
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- What is it Like? or Coolhunter Javantea
- Lively if not Live from Japan
- Getting Cheap Air Fare to Japan
- Getting a Cheap Place in Japan
- Learn Hiragana and Katakana
- Learn Kanji Quickly - Level 4
- Learn Kanji Quickly - Level 3 - Part 1