Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tokyo - Day 2 Exploring Akihabara!

7th September – Day 2: Exploring Akihabara.

So I woke fairly early considering that I had jet lag and a hangover from the night before – but today I was planning on visiting Akihabara. Akihabara is called the ‘electronic centre (street)’, I was super excited about checking all this out, as back in the day I did love a bit of computer games! I jumped off the station and was straight away greeted by these huge buildings with SEGA written all over them with lots of flashing lights and noise! Its just an assault to your senses, but I loved it!

I went to the biggest SEGA place I could find which was located on a corner and the building was at least 5 floors! 2 underground and 3 above, it was crazy!

I spent about 10 minutes watching these Japanese kids play a multiplayer game called Gundam, I had no idea what was happening, but it was just amazing watching! These kids (and adults) are so fast – its mental!
After this I cruised on upstairs where I met 2 Aussie guys, that had found a cheap flight for $400 return from Cairns airport to Tokyo, who were here for a week. It was cool, as now I had someone to hang out with! Perfect!

I cruised around with these guys all day, they were spending so much money on playing the claw games, where you put in 100yen ($1.20AUD) and you get to control a claw to pick up stuffed toys etc. These Aussie guys would have spent up to $20AUD on these games trying to win the most ridiculous stuff that you are almost better off just buying from a random shop for $5AUD. Clearly I was missing the point because these guys were loving it!

The guys took me to my first Pachinko experience as well. Pachinko is a gambling game like slots at a regular casino, but instead of just watching numbers spinning around on 3 wheels, with Pachinko you put in ‘x’ amount of Yen, and in return you get ‘x’ amount of small metal balls, so the balls end up being worth money.

I’m not exactly sure how Pachinko works, but what I assume is that when the balls fall down in the machine and they hit certain objects, it earns you points – in which points can earn you balls/money…
Walking into a Pachinko is another huge assault to your senses! 

Sound – WOW, its so very loud! Like going to a rock concert and standing close to the speakers, or even similar to standing near a plane as it takes off – its crazy, I honestly don’t know how the Japanese guys don’t go deaf from all the noise.

Sight – So many flashing lights and things going on that there is no way you could relax!
Smell – the smell of smoke from cigarettes, now you can chose either a smoking or non-smoking floor but either way you can still smell the smoke!

So Pachinko was one hell of an experience!

So with the Aussie guys, we cruised around Akihabara the whole day, after seeing the Pachinko place, we went to see the Manga shops! Manga is just a type of Japanese comics. They range from all different things from Superheros all the way to straight up Porn… I wasn’t all that into it, but it was still interesting to check it all out.

As you walk around the streets of Akihabara you cant help but notice all the girls dressed up in either Maid costumes or even to some extent cosplay costumes.

The girls in the maid costumes are trying to get you into their coffee shops to get treated to coffee and cakes all served by very sexy Japanese girls in maid costumes and crazy prices. Again, it was fun to watch and check it all out, but I wasn’t all that interested in going.

It was so cool just getting involved in the atmosphere of the place watching all the people go past, and checking out all the random shops.

It was getting dark, and we were all getting a bit thirsty and hungry so we went to the Gundam café for some food and drinks… this was my first experience of the Japanese culture which I found highly amusing.

OK, so the boys wanted alcoholic beverages, whilst I was just a bit hungry so I looked over the menu and found some soup and garlic bread for a cheap price so I went up to order it.

“Hello, can I please order this” as I pointed to the menu.

“Ahh, sorry!, we only serve food at 5pm”
I looked down at my watch to see the time, it was 4.56pm…
The Japanese waitress responded in a cheerfully manner, “please come back in 4 minutes”
“…oh, ok” I chuckled as a retuned back to my seat.

I suppose what you have to take from these is the reason why everything works in Japan has to at least by due to the fact that they take rules so seriously, so even a train running 2 minutes late, everybody is so apologetic! Its really quite bizarre!

Never mind, so 4 minutes later I ordered my Soup and Garlic Bread.
After we finished, the boys and myself headed to Shibuya to do some more people watching. Shibuya is also the home of that square where you often see in the movies – which is the most crossed junction in the world.
We found a high vantage point and watched the hundreds of people walking in all different directions as soon as the little man turned green.

It was amazing! We walked around Shibuya for a couple of hours walking down random streets and checking out random shops, but it got late and we were all tired so we headed back to our homes and had a well needed rest.

TL;DR – Checked out Akihabara, played lots of video games. Went to Shibuya and people watched, great day out!

AKB48 one of Japans famous bands - check them on Youtube , so funny!

The big Sega Place at Akihabra!

The streets!

A (not so) portable Super Nintendo

sitting in the Chair of Gamers!

Snake from Metal Gear Solid

One of the Aussie dudes punching a truck!

The other Aussie guy was playing the scariest horror game ver

Maid Cafe

Gun Games!

Gundam Cafe!



So many people!

Next blog is more of Tokyo - Stay Tuned!

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