Let’s Visit the Electric City

Akihabara, sometimes shortened to Akiba, is known as the electric city of Japan which is filled with all sorts of electronics new and old, modern and retro. Because of that, one can find game shops and arcades in the area as well as shops which have items and merchandise from your favorite Japanese anime, no matter how mainstream or obscure.

Our guide for the first half of the day was Nelson, and he was eager to show us all the nooks and crannies that regular tourists would probably miss, like small food vendors selling kababs, basement shops that sell hard to find merch, and the barely marked doorway to the incredibly retro and nostalgia-inducing store/arcade called Super Potato.

Stacks of Nintendo 64 consoles at Super Potato

If yesterday was a shopping trip, today was a shopping spree for some of us. Fanzy in particular ended up winning a prize out of a claw machine at the arcade, and bought a couple bags worth of other items. No one in our group left Akihabara empty-handed.

Walking through Akiba

In the afternoon it began to rain, and traffic in the area increased due to a baseball game starting up in the evening at Tokyo Dome. Nelson had to work later and swapped out with another local named Nathan as our guide. Somewhere along the way, Justin (who lives in an apartment above us) also joined in. We stayed together for a while walking through different areas, but eventually our group split and Justin, Claire, and I traveled to a small cafe which one of Justin’s friends worked at.

Walking Towards Yanaka Ginza

When we stepped off of the last train, Claire and I stayed in the station for a time while Justin retrieved a couple umbrellas, or “kasa” in Japanese. I had always seen clear umbrellas being used more frequently in eastern countries, and when Justin returned, he handed me my own transparent umbrella.

The cafe was located in a scenic area filled with older-style shops, and the owner was multi-lingual and knew English and French in addition to Japanese. Parts of the menu had a bit of French flair, and made for a somewhat interesting read. The three of us had coffee and a couple plates of food.

Walking through Yanaka Ginza

After sitting in the cafe for a couple hours, we went out to visit Justin’s university where one of their buildings had opened just a few months prior. There were multiple buildings on campus, including the historic first building which had evidence of damage from the war. A giant timeline displayed in the lobby of the new building showed the university’s beginnings in the 1500’s and how it came to be today.

We got back to the apartment a little after 10pm to rest for the remainder of the evening. Everyone was pretty tired. I had clocked in over 19,000 steps today. Tomorrow, there are a few things going on, so our group might be a bit segmented. We’ll see how it goes.

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