Ben and I decided to do our own unique take on Japan’s Valentine’s Day gender reversal, so this weekend I took Ben out for a date in Akihabara.
We started out at Tokyo station and had lunch and an amazing Indian restaurant called Raj Mahal. We have eaten their before, and were in the mood to eat spicy food.
Akihabara is often referred to as the Otaku district, this is anime and video game mecca.
We had an outstanding time. Akihabara was more crowded than I have ever seen it, there were a few manga releases going on, and the lines for them were crazy! We enjoyed people watching as we walked past the dozens of manga shops, figure shops, and arcades. Girls dressed as cat girls meowed at us as we walked past. Fake boobs bubble out of every nook and cranny, some attached to tiny figurines, some centered on semi-lewd posters, some attached to nothing in the form of wrist cushions or gaming mice. Akihabara constantly tests the limits to the question “Is it porn?” It’s a very creepy place, but surprisingly fun if you don’t think too hard about the purpose of these items.
One of Ben and my riskier gambles of “Is it porn?” was following one of the many advertisies down a back alley to a small cafe. She was wearing about 50 shades of pastel, and had more metal buttons on her than I could count. The place she took us to was incredibly creepy, but not because of the staff, the clientele was so sad it was hard to watch them. She had led us to a maid cafe (Rated PG 13). The man seated next to us was devastatingly shy, and could barely speak, he blushed every time the girls spoke with him, and ate a valentines cake by himself. Most of the guys there were regulars, and relished the paid hours they could have women dote on them. My presence was not welcome by anyone, as I stood as a real life example of their farce. It was an interesting experience, but I am unlikely to return.
Akihabara is probably one of the best places in the world if you enjoy arcades. If you have ever been to an arcade outside of Japan, don’t let it taint your perception on how fun they can be. I would spend an entire day playing games at a Japanese arcade if I could.They have fighter games, driving games, card/video games, dancing games, and music games. My favorite style of games are the music games, I love the different ways they get players to interact with the music.
Ben and my favorite arcade was the Taito Hey arcade, in Akihabara. There were 6 stories, none of them were pachinko (gambling), and the games were really fun. The games are a good deal there, you get 3 rounds for 100 yen rather than the standard single round. There was an entire floor dedicated to music games, Ben and I spent most of our time playing the various music games in the arcade.
It was a really fun way to spend a date!