This is part 1 of a 2 or maybe 3 parter about my recent trip to Japan with my family.
I went on a holiday with my family to the motherland of weeaboos the world over between the 31st of January and 3rd of February this year. Tokyo, Japan is a rocking city that owns on many levels – it’s clean, the people are generally polite, the transport system is terrific (except for the huge, labyrinthine underground stations – thank God for the signs in 4 different languages), and the selection and quality of food is pretty much unrivalled by any other city I’ve been to. That might or might not have something to do with my partiality to Japanese food, but OTORO IS FUCKING GOOD. It is also ridiculously expensive, but I’ll talk about that later.
Shinjuku at night
Quite a lot of photos, so if there’s still any wild 56kers out there, go do something about it already you poor bastard.
I arrived in Tokyo in the afternoon of the 31st, and after dropping off our luggage, we went for a walk around Shinjuku, where our hotel was located. It surprisingly hasn’t changed much from when I last visited 5 years ago. There isn’t much to talk about for the first day, since nothing much was done. We had dinner at Kani Doraku, a restaurant that ONLY sells crabs, cooked in more ways than you can poke a crab leg at. It was delicious, and I don’t think anything else can be said.
The next day we went to Akihabara, a.k.a. Electric Town and more recently, Otaku Heaven. After lunch my parents and my brother went to Ginza so I could freely browse all the otaku and ero-stuff, and look for maid cafes.
The first thing that greeted me out of the station is the above, a sign that (I think) says “The world’s convention center for radio, Akihabara”, and above it a giant billboard for the newly released Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu Nintendo DS game. I could feel my Otaku Power increasing by simply being in Akihabara, and just under the above sign is this:
A FIGURINE SHOP! You cannot believe how excited it made me, since I grew up in Australia, a back-water country as far as anime is concerned. I’ve never seen more than 20 figures in one place at once, let alone a shop that specialises in selling figures. If I must name one advantage of living in Australia for the past 10 years, it’s that I’m easily excitable when it comes to things like this. I’m going to look like I just crawled out of a hole here, to those who live in more advanced nations like Singapore, but in truth Australia is the figurative hole that I just crawled out of. Because by that time I had already regressed back to a little vermin scuttling around the undergrowth of early Jurrasic I haven’t yet developed the power of language to describe what I saw. I’m just going to cast Unlimited Screencap Works and add some captions when appropriate.
One of the front windows.
The other front window. Yes, it’s Masquerade Maid Guy. I don’t want to know either.
Miyazaki, the Walt Disney of Japan.
Half of the display in the back of the shop, which takes up the whole wall.
Some close ups of the figures. That Asuka one is the most awesome, but I’m really not sure why the Haibane Renmei figure next to her has a hole in its butt.
I wonder if this is the first time a mangaka gets her own merchandise.
Poor Arin has been relegated to the top shelf.
There’s so much I want to say about this photo, I don’t know where to start. I bought that Saber hand puppet, for one. On the bottom right is part of a pillow case for some anime character that I don’t recognise. On the other side you can see some anime mugs for sale. And at the top you can see some Gundam prints, going for almost 10,000 yen each. The one on the far right is even going for 15,000 yen, which is $123.824 USD. Damn prints are so damn expensive.
Leaving the Kotobukiya shop, I went browsing around other parts of Akihabara. There were many shops that sell electronic goods, and the mobile phones in Japan look so damn much better than the ones that are sold in the rest of the world. A lot of them have screens that take up the entirety of the top half of the flip now, and so are usually in the wide-screen 16:9 ratio. One new phone even lets you turn the screen sideways so when it’s opened, it can be put on your desk just like a wide screen TV, albeit a very tiny one. No photos because I was too pissed about not being able to buy one.
Next I went into a 6 stories tall shop for more anime merchandise. What attracted me was this man-size Gundam at the front of the shop.
I wish there was someone with me when I took this photo, it would’ve been nice to have a photo of me next to it.
I was pretty much shocked speechless when I saw this… but there were more surprises in store for me upstairs.
If you know some Japanese, you’ll notice that there’s something very special on the 5th floor. After quickly browsing the other floors and finding nothing interesting, I went up to the 5th floor for the highlight of my trip.
There they are, ladies and gentlemen. LIFE-SIZE, 1:1 Rei and Asuka dolls/figures. I really wish I had someone with me so they could photograph me with the dolls to put things in perspective, since by themselves it’s hard to tell how big they really are. To be honest they’re creepy as hell – anime isn’t meant to be made into 1:1 scale 3D like this. For anyone who is interested, the Rei figure retails for 472,500 yen, which is $3,900.45 USD. The Asuka figure goes for around 375,000 yen. If you can’t shell out that much money all at once, you can pay in seperate installments too, you sick, sick bastard.
After Maid Cookies I discovered Maid Pudding. It looks like Japan, or at least a certain minor demographic of Japan, has been hit really hard with the maid fetish. I failed to find any maid cafes though, and the maids that Bluemist says are everywhere in Akihabara were nowhere to be seen. After seeing some ads in a magazine about a nekomimi-maid cafe, and the quality of their maids, I think it’s no big loss.
Finally I went to some manga shops where tons of ero doujins were for sale. I didn’t buy any, honest to goodness. No photo for obvious reasons.
That was that in Akihabara. My loot for the day: a Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu animation lineart book and a Saber hand puppet. All my loot photos are taken in my room, where the desk is so full of stuff that I must use the bed. Do not make fun of my bunny sheet, it’s not like I go hand-pick my own manchester.
And that is all for part 1. Look forward to part two, where I go to the Studio Ghibli Museum,grab some more anime merchandise and visit a gaming arcade in Japan.