Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tokyo 2013 Trip Highlights: Day 3 Pt 2 - Akihabara, Gundam Cafe, Yodobashi Camera, Sukiya Beef Bowl

Akihabara is one of the places to visit in Tokyo for many anime fans.  Three years before I had managed to visit it before the closure and demolition of the Radio Kaikan Building.  A new building is going to take its place, but I don't think the character and ambiance will ever be the same.
Radio Kaikan with Stein's Gate Satellite by Kainoki Kaede
Between this building with all of its dozens of anime related shops and Gamers across the street, it was an amazing hub and hobbyist heart of otaku culture.  It seems like maid cafes are now the flag bearer for the district, even if I know this isn't true, but it is still an amazing place to visit.  Even if I only visited it once, I miss the Radio Kaikan building from Stein's Gate fame (crashed satellite on the roof) and all of its tightly packed shops and windy stairs and passageways.

UDX Building - food courts inside and the Anime Centre
Anime Centre - information centre and shop (2nd floor UDX) exhibition space in on the 4th floor
Our first stop was the Gundam Cafe and a quick visit to the AKB48 cafe / shop just to check it out.  The Gundam Cafe was packed so we went onto Yodobashi Camera.  The AKB48 shops was full of idol merchandize - no surprise and had many customers.
Gundam Cafe and Shop
AKB48 Cafe / Shop right next to the Gundam Cafe
AKB48 Idols - their music even made it into the Wreck-it Ralph movie!
Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara is a flagship store for the chain.  The place is huge, with floor after floor of electronics and more.  I had a look for pico projectors but came away empty handed - go figure.  The first floor is full of tablets and cellphones along with their accessories.  Iphones are ruling the roost right now.  It seemed like 30% to 50% percent of the passengers on the train were using Iphones now.  The Japanese cellphone is playing catchup in the smartphone game.  TVs used to occupy much of the first floor and now they are a smaller section on the second floor.  We headed up the toys and hobbies section on the seventh floor.  Here, there is a massive selection of gashapon machines, a huge model section for Gundam, and all the other fun stuff in between.
Yodobashi Akiba
Over 250 capsule machines in three rows.
Dragonquest Merchandise
After a long time playing with the gashapon (capsule) machines we headed back to the Gundam Cafe.  On the way through the south passage at Akihabara Station, we saw this Damashi Robots Popup Display from Bandai.

Robots Display
Code Geass - the new movie was coming out too.
Lelouch
Eureka Seven and Full Metal Panic Robots
Walking into the Gundam Cafe we snagged a table this time!  Some of the food looked good, but we were there just for drinks and ordered a couple of interesting looking ones off the menu.  You get these Char Aznuble cards and nice coasters with the drinks.  The cafe isn't as big as I thought it would be, but the ambience was nice - a little smokey, but nice.  The bathrooms are pretty interesting, just like I had heard.  Push the button!
Gundam Cafe
Gundam Drinks
Afterwards we wandered Akiba at night and took in the lights and general ambience.  A stop I wanted to hit was the new Akiba Zone Building where K-Books relocated from the Kaikan Building.  It was a pretty busy night and the pictures below show all that.
Chuo Dori Street Akihabara
Chuo Dori Street Akihabara
Akiba Zone
Managed to find a Border Break Art Book Here!
Consignment Sales - rent your sales cabinet

Go Go Curry - can be quite busy.
Chuo Dori Street Akihabara - Akiba Zone on the sidestreet to the right



After our explorations here, we headed back to the hotel to drop off our purchases and had a late dinner of beef bowl from a Sukiya that was near our hotel.  Fast service, big beef bowl, and a full tummy wraps up the day.
Beef Bowl with Miso Soup

View Day Four of the travelogue here.
View the Tokyo Travelogues Master Page here.



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