Friday, June 18, 2010
Anyone living in Japan already, or is thinking of coming over has no doubt heard of Akihabara. Electronics buffs, anime fans and gamers the world over are all familiar with Tokyo's electronic district. But you don't have to be a computer nerd or comic book fan to enjoy Akihabara.So famous is Akihabara that it is a major tourist destination for visitors to Tokyo. Whether you're looking for a new camera, or figurines of your favourite anime characters, Akihabara will provide you with an eye-opening experience.Akihabara is also home to Japan's "Otaku" culture. Otaku loosely translates to what we might call in English a geek or nerd. Otaku flock to Akihabara as it's a treasure trove of collectibles, manga and anime goods. Along the main street, and the back streets as well, there are dozens of shops selling collector's cards, figurines or classic toys. Some stores are huge and are multi-storied. Another popular variety of store with otaku are "maid cafes." These are cafes where the (all female) staff dress in maid outfits. Many of these maids can be seen on the streets of Akihabara advertising their particular cafe. Even if maid cafes aren't your thing, it's certainly entertaining seeing the maids on the street trying to entice walkers by.Apart from costumed maids it's very common to see aspiring young pop idols along the streets of Akihabara. Many perform shows on the streets hoping to gain enough attention and get snapped up by a talent scout. Again, this is a very interesting experience if it's your first time to Akihabara.Then there's the electronics. If you're after electrical goods, then you couldn't be anywhere better. There are several big chain vendors present in Akihabara, but there are also many small shops selling excellent quality second hand goods. Many stores offer duty free shopping and English speaking staff. Remember to shop around though as there are many stores to choose from and competition is tight.So even if you're not an anime fan or electronics enthusiast, there are a lot of interesting things to see and do in Akihabara. The town has developed from an electronics district to a must-visit place for tourists to Tokyo.