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Japan 2016: Day 10

This article is a post I originally made on Facebook about our tenth day in Japan which took place on April 12, 2016. On the 1 year anniversary of our trip to Japan I decided to repost it here on my blog. The original post has been edited/cleaned up a bit but its spirit remains.

Jesus Christ there is so much to do in Tokyo.

Today we planned to finally make our pilgrimage to Akihabara, the promised land for individuals obsessed with video games, manga, anime or electronics. If you have ever felt "am I the only one?" because of your love for geek culture then this is the place you visit to realize you are not alone. The area is absolutely littered with shops carrying merchandise that range from the most popular to the rarest and hardest to find in otaku culture.

After last night's robot insanities we ended up sleeping in until 10am. Before we could start our Akihabara shenanigans we needed to fill up our bellies with some lunch. Since we were in Tokyo, one of the greatest food stops on the planet, where do you think we chose to eat? Why Denny's of course! To no one's surprise at this point Japan even does Denny's better than America. I had the "Japanese steak" with avocado and wasabi mayonnaise. It was just as delicious as it sounds. The steak was more of a ground beef patty but it was seasoned to absolute perfection. Never had so much flavour come out of a Denny's ground beef patty before.

With Denny's surprisingly delicious lunch behind us we headed back to Hamamatsuchō Station, got on the Yamanote loop again and took it to Akihabara Station. Our first stop of the day was Yodobashi Camera's Akiba branch which was less than 100 meters from the station's exit. We had been anticipating our visit to this store ever since we set foot in Yodobashi's Osaka branch but we were not prepared for what happened next. We spent the next two hours meticulously covering every inch of all six floors. It was insane! Everything was so densely packed and this store had literally everything. Half of one floor was dedicated completely to building models ranging from elaborate train sets to World War II tanks to two foot tall robots! We had planned to buy some luggage while we were in Japan that we could use to store all of our purchases so we spent some of this time scoping it out. Even that section of the store was massive. It was easily a thousand square feet of luggage stacked eight feet high. The main purpose of this visit however was to visit the video game section and it did not disappoint. Wall-to-wall video games, art books, anime Blu-rays, even soundtracks to some of our favourite video games.

After we had created a comprehensive list of everything we wanted to buy (since we could not possible carry it all at the moment) we exited Yodobashi and grabbed a quick snack to recharge our batteries. It is still shocking how delicious and well presented all the street food is in Japan. So much care and thoughtful preparation go into everything.

With Yodobashi out of the way we crossed over to the other side of the Akihabara Station and only got another 100 meters before we were distracted by our first Sega arcade. There Elsie met her nemesis, another Neko Atsume claw machine. Unfortunately our hero did not prevail this time but she vowed to return! We quickly browsed the other FIVE FLOORS of the arcade, fawning over all of the machines we saw, and planned to return after we finished our shopping. Little did we know how unlikely that was.

We exited the arcade and this time only walked 50 meters north until we were distracted once again. We walked by the Radio Kaikan building and saw that there was a K-BOOKS inside which could hold the elusive Bloodborne art book Elsie had been searching for. If you have read my day 9 article then you will know what I mean when I say this building is best described as Nakano Broadway part 2 except this time there are ten floors instead of four. I won't bore you with the details but, long story short, two hours later we came out of Radio Kaikan with bags of goodies and very tired feet. By this point it was almost 4:30pm and we had not strayed more than a couple hundred meters from Akihabara Station.

It was at this point we decided to head back to Yodobashi Akiba, buy everything we wanted (including the luggage), drop everything off at our Airbnb and then head back out for some dinner. After the quick pit stop we would jump back on the Yamanote loop, take it to Ueno Station and meet up with Jarques and Tina for a quick bite at Ameya-Yokochō market. One thing we were not prepared for was getting on the subway during rush hour. Holy smokes, I did not realize how unafraid Japanese people were of pushing and shoving to get on a train. It was like they were in a rugby scrum. Some people flew two feet and were barely be able to catch their balance. It was the most jammed packed I had ever been on a train car.

After we reached Ameya-Yokochō we found a nice sake bar that served delicious chicken skewers which we promptly devoured. Oh, one thing I have failed to mentioned is that it is apparently still legal, in some spots, to smoke indoors in Japan. So a lot of the bars we were finding were full of Japanese salarymen smoking and drinking their cares away after a long day.

After we finished eating and drinking our own cares away Elsie and I decided that we wanted to finish the night in Akihabara and hit up some arcades. As we were walking we came across a ramen joint and decided to partake in our first bowl of the trip. Good Lord it was just as heavenly as I was expecting. I cannot believe it took me ten whole days before I decided to try some ramen in Japan.

The first arcade we hit up was Game Taito Station, a five story building packed to the gills with arcade machines. It was here that Elsie found her calling, playing Chunithm all day every day. Chunithm is a rhythm game where you dance your fingers along a keyboard in time with the music à la Guitar Hero. Unfortunately we could not record any video at this arcade so I do not have any proof of Elsie's mad skillz! Jubeat was my rhythm game of choice and we discovered Gunslinger Stratos, a dual wielding light gun game which I planned to play much much more of!

After a couple of hours in the arcade it was already 10pm and we figured it was time to call it a night. On the way home we passed by the Club Sega arcade and decided to quickly peek inside to scout out what games we could play later in our trip. The fifth floor of Club Sega had literally every game we wanted. Luigi's Mansion, Taiko no Tatsujin, Monster Hunter Spirits, the table flip game, more Chunithm! I honestly think we could end up in there one day and not leave for at least six hours. But for now it was time to go home and sleep.