So today’s the day of Akihabara! (It was 7th September. As I write this post, it is already 2 days later, as I was too tired to do so on the night or the night after.)
We woke up pretty early on the day, at about 6 AM. We had breakfast…
That’s right, we had melonpan. For those of you not familiar with the significance of melonpan… Shame on you.
Melonpan is actually very nice. It’s just a bit of bread with a crusty top that’s pretty sweet. It doesn’t taste like melons. The “melon” bit in “melonpan” refers to the pattern on the top of the bread.
After breakfast, we left the hostel and set off for Minowa Station. Here’s a pic of the hostel. We stayed on the 5th floor.
Here are pics of the station.
Our destination was Akihabara. We stopped off in Ueno Station to get our Japan Rail Passes, which will let us have unlimited travel on the JR Lines.
Here’s Ueno Station.
Upon arriving at Akihabara Station, we hunted for lockers to drop off all our luggage and stuff. We would not be returning to the hostel at night, and so we had enough stuff with us to last a few days.
All the major stations seem to have lockers, which is really convenient. We stepped outside Akihabara Station, and finally, we were in Akihabara!
The main sites of interest at Akihabara were a few streets away, so we made our way there. All the major shops seem to be concentrated to a few main streets.
As we headed for the main shops, we passed the karaoke place where we would be going to that night.
Now we’re turning into the road where all the major shops are.
We walked along the street, looking at stuff.
As we walk along the street, a shop to my right caught my attention. We enter…
This shop had loads of those crane machine game things. The crane had 2 legs, and you wonder how its ever gonna pick up a nanoha/fate plushie. So obviously I am snapping away on my camera… until a shop attendant came up and said taking photos was not allowed. Oops. I carried on secretly taking pictures. Just a note here, but taking photos is prohibited in all shops in Akihabara. Like that was gonna stop me lol…
We left the shop and carried on walking. We walked past…
We arrived at a row of major shops. It’s about noon at this point. We walked into Comic Toranoana. This shop had numerous floors. The ground floor sold DVD/Blu-Rays. The prices were outrageous. we’re talking like 5,000 – 10,000 yen per volume. And a volume only has like 2-3 episodes. The second floor had figurines and plushies. The other floors had manga/doujins etc.
What we did was browse every floor, without making purchases. Once we got to the top, we went back down and bought stuff that we were interested in. I bought something here but can’t remember what it was lol.
About 2 hours later, we left the main building of Comic Toranoana and walked into the next building, which was also Comic Toranoana, but they specialised in magazines, manga and doujins.
So 2 hours later, we leave this store. I bought some doujins and artbooks here. I’ll be taking pictures of them later. By now we were ridiculously hungry; it was time for lunch. The original plan was to have lunch in a maid cafe, but there was a long queue, so we decided to eat elsewhere and return to the maid cafe later.
We wandered around Akihabara for a bit, looking for alternative places to eat. As we walked, I took more pictures.
We decided to go to Moz Burgers for lunch. Ordering food wasn’t that much of a problem, as they had English menus and the staff could speak English resonable well. I had a teriyaki burger and “melon soda”. It was bright luminous green and tasted nothing like melons, more like a mouthful of E numbers. The burger was nice though.
After lunch, we continued our mission in Akihabara. We went inside Animate, one of the more well known stores in Akihabara. It was right next to Comic Toranoana. Animate sold everything anime-related under the sun, literally.
After spending what seemed like an eternity in Animate, we left and it was time to head to the maid cafe. The only relevant picture I could obtain was…
…I’m afraid, as photography was forbidden inside the maid cafe.
We were greeted with the usual chorus of “Irasshaimase Goshujin-sama!” and shown to our chairs. There was quite a big menu, but we weren’t really hungry, so we just went for drinks and an ice-cream parfait. A different maid attended to us each time we needed something. Most of the maids weren’t exactly oil paintings, but there was the occassional good looking one.
After we were served our drinks by a maid, she made us make a love heart with our fingers and chanted “moe moe kyun!” This was supposed to make the drinks taste better. Not sure if it actually did, but certainly it made us feel better as we were going to have to pay extortionate prices for this excursion.
As I write this, you probably get the feeling that I was calm and collected throughout, but that certainly wasn’t the case. Imagak and I burst into giggles every now and again. We thought the “moe moe kyun!” was bad enough, but then we overheard the table behind us. In addition to “moe moe kyun!”, they got renditions of “nyaa, nyaa, nyaa!” and “woof, woof, woof!” as well as other animal noises which I can’t quite remember anymore. That was highly amusing and we were thankful we were not subjected to a similar fate.
Our ice-cream parfait arrived sometime later, and we had to do “moe moe kyun!” again.
Anyway, you could pay for additional services with the maids. One was to have your picture taken with a maid of your choice. Another was to play “rock, paper, scissors” with your favourite maid. We didn’t get our pictures taken with the maids, because we’d probably have died of embarrassment. We saw other people get their pictures taken. The maids had a large collection of various animal ears, and you had to wear one as you have your picture taken.
While it was amusing to see people our age doing it, it was actually frightening to see some 50 year old man doing it. This man had his maid act as if she was scared, and posed as if he was about to grab her. Was the maid acting scared? She was probably scared lol.
Anyway, after we ate as much of our ice-cream parfaits as we could, it was time to leave. We parted with more cash than was necessary for a drink and an ice-cream, but hey, it’s not like I am going to be doing this again anytime soon. The maids gave us some souvenirs and a points card or something. Even maid cafes have their regulars, I assume.
It was now time to go to the karaoke place. Night had already fallen.
Karaoke was definitely an experience. We had a nice big TV in the room, as well as deafening Bose speakers. The plan was to sing anime songs, obviously, but not all of us could do that.
The anime songs came with hiragana and kanji/furigana subtitles, which was only useful if you could actually read them. There wasn’t an option for romaji subtitles. While I could read hiragana relatively quickly, the other 3 couldn’t , so they could only sing things they could remember the lyrics to. They ended up singing English songs mainly, while I sang Key anime OPs and EDs, as most of them are slow and gave me time to read and process the hiragana in my head as I sang along. I pretty much knew the first verse off by heart, having watched them 24 times (Kanon/Clannad) and 14 times (Air) recently, but I was not familiar with the second verses.
We initially planned to do karaoke for 1 hour, but extended that by another 1 hour and 30 minutes before leaving.