Marching Boys are so dreamy

So, another one of the places we went on this trip to Tokyo, was Akihabara. Akihabara, for those of you that don’t know, is Tokyo’s “Electric Town” if it runs on electricity, chances are you can buy it there. Need a washing machine, no problem. A chip for your circa 1975 computer, sure! Vacuum tubes? You have at least two stores catering just to you. However, Akihabara is also the center of the worlds “otaku” culture. You can get anything you want connected to anime, manga, figurines, models (the plastic kind, not the people kind… who might also be plastic), etc. As a long time fan of manga and anime it has been something of a sacred pilgrimage.

Careful readers will remember that this is actually our second trip to Akiba, (as it is referred to by those in the know.) We also took a trip during the sans visit. This visit was pretty short, and quite early in the morning, before akiba had really hotted up. A quick note on that because I never really went into that trip much. Partly because it was a bit of a shorter visit, and partly because I didn’t really have much to show you for it.

Maid Cafe

On this first trip we visited one of akiba’s famed “Maid Cafes”. These are places where the patrons are waited on by fetching young girls in full on french maid outfits. When we enter they said something which roughly translates to “welcome home master!” Just before they carefully informed us that we were most certainly not allowed to take photos. While there you are served by the maids, and they speak to you in super humble, reverent language. Japanese has all sorts of different tones to be used, for example, when talking to superiors, subordinates, formal equals, informal equals, and people who are like gods. We get the last one, turned up to 11. It is actually so polite, it is difficult to understand. Our maid had to say everything twice, once in this super Keigo, then once again in standard keigo in order for me to understand. Other than the costumes and the super formal and polite language, the cafe is pretty normal. They have the standard drinks, cakes, and small snacks. While we were not able to get any pictures of our maid, danielle was able to snap a quick photo of a couple of maids that were walking to work on our more recent visit to akiba.


On this trip danielle and I came at the height of the activity in akiba, the street was closed to allow shoppers to easily move around the area. (Un?)Fortunately, the police have been cracking down lately on some of the crazier stunts that were happening in akiba, and recently they have also started cracking down on cosplayers (costume wearing fans). So we enjoyed a slightly mellower fare then is often described. Together, danielle and I found a store featuring loads of studio ghibli products and danielle (and I) got a fill up on her cute quota, by purchasing a totoro.


After this first store danielle and I split ways for a bit, danielle found herself a vantage point from a two story Mister Donut where she could have optimum people watching potential.

Here is a bit of what she saw.


Work out

Marching Boys are so dreamy

I on the other hand went to Toranoana. A 5 story manga, anime, and doujinshi shop. I was most interested in the doujinshi, which are fan created comic books.

Doujinshi has kind of an interesting reputation. The vast majority of doujinshi that you hear about are comics based heavily on popular professional works, with an, ahem, “mature” theme. However, the whole of the doujin industry would be more appropriately compared to zines in the US. Essentially thousands of self published titles are produced every year. Many (perhaps most) are based on professional titles, expanding the stories etc., many are simply published sketchbooks, and some are complete stories. My all time favorite anime, and my all time favorite manga both started as doujinshi that were later licensed by major publishers. This arena is essentially where the manga producers of tomorrow are born. Here is a look at some of what I purchased.


After spending 2+ hours walking through the floors of this store, I phoned danielle and we headed out. But, I fully intend to spend at least one more day trolling the streets of akiba, before I return to america. Perhaps, when I head to comiket this summer…

Posted on Monday, May 19th, 2008 at 7:42 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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