Sunday, February 17, 2013

Attack of the Otaku Date!

Ben and I decided to do our own unique take on Japan's Valentine's day gender reversal, so this weekend I took Ben out for a date in Akihabara.

We started out at Tokyo station and had lunch and an amazing Indian restaurant called Raj. We have eaten their before, and were in the mood to eat non-Japanese.

Akihabara is often referred to as the Otaku district, this is anime and video game mecca. (Check out Ben and my Previous trips to Akihabara: Harajuku and Akihabara, Otaku)

We had an outstanding time. Akihabara was more crowded than I have ever seen it, there were a few manga releases going on, I didn't catch the titles, but the lines for them were crazy! We walked past the dozens of Manga shops, figure shops, and arcades. Girls dressed as cat girls meowed at us as we walked past. Boobs oozed out of every corner, fake boobs, but not the kind found in LA, these were found on hundreds posters, animitronic girls, and plastic statues. Akihabara constantly tests the limits to the question "Is it porn?" It's a very creepy place, but a great place to spend a fun day in Tokyo.

Menu at Mononopu
One of Ben and my riskier gambles of "Is it porn?" was following one of the many advertizes down a back alley to a small cafe. She was wearing about 50 shades of pastel, and had more buttons on her than I could count. The place she took us to was incredibly creepy, but not because of the staff, the clientele was so sad it was hard to watch them. She had led us to a maid cafe (Rated PG 13). The man seated next to us was devastatingly shy, and could barely speak, he blushed every time the girls spoke with him, and ate an valentines cake by himself. Most of the guys there were regulars, and relished the paid hours they could have women dote on them. My presence was not welcome by anyone, as I stood as a real life example of their farce. It was an interesting experience, but I am unlikely to return.

Akihabara is probably one of the best places in the world if you enjoy arcades. I don't generally like arcades in The States, the games are tedious, their are crying children everywhere, and for some reason their is always pressure to win one of the stupid prizes by collecting tickets. Arcades in Japan don't distribute tickets, and instead focus on fun games. They have fighter games, driving games, card/video games, dancing games, and music games. My favorite style of games are the music games, I love the different ways they get players to interact with the music.

Ben and my favorite arcade was the Taito arcade, in Akihabara. There were 6 stories, none of them were pachinko (gambling), and the games were really fun. The games are a good deal there, you get 3 rounds for 100 yen rather than the standard single round. Their was an entire floor dedicated to music games, Ben and I spent most of our time playing the various music games in the arcade. It was a really fun way to spend a date.

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