Sunday in Akihabara

Furukawa Denki welcomes you to Akihabara with this interactive display from the upcoming Alice Soft game Shaman’s Sanctuary.

I went to Akihabara today for the first time in awhile with no concrete plans but to soak in the district after a long absence. There were some welcome changes, like the Star Kebab sandwich stand set up just off Chuuoh Doori (complete with Kebab-tan). According to the notice the stand was there on a seasonal basis, but the shop that had done a brisk business for the past 10 years on a side street is still flourishing in a way more authentic, delicious and cheap than most of the maid cafes.

On that note, Cafe With Cat on the second floor of Toranoana #B has closed (in May of last year, apparently – yes I’m behind the news, orz). That floor is now being used for character goods, the bar and tables still largely intact but now draped with trinkets. It’s a shame; I liked the atmosphere. I got a drink at Mister Donut today instead.

The fate of the Electric Town front of the JR station has been unveiled in the form of a large and inhospitable slab of Tokyu Hands. Long gone is the best toridon for my money in Tokyo that used to dwell on the ground floor of the old Akihabara Department Store.

There is however the new Gundam Cafe on the opposite side of the JR station, which I discovered too late in the day to brave the lines for a drink or an ogle at the souvenirs.

Other than a bit of shopping to fulfil the otaku urges, the highlight of the afternoon was seeing the pro-Japan demonstration that wound its way through the middle of Akiba at around 3:30. The overall thrust of the protest was anti-Chinese, with signs ranging from the current hot topic of the Senkaku islands sovereignty issue to Tibetan independence.

A mass police presence accompanied the march, easily over a hundred policemen – several in full riot gear – alongside the several hundred protesters. I’ve never seen so many Japanese flags in one place before, and neither had the throngs of onlookers which on a Sunday afternoon in the busy electronics/entertainment district easily outnumbered the protesters ten to one along the route they were traversing.

The day’s pictures can be found below, along with a video of the demonstration.

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9 Responses to Sunday in Akihabara

  1. Avery October 17, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Nihon wa hansei shiru!

  2. moyism October 18, 2010 at 1:44 am #

    That kebab place isn’t bad; I think I went to their actual shop that’s on some side street as you mentioned? LOL I ended up eating two of ’em since the guy mis-took my order for two (I think I ordered the #2 but guess he thought I wanted two of them as well)!

    If you ever brave the gundam cafe, let us know how it goes!

  3. Sean (Otakurotica) October 18, 2010 at 4:23 am #

    Wow. It’s been almost a year since I was last in Tokyo and the changes always get to me. I used to go to Akihabara almost every weekend back when I lived there and I also feel so incredibly behind in what’s been going on there. My friend went to the Gundam Cafe over the summer and I’m rather jealous.

    I wish I could be there right now and hit up Animate, Toranoana, GAMERS, AsoBit Chara City, and, of course, that amazing kebab stand.

  4. Kyosuke October 18, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    Sean: I didn’t see AsoBit on the main drag anymore…there was also a branch on a side street that was replaced by another store. On the other hand, there’s now a multi-level Mandarake Store that’s a must-visit.

    Kebab-tan reminds me of Sumomo from Chobits!

    • Shingo October 18, 2010 at 10:13 am #

      The AsoBit City store is no more, alas. The storefront is covered over with signs advertising a high-class set of anime themed party/meeting suites to be put in the building in its place – there’s an Eva-themed suite and a few others.

      I was hoping to visit AsoBit as well as that’s where I typically picked up my games. Next time! This is its new location, apparently:

      • Sean (Otakurotica) October 18, 2010 at 11:21 am #

        Curses! So the rumors were true. I actually remember the last time I was there, I saw a clothing store in its place of some sort. AsoBit carried the cheapest prices on figma, Nendoroids, and such.

        It’s a little shameful but Yodobashi Camera is the next best place for me to go because prices are pretty good there especially with points built up. But for future reference, can you all recommend some other stores for figures and the like?

  5. Sydney2K October 18, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    I’ll reply to more about Akihabara, but first, the Gundam Cafe- why is there a queue? This is not some hot night or dance club. This is a coffee shop, fer crikes’ sake. Also, why aren’t any of the servers cosplaying?

    I did take a couple of the plastic (disposable) cups home though, as a memento of my visit.

  6. harutabe October 19, 2010 at 2:21 am #

    You know, the Radio-Kaikan is going to be closed and rebuilt soon, because of it’s age (It’s built in 1962). So you guys should better remember the sight and take nice photos.

  7. yutanpo October 26, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    I love Tokyu Hands, but in Akiba.. geez. They should’ve just moved it up to Ueno.
    Also, Radio-Kaikan rebuilt? Hope they don’t totally clean it up.. Will the same shops still be in tact?
    Boy it’s going to be a very different Akiba by the time I return there..

    What’s the deal with Akiba and kebabs anyway? I used to usally hit up the Go Go Curry or Kyushu Jangara ramen, but it sure was interesting seeing Turkish men yelling out “Irasshai”, and so forth..

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