Posted by: jyunbugspeaks | June 14, 2013

My Visit To Akihabara: Anime, Maid Cafés and the Otaku!

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excuse me Miss? Where is your café?

IMG_0717Well this is a first. I heard about this area in Tokyo for years and  kept seeing it on the internet (not always good) and such when I was growing up but I never got to see it in person. Well that all changed when I made sure to check out Akihabara on my travels through Tokyo and Japan. “Field of Autumn Leaves” is the english translation of the place…not much trees but plenty of lights and electronic gadgets as you can purchase new and used electronics of every kind throughout this district as Akihabara is also known as The Electric Town. Unfortunately this area was also hit hard by a dark moment in its history. My gf wasn’t too thrilled when she learned that back in 2008 a mentally disturbed gentleman with a butcher’s knife drove into that part of the city and pretty much ploughed into people and started stabbing them. I found that disturbing but undaunted I convinced her that it was a long time ago and things have changed. For one no vehicles are allowed during the weekend. They block out all main roads going in and out of that district.  Back then that part of town was always considered kinda shady however with the help of the local merchants and the public generally embracing anime, the tourists came back. Now the place is thriving and it has undeniably become part of Japanese culture today. It also helped that I told her I wouldn’t go into any of those strange Maid Cafés buuuuutt I did manage to get us into another type of cafe…well there wasn’t any young girls in maid outfits being subservient however this café had been built to resemble a spaceship from the popular anime series called Gundam. Say hello to the Gundam Café!

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I always seem to have a soft spot for visiting weird and wacky restaurants, to the chagrin of my girlfriend, whenever I travel. Remember  the lovely Modern Toilet restaurant in Taiwan or perhaps the equally wacky Billy Goat’s Tavern in Chicago? I can’t help it, it makes the trip more enjoyable AND memorable! Well it started off great as a huge lineup was already forming when we found the place and my anticipation was killing me as I waited nearly an hour to get in to the place.

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This is what greeted us at the door.

Unfortunately after being seated and served by a normal, albeit dressed in some type of commander’s uniformed waitress, I just didn’t find the food exciting nor tasty in this joint. It seemed to me that this place was all hype and it showed as the only thing interesting was the Café of Lait with a neat design on it (that’s Haro, a robot sidekick from the series) and the futuristic decor.

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Sadly I would avoid this place unless you are a die-hard fan of the anime. Well it wasn’t all bad as I managed to grab a cool souvenir for a friend of mine, who happens to love that series. I give you the Gundam Saber Chopsticks…only a fan could love this!

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After subjecting ourselves to the nerdiverse of Tokyo for a couple of hours we though we should attempt our lunch at a normal restaurant that isn’t showcasing anything “hentai”, that’s perverted in Japanese. Surprisingly we found one in Akihabara that didn’t have pictures of maids on the store front and was pretty tasty.

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This restaurant was a fusion of Japanese and western cuisines with a little twist. For example my choice was a deconstructed hamburger on a sizzling hot plate. I remember my mom making something like this when I was a kid and it tasted just as good! A great tasting burger consisting of  good ground Kobe beef minus the bun, pretty decent fries and you pour on the gravy. My girlfriend had a seafood penne which she said was good (that’s the most I can get out of her when she critiques her foods) yet she goes gaga for Japanese cakes, go figure.

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So in the end I was happy that I got to check out a place that I always wanted to go and convince my girlfriend to wander the streets with me and really take in a place that is both weird yet magical at the same time. Would I recommend a visit to this part of town? Hells ya. It’s not often you can witness a sub culture so open like this…it is quite fascinating and I’ll guarantee you will be shocked and amused but it will never be dull, that’s Akihabara for you. 

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On to the next adventure: Wha? Sushi breakfast? Oh I gotta try that!!

Please leave a comment or like it if you found this article interesting! Any feedback would be much appreciated! Cheers!

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