So being on spring break as I am, I made a trip with two friends up to Tokyo. This was my first time in Tokyo, so I got to experience many things for the first time. Here are my thoughts on the trip, for whatever reason, sorted by area.
- Most any anime fan has likely heard of Akiba, but I don’t think that’s a good thing.
- Akiba is as noisy and flashy as advertised but really didn’t impress me much.
- The shops at Akiba have a fairly limited selection compared to most other places I went.
- Mandarake Akiba was closed when I went, so I was unable to find a single cel shop there. Disappointing.
- I honestly suggest that anyone not in the market for PC hentai games avoid Akiba. There seemed to be an enormous selection of those, but with no interest in such things, I had a hard time finding cool stuff.
- For anime DVDs, CDs, games, and manga, there are infinitely better places to shop.
- They call Osaka’s DenDen Town “the Akiba of the West”, but I would rather go to DenDen Town any day.
- The location of the huge crosswalk you may have seen. It’s actually pretty cool to cross there when it’s busy.
- In front of the JR station is that famous dog statue (Hachiko).
- The whole area around Shibuya is actually really cool. I walked around with friends and there was a whole lot to see.
- There’s an Outback Steakhouse in Shibuya. Probably just about everything else too, if you look for it.
- The Meiji Shrine near the JR station was pretty cool.
- There were girls giving free hugs out on the Jingu Bridge.
- I really don’t like the whole visual kei or gothic lolita style, so my interest in Harajuku was extremely low.
- If you’re not in the market for clothes, there’s not much to see in Harajuku.
- There WAS Mexican food in Harajuku. I ate it and was pleased.
- Probably nobody has heard of Nakano, but if you’re in the market for anime goods, I honestly think this is the best place in Tokyo to go.
- Nakano houses the Mandarake Headquarters. Other related shops have also taken root around Mandarake’s 3-story shop. My friends who had little interest in anime goods found plenty to browse in the nearby CD and DVD stores. The building also holds cel stores, figurine stores, manga stores, basically anything you can imagine.
- I bought more at Mandarake Nakano than I did in two trips to Akiba. The selection is incredible, the prices reasonable, and the experience worth having.
- Staying in Asakusa was fun. I strongly recommend the Sakura Hostel. Staying in Akasaka was not.
- The Tokyo rail system and subway was a bit overwhelming at first. This is coming from someone who’s been in Japan for over 6 months, so… It’s not bad once you get used to it, but definitely it can take you by surprise at first. You can buy a pretty good all-day, all you can ride JR Tokyo Pass for 730 yen. It’s a pretty good deal and covers most of the city. Subway isn’t covered though.
- I got into the Tokyo International Anime Fair on the day that was supposed to be for businesses only. The name of the company I used? AbsoluteZero Translations. ^_^
- I got so much free stuff at the Anime Fair. I was there on the business day after all.
- The Tokyo Big Sight was a very cool place. The Anime Fair was being held there. I also remember seeing it in countless anime (always transforming into a mecha oddly).
- Moving luggage around on the trains in Tokyo sucks. Just not fun at all.
- I’m happy to be studying abroad in the Kansai area. Kanto really just isn’t my thing in the long run.
That’s all I have to say I suppose. Tokyo was a lot cooler than I expected. There was a lot to see and a lot to do. The most fun I had personally was at the Tokyo Anime Fair. It was an experience that it wouldn’t be easy to repeat and one that I was glad to have had. It was only a four day trip, but I saw everything I wanted to. I think any more time there would have worn me out and any less would have been too rushed to enjoy. I’m glad to have visited but I don’t plan to go back soon. Still, I remember it fondly and wouldn’t mind seeing it again eventually.
Sorry for the lack of blog updates lately. I hope to pick the pace back up pretty soon. The last few weeks have been pretty nuts, so I just haven’t had time. Thanks to those of you sticking with me and I hope that you’ll enjoy what’s to come.