Small in Japan

Adventures in Far East Asia


Day 1 Part 1
Day 3 Part 1
Day 5 Part 1
Day 7 Part 1
Day 1 Part 2
Day 3 Part 2
Day 5 Part 2
Day 7 Part 2
Day 2 Part 1
Day 4 Part 1
Day 6 Part 1
Day 8 Part 1
Day 2 Part 2
Day 4 Part 2
Day 6 Part 2

Day 2 Part 1

Akihabara, here we come!

The rather long sleep replenished my health fully. I woke up with no pain whatsoever, and was ready to face the world again. We picked up Sven at his hotel, got some breakfast-ish food for him at the supermarket next door and then headed down to the subway station. Oliver and I did not buy anything in the convenience store except for beverages, because we did not really trust the rice-and-something-else-mixture in those handy packages. But Sven supposedly loves the taste of fish and algae in the morning. Apparently, it goes great with beer; that's his favourite drink in Nippon. I trust in cola, Oliver went for coffee: In any case: Thank you, vending machine! Let's head through the streets:


This is what it typically looks like in that part of Tokyo. The most obvious difference, in my eyes, were the masses of cables and wires dangling above our heads. I think it's because of possible earthquakes that they're not in the ground (as in Germany). This way, they will less likely break and be far easier to repair. Another thing that's different is the width of the streets. As it is obvious from the picture, there is, in reality, no need for a speed limit. Not only is the way narrow, but it's all crammed up with bikes, plants and power line poles (and vending machines). How could you possibly go faster than 30 without running into everything?


But we weren't there to take cars for a spin, but to ride the trains to get around. The rush-hour feeling was, when we got onto the subway, still lingering. It was about 9:30, and sitting down was luxury. Since there were only three stops to survive before getting off, this was not problematic. And then, we were finally at the place everyone we know who has been to Tokyo talks about: it's Akihabara. Before we snuck into the streets, we had a little breakfast at a smoker's park in-between the tall buildings. The French breakfast specialties were okay, they kept us from becoming hungry again for the next 3 hours.

smoke park

We moved on and had to cross the street in order to go to the first store Sven recommended. There was a businessman standing next to me, and I greeted him with "Ohaio!" (good morning). He was surprised, but knew his stuff. He first asked me "Doitsu?" (German?), and when I said "Hai" (yes), he greeted me with "Guten Morgen!" (good morning) Simply great! We arrived at the store Sven took us to. On the outside, it looked like a cosplayer-supply store, so we expected all kinds of costumes. It was on the corner of a high building and covereed 7 floors. We had to use the elevator. Sven then led us to the 2nd floor, and we were surrounded by artificial vaginas, plastic penises and lingerie. Ther was hentai porn playing on the TVs, and when the next floor had similar equipment in store, we decided to leave. And for the record: no, we did not buy anything! But now for some impressions:


These are some random shots. I took these photos in the course of the early day. Almost every building is pretty tall in Akihabara, and most stores stretch over several floors. So, even when you think "it's just a small electronics shop," you will find an elevator or a staircase in it and thus quadrupeling the number of items on sale. It breaks pretty much down like this: 1st floor: Video games, mostly new stuff. 2nd floor, video games, older stuff. 3rd floor: Manga, anime, hentai porn, real porn. 4th floor: more porn. And that's something the Japanese apparently consider as pretty normal. And no, we didn't enter the "ages 18 and above-section" accidentally, those were seperated by curtains within the porn floors. We weren't interested in porn (at that time) but in video games, and we even went to an arcade to spend some 100 yen coins to play typical Japanese stuff:


We had something to eat at MOS burger, the self-titled Japanese burger store. They make great burgers with quality ingredients, at least that's my impression. And I am entitled to give my opinion, because I have been trained in the gastronomical business ;-). Then, we went on and reached the back streets. These sideways are crawling with people, too, the only difference is that the stores are even more crammed than those before. After a while, Oliver mentioned that having a coffee and sitting down would be a good idea. It was about here when he brought up that topic:

akihabara backstreet

Can you imagine what happened next? As you might think from the picture, there were no cafés around that place. Neither were there possible places to sit down. But a few minutes ago, we received a flyer from one of the colleagues of that girl in the middle of the picture. It said "Maid café" and offered exactly what Oliver wanted: a cup of coffee and a place to sit. Sven took the chance and asked the girl whre that café might be. She led us into an elevator, pushed the button for the second floor and said goodbye. We thanked her and then arrived at the café. When the elevator doors opened, we were greeted by 6 girls standing in line, all dressed up like maids. Sven grinned, I laughed, and Oliver felt like turning around and leaving on the spot. We were led to a table, and from there I was able to take a snap before the "waitress" to the left told me not to take photos:

maid cafe

Then, the first "Oliver incident" occured. As said above, our fellow felt like leaving when we arrived. But there was no turning back. So, Sven ordered a coffee, I had nothing, and liver tried to order black coffee. When the girl came back with the cups and brought a little bottle of milk, the special service began. She asked Sven if he wanted milk, and he took it. She got on her knees in front of our table, poured the milk into his cup and then took a spoon. She stirred the coffee and recited a Japanese nursery rhyme, and looked really cute (ok, she wasn't my type, as I don't like Japanese women, and this one was dyed blonde *brrr*; but apart from that, she was nice). Sven thanked her, and now it was Oliver's turn. He tried to avoid the next special treatment and made one of the mistakes he was going to repeat throughout the trip: he confused the Japanese person with English orders. "No milk" he said, and the girl only understood "milk" and wanted to pour it. He signaled her with his hands that he didn't want it. She left, and then he sat there with a red face and drank his coffee hastily. He felt uncomfortable in this café, and his reason for his discomfort went like this: He really thought that this establishment was a brothel! Imagine that! I mean, it was bloody obvious that this was no cheap whore-pickup location. There were schoolgirls sitting there, having a chat and drinking some sodas, boys playing board games. It was well-lit, it was 3 in the afternoon and no signs of any red light district-ishness. Sometimes, his mind works in mysterious ways. after his nagging was too hard to resist, we left and made our way to Tokyo tower. Read about it in Day 2 Part 2. And as a special finisher, this is something I don't comment: a Döner stand in Japan:

döner macht schöner