Anya’s Adventures in Japan: To the Holy Land

Anya’s Adventures in Japan: To the Holy Land

My second day in Tokyo was spent in Akihabara! I finally made the otaku pilgrimage to the holy land. All that’s left is for me to make it to the holy festival of Comiket one day, hopefully to sell my own work.
Travelling on the JR Yamanote Line takes almost half an hour from Shinjuku to Akihabara. When I exited the ticket gates at the station, it was like I was greeted into my kingdom. It was like I was home. TV screens showed ads featuring anime girls everywhere.

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Our first stop was the Gundam Cafe, located right next to the station. Here they serve lots of Gundam themed foods, and even if you’re not a fan of Gundam it’s worth going to just for the novelty. If you order the Acguy Curry, you get to use a cute customized Acguy spoon.

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Even the bathrooms were themed!

Char watches you while you pee.

Char watches you while you pee.

There were also a whole bunch of merchandise and Gundam models on display, as well as signatures of famous people who came by.

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I separated with my mom soon after, since I wanted to dick around Akihabara on my own. My first stop was a Taisho crane game center. Japan has many crane game centers, and they give away big good quality anime figures and other merchandise. However, they’re pretty hard. There was a guy with a bag full of figures playing, so I watched the pro and looked at his strategy. I managed to snag a figure of Kaga from KanColle! I tried my luck several more times, but it resulted in a huge net loss for me. I did get three more KanColle plushies though, and one of them is a Haruna which made me happy.

Victory!

Victory!

I went into Toranoana next, which is a bookstore that sells doujins and music. It was about 7 stories tall, and had everything you could want. I even found tankabon (manga collected into book sized volumes) of lesbian and crossdressing stories, some of them porn and some of them not. Of course I bought a mix of both. One of them is the popular cute “Kokuhaku” story that ran in an anthology, and it even has furigana in it so I could read it!

Language Note: Furigana is when the Japanese hiragana alphabet is shown alongside the Kanji (Chinese) characters, so the reader knows how it is pronounced. It’s rarely used except for in books where the target audience is young.

I really didn’t expect to see it in an otoko no ko tankobon. I also got lesbian doujins, mostly featuring Eli and Nozomi from Love Live because Ericchi <3.

The Animate store in Akihabara is also 7 stories tall, and I bought a crapton of Love Live and KanColle stuff. I kept telling myself not to buy too much crap!
I didn’t know what to do after that. I thought Akihabara would be more, but it felt like there wasn’t. I walked around a little more and found a maid cafe.
So it was time.
For the legendary maid cafe.
The maid cafe I went to was called @Home, and is one of the bigger chains with many branches. There were several floors in the building that was a part of @Home, so I randomly picked the 6th floor and went in.
They had some English speaking maid on staff, but I said I knew a little bit of Japanese. I really should’ve kept my fucking mouth shut because I can’t talk that well.
Walking into a cutesy room with lots of maids chorusing okaerinasaimase ojou-sama made me feel butterflies fluttering around in my chest. I was led to a table, and chose a menu that included a drink, dessert, and a photograph to be taken with a maid.

Looks so cute but tastes like shit.

Looks so cute but tastes like shit.

It was fun for a while, and it was a new experience, but… I ended up feeling bad.
It’s funny isn’t it? Anya, the girl that likes maid characters and enjoys dressing up in maid dresses, ended up getting depressed when finally in a maid cafe.
I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.
I was mostly ignored by the maids there, and there wasn’t anything to occupy me besides sipping my drink and looking at twitter. A part of it is my fault for not just asking for an English speaking maid, but I have no idea if things would be any better. I saw people around me playing games with the maids but I didn’t know if I was supposed to ask for it, will someone come talk to me, was I supposed to pay?
I just ended up feeling like a little piece of shit with no social skills.
I got my picture taken, and then paid the price and left.
Feeling like crap, I wondered around Akiba a little bit more and ended up in deserted streets. Was that it? Was this the end to the famous Akihabara?
I felt like everything I knew was a lie.
I eventually came across a big Mandarake store, 8 stories tall, and decided to drop in to see if they had Rise glasses. I entered the elevator to the top floor where the anime goods were kept and asked a staff member. I was told no.
I gave up, I guess that goal of finding the glasses wouldn’t be met. I wondered around the store, and picked up a good Rise figure and some other Love Live and iDOLM@STER figures. It’s still pretty interesting to walk around in there. I went to a back corner with lots of miscellaneous anime goods, and lo behold, a pair of Rise’s glasses was sitting there on top of the pile! I couldn’t believe it! I quickly ran over and grabbed it. I was so happy! It brightened my mood from the earlier despair.
I figured it was soon time to leave, and I already spent way too much money that day. On the way back I passed the Kotobukiya store, and decided to go in to look at what they had. It turns out they had a Tales of Xillia themed hairpin, and I was hunting for hair accessories all day but couldn’t find any. It was pretty expensive, but it looked nice so I bought it.
When I met up with my mom she saw all the bags in my hands and was like what the bloody hell did you buy?!?!?!?!?!
Oh well.
We had Korean barbeque (we thought it was Japanese before we sat down in the place), and it had Black wagyu sliced beef for cheap. The prices were comparable to what we ate in Thailand, except in Thailand we get lower quality beef (and even if we paid extra for what they call “wagyu” or whatever name over there it’s probably fake anyways). And oh sweet baby Madoka, it was GLORIOUS. GLORIOUS BLACK WAGYU BEEF. I activated Silver Queen of Gluttony mode and stocked up on the meat. Wow that meal was amazing.

HALLELUJAH

HALLELUJAH

So ends my trip to the holy land of Akihabara.

About Anya

Anya Archer is a novelist and a student of Kalamazoo College. Her debut novel, Sweets & Steel, revolves around transgender issues and is slated for a release in 2015.

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