Saturday, May 06, 2006

Akihabara: Electronics Heaven

Akihabara building

The Yamanote line runs around the city of Tokyo in an endless circle, like the oroboros snake eating its own tail. On the northern rim of this endless wheel is the electronics district of Akihabara, which draws computer freaks and anime geeks like moths to the flame.

And I like the place too.

A shop in Akihabara

The place has dozens of different electronics stores, many of which are seven or eight storeys high. They are crammed wall-to-wall with every kind of electronics equipment under the sun, from computers to cameras to cookware. Most of the major electronics chain stores have stores here, and most of the latest and up-to-date-est equipment makes its debut here.

Portable backdrop

The amount of professional-level equipment available here is mind-boggling. This shop has several portable white backdrops--complete with camera stands and lighting--for shooting things like food or figurines.

Computer parts

Slip around to the backstreets, and you can noodle around the smaller shops. They have the more obscure equipment, like shortwave radios and power converters. They even have enough diodes, capacitors, and resistors to build a computer of your own if you were so inclined.

Akihabara campaign girl

But of course, all of these wonderful electronics don't sell themselves. That's what campaign girls are for. On any given day (or night), you'll find them out in force, handing out pamphlets, toys, or tissue-packs, as they try to entice customers with their charm and smiles, like the Siren of Greek mythology. They're out there, no matter how bitterly cold or swealteringly hot it may be.

A better shot of the maids

In recent years, a paricular fetish called "cosplay," short for "costume play" has become all the rage, especially among the techon-freaks. These girls were just a few of the many campaign girls out in Akihabara on this particular day.

A full-sized schoolgirl model

Speaking of fetishes, another popular one is schoolgirl figurines. They are so popular that many of the electronics stores--once the backbone of Akihabara--are beeing shouldered aside by toy, comic, and even porn shops. This one draws its customers in with a full-sized mannequin of a schoolgirl, complete with the ultra-short skirt and big moony eyes like saucers.

Pedestrian's Paradise

On Sundays and major holidays, the Tokyo Police Department closes off the main strip in Akihabara to vehicle traffic, and turns the whole area into "Hokosha Tengoku," which translates as "Pedestrian's Paradise." The people who flock to the Electronics District can feel free to meander across the streets as well, poking their heads into this store or that without need to worry about getting creamed by crazy Tokyo drivers.

The lights of Akihabara

Come night time, the skyline of Akihabra is lit up with a rainbow of neon signs, dazzling the shoppers with elaborate patterns of light.


At 4:07 p.m., Blogger Azhar said...

Those are some magnificent buildings!

At 9:44 p.m., Blogger Stardog Champion said...

Yeah, Tokyo certainly has some interesting architecture. The ones at the top of the post are among the newest in Akihabara.


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