Tokyo Day 3 – Akihabara

[DATE: 2013/10/14]
Alright, I’m lagging behind these big time. Luckily, I’m now at the airport with over 7.5 hours to kill, so I’ll just knock all of these summaries out right now.

Breakfast

I was starving and lazy, so I decided to hit up Denny’s in Tsukji just to see if the family diners in anime were anything like their real-life counterparts. As it turns out, yes the restaurants are exactly like the ones portrayed in anime, with the exception that the staff doesn’t wear maid outfits.

Akihabara

Early Bird

After eating the most mediocre breakfast ever, I decided to travel to Akihabara. It was around 1050 and the first thing on my list was Mandarake, but nothing in Japan opens until 1130. What the hell is up with that? The only places that are open are cafes and large fast-food chains.

Anyways, I decided to skip Mandarake and dicked around until Animate was open because it was a hella busy the day before. Seriously, you couldn’t even stop to look at a poster without having a deluge of fanboys plow you into a corner.

After getting my fill of anime merchandise, I quickly made my way to a cafe to plan my next method of attack.

Cat Cafe – Nekojalala


After a quick pitstop, I decided to hit up the famous Nekojalala.

The cafe’s entrance is quarantined from the rest of the cafe to prevent escapes. After taking off my shoes and shelving my backpack, I was led to the back and asked to read a list of english rules.

Rule 1: Do not do a cat violently

Bwhahaha. Seriously, that was the first rule. Not sure if that’s due to a poor translation or if it’s based on an anecdote. I’m gonna say the latter.

After washing my hands, ordering a compulsory drink, and reading the rules, I was allowed to play with the cats. I also ordered some tunafish to feed to the cats.

3 of the 12 or so cats were asleep and most of them were currently playing with some other guest. I just sat there and took pictures of the cats until the cafe attendant came out with the tunafish I ordered, after which all of the cats either woke up or stopped playing with whoever and bum rushed me.

The moment I started scooping tunafish into my hands I had cat paws and mouths scratching and biting my fingers. Especially this little fucker:

This gray little bastard literally stuck his face and paws into my hands the moment I presented any tunafish to any of the cats. I was barely able to feed anyone else. Once I exhausted my supply of tunafish, I chugged my beer and took a thousand photos of the cats.

After my 30 minute time block expired, I made my way out of the cat cafe and ended up paying somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 to 2000 yen. That’s fairly expensive for a drink, some tunafish, and 30 minutes to play with cats. FML. Why didn’t I think of that?

Anyways, have some kitty pictures:

Kitty Cats

IMG_1709

IMG_1717

Aimless Wandering

I wandered the residential neighborhood of Akihabara and ran into this sign:

I immediately thought:

Despite the tendency for everything to be “happified” in Japan, maybe this was going a little too far

At this point, I figured I’d kill some time before I worked up the courage to go to a maid cafe. I pulled out my travel guide and found out that there’s was some sort of modern-art museum in the area. I figured that would be a good way to kill an hour or two.

Finding Musuems and Shrines

I spent 30 minutes wandering around the Chome trying to find this phantom museum and eventually gave up and settled for a random shrine instead.

I suppose a modern-art museum would be just as useful as a shinto shrine; the allure of either of those two things fails to phase me. After watching the shrine’s pet goat take a shit (not even kidding), I decided that it was time to go and made my way to the @Home Maid Cafe.

@Home Maid Cafe

I labored up 7 flights of stairs to get to the entrance to @Home Maid Cafe. I knew that it had locations on the 4th, 5th, and 6th floor, but they were fairly crowded, so I opted to go to the top floor in hopes of a shorter line.

My hopes were fulfilled. There was only one party in front of me and I was able to secure a seat in 10 minutes. After being greeted a bajazillion times with,

Okaerinasai, goshujinsama~!

I was bombarded with more rapid-fire Japanese, most of which I didn’t understand. From what I was able to gather, you can purchase various “sets” of food and activities. I simply purchased the “Dessert Set,” which included: a dessert (duh), a drink, and your choice between a photograph or a game with the maid of your choice.

I ordered a big-ass parfait (think Working!!), a mocha something or another, and opted to take a picture with a random maid, which I won’t be showing you.

Unfortunately, guests aren’t allowed to take photographs in the maid cafe, for obvious reasons, so you’ll just have to go to Akihabara and experience the cafe for yourself.

A word of advice: nobody there speaks English. Well, nobody I talked to spoke any English. The little amount of Japanese I had accumulated from Rosetta Stone, Anime, and my Japanese Phrasebook was barely enough ammunition to get through the experience.

The good news is that there was an American couple there that I was able to talk to. Their Japanese-fu was also super weak so I didn’t have to feel like a complete moron alone.

After exchanging email addresses, I decided to head back to the hotel and crash for the evening. I don’t remember what I had for dinner, but it was probably another bento from 7-Eleven.

-helios


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