I have been lucky enough in my life to have traveled a fair bit, and never do I enjoy it as much as when I feel like I’ve been thrust into an entirely different world. My passage through Akihabara definitely qualifies. Beyond writing about my extraordinary hotel, I’d never really planned to write here about my (brief) time in Tokyo. This piece on Akihabara, however, caught a specific portion of it rather well (there is more to it, of course, but the writer captures a central characteristic), and I just had to share it. I’m going to quote you this bit:
Now we have some serious business to attend to. Kay wants to buy a waterproof DVD player that she can hang in her shower, so she leads us into one of the electronics stores. It’s like a giant carnival midway, a bombardment of flashing lights, posters, banners, screens, loudspeakers, and hucksters with microphones, creating sensory overload that reminds me of the slots section of a Las Vegas casino. The store has an advantage, though, in that its Japanese-sized patrons are only half the size and weight of American consumers. Thus, the aisles can be minimized, allowing less room for people and more floor space for flashing, screaming, blinking, booming, chanting, blaring audio-visual and computer-driven devices.
But it’s the sexual vibe that the author captures so well. If you’re at all curious, check it out.
Photos from my 2004 visit.