Hein (fub) wrote,
Hein
fub

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Today was for Asakusa and Akihabara. We started off doing the touristy thing at Asakusa - we had a folder of a walking tour around the 'old Edo quarter'. Lots of shopping arcades selling all sorts of knick-knacks (which I remarked on five years ago). We did buy a set of chopsticks, and we did visit the Kannon temple again. Next to the Kannon temple is a shrine that is much quieter, and which is dedicated to the three fishermen who fished up the Kannon statue out of the river -- weird mix of religions going on there.
The walking tour went through a lot of interesting (fun) places, but the end was just through normal Tokyo streets with not much to do -- all just to get to the river. We had a conbini lunch at the river, and we did make a half-hearted attempt to find another cache. Again, we aborted our mission because of onlookers and we didn't spot the hiding place right away. As a gaijin, you get many stares, so it's hard to do something stealthy like geocaching!
Next we went to "Kappa street", which caters to restaurants: lots of shops with cooking wares and wax models of food and the display cases to show it in. klik bought a square frying pan for tamagoyaki.

Then it was to Akihabara. kees_s had asked for a particular PSP game, and I thought they might have it at a second hand game shop that I spotted when we left the metro station. It turned out to be a second-hand arcade game shop -- lots of complete boards and sub-assemblies for arcade machines lying on tall stacks. Really a niche market, I think, but because of the draw of Akihabara for geeks and nerds, it must still be possible to earn your daily rice with that. Anyway, we didn't find the game -- we didn't really search very hard though: klik remarked that he wouldn't give her a foot massage this evening, so she felt justified in cutting the search short. (And I had to agree with her.)
We also went into the Super Modelers store -- it's a model store with the most beautifully airbrushed models of Gundams and other mecha in their display cases. Lots of models, lots of figurines, lots of tools. To the front were the Gundam and other mecha models, but in the back was a huge assortment of 'normal' military models, but also stacks of models of Japanese castles and even a few of such things as oden carts. Obviously, I had to buy something, and I bought one pack of a Macross collectible model (five possible models, and of course you don't know which one you're buying) and a starter pack of Asoblock, which is Lego-like stuff for making your own mecha models with. Cool stuff.
Next was Yellow Submarine R, a small RPG shop on the seventh floor of a nondescript building along Akihabara's main street. Apparently RPG'ing is alive and kicking in Japan, judging by the many translated and original books lying around. Sadly, they didn't have any original Japanese RPGs in translation, so I had to contend myself with a set of dice with Japanese numbers on 'em.
Next was the Animate. Very narrow, lots of people, so it was kind of hard to get around in. I bought a NERV lapel pin, and klik bought a small xxxHolic wallet with the yellow butterfly on it.
Next was the Radio Center, which was described as two floors with all sorts of very small electronic parts shops. There were those, yes -- but the most floorspace was taken up by small shops selling portable DVD players or two-way radios. The parts shops were interesting -- lots of shops selling all sorts of connectors and cables, and I found a whole rack of SMD-to-DIP adapters. Stuff like that is impossible to find in Dutch shops. But I had hoped to find a large selection of LED displays (either dot-matrix or seven-segment), but we didn't see those anywhere.
Unfortunately, Dragon Ice was closed, so we had to go to Mos Burger because we really could use a break by then...
Then we went on to Kaikan Radio. an eight-floor building close to the station. On the seventh floor was a model shop which we skipped, but I did manage to get the Moyashimon figure I wanted out of the Gachapon machine there. The main destination on that floor was the Volks display space: a store full of numbered showcases that one can rent to display their merchandise. So it's like a large space filled with very small shops, selling almost everything. There was someone who made (and sold, obviously) weapons to go with your Volks Super Dolfie (magical swords, scythes, the works), next to a display case filled with singles of a trading card game that featured naked anime chicks (with tiny stickers discreetly stuck in front of their genitals -- but those were on the inside of the display case, not on the cards!). Then, a floor lower, was the Volks main showroom. Lots of mecha figures, but the main attraction to us were the Super Dolfies and others. Lots of accessories (real feather angel wings, eyes in every size and color, wigs in every style and color), and lots of display cases featuring fully "made up" dolls in various outfits and poses.
By then we were ready to go back to the hotel. We went away agin from the station to take the subway, but en-route we came by a seven-story building featuring a restaurant on every floor. We saw something that looked like okonomyaki, so we went in. They did have an English menu, and they did have okonomyaki. When it's served, it looks as a quite modest meal -- it's not much to look at. But by the time you're finished, you're happy it's done because you're completely full!

Now we're back at the hotel, chilling in the airconditioning, sipping tea and coffee and eating pocky. Tomorrow it's Kamakura!

Various memorable scenes of today:
- The complete picture-taking frenzy in front of the gate leading to the shopping street in front of the Asakusa Kannon temple;
- An old man taking pictures of a black cat in front of the Asakusa shrine. The cat was more interested in being petted and/or fed, so it exhibited Sudden Giant Nose Syndrome in a lot of photos. The old man persisted;
- A vagrant giving klik a gentle slap on her elbow because we didn't want to give him money;
- An elderly lady cashing in a winning lottery ticket at the conbini (it was only a few hundred yen) and using that money to buy a few little puddings to treat herself;
- A store specialising in gas-burners for woks. The largest gas-burners I have ever seen;
- Girls dressed in French maid uniforms (one with cat-ears) giving out flyers for maid cafés;
- Me trying to bring our used tray to the kitchen of the Mos Burger for cleaning, but I was intercepted by an employee who took my tray;
- The guy in the restaurant not knowing that "counta" is based on the English word "counter", so he was confused how to ask me to come to the counter to pay.
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