I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit the Akihabara District in Tokyo while we were travelling. Alex (aged 5) is a big fan of anime and we heard there was a café in which the waitresses dressed up as anime characters. The electronics were what excited me. I read in my guidebook that there were larger stores that offered products that worked in the US and that were free of taxes if we could prove we weren’t Japanese. I brought along my passport in anticipation of purchasing something I could use back home 🙂
The district was very busy when we got there. Electronic and anime stores and stalls were everywhere as well as street vendors selling anime cards, figurines and games. Alex and I didn’t know where to look first. We started the adventure with a lunchtime visit to the Manga Kissa restaurant. There were comics everywhere for Alex to look through and I took the opportunity to check out some sites on the web as the establishment had computers available for Internet access. I even had the chance to catch up on my voluminous email account.
The food was great—very Japanese—and by the time we finished, we were ready for some shopping.
I bought Alex an anime figurine that he found at a small vendor’s shop. The price was right and we managed to get the transaction done on the little Japanese that I knew. I had found a store on the Internet that we then headed for so I could look for a new camera.
The store was huge and had many different kinds of electronics—from television sets, to computers, and to cameras. I headed straight to the camera department while Alex watched some anime cartoons on one of the large flat screen TVs they were selling.
The camera department was confusing and huge but I found a clerk who knew a bit of English and told him what I was looking for. The brand names weren’t any that I recognized but I told the clerk I was looking for a camera that had directions in English. I tried out a few cameras complete with landscape photography options and zoom features. They were highly technical but the directions were in acceptable English so I figured I would be able to take care of trying to figure it out once I purchased the camera.
I found a great deal on a camera and, true to rumor, I didn’t have to pay any taxes on it. The clerk helped me set it up so I could take pictures of Alex hamming in front of the television sets.
We finished out our day with a visit to a maid café where the waitresses were dressed all in anime characters. Alex really got a kick out of that. Overall, the day was a success and I was glad I made the decision to come to visit this district.