The third day we headed to the Tokyo Skytree. Unlike the hordes of other tourists that were there, we didn’t go up to the observatory deck. Instead, we stayed in the shopping area and walked around. It reminds me of Taipei 101 with the long queues for the observatory and the luxury shopping that no normal person could ever afford.
We found a store that sold Miyazaki merchandise. And there was a HUGE corner dedicated to all things Totoro!! I wanted to buy everything! Good thing I came with a limited amount of yen, or else, I would have went shopping-crazy.
For the afternoon, we headed to Akihabara, otherwise known as GEEK CENTRAL! Store after store with oodles of electronics, gadgets, DVDs, video games, anime figurines, and lots of porn. So much porn. I gotta hand it to Japan, they sure know their porn industry. We also walked around a huge four-story figurine store.
My male friend wanted to visit a maid/schoolgirl cafe. Waitresses dress up as maids or schoolgirls to fulfill the fantasies of male patrons. They usually sing/dance at the request of the patrons, nothing inappropriate Many of these girls were standing on the streets in the Akihabara region and holding up ads for their cafes. I told my friend to pick a girl that he thought was pretty and we could go to her cafe. Lo and behold, he picked one in a schoolgirl outfit, complete with knee high socks and an extremely short plaid skirt. Once we got to her “cafe”, we realized it wasn’t a cafe at all. It was a normal apartment that was furnished with a bunch of mismatched chairs, tables, cushy chairs. At first, I thought it was extremely shady and wanted to get the heck out of there. But through the girl’s broken English and my friend’s broken Japanese, we were able to gather that the girls offered “conversation services.” Customers paid hour or half-hour fees to just talk to these girls about anything and everything. Nothing more. It was just pure conversation. But female customers only have to pay half-price. (Yay for me!) The price was 3000 yen for 30 mins, so literally $1USD per minute. We only decided to stay for 30 mins, which passed by relatively quickly due to the face that we couldn’t fully communicate. We inquired about her age (16), how her parents feel about her job (they are supportive), and how she is using the money she makes (saving up for a foreign car). I guess it was interesting to see how the Japanese feel about this job. I asked if I could take a picture with her and she said it would cost me 10,000 yen ($100 USD!!)
Akihabara is full of multi-storied arcades packed with people, mostly guys. My friend told me guys can spend hours on end here, honing their gaming skills. A lot of people don’t play, but just watch, because some of the gamers are really good. It’s almost like a spectacle sport. Odd, but weirdly fascinating.
The first floor of all arcades are filled with these huge claw machine that have ridiculous prizes. And there are professional claw machine players who can leave with bags of prizes that they sell on the streets.
By the way, did I mention these GIANT vending machines that have LED touchscreens? And they can sell anything from cold to HOT beverages and soup. Soup. From a freaking vending machine. Wow.
I shall be back soon with my last Japan post, stay tuned!
Photos: taken by me with my Nikon D90 or HTC One X