Today was a day full of geek. So it was of course spent at Akihabara! We started the morning off at a cafe in our hotel and had bacon and eggs, which was quite nice despite the small portion size.
Once again the people were so nice. The breakfast was a strange mixture of traditional English (the bacon is under the egg) and Japanese with added courgette and greenery. It was very nice though (except the coffee, again).
We then headed off to a different metro station (not wanting to walk 3 miles around all the tunnels in Shinjuku station) which took us past the Metropolitan building.
This is our hotel, the Shinjuku Washington. It's 25 stories tall and we were on the 13th around the back so you can't see our room from here. The windows on the top floor are for the restaurant.
The tube journey was stress free and we arrived at our destination ready for the day. As we avoided going to Shinjuku station and took a different line we actually arrived at the other end of Akihabara, but that worked to our favour as we weren’t completely overwhelmed.
The first shop we entered sold lots of anime figures. Most of which Dad knew nothing about however I managed to finally get my hands on Nendoroid Strength from Black Rock Shooter to complete my set!
I spent a lot of the morning hanging around under air conditioning fans waiting for my daughter. I was often in the way as Japanese shops are very small and cramped. They make up for this by all having many floors though, and lifts, thank God for the lifts.
Next stop was to AKB photo shops almost directly next to each other. This is not a place to let me stay long as I can spend way too much on AKB photos as many of my wota friends will know.
I restrained myself though (no really Dad I did) and only bought a few Myao and Sakiko (as well as Momo for Ali) and also got some coasters and another photo album (for a complete bargain! Hoping I find more as spending £15 on the ones on eBay do not compare to 380yen here). Oh I did also managed to get the 1830m Concert DVD for a bargain too, something I have wanted for ages!
After a quick stop at Excelsior Cafe (fast becoming our favourite stopping point) we continued on, the shops now becoming larger and much more obviously anime or game related.
Since I used it in the cafe I'm going to mention the wifi. Not wanting to run up huge international internet browsing bills we rented a wifi dongle from a local Japanese supplier. We ordered it through their website from our hotel room (the Shinjuku Washington hotel provides free wifi which was a major reason to choose it as our hotel) and it was delivered to the hotel about an hour later.
We received the dongle, allowing unlimited 3G download, and a spare battery pack with all the attendant wires and a little carry case for about £1.00 a day. There was also a prepaid envelope to put it all in when we were dome so the hotel could post it back to the supplier. Just brilliant! This, along with the Japan Rail iPad app was our most useful tool of the trip (apart from Chick maybe, see later).
LoveLive music was blasting from every shop, which coupled with the giant posters on the sides of buildings made me even sadder the 2nd season has ended. I ended up getting two LoveLive CDs in a sale and resisted buying the rather expensive concert DVD that was playing on a screen at the front of most stores.
We soon ventured off into a side street in which my Dad said “Quick, make the maid give me her leaflet”.
10 minutes later we are sat in a toy room themed Maid Cafe (Alone might I add) clapping our hands together to perform the magic that makes the food tasty.
I only wanted a bloody leaflet, not a trip to the cafe. Oh well...
However creepy that may sounds, and how weird my Dad found it (very weird) I actually loved the experience. Even with my broken Japanese I managed to have a decent conversation with our Maid and the food was really great too!
I also got a 2shot with her on a polaroid that she then decorated herself! Dad amused himself with the Sylvester and Tweety bird cartoon on the TV.
It was a very strange experience for me. I felt very out of place and uncomfortable. If we hadn't been the only patrons I probably would have felt better. The maids were very nice and professional and obviously didn't mind their costumes or their jobs but it still had overtones of 'dirty old man' to my uptight western mind.
Here's the outside of the cafe.
We continued on through the heat looking in a few more shops (and spending all our 100yen coins on Gacha machines) before we decided it was time to visit the AKB Cafe & Shop and the Gundam Cafe.
Having not eaten at the maid cafe Dad had a meal at the Gundam Cafe, neither of us follow Gundam but it was a nice atmosphere.
Once again the food was a fusion of the commonplace and the downright bizarre. Stew, rice, salad, noodles and...see the white stuff at the top? Soft cooked cold egg. Very odd.
Sadly my video of the Gundam toilet was too dark. Once inside you hit the 'power on' button and the lights dim, the engine sound starts ramping up and the toilet lid lifts automatically as the 'pilot ready' sign comes on. Brilliant stuff, I cycled it three times it was so good.
Followed shortly by Me spending stupid amounts of money of merch from the AKB shop that had Myao’s face on it. This was all good until I realised later that the lady had not given me the posters I had asked for (and paid for). Bit pissed at that but there was no way I could prove she hadn’t even if I spoke perfect Japanese. The cafe itself had a huge line and at that point I was too hot and tired to eat more overpriced food (even if it was for AKB).
Here's Michaela paying for stuff (some of which she didn't get). Never mind, we were so overloaded with stuff by the end of the holiday...but that's another story.
Finally we started to walk back towards the station, looking in a few more shops and listening to LoveLive fill the streets. I didn’t have the energy to explore Donki, but I’m sure we’ll be going back further on in the trip.
Our day ended with a short walk from the metro to the hotel in a huge thunderstorm. I welcomed the rain having been horribly hot all day but it did put a stop to anymore adventures for the day.
We finished off with a videocall with Mum (and the cats) and a convenience store dinner.