This is another occasion in which my Tech talk category crosses over into my Japan Travelogue, as Akihabara is the electronics playground of Japan and a place that the likes of me love to wonder around. New tech, old tech, high tech low tech, it is all to be found here. You can also feel the creative, perfectionist yet outwardly quite shabby atmosphere in which such things are designed. Otaku, like their geeky cousins over the seas are none too well-dressed and their social skills could probably do with a bit of refinement. Which is why some of Japan’s other subcultures have found a home here in ‘Akiba’, notably the spreading and controvercial phenomena of the maid cafe, touts for which can be seen hanging around outside the station dressed as, you guessed it, either maids or anime characters, their targets being the lonely types known to hang out here (myself being a notable exception to the rule and hence proving it!) It’s often a bizarre world, Akiba, which is why I decided to make a couple of short films about it on a recent trip there.
The first, Akihabara- Virtual Tour, is a little tour of the place, as the name suggests. Hear me mumble into my F30’s microphone as I show you the subculture sights of this particular area of the Big Sakura. The other is Akihabara- Virual Stroll and involves nothing more than a Point of View walk around the place at night, with all the crowds, sales-girls and silicon goodies. Do you wish you were there, or is it just too crowded and bizarre? Decide for yourself at these links-