Akihabara

May 14, 2015

PS

Akihabara, a more unique setting it would be hard to find, the centre for Tokyo neon lights, gaming arcades full of flashing lights and big sounds, and the home of anime Japanese cartoons, a crazy style of cartoons which are supposed to be for kids but have suggested adult themes, or are they for adults? Who knows. I guess the creator could tell you.

When we first came out of the station we nipped into the local electronics store, it is well known in Tokyo, it has 7 floors! A restaurant floor being one of them, I wish I could describe how much information was everywhere in this shop however you’ll just have to experience it. All I’ll say is that it was an assault on the eyes. We didn’t take any photos i’m afraid.

After that it was time to sample the SEGA arcade. Wandering around watching masters at their craft, drifting around racetracks, winning at fighting games, dancing in perfect synchronicity. What makes Japanese people good at arcade games? Is it just the practise I wonder.

This picture always reminds me of playing sonic as a kid. The starting logo would come up like this and it would sound: “Seeeeeeeega”

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I do love a good surprise in a foreign city, and what happened next was an amazing surprise. Walking down the main road in Akihabara, which is closed off to traffic on a Sunday, is a great atmosphere. The expansive road framed by the tall buildings with their illuminated messages. We heard the sound of a group of people and some light drumming to the left and decided to go and check it out. It turned out to be day 5 of a festival held in the local area and we spent the next hour or two watching and following their processions.

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There were a lot of the ornate shrines carried by hundreds of people all bouncing along to the same rhythm. Often there’d be a respected man of the community on the structure waving fans, staying stable with the bouncing like a surfer on a long board. Everyone had their own printed jackets to show their communities, the patterns were amazing.

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The procession led through the streets back down to the main road in Akihabara. It was brilliant to see the juxtaposition of the bright lights reflecting off of the golden shrines.

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The sounds of this were incredible, they’re on the soundcheck page. People chatting and laughing, expectation in the air, the sound of flutes and drums being played with reverence, jangling of the shrines hanging golden borders in the wind, the sticks that the young girls had with lots of different metal rings at the top which sounded their sliding metallic sound every time they moved.

What an atmosphere.

After the excitement we grabbed an amazing ramen at the top of the electronics store and were about ready for bed.