Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 8 - Maids, Hentai, and Hanami

It was early morning and the maids were heading out to work.

Today we slept in to an astonishing 8am. We had our breakfast and headed straight out back into Tokyo. We might have still been in pain from the day before but that didn't matter, we'd have time to rest back home.

Instead of making a left out of our hotel today we went left and headed to a well known shrine that just happened to be a few blocks away.

The Yushima Tenjin.

We spent some time checking out the shrine buildings, statues, and garden, compared to many of the places we had been to thus far Yushima Tenjin was very quiet and set back a bit from the business we saw everywhere else in Tokyo.

Down the steps we went and we headed back to one of the stops we had made the day before with Mr. Oka. Akihabara.

No longer on any schedule we were free to wander around and absorb the sight and sounds of this neon electric area.

Maids and their cafe's were everywhere you looked, just about every corner had a girl or a guy dressed up in a maid or butler outfit trying to get people into their shops.

Arcades were 7 stories tall. Back in the USA we're lucky to find a single stand up machine at a movie theater, here in Japan they are a way of life.

There I found games like the one I filmed above. Nothing like this exists back home and I was fascinated each time I saw people playing. I am not sure how it works other than there is a flat card reading surface that players put down their purchased cards and they then become characters on the top screen. Things are wiggled around, buttons are pressed, and viola, fun happens. Unfortunately they are completely in Japanese and an outsider like me had no way of figuring them out. For the best, though, they looked fun and I can't afford to become a card game addict right now.

When you hear that electronics and anime are the focus of this area, you are hearing right. Game stores are huge with entire floors being dedicated to single console manufactures. The one pictured above is Super Potato. At only three floors it was one of the smaller shops we visited but it was jam packed with piles of old Nintendos, Sega systems of every type, and mountains of classic games. The top floor had a retro arcade, manga library, and cafe.

We stumbled upon the Linux Cafe.

Even the vending machines are all anime-ed up.

It was here in Akihabara that we ran into a destination I had been trying to go to for days now, except that each time I had seen it previously it was almost immediately after we had left someplace else that we had eaten at.

Mos Burger. I was to get the world famous, at least in my mind, rice burger (almost what is pictured above), where instead of using bread for a bun you get the middle bits served between two pressed fried rice patties.

It was pretty good. Never before having fried vegetables served between two fried rice patties I had no idea what to expect, but it was pretty decent. She had a cheeseburger and fries, which was also nice.

With that we traversed around Akihabara for a few more hours, saw some stores that shoudl never be spoken of in polite copany and headed back to the room for a short break.
Gloomy Bear decided to come back with us from the store and relax with a nice beer. That relaxing would be short lived as almost as soon as we had returned we were back out the door.

Back to Ueno park we went, but this time under cover of night to see what the hanami folks were up to once the sun went down.
It was a cool evening, only a light jacket required. The park was lit up and full with people.
The hanami from the afternoon were either still going or new ones had taken their place, there was hardly a difference between night and day with how many people we saw out in the park drinking and eating on their tarps under the sakura.

The street vendors we had only glimpsed the day before were still open and we headed right in to enjoy them for ourselves.

We found this paculiar sweet candy, at first we thought it was just a piece of fruit in an ice cube and some sprinkles on top, which was fine with us as we had been having hardly any fruit this whole trip and even a single frozen piece was a welcome sight, but when we got it we discovered that it was actually a piece of fruit encased in a sweet very thick syrup like substance placed in a small cone. It was so good that we returned a few days later for another.
One of the many carnival games found near the food stalls.

Benten-Do lit up at night across the pond.

As we continued walking through the park we came across yet another row of food stalls and places to eat. I found a woman making these Japanese egg bacon omelets.

With that it was time to head home and go to sleep. It would soon be time to go across the country to Kyoto.

Day 9

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