Day 2 in Japan: Akihabara

Our first day of actual stuff in Japan saw us visit Akihabara, the electronics and anime mecca, as well as the Meiji Jingu shrine and Yoyogi Park.

We’ll add more reflections later, since it’s time to start our adventures today, but here are some quick reflections:
* Akiba (the locals’ nickname for Akihabara) is neat: every store packs in 5 floors of stuff: claw machines, video games, manga and anime, and in practically every store, an entire floor devoted to pornography. I mean, like every building. You’ll be in a store with 4 floors of claw machines and cute stuffed animals, and then, bam, a fifth floor of hardcore porn. What a trip.
* Speaking of claw machines, Teisha managed to win 27 little edamame keychains from 2 plays of a claw machine– go girl! Apparently there’s a real thing going on for toys that look like edamame beans — there are stuffed animals and little plastic toys all over. I think they even sell edamame bean pods so you can store your cute little beans in them…
* There’s also a million and one little quarter-machines that dispense toys when you put in 100 Yen, ranging from the amazing (wood puzzles and anatomy figures) to the pornographic. It’s refreshing to see a culture that’s not as afraid to admit that sex is neat and interesting.
* After the hustle-bustle of Akiba, it was super relaxing to hit an amazing forest and a neat park. The Meiji Jingu shrine is surrounded by an amazing forest that was planted in the early 1900s and has since gone completely natural, creating a self-sustaining ecosystem.
* The Yoyogi Park is right near the forest and is a relaxing park where many came to walk there dog and/or relax by water fountains, reading a book and chatting. It was a good end to a busy day.


3 Responses to “Day 2 in Japan: Akihabara”

I love the one black edamame all the way at the edge.

Jen - May 20th, 2009 at 5:21 pm

That’s Japan, all right. Good stuff. Keep on a-bloggin’ it.

Colin - May 21st, 2009 at 9:20 am

Japan’s religions never had a concept around sex that resembled original sin. There are, of course, taboos and laws, but sex and things sexual don’t have the same sense of guilt associated with them that you find in Christian religions, especially the Puritan inspired sects, and the cultures spawned by these. The naked body in and of itself isn’t considered erotic – the public baths in Japan were all co-ed until the American occupation 60 years ago put a stop to that. Sex, also, is less strongly associated with “love” than in the west. Of course, I have no first hand experience with all this…

Diana Rowland - May 21st, 2009 at 1:37 pm

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