Our adventure in Akihabara continued after the Maid Cafe as we further explored the area. While perusing the shops full of anime, manga, electronics, and toys we came upon a prime example of the Japanese fascination with certain elements of American culture. In this case, Kentucy Fried Chicken. Have you ever wondered what Colonel Sanders would look like if he were Asian? Wonder no more:
I saw KFC restaurants all over Japan, but I never found the time to eat at one. (Partly over my fear of this statue; partly over the trauma from the “tongue incident.”)
We passed by Sanders-san and continued our tour of the district. You could easily spend days (weeks?) exploring all the stores in Akihabara. There is seriously so much to look at and buy for geeks that the experience of going there borders on mental overload. The most memorable shop (for me) was this one:
I love retro video gaming. The team at Wasabi Anime has been hosting the Retrocade at conventions for some time, and we currently host a Japanese only video game room at Florida Anime Experience. This store presented a rare resource of video game systems, cartridges, disks, controllers and other elements dating as far back as before the age of Atari.
It was absolutely amazing and it absolutely took my money. Lots of it. Lots and lots of it. ALL WORTH IT. (Those of you coming to Florida Anime Experience 2012 will soon see.)
After way too much time in the video game store (all worth it) we walked around Akihabara some more and saw some amazing ads and signs and stuff. Things like this:
HELLO JAPANESE BOOBIES!
The last place we stopped was an ice cream shop called “ICE.” It professed to have “ice cream made by angel.” Who was I to say no to that?
This was my first experience with ordering food in a very specifically Japanese style. A beautiful young woman working behind the counter (dressed in a super cute pink outfit matching the color scheme of the front of that building) asked me what flavor I wanted. After exploring all the options, I chose the one flavor I had never heard of: kurogoma.
(It seems that kurogoma is a black bean, similar to vanilla, that we don’t have in the U.S. – or so I’ve been told.)
Upon ordering, I stood and waited expecting her to start making my ice cream cone. After a few moments, though, she walked around the counter and came up to me seeing that I was confused. In true way-too-cute-to-be-real fashion, she led me to the back of the shop. There stood a large vending machine with all the flavor options labelled on it:
It seems that you pay for your ice cream in the vending machine and it prints out a ticket. You then hand the ticket to the person working the counter and she creates your ice cream cone. My guess is that this in place to eliminate cash handling/change mistakes.
After standing in the shop and eating the ice cream… Wait. This deserves explanation: In Japan, it is considered rude to eat while walking. Therefore, if you order something to eat you are expected to eat it there or take it somewhere to eat – but you do not eat en route. Does it happen? (Walking while eating?) Sure. I met a friend in Japan that says she does it, but it makes her parents very upset when she does it.
After standing in the shop and eating ice cream, I realized it was time for Rob and I to head back in order to make it to a scheduled event we were supposed to appear at for T.A.F. We headed back to the station to catch the train.
But not before getting one last photo: