11 July – Weather 33°C at noon
After all these walks of the day before, we let ourselves sleep that morning and woke up late.
We decided to see our options for breakfast since the breakfast at the hotel wasn’t something to talk about. We went to a nearby cafe at the corner of the street, and took some delicious tuna sandwiches. Cheese sandwiches are not very common in Japan, and they have a bit of extra air of “exoticness”, which is very normal since Japanese culture relied on fish, rice, and vegetables for a long time. (However they have mastered the cheesecake and it is everywhere! Omg Japanese people adore cheesecake, I won’t complain because I do too). We had our cafe at Tully’s (we didn’t know then but quickly discovered that it’s a chain cafe store like Starbucks and they have delicious sandwiches, breakfast choices etc.)
Erhan notes: Perfect for westerners who are looking for a break from the Japanese cuisine which can be a bit overwhelming.
There are all kinds of people around Akihabara: business people, otaku, chic ladies, tiny humans…
Akihabara in the day
A Vampire Hunter D Hunter in AKIHABARA
Akihabara is close to Ueno, therefore it was a good place to spend the day. I knew Akihabara is an otaku (people who consume a lot of anime, manga, and related everything) heaven but I was still taken by surprise by its sheer size. At the beginning of the street the manga and memorabilia shops start and go one after another, but don’t think that these are one-floor-shops, no no, nope, at least 5-6 floors of anime goodies. Everything you can possibly imagine and more. There was so much stuff that we couldn’t decide to buy anything, we thought we would look again later, maybe when we return to Tokyo. Expectedly things weren’t cheap either. I limited my search to only one thing, if I had found it I would buy it immediately: a figure of Vampire Hunter D! Unfortunately we had no such luck and bought nothing.
Erhan notes: This is the first time I ended up convincing Mine to climb just one more floor in an anime toy Store. Which turned out to be 6 floors. Most Japanese weighing less than 90 kilos and having no bags of camera with them (unexpected I know) usually are able to climb but less active ones use the elevators which are often hidden deep somewhere in the labyrinthine layout of the stores. Later on, we learned it is best to locate these elevators and go to the top floor and take the stairs only to descend. The sheer size of the stores’ inventory really took us by surprise and we did not even understand what was the purpose of half of the stuff they were selling.
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Universe of Everything: Don Quijote
While walking we encountered the famous Don Quijote shop (the Akihabara one), we were missing some goodies so we entered the shop: actually it’s not a shop really, it is another universe! Every corner, every floor has another theme… chocolates candies , cosmetics, some adult stuff, baggages, everything you can think of. It’s crazy, you can spend hours there and buy so much stuff you do not need normally.
Erhan’s Note: Which is interesting how Japanese live in this constant pull and give between a yearning of the so called zen simplicity vs allure of the over cluttered public and personal spaces. We’re all human after all.
Again we were pretty exhausted from the sun, so we decided to take it easy and went to the hotel to rest. For lunch, we took some goodies from the Konbini and ate them in the room while cooling 🙂 We spent about 4 hours in the room, recovered from the heat exhaustion so that we can go back to the streets in the night when it’s cooler most importantly less humid.
It was our third day but heat exhaustion had already started to affect us, by then we didn’t know how difficult it would become along the way.
Next post: Our adventure of 11 July continues: Akihabara in the night…
Stay tuned and don’t forget to comment