Akihabara & Asakusa
The 20th day of our travels started at 7.30am with my feet sticking out the end of the ridiculously short duvet and the fire alarm going off. I guess thankfully it was a false alarm but I couldn’t get back to sleep.
The first place we visited was Akihabara, known as the Anime & Manga District. Although unlike Juna I’m not into Anime or Manga I appreciate the dedication and artistry so was looking forward to it. It started well when we went into an arcade and played a full size bongo game while dancing to the J-pop soundtrack.
We then wandered down the main street venturing into the different shops. Although I didn’t know what to expect and went in possibly a bit naively I was extremely surprised. The games, comics and DVDs on display featured 99% only women and the large majority were portrayed in a sexual way. Most of the places we went into had a ‘seedy’ and sexualised atmosphere. We went into a DVD shop and on the floor specifically named ‘foreign kids films’ (we were looking for Harry Potter..) there were Japanese adult movies on most of the shelves. Juna who was really looking forward to the district felt really disheartened. It wasn’t all bad just not what we had in mind, our western upbringing may have affected our perspective but we probably won’t be going back. At least we found Harry Potter and I got served by the most flamboyant cashier I have ever seen, so definitely not all bad.
On our way to lunch we saw a grown man pulling along a toy Pokemon in his shoe without a care in the world. It definitely brightened our day. And we had lunch in the most brilliant cafe where you sit looking at a huge globe slowly rotating in front of you.
After a brief stop at Ueno, which has a beautiful park full of rivers with giant fish and small tortoises we headed to Asakusa. We have never seen it in the daylight and returning was definitely worth it to see its famous temple. There was a long line of people queuing to pray and there was a lovely chilled, Sunday evening atmosphere.
After getting lost and having a healthy dinner (below) we found a riverside walk which takes you through the centre of Tokyo with views of all the skyscrapers. I’ve never known such a busy capital city have so many quiet spots to enjoy the views. After working out what all the skyscrapers were and getting our bearings we headed back to our hostel, where we are just about to go to bed after making friends with the 2 guys staying next to us in the 10 bed dorm. Eric and Eddy from Germany who are extremely sweet, intelligent and even updated us on the price of the pound!