We stumbled across a true gem on the main Akihabara drag today; a store that sold only old Nintendo products and emulators. In amongst the Famicom and N64 carts my girlfriend spotted what’s pictured above: this beautifully formed Bomberman multi-tap. I’ve never seen a video-game peripheral evoke such nostalgic glee in a 28 year old woman before. The whole place was fanboy(and girl) heaven.
If you want to escape from the concrete and steel for a day, bizarrely one of the best places to head to is the centre of Tokyo, and the area surrounding the Imperial Palace. The gardens are huge, and took as a good five hours to fully explore yesterday. You can’t get in the Palace itself, obviously, but the architecture and gardens are beautiful. Even then you’re never far from the corporate futurism; the Palace lies in the middle of Tokyo’s financial district, and is circled by the usual skyscrapers and communication towers. Even though, its nice to have the usual background noise of crowds, traffic and electronics replaced by birdsong for a few hours.
Just like all the stories you hear, manga is everywhere in Japan. There’s racks of it in every supermarket and convenience store you pass, and at lunch times gangs of salary-men and students gather around to silently read it.
Today we stumbled across Comic and DVD Forrest in Shinjuku, a specialist store with so much stock that, to be frank, it’s a bit of a mindfuck. Didn’t actually buy anything this time – they had a couple of Denno Coil art books, but not the exact one I’m looking for – but I did manage to grab a few shots before the super-polite staff busted me….
So we’re here. Finally.
Actually, we arrived about 48 hours ago, after what seemed like a week of travelling. Hellish. But, of course, with hindsight completely worth it. Shinjuku is everything all the cliches say it is – Akira, Bladerunner and Neuromancer all rolled into one, but somehow weirder for not actually feeling that futuristic. Or at least, it’s a kind of retro futuristic, a reminder of the that 80’s cyberpunk vision that it inspired but never quite happened anywhere else. Like all sci-fi, they got some things wrong. Example? Well, it seems damn near impossible to find any public Wi-Fi round here. But why would you need it when everyone’s had 3G capable phones for over ten years?