Wake up, aaahhh stretch my feet out passed the end of the bed. Hit play on the NUST machine and let the smooth french jazz bose out the room. Queenie does a sexy little dance in bed, more Egyptian than French. I don’t feel too well rested but I’m too excited to go back to sleep so it’s shower time. Come out and Queenie is dancing again, “Oh I danced the whole time you were in the shower”. She’s funny.
A lot of foreigners come over to Japan and get modeling jobs. I decide that I’ll be the next top model for The Amenity for men.
It’s a total downpour this morning. Rain coat and umbrella are mandatory. We were gonna go to the imperial palace grounds but this doesn’t seem like the day for it. We decide to get breakfast and reevaluate.
I’m learning the ups and downs of umbrella etiquette. The streets still feel a lot like being in a pinball machine, but the move I’m getting down is the umbrella lift above oncoming traffic plus a half-turn dodge and chin-up so my eyes don’t get poked out. Outside the department stores there are umbrella bagging stations. You stick your umbrella in the slot and it comes out with a bag on it. Shopping without your umbrella dripping down to slick up the dept store floors. On the other side is a bin to return the bags.
We pinball down to the Shinjuku station. We’ve started to get our bearings. We find a good looking place called Mr Farmer around the outside of the station. Lots of hanging plants and wooden interior. Pretty nice spot.
We order up some grub and start formulating a plan. With the rain coming down this might be a good day to go to Akihabara, also known as Electric City or Akiba for short. This area looks like a live action video game. Maid cafes, manga, anime, robots and cosplay all sound like indoor activities. Then later we can hit up the Robot Restaurant. We’ll keep a constant theme throughout the day.
The food comes out and it is a breakfast home run. Probably the best croque monsieur ever with bacon, cheese and spinach inside. Sometimes I find them too sweet with the bread being french toast but this one was more savory than sweet, just the perfect balance. Queenie’s cobb salad was full, fresh and zesty. The juice flight was a cool idea (what’s spurilina?) and the coffee was great too.
The only problem I had with Mr Farmer was that it was so damn hot in there. Other people were in sweaters and jackets, I don’t understand it. It was so humid the windows were fogging up. The heat was blasting and I was sweating so as soon as we were finished I had to gtfo.
We hit the metro into Akihabara and it is super quiet. Japanese folks don’t like people being loud in public spaces. There is literally no noise on the subway except the squeaking of the bendy part between cars. The humidity was fogging up the windows here too. Seems every metro we get on there’s someone with an instrument. Violin or trumpet cases, the occasional guitar or something traditional.
The train leaves the station before Akihabara and just as we pick up momentum we suddenly stop. Everyone nearly falls over. There’s an auto-announcement, “Attention attention the emergency brake has been applied”. The conductor makes an announcement but it’s in Japanese and we have no idea what it is. We look around but no one seems worried. Kind of an odd situation. What would our reaction be if everyone was worried? And we had no idea what was happening. Follow people?
We get off at the Akihabara station and it does not disappoint, it looks ridiculously awesome. This song starts playing in my head:
The area is all 6-7 story, themed buildings for any hobby or whacky shit you can think of. Arcades, manga shops, collectible figures and toys, old school video games, sex shops, cosplay costumes, etc… There are lots of themed restaurants and cafes too. Some where you can hang out with animals, like dog, cat, and owl cafes. Some really popular ones are maid cafes where they dress as maids and play games with you. This place is rad, we instantly love it.
We find a shop with a hundred of those ball machines you drop a buck into and pull a random toy. Some examples of the shit you can pull are: Birds popping out of bananas, hairbands for your cat, squirrels with interchangeable hats and coffee mugs, and flaming gay drumline bear. Queenie goes for a Pikachu and I pick up a rando pokemon ball for my drummer Ian cuz what’s the difference between pokemon and jam?
The next shop over is all collectible action figures and miniatures. My new mission is to find a Japanese Attack on Titan figure. They have a bunch of stuff here I’d never seen before, I’m more than a little behind the times in terms of anime and manga. There was a cool Deathnote notebook there I probably should have picked up. My AoT mission is pretty easy, aisle 1. I get the little Mikasa figure since it’s easy to travel with. (Now I wish I’d also grabbed the slightly bigger Colossal Titan as well because Queenie and I dressed up as Colossal Titan and Mikasa for Halloween a few years back)
All toyed up and back in the rain we walk by a place on the street that says Hedgehog cafe. Really? A hedgehog cafe? The sign is too fucking cute for Queenie to resist and we’re on the elevator to the second floor to hang out with hedgehogs.