Beleive what the title says, its true. The common view for those not in Japan is that Akihabara is a videogame haven of sorts, where you can find any game you want and arcades are abundant while maids pleasure you as you own some bitches in Virtua Fighter. I myself had some expectations as of what it would be like since it seemed to be hyped up by every game magazine in existance. So of course being a gamer studying abroad in Japan, I thought I should check the place out.
As you can see it looks pretty cool on the outside. There are tons of different stores to buy your game or nerd needs. There are the game stores, the maid cafes, the model stores, the maid cafes, the porn stores, the cosplay stores, and the maid cafes. You see in the whole year I have been in Japan so far, I have never gone to a maid cafe. The reason being I don't need the girls to call me their master in order for me to have confidence in myself... that and a drink is about $10. Not a steak, not a full meal, a DRINK for $10! That and some of the maids that advertize on the steets have a severe case of the snaggle tooth
. The porn store was a funny experience though since one of the toys was a rubber hand to jerk you off that would move up and down by itself. I would have taken a picture but I'd rather not have to deal with people seeing me taking pictures in a porn store.
Now why, you might ask, do I say that Akihabara is a boring place? Well you see Akihabra is a street. One street and thats it. This is a bad thing becuase you see everthing in one day. And having so many stores that seem almost alike doesn't make the place more exciting. They say you can find the deals there, but if you don't live in Tokyo then you can find deals just as good at your local used game store. "But there are the arcades and Club Sega", you might say in defence for Akihabara. Well arcades are EVERYWHERE in Tokyo. Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and other places I have found the same arcades at Akihabara to play for the same price or cheaper. That and all of the fun games are allready in arcades in my local area, so why spend $20 for train tickets to Tokyo when that $20 can be spent on my arcade addiction instead? Also when you are a foreign student in Japan, you start to develop a kinda hatred towards the tourist foreigners. The reason being is foreigners are extremely stereotyped and sometimes discriminated against in Japan, so when we see some of these tourist foreigners reinforcing the stereotype we of course get a little upset. And Akihabara is the number one place to see such foreigners on a daily basis. The only time I saw more foreigners was at TGS 2006 where all the foreigners in Japan seemed to converge in one point. Now the last bad thing about Akihabara is its reputation. For me to go to Tokyo I need to tare an express train line from my city to the last stop at Akihabara and I transfer from there. I might go to Tokyo to visit friends or the clubbing scene and whatnot. Anyway if I have to go back home and splitting ways with say a girl I am trying to impress, they will ask me where I am going. So of course I would be honest and say, "Well I need to go to Akihabara and transfer to.." and from there she will give me this "oh my god its a freek" look and I will have to try and convince her that I'm not going to Akihabara for the maids.
The Akihabara experience seems to be a visit to your local gamestop with a larger selection. Granted is you have the time and are rich enough to do such things then by all means go ahead, I won't stop you.