Akihabara is a man’s paradise.
It’s THE place to go for awesome gadgets and electronics (which, I admit, I go nuts over as well), and.. erm.. girly bars/porn shops :P I wonder what came first – the electronics stores and thus the dodgy ones, or vice versa?
We stopped in the largest electronics complex, that had around 8 floors, I think. Each floor was PACKED to the rafters with all sorts of Japanese electronics. They’re fascinating to look at ‘cos of the sheer numbers, but there were very little OMG IT’S AMAZING!! type of electronics that blew my mind. I remember when I was in Japan when I was young, the electronics being sold were beyond my wildest dreams – teeny phones I’d never seen in my life etc. But this time, it was actually a lot of similiar stuff, and stuff that exists in China as well. I guess the Japanese have innovated themselves into exhaustion :P
I also noticed the Japanese people are obsessed with arcade games. They take it to a whole new level. The gaming complexes are huge, and PACKED with people. They look like zombies – slumped in chairs in front of the machine, and repeatedly adding coins and jabbing at the buttons. (EDIT: It’s called pachinko). It’s quite odd. They looked obsessed and didn’t look like they were having fun?! We also couldn’t figure out what the games were – a really popular one that we saw everywhere was one where you fed in these tiny little metal balls, that zipped around in the machine. That was all we could gather – couldn’t figure out what you were supposed to do and how you could win.
And yes, we did poke around in the porn shops and girly cafes.. all in the name of research, of course ;) Whoever said Asians were sexually repressed have obviously never been to Japan!
Lots of dodgy girly cafes. We went to the Maid Cafe to check it out – hilarious!
These weird pinball-type machines, that the Japanese are obsessed with
They’re also obsessed with anime – as evidenced here ;)
Playing around in a HUGE complex that sells every type of electronic known to man.
Dinner was, again, a random place we stumbled across. It was the fascinating Curry Kitchen at Akihabara. A no-frills cafe, done fast food style. You go up to the vending machine thing, where you press the button displaying a (small) pic of the dish you want, pop in some cash, and out spits a ticket. Then, you pop yourself on one of the seats by the counter and pass the ticket to the waitress.
She is a total speed demon.
Within 30 seconds or less, your meal is placed in front of you. Basically, the tonkatsu (deep fried breaded pork) is already cooked, so she throws it onto a cutter and brings the top-part of the cutter down, immediately slicing the pork into about 8 slices. She whips it onto a plate, pops on a big scoop of rice, and then ladels out a scoop of curry sauce… and that’s it!
It all happens in a blink of an eye. We were all pretty shocked when the food came out so quickly. Even MORE shocked at the speed at which people ate. During the time that we ate, FOUR (!!!) people came, ordered, ate and left, all in succession, one after the other. That means we were eating at four times SLOWER than the Japanese. Unbelievable, considering Chris and I are pretty fast eaters.
The food is soooooo satisfying. Wonderful on a cold night. The rice was Japanese-style rice, slightly sticky, and the tonkatsu pork was crisp and thick. Happily, it’s almost all lean meat and oh-so-tender. But what we love is the curry. It’s a simple Japanese curry, which is sweeter and thicker/creamier than Indian curries. But it tastes oh-so-good and isn’t too salty, and we spoon it heartily over our rice.
Excellent comfort food, so well made that I can’t think of a single thing I’d change. Cheap, super-quick, and satisfying. Now THIS is what fast food should be!
Selecting our chosen dish via the vending machine
The unbelievably efficient kitchen – get your meal within 30 seconds, flat!
Steak with rice and curry
Pork with rice and curry
Chris and I, fascinated with the super-fast kitchen