Saturday, 7 September 2019

Tokyo 2019 Day 3: Akihabara and far-flung friends

On Thursday morning we let ourselves sleep in a bit – we were still recovering from the lack of sleep on the flight in. After a leisurely wake up we headed down to breakfast, where I took this iconic photos of my two favourite aspects of the buffet combined into the “pig puff plate”.

After we went upstairs we took our time getting ready, because I had discovered that I’d left our portable wifi on overnight, and it had barely any charge. I’d plugged it in before breakfast, but it was charging super slowly! It was really upsetting – Japan was so overwhelming for me that the thought of having to get by without permanent internet was really tough to deal with. Ultimately it was okay, it charged enough that we could use it when we needed and just kept it off the rest of the day but still…not a great start to the day!

I did, however, take a few minutes to appreciate the reflections in the building opposite our hotel from our window. I’m a small town girl, city views always excite me!

We also took selfies, because of course we did ^__^

Anyway, we went on our way around 11AM – this was our Akihabara day! To save wifi I had screencapped the train we needed to catch but had some trouble finding the right platform at Shinjuku Station. There are a lot of platforms with similar names! After far too long I realised the platform number was in the info I’d saved…ooops…

Mishaps aside, the train ride was lovely. It was a little longer than the trains we’d previously been on during our trip, and we passed one area in particular which was a gorgeous canal type river lined with white cherry blossom trees. So beautiful!

I also really enjoyed a moment as we were getting near Akihabara Station – another train was on a parallel track which was lower than us, then when higher, then went low again to pull into a different level of the station. It’s 100% not relevant to this blog so I don’t really ever talk about it but I really enjoy trains, so this was way more exciting for me than it possibly should have been ^__^

But then we were there, and once we got out into the street I’ll admit, I was a bit underwhelmed. I just somehow expected more? It’s weird though, because I got more and more into the suburb as the day went by.

Our first stop (which I once again got lost leading us to - after this point I started giving James the map!) was M’s Pop Life, which was sadly just a crowded and pretty average adult store. The only amusing thing was as we descended the stairs we found ourselves unexpectedly on the floor that sold DVDs where they had many screens showing pixelated material, with conflicting audio throughout the level. Amusing. Also slightly disorienting and we accidentally went down to the basement rather than exiting at the ground floor because it was distracting.

After M’s Pop Life we decided to go into the Radio Kaikan building and it was in here that my first not so great impression of Akihabara was turned around. We spent ages browsing through figures, buying some for ourselves and some as gifts.

I also had lots of fun with gachapon machines! I had decided to go ham on any Love Live one I saw as gifts for the girls in the dance group I was part of. Almost ironic that I was out of the group literally a month after coming back, but oh well. I enjoyed getting all the capsule toys and getting to buy cute keychains and not having to keep them afterwards.

We browsed pretty much every shop in the building. There was more than just figures, but exactly what I can't remember now. But as well as having regular plastic figures, there were some amazing dolls in some of the stores. So amazing!

These ones were really big, maybe 50cm tall!

Once we were done in Radio Kaikan we decided it was time for a lunch break, so we headed into the Atre 1 building near the station. We ended up at a cafe and has a really tasty lunch, though I will admit the miniature shrimp in my pasta kind of weirded me out.

Fed and refreshed we went back out and headed for the main street to go to Don Quixiote. The main street of Akihabara was amazing, so intense in terms of colour and people.

As we walked along the street, we spotted several of the famous Akihabara maids, who were all super adorable. I did accept a flyer from one, who asked if we knew what maid cafes were and gave us directions to the one she worked for. So cute!

After not long at all we arrived a Don Quixote and oh my goodness, was it filled with literally everything, just as I’d read online. It was kind of overwhelming, but cool to experience nevertheless. We spent a bit of time in the costume section – just look at this rainbow of maid outfits!

We wandered around each floor for a little. I was very amused by the signage in their adult section. And also by the fact that the adult section wasn’t even separated off more than any other part of the store!

There was an adult gachapon machine, which we tried (of course), and we won a little thing of cherry flavoured lube. How appropriate!

In the end, I think the only thing we bought in Donki beyond that gachapon was a cute slutty sailor dress for James. We took some shots of him in it back at our hotel and let me tell you, that man looks so good in tiny skirts!

Once we were back on the street it was time for me to enjoy my first crepe of the trip! I had seen the shop on the way in and told James I was getting one of the way out. Which I did, and it was tasty, though I now know that Oreos in a crepe is not really my thing.

Then it was back to the station and back to our hotel for a brief rest (and photos of James in his new dress). According to my photos, this was the day when we finally found a vending machine coffee that James liked! I don’t know when it happened, but I took a photo of the bottle during this break so we could remember it forever.

After a bit of a break, we decided to head back out to Harajuku before meeting Jake for dinner in Omotesando. We were a bit over trains and walking at this point, so we decided to catch a taxi instead. We asked at the hotel reception if they could order us one, but the person we spoke to explained that there’d be a sizeable additional fee for it and that we were better off going to the bus terminal opposite Shinjuku Station and catch one from the rank there.

So we did!

And oh my goodness, we lucked out and got the sweetest taxi driver ever. He had a leather pouch thing hanging off the back of his seat filled with snacks, which he urged us to partake in, and there was even a box for your rubbish! Excuse the terrible photos, but I still just have to share.

I took a lollipop, which was tasty, and soon he dropped us off at the end of Takeshita Dori we hadn’t made it to the day before. And then we were off for more shopping! I didn’t take photos or make notes of what order we did things in, but we sure did shop!

In Takeshita Dori we found a shoe store where I bought an amazing pair of holographic platform sneakers (the shop girl recognised and liked James’s Adventure Time shirt), and we went to Closet Child again where James found me so much good Axes Femme stuff! I found one headbow – that’s all I’m responsible for! We also browsed a jewellery shop and found some simple earring for James. I’m sure we looked at lots of other stuff too, but that’s what we bought ^__^

We ended up entering a department store building in search of a toilet. In the elevator going up to the relevant floor we got some compliments on how colourful we were! And the toilets in that building were cool, bright blue and bright pink labelled “Dudes” and “Cuties”, respectively.

When we exited the building we decided to go down the outside stairs rather than back through the inside. I took some artsy photos of James because I wanted to, and we noticed some sakura trees in the near distance and decided to try and find them.

So once we were down we headed in that vague direction, which was also heading towards Laforet (aka lolita heaven). We ducked down some side streets but had no luck finding the trees, and decided just to go into Laforet instead.

We went straight down to the basement floors and the alternative stores. One day I’d love to visit every single shop in this building, but it was not this day! We first stopped in at Civarise as some of their menswear really caught out eyes, and the staff member had a really cool look, but we didn’t end up buying anything. We briefly swung by Anko Rock as well, and then it was lolita time!

I’ll admit, I loved the lolita shops in Laforet so much more than the ones in Shinjuku. They were bigger and prettier and all around better. In the end I bought some socks, one pair from Baby and one from AP. Both times the (gorgeous – one of the AP girls has blue hair) shop staff escorted me to the border of the store with my purchases once I was done, and all in all shopping there was more of an experience for me. I was very happy!

After this we headed out into the now-dark streets to head towards Omotesando Station. We visited a few stores on the way, and also detoured anywhere that looked shiny, because we had plans for a cyber-themes photoshoot later in the week. One thing we found was this very weird ceiling sculpture. I found it very creepy!

We also found a giant LCD (or something) wall that cycled through colours. My phone didn’t want to capture the effect correctly, but regardless we still took some selfies!

Then it was time to meet up with Jake! I spent a bit of time on Facebook messenger because we were going to meet opposite a particular sign…and that sign was on the corner of a t-intersection so there were three opposites! But soon enough we were on the right corner and shortly after we spotted a familiar figure coming towards us, yay!

We chatted and caught up a little as we waited for Jake’s partner, Anneliese, to join us, and then we followed them to a cute little alley with several food cart style vendors (I just googled it, it's called Commune 2nd). Before we had much chance to look around, a Japanese man at one of the stands spotted James and got very excited over his cute and colourful style! The man asked and took a selfie with James, then James asked me to grab a photo of the two of them. I didn’t do a very good job of it, so I’m not posting it here, but it was a really cute and fun moment.

Based on this I was already enjoying the choice of dinner venue! We split up to order different food – I ended up with karaage chicken and hot plum wine, but I was kind of jealous of James’s sausage assortment and mango juice.

It was really nice to catch up and just sit with friends of a while and find out about their life since they’d left Australia.  We’d actually never met Anneliese before but she was a sweetheart, and all in all it was just a great way to spend a couple of hours.

However, I do want to share this picture – I honestly have no idea what the purpose of the place was but “Air Canada Matsuri” is not a concept that I’d thought I’d even encounter.

Then it was time for us to part ways. James and I picked up some ice-cream on the way back to our hotel. I took a photo of my ice-cream while lying in bed, actually. I ate that same ice-cream every day, it was great. James also found a regular ice-cream – we’re apparently creatures of habit, even when on holiday!

We relaxed and went to sleep not too late – because we had big plan for the next day.


  1. Haha, aw, I love that first selfie! James just looks cool, while all I see on you is that pure geeky excitement, it's precious!
    I know exactly what you mean about expecting more of Akihabara. What you see of it outside of Japan is the coolest snapshots and bits, as well as all the crazy stories, so you expect all of it to be like that, when it isn't quite and you have to have those 'filler' bits.

    1. Haha that does kinda sum us up :p

      Yes, exactly! You summarised it well!