Monthly Archives: September 2015

Akihabara ‘Super Mario’ Building

Not yet, Harajuku has to wait!!!…

After Ginza and before going to Harajuku, I decided to go to Akihabara by myself to have a look around and have lunch there. I wanted to take some photos at maid girls that were handing out leaflets for the maid cafes, but they told me that I was not allowed to do that. So I decided not to take photos in case they think that I am a stalker. After a short walk I decided to move away from the ‘maid area’.

Electric Building

Leaving the ‘maid area’ didn’t mean leaving Akihabara, but going to discover something different. As I mention in the ‘Akihabara: The Electric Town‘ post, I entered the building that has stairs that, from outside they look like Super Mario Bros’ pipes, but this time I decided to discover what was hidden on the other floors.

It didn’t take long to reach that building from where I was, to tell you the truth, I was there within 5 minutes.

Funny Looking Laptops

Once entered into that building, I took the ‘ pipe escalator’ to the other floors to see if they were going to sell items different from those found in UK. The most of the things are the same or very similar, however, what impressed me a lot was the thickness of the Japanese laptops. The screen part was about the same, however, the block of the laptop that holds the keyboard was much thicker.

I was really surprised about that and I was wondering why they were as thick. However, the thing that impressed me more than anything else was the design of the laptops. The design was far from futuristic, surprisingly, the design was very static, more similar to the old laptops that used to sell in the early 2000’s. For a country like Japan, where everyone think is ahead of the times, this has surprised me a lot.

Raw Egg

After a thorough investigation of the store, I decided to go nearby for a lunch. I found somewhere cheap where to eat, one of those places that can be found anywhere throughout Tokyo.

After choosing something from the vending machine, I went to look for a seat and waited for the waitress to come with the food to my table. The food I order was below the 600 yen mark and it included a bowl of rice, some sliced pork on top and an egg still inside the shell, I thought it was a boild egg.

I started eating the sliced pork and the rice first, then when the waitress came along, I asked how to eat the egg. The waitress she said to open it on top of the rice and so I did. When I broke the egg, I realised that it was still raw. I have never eaten in all my life a row egg. I thought if I was going to mix it with the hot rice, the egg was going to cook by itself. I was wrong but I decided to eat it anyway. Half a year later I found out that eating raw egg was part of the Japanese culture, in fact, Japanese eggs would not harm the health due to its freshness. ‘Tamago gohan’ is the raw egg served on top of a bowl of rice and then eaten, usually with a bit of Japanese soy sauce and a pinch of salt.

Really Hentai
After finished eating, I went to walk around the area to see what other things the place was offering. I turned into a narrow street and to my surprise I saw a 6 storie building ) that was selling exclusively only school girl uniforms. The six floors include the ground floor (in Japan the ground floor is considered as first floor unlike western countries) and in addition had the basement. Either that depato (department store in Japanese romanised) was selling uniforms for schools, or more probably it was selling uniforms mainly for cosplaying, or for the maids that were working in Akihabara, or maybe for certain men in order to satisfy their hentai fantasies, or maybe for all of those reasons. I could see on the windows some of the school uniforms displayed and on the ground floor there were some kids’ size anime stickers of school girls and magazine pages.
I was really surprised that a department store so big was selling just schoolgirl uniforms. I was really tempted to have a look inside but I decided to go against my temptation just in case people thought I was a hentai. Even though I was in the country famous for hentai (perverts, at least Japan is seen this way by westerners), I still didn’t know much about Japanese culture to consider to enter that store.
Hentai Building?
Hentai Building?

Tokyo never stopped fascinating me. Tokyo is a really marvellous city, even though many people think that Japan is a very strange country. At the end of the day I respect their culture and I would never change is because is so different from the west and I was sure that Japan was hiding more fascinating things and my staying in Japan had just started. (Next).

Hot in Ginza

Quick look at Ginza

After visiting Mitsukoshi and the sorrounding area I decided to go to Ginza. I went there because the train map highlighted Ginza as one of the main areas in Tokyo.

Once I got out from Ginza station, I realised straight away that the area was posh. In fact, as soon as I went on the pavement from the station, I saw a massive department store called Matsuya Ginza

Picture 1: Matsuya Ginza Department Store
Picture 1: Matsuya Ginza Department Store

By the look of it, it looked like it would contain very expensive products, similar to those seen at Mitsukoshi department store. I decided not to enter that building on that occasion.

Other main shops

As I walked along the pavement, I could only see big expensive department stores and designer stores ranging from Tiffany to Gucci to Luis Vuitton and so on. I had to save money because I had to stay in Japan for 1 year without a job, so I decided not to buy anything. That was not the only reason why I didn’t buy anything. The other reason was because I could buy the same exact items back in London and there is no point to buy them there on my first day in Japan. I wanted to fully dive into the Japanese culture, that was one of the reasons why I choose Japan as my destination for my year abroad.

Tiffany Shop in Ginza
Picture 2: Tiffany Shop in Ginza
Picture 3: A little bit of Ginza
Picture 3: A little bit of Ginza
Picture 4: Japanese Style too
Picture 4: Japanese Style too
Picture 5: Better view to the Japanese style
Picture 5: Better view to the Japanese style

33 Degrees!!!!!!!!!!

The temperature on that day just before the middle of September was very high and I felt very hot even thought I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

I just had a quick look at the area. And while I was approaching the train station to go to my next adventure, I saw almost on the top of a tall building a display indicating the temperature at that moment, the time was around 12 o’clock and the temperature was 33 degrees celsius. Surprised, I said: wow!!! I remembered that when I left London for Japan a few days earlier the temperature was about 10-11 degrees celsius. That was a massive difference in temperature dividing 2 of the greatest cities in the world set apart by thousands of miles.

Picture 6: Building recording the temperature
Picture 6: Building recording the temperature
Picture 7: Clear display of the temperature
Picture 7: Clear display of the temperature

Due to the high temperature in that place, I felt my body sweating and became hungry. By the look of the area I thought if I was going to buy something to eat there I was going to break the bank so I decided to change destination and to leave Ginza after a short walk. (Read my next adventure)

Walking Around Mitsukoshi

Other World

As soon as I left Mitsukoshi I decided to have a quick walk in the area surrounding. To my surprise, I managed to find traditional shops and restaurants (picture 2) along the way, and the shop that impressed me more that all the others was a traditional ‘calligraphy’ shop. That shop was small but was selling everything from brushes to calligraphy papers, in other words it was selling everything about calligraphy (picture 3 and 4).

Picture 2: Traditional Style Japanese Restaurant
(Picture 2: Traditional Style Japanese Restaurant)
(Picture 3: Calligraphy Shop)
(Picture 3: Calligraphy Shop)
(Picture 4: Man Walking Past the Calligraphy Shop)
(Picture 4: Man Walking Past the Calligraphy Shop)

Edo Lifestyle

It was nice to find Tokyo so diverse, everywhere you go there is something interesting to see and visit, so I decided to move on to the next adventure and went to get the subway (or underground for British-English speakers like me?).

Once inside the station, before going on the platform I noticed on the wall some traditional paintings, probably made during the Edo period. Tokyo used to be called Edo before becoming the capital of Japan. At that time Kyoto was the capital, and before Kyoto was Nara the capital (Nara is not too far from Kyoto, it is in Kansai area and I suggest the readers to visit it if you travel to Japan).

Edo Period Painting
(Picture 5: Edo Period Painting)
(Picture 6: Closer look at the Edo Period Painting)
(Picture 6: Closer look at the Edo Period Painting)

Those paintings probably represent the everyday life of the Japanese people during that period and are totally different from the western paintings during the same period or even during any period. It is very interesting to compare the Japanese and western style of paintings.

Difference between Japanese and Western style paintings

Usually the figures of the people in the western paintings are big, in Japanese paintings the figures are much smaller and this style makes it possible to show the whole community in those large paintings. Yes, those paintings were quite large and probably have been drown using a different tissue and a different method of drawing and painting.

After taking a few photos to keep as my memory of Japan and to use for this blog I went to the platform waiting for the train that led me somewhere else. (Next…)