Saturday, March 22, 2014

Akihabara trip

I visited Akihabara (Akiba) after a while, to seek some foreign games and DVDs.

Akiba is popular as the center of electric gadgets not only for Japanese but also for foreigners. I have visited Akiba frequently since I was a schoolboy. Of course Akiba has been changed considerably.

A couple of decades ago, Akiba was a city exclusively for experts. There were lots of odd stores dealing with junk parts. Roots were complicated. Most of all, information about this region was limited. We had to listen to pioneers for a walk.

In 1990s, Akiba installed other subcultures besides electricity, such as comic books and animation. It became a sanctuary of Geeks. Then, some maid cafes opened in this region in 2000s. Soon, we could see lots of maid costumed girls at almost all corners in Akiba. After years, however, many cafes were forced to be closed due to financial problem.

Ten years ago, since I lived near to Akiba, I visited Akiba almost every weekend. Different from the past, I frequent saw women walking around there. Nonetheless, there were lots of narrow roads and dirty buildings. It was a chaotic and fantastic landscape.

The rising of AKB48 in 2005 was decisive. This powerful idol group began to sing choosing Akiba as the home ground. Many adults got fanatic to watch and shake hands with the members. The symbol of Akiba was altered from maids to idols.

Nowadays, there are many idol groups in each area in Japan. Although Akiba still keeps the position as the origin of local idols, it is no more special city to meet an idol.

Today, I failed to get something worthy in Akiba. Unfortunately, shopping malls are inferior to to find a rare gadget, recently. I am afraid that Akiba will not be precious for geeks.

By the way, there are lots of restaurants offering a large amount of meal with low cost. It is certain that Akiba is targeting younger people. I am wondering about the future of Akiba.

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