OPERATION: DOWNFALL (The Invasion of Japan for Otaku Purposes [aka ODTIJOP])


Akiba!After I then washed every part of me that touched Hello Kitty Freakageddon in scalding hot soapy water for about ten minutes, Mehve and I boarded the train again — this time bound for Akihabara — in order to fully and completely geek the fuck out. The train took about 30 minutes to circle around to the other side of Tokyo, but by this time the whole transit system was old hat to us both and we just spent the time sightseeing. We arrived at Akihabara Station at around 2PM, and right from the start we realized that we had found something special.

Just outside of the station there were GIANT video screens showing non-stop commercials for anime, restaurants dedicated to Gundam and AKB48, and the fattest, geekiest, palest Japanese men we'd ever encountered up till that point. See, up until that moment, every single Japanese person we'd come across had all been thin. No, not just "American thin," meaning they looked "not fat," but emaciated thin to the point where every single man (and most women) looked like their chests were sunken in. It was borderline depressing. But here in Akihabara there were actually pudgies! Fat folk! Roley-poley geeks! It was strange, but awesome in a way that I cannot describe.

Mehve and I hit Akihabara (which I learned from "Cool Old Dude" that it's actually referred to by those in the know as just "Akiba" [and just to cover my nerd cred I must point out that I knew this, but I just liked saying Akihabara in its entirety]) like the angry fist of Kami-sama! And because it was Pedestrian Parade Day (or whatever), the whole of Akiba was ours for the taking. We zigzagged across the main street as often as we could simply BECAUSE we could! And it was good.

Just outside the train station (and around the corner from the awesome Gundam Cafe and scary as all shit fanboy-overrun AKB48 Restaurant was our first real taste of otaku-dom in Japan proper. There were street stalls set up as far as a near-sighted eye could see just filled with anime knickknacks and clothes and mini-statues and toys and jewelry, and it was amazing! Neither of us wanted to blow our (monetary) load that early into our "Akihabara Geek Out Fest" though, so we just skimmed through the cornucopia of fanboy utopia and marched to the next block over which appeared to be Akihabara Prime.

Cool Old Dude. Listen to him.

I plan to go back to Japan some day with the sole purpose of tracking down and making love to Cool Old Dude. Cupcake says she doesn't mind, as long as she gets to watch.


Strangeness in MY Japan?!

No, I did not Photoshop any part of this image together; that is indeed the Gundam Cafe right next to the AKB48 Cafe & Shop, right under the Akihabara Train Station. And for those of you not in the know, AKB48 is a scary as all fuck mega-idol group with FORTY-EIGHT members, whose only fans are bloated, freaky, obsessive, middle-aged men who salivate at the very mention of their group name, and know every single last detail of information about all the girls in the group (including likes and dislikes, heights, weights, blood types, and where each lives and how soundly they all sleep), and will share this info with you even if you didn't ask (or don't even speak their language), even if all you did was mention out loud within earshot of them "What the goddamn fuck is 'AKB48?' A porno cosplay company?"



This is just a ton of cool shit within a square block of the Akihabara Station. Street stalls, 3-story tall video screens pimping the newest anime shows, and more street stalls selling the pimpingest new toys from the newest anime shows. God I love that place!


In Akihabara Prime Mehve and I mostly just marveled at the amazing 10+ storied tall buildings that were postered with anime and video game characters almost from top to bottom. Akiba may be nicknamed "Electric City" for its past as the electronics capital of Japan, but it's all about otaku fandom now. We hit the Animate store first (because Lucky Star's Izumi loves it so much), and both Mehve and I lost our shit over everything that they had inside: entire (narrow) floors dedicated to manga, anime DVDs and Blu-rays; character models and kits; costumes; assorted series knickknacks; not to mention that every entrance and stairway was packed with capsule machines (collectively called "Gashapon," which is actually the brand name for Bandai capsule toys, but like Kleenex it's become the generic reference as well)!


Gashapon! Gotta catch 'em all!... Seriously, it's more addictive than crack, and about 50Xs more expensive.


Ears. Funny


Gashapon, for the uninitiated and stupid, are just like those 25¢ cheap-ass plastic toy machines you see in the front lobby of every supermarket and toy store in the civilized world. You know — those things that make little kids throw hissy fits as they pass them (while their mothers are dragging them out of said stores while their arms are overflowing with groceries), usually kicking and screaming because they NEED those half-a-cent rubber insects or My Little Pony temporary tattoos or they'll FUCKING DIE.... Only the capsule machines in Japan are ALL FUCKING AWESOME. Every one was dedicated to a certain anime series, video game, or object (like bears, ancient Easter Island statues, or warships), and most were filled with really well made (well, relatively well made, for a fucking capsule toy) plastic or rubber models of characters from the shows in question. Most of the toys/models were large enough that they had to be broken apart into several pieces so that they'd fit inside a standard 3" capsule, but could be reconstructed into a 5"-tall or so figure upon release.

Once I saw just how pants-gizzingly sweet most of these Gashapon machines were, I made it one of my missions that day to find every series made into capsule toys that existed and buy at least one figure from all the kick-ass ones. This unfortunately proved to be very expensive seeing as they ran from ¥200 to ¥500, which is pretty stupidly expensive... But still cheaper than Mehve's mission to find a dozen or so rare ¥10,000+ full 8"-12" tall anime figurines that he was missing from his collection. So I laughed at him for that whenever he mocked my capsule collection operation.

I ended up finding and buying capsules from machines dedicated to Baka and Test, Macross Frontier, Angel Beats, Bakemonogatari, AnoHana, Working!, Genshiken, Natsume Yuujinchou, and Naruto (never did get a Rock Lee, which was all I was after there), but in the end we came across well over 100 series' Gashapon in our searching that day (most of the rare ones were at a specialty shop filled with nothing but older, almost forgotten series like GTO and even a Maison Ikkoku machine). It blew my little fucking mind...

Cosplay made easy

I still don't know if this is awesome or scary. Or both. Or neither.... No, it's probably scary and creepy, but still kind of awesome.


Mystery anime!

If you're an anime/manga geek, how can you NOT cream your jeans just walking around this place?!


Manga manga everywhere

This is just me proving my own point.



What a goddamn cocktease...



Ah! Maid-u-chan! These poor girls were EVERYWHERE in Akihabara. Forced to stand in the middle of the street and convince men to follow them to their maid cafes a couple of blocks away (in the shadier, more run-down portions of the area). Mehve really, really wanted to go to a maid (or a catgirl, or a schoolgirl, or just a cosplay cafe), but I kept refusing. I simply felt so sorry for those poor girls. They had to have been so totally embarrassed out there on the street in those costumes (I guarantee you that none of them were otaku, seeing as none of the ones we saw looked like they enjoyed being where they were or doing what they were doing), and I just couldn't bring myself to make the situation any more awkward for them (seeing as I'm one of the tallest, whitest mother fuckers they've probably ever seen). What DID bug me about them though is that none of them let me take their picture — either with them or alone (hence the quick hidden blurry camera shot above). They'd all bow their heads and make an "X" gesture with their forearms if they even saw me starting to lift my camera to point at them... Goddamn cockteases.


Banzai anime




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