Akihabara: otaku nesting site

    In Tokyo, there is its own "Humpback", only it is called "the valley of autumn leaves." Kanda District, Akihabara Station, and so is Akiba. The district received its name from a special fire temple, which is now considered an anime sanctuary. And now I’m quite serious.

    Temple anime. On normal tablets they write desires like “health to relatives”. Here the desires are different. Quite different.

    The subregion itself, from the river to the 6th quarter, is also called "Electrocity", because it used to trade in electronics. The 62-year-old Radio Tower or high-rise tower of Radio Kaikan is the embryo of an electric town where everything came from, the first tall building in the area. Well, it was then high, but now it’s just one of many, and not so big. There were shops, and below the collapse with used electronics. In 2011, however, the skyscraper was destroyed by an earthquake (it was recognized as an emergency), but it was quickly rebuilt by 2014. And now inside the ring-type shopping center, where every bunch of goods for otaku. In general, you can just wander around it and the neighboring building, and it will turn out a mini-Akiba.

    In general, I walked around the area myself, and then I found local fixers that showed it from two different sides and spent a couple of secret levels. I must say right away that walking around Akiba without a local or without a detailed guidebook is an idea so-so.


    The observations are further based on personal experience and fixer stories. The first maiden is a professional cosplayer (in the sense that she is paid for participating in events in a costume), she works in the voice acting of the anime, she has “30 working voices” and two phones, one for life, the second for work. The second is otaku, moonlighting with excursions to find a specific rare product in Akiba, an awesome specialist in anime and manga. I draw your attention to the fact that, like almost all Japanese, both of my respondents are very focused on their fields to an incredible level, and at the same time they are almost not interested in others. That is, the story may contain inaccuracies and a rather one-sided point of view (which is why I needed two fixers). Even in the territory of 6 quarters, they have their favorite places, so two trips overlapped only 10 percent.

    What is Akiba

    This is the Electro-Town area northwest of Akihabara Station. The station itself on the ring branch, that is, in the main interchange circuit, therefore generates very good traffic. On the one hand from Akiba there is a traditional shopping complex with souvenirs for not very picky tourists, on the other - the Kanda book district, and if you go further from the station, there will be another lonely shops on the Akiba topic, but their density will begin to drop sharply until the district will not turn into a housing estate.

    Bookstores in Kanda (Kando)

    Somewhere in the area begins Japanese drawing of American characters

    In the morning, Akiba is a listlessly awakening sellers and opening stores. At lunchtime, this is a resting place for a bunch of Japanese who want to eat or run for something on the spot, everything works, but life is inside the buildings. By evening, a huge crowd, including cosplayers, appears on the streets, girls-barkers come out of a maid cafe with leaflets and everything starts to glow with neon. Part of the interesting disappears from the collapse, because it is already sold out. That is, the best option is to arrive about 15 days and wander until the dark.


    On the territory there is a temple, which was built after a fire in the area to maintain fire defense. He gave the name Akihabara. Do not ask me what the temple and the fire department have in common, because something else is more interesting. In ordinary temples, people write their desires on special wooden tablets and hang them on ropes like this:

    Everyone can read them, and this is part of the ritual. So, somehow it happened so that from the moment the manga and video cassettes were sold here, people suddenly suddenly began to write desires in the spirit: “I want to continue this manga”, “I would rather have released the third season” and so on. As a result, to date, the message board is almost entirely about anime.

    Next is the classic loop of positive feedback: seeing this, the temple began to produce boards with an anime theme (these color drawings are a template of wish boards, and the black and white sides are UGC). Which did not leave a chance to make “normal” desires.

    And finally, there is a staircase near where everyone takes pictures, because the places around this temple appear in the anime. And this is very annoying otaku.


    The second peculiarity of the district is a lot of machine guns, igruh, giveaways of random things and scam. These are 4 different categories of entertainment.

    Machines - a variety of slot machines, clustered-type slot casino under the local name of "pachinko" (in Russian transliteration - pachinko). Classic gambling maniacs go there trying to win money. Sitting in a pachinko is considered to be a bit of alcoholism, but popularity does not fall - an atmosphere of celebration and joy is created very competently inside. I believe that when you are a very polite and hard-restrained person, this can turn out to be an unexpectedly important emotional valve. All in all, a bit of a special tax on those who do not know math.

    Gamers- these are things where you can play different games. There are machines for online games, there are for singles, you can connect neighboring machines to a local network and play fighting game together, if you want. Usually they are divided into groups - the floor of rhythm games such as drum sets and dances, the floor of fighting games, the floor of shooters and so on. The general principle (which is not always the case, but conveys the idea) is that you throw a 100 yen coin (about 50 rubles) into the machine, and the better you play, the less often you need to throw a new one. In a fighting game with two victories, the loser needs a new coin, and the winner can continue like this. The longest time for one coin turns out to be entertained in rhythm machines (such as dance halls or guitar-hiro), so they are popular. The wildest hardcore complexity unimaginable for Europeans is quite affordable for local teens.

    Giving out random things - this is the type of vending machine in which you put a coin, and you get a ball with something inside. With us, shoe covers are sold for 5-10 rubles, sometimes in hospitals. So, the peculiarity of capsule machines is that the result is guaranteed to you, but what exactly inside the capsule you do not know before opening. Each machine has its own theme: Pokemon, characters of a specific anime, robots, and so on. Items are collectible and have different hit rates. If you need Pikachu, then you can squeeze half the salary, trying to hack out the right capsule, because Sloupoki will come across.

    This is a cluster in another area of ​​the city. In Akiba, machine guns are crammed randomly enough.

    And finally, the scam.Specifically, here it is usually some kind of electronics, soft toys or, more often, anime character figures piled inside an automaton where an iron hand fumbles. A scam creates the illusion that pulling out a toy is easier than it sounds, but each time you lack a little angle or accuracy. But, nevertheless, you can get a figure.

    I also met a professional delivery man: he looked out for situations when he was almost sure that he would get something, played, won an item, put it in a huge shuttle bag (already filled by two-thirds, mainly with soft toys) and went to look out on the floor next suitable situation. They say there are similar specialists who, for a reduced number of attempts, can win the right thing for you from the machine, but these are two completely different skills.

    Actually, the most interesting thing happens next with the won figures.

    The shops

    Stores here are of several types: those that bring their goods and sell them as usual with us; “Collapses”, where everything happens as in a classic flea market, only other objects act as goods; and shops that sell things and buy them. That is, they work like collapses, they only still have their own new product.

    Now pricing on the figures. It very much depends on the rarity and desirability of the figure. That is, with a slight delay is determined by demand. On the other hand, several different manufacturers can take a license for a figure, and make different versions of the same hero. In general, all this is regulated by fashion (more precisely, what’s going on now) and the collectible value of the figure.

    The sign at the beginning is not the seven, but the yen. In rubles, there will be about half the price of the yen on the price tag.

    Why is this important - because the Japanese have not so much space at home, and if he also lives in a rented apartment, then he can put in front of him one, maximum two figures. And so, an ordinary otaku rarely collects more than 10 figures, and non-otaku generally buys them exclusively spontaneously, that is, almost never. This means that there is a lot of competition for the slot. This means that you will choose the best action figure possible.

    We return to the machines. The figures that are in the machines are called "arcade", and they are more common in the secondary market. Because those who wanted to get another figure donate the wrong things from the capsules or the wrong scam hooks to the stores for resale. As a result, if you really need a specific figure from the machine, it is often much more rational to buy it in a nearby store.

    Rare figures can only be bought, so their prices are higher than arcade ones.

    Why do otaku take figures? Firstly, because it is an identity. Like our bookcase, they have a figure above a table with a computer. Secondly, an object of art. Thirdly, as a poster - I just like to look at the figure. Many figures are made deliberately erotic, there is a whole market of purely uh ... nude figures. Another maid-fixer bought figures to draw heroes from them, and then sold them back to stores. The same logic.

    Characters are divided into two types: cute (kawaii) and cool. Cool are those you would like to be. Lovely ones are those who are nice to watch. The criteria for steepness and grace predictably broke at Sephiroth (yes, I remember this bike), because when I asked to list the criteria, everything coincided except for the mostly black color of the hero. Lovely ones have a large share of pink. More cute ones usually differ in more childish features (proportion of eyes to nose). Fixer once again suspiciously examined Sephiroth and said that yes, the cultural difference is great. I think he’s not cool to him anymore.

    And this is American


    Well, the predictions here are predictable. Stores of the old generation on the principle of "our ancestors did." Almost nothing new except that now on some games the stickers are “sample”, which means you can open and watch. Sellers have little knowledge of the base of games, the cascading layout, on the side of the igruha. Everything is imprisoned for the fact that a person knows in advance what kind of game he needs. Prices are much the same as ours, but the same sickle is cheaper.

    A very large section of collectible card games. They are even in bookstores outside the district, there are a lot of them, and they are all with the coolest art, and it is clearly visible that they are for different audiences. Many CCIs can be released in co-branding with anime brands (characters from different TV shows).

    A shelf with open games like our gaming fund, but they play right in the store behind the curtain. Game rooms are even in large bookstores.

    From the pleasant - the line of our friends from the exhibition in Essen on the spot, and domestic cephalopods too.

    KKI Magic: the Gathering so even started to advertise with the subway.

    Other shops

    This is how the street looks:

    You can go in and watch:

    TVs and consoles (TV is harder to find, as I understand it):

    There is no wolf:


    Soft toys:

    Everything for cosplay:

    The book, in which both parts of the manga “All you need is kill” were found (Ranobe source for the film "The Edge of the Future", in Russian there is a book, and it is even pretty well translated).

    And here is something important in which it is forbidden to search. It looks like boosters with something voluminous. This reminds me of a story about one large network that purchased movie figurines, the coolest ones were sold, and the rest were returned to the supplier under the contract.

    In the streets past these shops are different inspired people. Someone came to dine and at the same time see something in the manga book. Someone came in a character costume for a walk. Young people make noise in a cafe. Otaku carefully creep between shelves and look out for figures for the secondary market. Someone brought to sell their figures (they can be put in stores here). Here are young American soldiers trying to see hentai manga. Someone is unpacking a new delivery. In general, the radio market. But with the specifics.

    On holidays, cosplayers come here and stage shows. But on ordinary days, people are 95% Japanese civilians, 3% civilian tourists, and only 2% strange people.

    Made Cafe

    In Japan there is a maid-cafe. These are establishments where beautiful girls (for the Japanese taste) work as waitresses and hostesses, who all those 20 minutes that you drink coffee are madly in love with you. And they are called like that because the first uniforms were “under the handmaids”, but then cafes appeared with waitresses in tight-fitting ninja suits, military uniforms and other assortment of the costume department of 18+ stores.

    Girls' love is expressed in five times the price of coffee and food and in how they smile at you, how they talk to you and how they support you in every possible way. Judging by the tired businessmen inside, for many this is a great opportunity to chat with a lively girl so that she does not slam the brain. In addition to talking about the weather, there are various services in the cafe: somewhere, you can gently brush your ears with cotton buds, sing a touching song or dance. Different cafes have different chips. In the cafe where the fixer brought me, the service is standard: you can order any drawing for coffee. Your waitress comes with a bottle of pink-red syrup and draws on the foam what you tell her. Slowly and buzzingly, something cute chirped in Japanese at the same time and inserting “nya” every five to six words. Usually a cat’s drawing is ordered, a portrait of an anime heroine, a heart with your name,

    I was with a model hallucigenia - prehistoric tvaryugi with tentacles. Authentic, and I took it in the morning from the store of the biological museum. It looks unusual even for the Cambrian period. Two rows of legs: six tentacles on the left in two layers and eight on the right. More precisely, it’s actually the top and bottom, and it walks down and defends itself against enemies from the top. But it is not important. The important thing is that I was taking this monster as a gift, and he was lying in my pocket bag. When the girl with syrup asked what exactly should be painted, I could not resist and put the hallucination on the table.

    The lady from my Cambrian nuthatch jumped the firmware. This crap is clearly scary. But at the same time it is pink. And as a Japanese woman, you should understand that pink crap is not scary. She looked again into the bulging eyes of the "cockroach." Then she dared to gently touch his paw. The paw was soft, it gave her confidence. The neural network suggested a solution: pink, with large eyes and soft paws - these are supporting signs.
    “Kawai? ..” the beautiful maid said uncertainly.
    Once again she touched the other foot and was delighted:
    - Kawai!

    And painted.

    And so that there was no doubt, what a sweet hallucination, she added hearts.

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