Expect to be overwhelmed. In Tokyo's neon-bright Electronic Town, what began as a post World War II black market for radio parts has become a mecca for geeks. Fondly known as Akiba, the area features hundreds of thousands of retail space dedicated to electronic wizardry in sky-high towers plastered with giant screens.
Even if you're not a gadget freak, you're bound to find something you like amidst the new and used electronics—from portable WiFi devices and wide screen TVs slimmer than Barbie's waistline to high-tech toilets that blow, dry, deodorize and make music.
A visit to Akihabara will send you back to a future where gadgets that may be available back home in three years time are displayed before you. Many of the big retailers have tax-exemption counters, so bring your passport if you want to get the best bargain.
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Anime and Manga Fever
The world home to anime and manga is Akihabara or Akiba as the locals call it. Giant Japanese animation billboards, jumbo Sega arcades, and Japanese comics rule the streets and shops of Akihabara. Otaku (anime and manga geeks) will love Akihabara’s overwhelming mix of giant electronic superstores and towering arcades. For the fans of Hayao Miyazaki, creator of the fantasy animated features My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, a visit to his enchanting Ghibli Museum is a must. The museum showcases the history and process of animation. Walking into this fanciful museum is like stepping into a Ghibli film with its spiral staircases, stain glass ceilings, and Ghibli characters. Tickets to this emporium of anime should be reserved in advance.
There are lots of car freaks in Tokyo. There are also lots of manga-loving otaku. And then there are lots of people with lots of money. When you cross all three, you end with someone who owns cars like these. I’m almost never at a loss for words, but in this case I’m not quite sure what to say, other than, “Only in Japan!”