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Akiba Akiba Akiba

Yes. I have been in Akiba a lot lately. I hope to be able to say more soon, but I’ve been working on a project that will hopefully get moving in ernest soon. That may just be an excuse, but it has lead to me doing lots of research in the area.

But is certainly comes in handy. My good friend and one of my top Social Media mentors Paul Papadimitriou is back in Tokyo for a few days after having left the Big Mikan for Manila a few months back. We took the opportunity to go on an Akiba Hunting tour to see the latest and greatest in Tokyo’s Electric Town.

Actually this all started last night with the invitation from the #1 servant of the Empire in Tokyo, Mr. Danny Choo, to attend the launch party of the Otaku Encyclopedia at a maid cafe in Akiba. Such an amazing book and I had a great time there. The author, Patrick Galbraith, has done years of research and it all came together into a great new resource on the Otaku/Anime/Akiba subculture. He also looks really familiar, but I can’t quite place him. Maybe it’s the hair. The book won’t be available in the US for a few months, but there might be a way to get it sooner for a few lucky people if my plans go well.

Click the picture below to see some shots of the party and lots of pictures of Stormtroopers with sexy models.

Otaku Encylopedia Launch - 13

More coverage of the party here.

Dannychoo.com: Kodansha International

Zuco: Otaku Encyclopedia

Paul Papadimitriou: Otaku Encyclopedia with Danny Choo

HobbyBlog: OTAKU ENCICLOPEDIA – Patrick Galbraith

Jonny Li Flickr pics

Update: Sayuki, one of the “Trooper Girls” in the pictures above sent me a link to her blog with a few more shots and thoughts.

Sayuki Blog: OTAKU ENCYCLOPEDIA

So getting back to Akiba, my first great find is the pay toilet near the Chuo (Central) exit of Akihabara Station. Yes, I said Pay Toilet.

Seriously. I was impressed. The most geeky toilet I have ever seen. For 100 yen, you can enter. But while you can pay with boring, outdated things like “coins”, you can also use high-tech RFID enabled cards or cellphones. If you use a Suica or Pasmo trainpass or electric wallet enables cellphone, simply pass it over the scanner, and the door magically opens up. Check it out in the video below.

So putting toilets aside, what else does Akiba have to offer? How bout Cosplay?

Along the way, Paul and I ran into Yui & Mio from the anime K-On!, a favorite of Danny Choo. So I snapped off a few shots for him. What do you think? Mio was very embarrassed by the attention (of course), and begged us to check out the cookies on sale behind her as she was doing her part time job trying to sell them. If you stop by Asobit City in Akiba, please buy some maid cookies to support you local Otaku. Yui seemed to be there just for moral support and to promote her website on Ameblo. Click the pic below to see more of Mio and Yui.

Yui&Mio

More of my Akiba adventures to come, but in the meantime, check out the video I made with Joseph Tame at Japan PodShow in Akiba.

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