Tuesday 26 August 2008

Day 7 - Akhiabara

Electronics were the focus today as we took a stroll through the electronics quarter of Akihabara. All intentions of an early rise went out the window. Mornings are for sleeping! We never made it out again until after 2pm again today, then again we are on our holidays, what's the rush!

Back to the electronics, the neighbourhood is massive. 100s of stores ranging in size from small to 7 stories all selling the latest gadgets to the big brand names all super cheap and tax free to tourists. I was taken away by the mobile phones. I believe the networks here all operate on different technologies, so texting between them is impossible. The European standard of GSM or 2.5G is long gone. Basic offering is 3G with the 5G network being built! Try to find European made phones like Nokia is near to impossible. The phones here are all sliders or clam-shell, both designs would be frowned upon back home. Mobile Internet and television is standard on them all, technology years ahead of us Europeans. The iPhone 3G is out in Japan on the Softbank network but why would you buy this if there are better integrated phones for Internet and texting. Japanese love to text, I thought the Irish where bad but here on the subway you are either sleeping or texting someone.

After some light electronic shopping we took the subway to another new area, Ueon. This district is old Tokyo. Labyrinth streets reveal markets, food stalls, capsule and love hotels (where you can get a room for 2 hours!). There is as ever a massive shopping centre with big names such as Gap, Starbucks and Virgin. In Starbucks Vinnie invented a new frappachino, vanilla bean matcha (Green Tea). It's delicious. In virgin I found the original Japanese cast recording of Wicked the musical had just been released. I had to get it. It's my favourite musical.

We dined in the same noodle bar as day 3 in Shibuya as it was so nice and western friendly. Some late evening shopping followed along with drinks in the local English pub. It's early to bed for us tonight. We need to wash cloths and book train tickets tomorrow. We are off on Thursday to visit southern Japan for three days, again more on this tomorrow!

1 comment:

LyleDAL said...

It looks like you guys are off to a good start! Japan is on my "to do" list so I'm living vicariously through you two!

I hope you have plans to see some of the countryside? Perhaps get out of the tourist zone? There is more to life than shopping! No matter what though, You guys have a blast. I'm envious. ENJOY!