Tokyo is a very high-tech and modern city. Technology and electronics are everywhere and in everything and no more so than in the Shinjuku ward near its highly-trafficked train station. We took the subway there Sunday morning and had breakfast at the Starbucks there, sitting next to a young couple from California here in Tokyo for a few days of shopping for electronics, computer games, anime and manga. They suggested that we visit the Bic Camera Store to see the latest tech gizmos.
On our way to the Bic Store, however, we passed the Yodobashi Camera Store and thought we’d pop in there first. Turns out that Yodobashi is a step beyond even the Bic Store for electronics, as I learned later on the web where it’s touted as one of the “10 Best Anime and Manga Stores in Tokyo that Will Drive You Crazy!” Well, having visited the place, I’d have to agree. It was sensory overload, started the moment we entered this 7-story electronics and camera bazaar. First, we had to run the gauntlet of smartphone purveyors.
Slipping past them, we went straight to the top floor and worked our way around and down the escalators, stopping on the gaming floor to test the latest gamer chair and setup.
There’s also an entire floor that seems to be dedicated to anime and manga, that is, Japanese comic and cartoon characters, like this one from (I think) Dragon-Ball-Z…
… and famous movie and TV characters, like these guys from Star Wars.
The entire store was filled with flashing lights and continually blaring announcements, customers and salespeople everywhere. There was no escape. We bought a few iPhone and iPad accessories and scurried outside for relief, but, alas, it was just as much flash and glitter out there!
For some reason, the main street was closed to vehicular traffic this Sunday afternoon.
You might notice in these pictures that nearly all the pedestrians are young males. There were also a few girls, but they were mostly dressed in costume as anime and manga characters advertising for the “Maid Cafes” where the waitresses are all dressed in cutesy maid and anime character costumes – very strange is all I can say.
We walked down a few side-streets and poked our heads into one of the pachinko parlors. More noise and flashing lights.
We never did figure out how you play this gambling game, but in retrospect, I think it’s better that we never do. These guys looked addicted, almost zombie-like.
By now, we had reached high-tech overload so we decided to head back to the subway station and return to the hotel to relax before dinner. There’s such a serene view from the coffee shop at the hotel where I’ve written a couple of my posts.
We had a great yakitori dinner at a nearby sidewalk cafe where we met and talked with a couple friendly, young Japanese men, then we walked through the Sensō-ji Temple complex again to see what it looks like at night.
On the way back to the hotel, we admired what passes for graffiti in Japan: