So the ride from Osaka is about 3 hours and un-eventful..I have a reserved seat on the 11:40 but arrive in time to hop on the 11:13 which is empty…on a hunch I assume that the un-reserved sections are quite empty and you can probablt get a row of seats to yourself 9and your luggage)…three french boys even decide to sleep one each to a row of three seats (the japanese are far too polite to ask them to shift, even when the train gets reasonable full at Nagoya…it takes another foreigner, a german I think, to get them to sacrifice some of their space).
I doze off for a while on the train, I have my packed obentoo that I bought at the station and I read abojut APEC in the newspaper…I keep an eye out for Mt. Fuji but sadly, the weather is not clear enough today…
So after a quick change at Shinagawa onto the very useful Yamanote line I’ve arrived at Akihabara station (famous for its Electric Town!!!)…first impression: I can see my hotel from the station exit…yeah!
Second impression, very wide pavements and clean…oh and teh cafes here seem to be named and themed after anime characters…here is GUNDAM cafethere is even a queue to get it! If you can’t be bothered waiting the takeaway window sells little fried sweets in the shape of Mobile-Suit Gundam.
My hotel is very modern, much like its counterpart in Kyoto, but my bed is a bit smaller (so that’s what semi-double means) and there isn’t a lot of space for hanging clothes…though luckily as in Osaka, I manage to slide my suitcase under the bed…so no tripping over it all the time… It is rightnext to the train lines, but you have to concentrate to hear the trains…It is also close to the local fire station…here they are next to a giant ruler (that’s like a measuring device type ruler, not a warlord type ruler, sorry Hideyoshi you don’t get a mention today!) on the side of a buildingit must be a training exercise.
Across the street is a 24hr Donburi restaurant selling meals for only 240 en (less than $3) and next door is a fresh-food greengrocer and supermarket (the eggplants and zuchini look amazing…but I have nowhere to do any cooking…I buy a big Fuji apple instead, nice oranges as well that look more like mandarins). The UDX building behind my hotel has two floors of restaurants each specialising in a different cusine…don’t know what UDX is, but they must be important beacuse the have the tallest building and the Tokyo Anime Centre is on its 4th Foor (but closed on Mondays ;-( )
I’m only one street away fom the main street of Electric Town, yet it is very quiet here…it seems that 90% of the shops cater to video games or mobile phone (or video games that you play on your mobile phones)…It seems that all other devices are going out of fashion……some stores are so big they devote an entire floor to a single game, DragonBallZ gets two floors!
…and of course Pachinko parlours and lots of places you can go and dress-up as your favourite anime character…hmmm, I wonder who I will pick?
Could this be Japan’s answer to Nana Moskouri?and Akihabara is all ready for christmas as well..I guess it is not called Electric Town for nothingAnyway, after a long day of train riding (actually 3 hrs isn’t all that much…especially when you have a comfy row all to yourself and a nice obento, plus 3 hrs of podcasts to listen to) it’s time try try out the 露天風呂 a special word for open air bath…the one at this hotel is twice as large as the one in Kyoto and you can walk around this type of garden on the roof…I can’t see any stars, so i don’t know if it is overcast or there is a giant black tarpaulin somewhere high above…I’ll find out next time…but it is open, because I can hear the nearby trains.
Pssst, don’t tell my Mum, but I finally found the little present she had asked for, in an unexpected store!
Tomorrow, I head off to meet some little creatures who also like onsens
BTW, I’ve only just discovered that if you click on the photos on my website you can see the FULL-SIZE versions…I guess you all knew that anyway!