May 3 - Akihabara and Shibuya

Happy Constitution Day everyone!  The office is closed on a 3-day holiday, part of Golden Week, and Dennis, Jim and I took the opportunity to do some shopping in Akihabara, the major electronics district in Tokyo.  In the evening, Keith, Jim and I went to Shibuya, the major hot spot of fashion and nightclubs for the young crowd.  It was a busy day but nice to get out and see some more of the city other than the Toronomon section of Minato-ku.

So let's get started.  We met Dennis at Kasumigaseki train station and rode along the Hibiya line until we got to the Akihabara station.  The electronics area is actually a couple of blocks behind the station and you start to see what it's going to be like a few blocks away.  Here's Dennis and Jim getting ready for the big day.  There are not many people out yet because most places don't open until 10 or so, we're there about half an hour early to start wandering around and getting the feel for the place.
Akihabara 1

Amateur radio stores are well represented, and you can buy non-US models of most of the same equipment we can buy in the States.  Prices are comparable.
Ham 1  Ham 2

There are adult hps in the Electronics City as well, and you can see pink buses on the left which brought tourists into the area for a day of shopping for clothes and toys.

We weren't sure if this was a Jewish store or just someone using a specially-designed star shape.
Akihabara 3

Here's Jim with another radio store, but more importantly, the "Super Potato" retro-video game store, where he was able to purchase some old 80's games and game consoles for fair prices.  He became a regular at Super Potato during his stay.
Super Potato

Why the bunny has a gun, we are not sure.  But we thought it was cute.
Bunny with a gun

Jim became quite addicted to the Coffee Boss during his stay and was excited to get Boss for 50 cents a can.
Coffee Boss

Anime is popular, and some of it is pretty sexy.  There is even adult Anime available for those who wish, and Jim reports some of it is "disturbing".
Anime 1  Anime 2

We had lunch at an Indian restaurant that had a logo we weren't quite sure was either relevant or appropriate.  Especially since the plates said "Lahore" on them, which is a city in Pakistan.
Indian Food?

Some of the power poles in the city, ok most of them, look like this, which seem somewhat scary.  Lots of wires and exposed transformer connections.  Kind of like in India.
Power poles

As the day went on, more and more people came out to shop and they actually ended up shutting down the streets for several blocks so we could not get run over.  If it's good for business, they'll do it.
Closed Street  Akihabara 5

Akihabara 6  Harajuko

For dinner, we went to Shibuya to try to find a Ramen noodle shop.  Shibuya is one of the 23 special wards in Tokyo which makes it like a separate city with its own mayor and city government, but the 23 wards have to work together as one seamless city government.  Interesting reading up at Wikipedia. 

On the way to Akebanebashi Metro station we stopped off for a snapshot of Keith and Jim with the Tokyo Tower.
Jim and Keith

Shibuya Crossing is reportedly the busiest in the world,  some 10,000 people can cross this intersection in a 1-minute cycle.  For those with high bandwidth internet connections, I am making available a 1-minute (24 Meg) video of a crossing cycle.  If you saw Lost in Translation you saw this intersection.
Shibuya Crossing  Shibuya Crossing

We never did find the Ramen noodle shop we sought, but we did go for a burger at another outlet of the place we ate in Kyoto.  Jim has eaten at Mos Burger some 28 times since then and is going to sorely miss them when he gets back to the US.  In memory of Mos Burger: (and yes, Jim wanted his own picture in front of Mos Burger)
Mos Burger  Jim at Mos Burger

Starbucks has their busiest store in Shibuya Crossing.  This isn't that particular store but we liked the sign.

Thought some folks would like to see this - these signs are near all the entrances to the various highways, and show traffic delays at upcoming street intersections and on the highways.  We think they may also show alternate routes.
Congestion sign

That's it for tonight.