Another year, another trip over, but that just means its time to plan the next one! This trip was planned for the summer holiday season in Japan and it showed, as it was very crowded in most places. Well, Japan is normally crowded, but this is a whole lot more crowded than in years past.
Returning to the REMM Akihabara after a 3 year absence, the last stay being only 2 nights before. This time though I seemed to have fallen into a bit of an odd room. All the prior times I had stayed in the REMM, the room layout was the same… this time however, the layout swapped and the giant window wall…overlapped the bathroom/shower.
I thought about opening up the shower briefly, but I could clearly see the diners across the street at ChompChomp, and if I could see them, they could see me. So those blinds remained shut for the majority of the time.
As for new stores in Akiba itself, there were a few and it seems like more may be opening up soon. The big draw many of the new stores have it seems is used goods. As its possible to find all sorts of items used out there throughout Akiba. Though I would never recommend buying any sort of Retro Game in Akihabara itself, you can take a Train 30 minutes north and find much much better deals. I’m also unaware if the non Kanji initiated tourists are aware they are buying used goods. As some of the new shops the only indicator is written in kanji “中古”.
Since last year a new restaurant called Yakiniku Like opened up right next to the KFC, This place is awesome as its a Yakiniku restaurant, or Japanese style BBQ, designed for solo eaters and being quick and pretty cheap. I got a full set meal with 200 grams of steak to cook on my little grill, rice and miso for roughly 1200 yen. I was in and out in roughly 15 minutes as well. If I could dine like this in the US for $11, I would never eat fast food again. This does bring me back to the dining scene in Japan in general. I really do feel at home there, whether its hitting up Ichiran Ramen, or small Yakiniku joints like this one, or even Yoshinoya.
One thing I do like to sneak in each year is a movie, while I was a few weeks early for the new Konosuba movie, I was glad to catch Weathering With You by Makoto Shinkai. For anyone considering going to a movie over in Japan. Paying a little extra for the Premium Box seats is kind of nice. Though definitely not recommended for couples. It’s pretty much like a first class seat, with privacy walls, and extra leg room with an extra plush chair.
No trip would be considered complete without a trek to see the Gundam as well as the Gundam base. Given that Comiket and Odaiba Summer Event were both going on in the near vicinity it would be doom to try to fit in many plans around Odaiba during that time. The best way it seemed to me was to squeeze in some time late night after most events ended on the island. And it always seemed to me at least that the Gundam is much better to be seen at night.
Unicorn is as cool as ever, though part of me does miss the original RX-78. Though it was super packed, and this was late at night when I had thought most would have been heading back by now. This was actually, easily, the largest crowd that I have seen centered around the Gundam itself. It’s possible others had the same idea as me. I also know I saw some who were still lingering around from Comiket.
So yeah, tourism is definitely on the increase over the last few years. I do fear what Tokyo is going to become during the Olympics. As I can only imagine a giant cluster of aloof tourists not really knowing about any of the unwritten rules of Japanese Culture. Or how crowded the trains will be, and I know the hotel shortage is become a thing too. Given how many business hotels exist… well.. that’s impressive to fill them up.
For the first time I did walk through the Diver City mall, as many of the stores and areas were having a special Gundam Festival for the anniversary this year, many restaurants had Gundam themed specials and there were various displays like the one pictured above set up throughout. One thing that did catch my eye is that there are a lot of interesting VR attractions in Diver City, most needed more than 1 person so I was unable to try any of them, but do look forward to possible future visits.