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Yokohama and Akihabara

Joe Conley on Monday, 21 July 2008. Posted in Study Abroad

Today I just felt like wandering around shopping areas, so I started with the nice shopping street across the river from Chinatown in Yokohama. I think it's called Motomachi.

First, there was an Excelsior Cafe, so I stopped in for a coffee and a muffin. Then I wandered for blocks and blocks looking in all the women's stores for a gift for my girlfriend back home. A lot of the brand names and fashions could also be found in America, or at least weren't made in Japan, so I tried to avoid those sort of things.

Along the way, I saw a lot of small dogs in carriers that people and even small children wore over their shoulders, or in baby carriages for dogs. But at one point, I saw a man walking down the street with a huge great dane, which probably came up to between his elbow or his shoulder. I told him that my family really likes big dogs, and asked him if I could take a picture, and he was more than happy to oblige. He said the dog's name was "Boss".

Boss and his owner

By then, I had reached the end of the shopping area, but I also found a small building with several yukata shops, and there I was able to find something I think my girlfriend will like. So then I stopped at a Starbucks and got a mango drink and relaxed. On the way back I looked for gifts for other people, or things that I liked, but I didn't find anything too special.

When I was done shopping at Yokohama and it was still early, I decided to go to Akihabara, since the train ran right from near our hostel to the electronics town. It took maybe 45 min because there was a lot of stops. It was pretty impressive the selection of gadgets that can be found. Everything that you could find at a Best Buy was here, TVs, cameras, MP3 players, computers. I even found one store that had the sort of stuff you'd look for at radio shack, tons of tools and small parts and LEDs and such, but it was much much bigger than radio shack.

There was also several old/used game stores with a ton of old games. One store not only sold original Famicoms (the Japanese NES), but it sold Famicom emulator machines for less, and even a famicom adapter that fit into your DS lite's GBA slot and played Famicom games. It was pretty amazing, but it was 50$, and Famicom cartridges are different than the American NES ones I have I believe.

After I was done looking around, I started heading back and noticed a sign in the window of a store I had already went to:

Guitar Hero On Tour sign in Akihabra

Our game, which was only released in America, was apparently imported by a store here. I went in to see for myself.

The only two copies the store had

I found it up on the 4th floor with other games in English. I asked the store clerk for more information, and he said these were the only two copies this store had, and maybe only 2 or 3 other stores in Akihabara would carry something like this. But since I have been in Japan since before it released, this is the first time I've seen the finished product on shelves. It was more expensive of course since it had been imported, it was running for 7100 yen, or about $66.

After that I headed back to Yokohama and bought a cheap duffel bag to make traveling easier tomorrow. Gonna be a long trip to Sapporo.