I must admit, I didn’t take many photos on July 1st. And most of what I did take, I can’t post here. The Modern Art Museum in Tokyo allows photos (very cool!), but they do not allow posting or public use due to copyright laws. I do recommend the museum to art lovers: it’s not huge, but the admission is cheap (about $4) and they have interesting paintings and photos.
A lot of the art was very similar to Western styles. You can very much see the influence of European and American artists on the Japanese artists of the 1800’s and 1900’s! Even a non-art-expert like me could feel it, and my Turkish friend from the hostel (minoring in art, if I remember) confirmed my suspicions.
Later in the day I went by Akihabara, an area on the east side of Central Tokyo with 10,573 shops: electronics, anime, appliances, manga, hobbies, maid cafes, pachinko parlors, and more. Pachinko is a kind of somewhat-legal gambling, where you win dumb prizes that you sell back for money in a shop next door (at least so I read in a guidebook). I guess it’s about as exciting as slot machines (woo… hoo?).
I was trying to be discreet by not photographing any people in the pachinko parlor, but I still just got one this one photo before being yelled at. “No photo, no photo!”
By the way, what’s a maid cafe, you ask? One of the many things I didn’t try: it’s a cafe where the waitresses are dressed up like pre-teen hookers. They stand on the street handing out flyers, wearing high heels and fishnets, short skirts flying as they giggle with the foreign guys they lure in. I’m pretty much against such things, so I’m glad no one dragged me to one. Though I am curious, (ahem), purely from a societal-interest standpoint.
That photo changed the subject right quick, didn’t it? Okay, so electronics are not super cheap in Japan, but you can find absolutely anything. Prices are a wee bit higher than the US, but probably below Europe.
I particularly liked this sign: “Cool Old Dude” – “I Love Akiba”
A nearby shop brought back reminders of childhood. It was filled with plastic and pewter models of giant humanoid robots. Anyone remember Voltron?
One thing that impresses me about Japan is the variety of beer. Sure, the standard beers aren’t that exciting. But for about $3-4 a bottle, you can get micro-brewed beer of all different varieties. Made in Japan, no less!
I tried a stout a few days ago that was a bit like Mackeson, one of my favorites. Today, however, I went for nigori sake, a cloudy/unfiltered sweet sake. Delicious!
Tomorrow’s post is one you won’t want to miss. I learn street photography from Alfie Goodrich, one of the most-known (and I think most-talented) photographers in Japan. Sign up with the orange RSS or Email buttons in the left sidebar to be notified when the post is up!