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The otaku mainstream flows down Chuo-dori

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The otaku mainstream flows down Chuo-dori

Comic Toranoana, Akihabara 1

Soto-Kanda 4-3-1, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel. 03-5294-0123
10 AM to 10 PM every day
http://www.toranoana.jp/ (Japanese only)

@home cafe

Mitsuwa Building, 7th floor, Soto-Kanda 1-11-4, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel. 03-5294-7707
11:30 AM to 10 PM (last orders taken at 9 PM); open daily except the third Tuesday of the month
http://www.cafe-athome.com (Japanese only)

AsoBit Chara City (AsoBit C)

Soto-Kanda 1-8-8, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel. 03-3257-2590
10 AM to 10 PM daily
http://www.akibaasobit.jp/ (Japanese only)

Messe Sanoh (flagship store)

Soto-Kanda 3-14-8, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel. 03-3255-3452
10:30 AM to 8 PM Mondays through Wednesdays, 10 to 8 Thursdays and Saturdays, 10 to 9 Fridays, 10 to 7:30 Sundays and holidays
http://www.messe-sanoh.co.jp/ (Japanese only)

Rajikon Tengoku, Akihabara store

Soto-Kanda 4-4-2, 4F through 6F, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel. 03-5297-5050
12 noon to 9 PM weekdays, 11 AM to 9 PM weekends and holidays
http://rajiten.com (Japanese only)

Chuo-dori is Akihabara's main street. Most stores along this broad thoroughfare originally started in the area's back streets and moved once they found success. For a visitor, walking down this boulevard and checking its wide variety of businesses is the ideal way to truly grasp what's "in." Here is a selection of some Akihabara spots that epitomize the otaku culture of today.


Comics

...Even signed editions

Comic Toranoana (Tiger's Den) is famed for stocking a good range of dojinshi (fan-generated comics) alongside mainstream comics. The result has been that it is becoming the shop of choice for manga fans everywhere. The store estimates that they stock around 11,000 kinds of dojinshi, totalling 1.2 million copies. This includes many of the much sought-after vintage issues.
In the field of mainstream commercial manga, Comic Toranoana is known for providing customers with popular extras such as copies with original messages penned by the writers.


Maids

Tea and games

When you enter Akihabara's maid cafes, the waitresses (dressed in the caricatured costume of Western maids) greet gentlemen with the somewhat unorthodox phrase, "Okaeri nasaimase, Goshujin-sama," which translates as "Welcome home, master." At the @Home Cafe, the frilly-capped maids' motto is "providing an enjoyable time." And in the time limit of 90 minutes, customers are entertained by the maids playing small games. In some cafes the maids dress like cartoon characters, such as Minnie Mouse, and talk in high-pitched "character" voices, much to the delight of patrons.


Figua

It figures...

The fifth floor of AsoBit Chara City, called AsoBit C for short, is famous for its life-size figures. The store is full of figua (scaled-down models) of game and anime characters. It stocks between 400 and 500 different models at any given time. The attraction of a figua is the attention to detail. The popularity of a line of figua depends not only on the popularity of the character, but also on things like which manufacturer has produced it and who actually carved the prototype.


Games

Come for the extras

When a major video game is released, it isn't uncommon to find more than a hundred people queuing up outside Messe Sanoh, and it all comes down to the extras you get when making a purchase here, such as original telephone cards.
The ground floor of the flagship store is dedicated to ordinary games. The second floor is designated for female customers and has a diverse stock of games belonging to the BL (BoysLove) genre. Even the shop assistants there are women.


Radi-cons

Feel the thrill of speed

Radio-controlled cars (called rajikon in Japanese) allow you to take the wheel of otherwise unaffordable sports cars and other vehicles. At Rajikon Tengoku, which roughly translates as Radio-Controlled Heaven, the staff is keen to introduce newcomers to the world of rajikon. They host workshops to teach how to build a rajikon car from scratch and invite beginners to regularly scheduled races. They also sell second-hand rajikon, which they renovate in their own factory.




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