Tokyo Adventures: Akihabara, Square-Enix Cafe
Let's talk about Akihabara!
If you don't know about Akihabara, it's usually described as a nerd's paradise. Anime, manga, video games, retro games, retro cartoons, arcades...and it's just building after building of it. I don't know how big the 'nerdy' area is, but I walked probably 20 minutes from what can be perceived as end-to-end. All these buildings have maybe 6-10 levels, each dedicated to something different (action figures, manga, sometimes different genres or anime), so it's not really the length that makes it so overwhelming, it's the height. They're usually all super packed because of both how many people there are, and how much stuff they fit into these buildings. There's also a few cafes, the most interesting one being the Square-Enix cafe, which I'll talk about later in this blog.
A lot of shops have the same stuff, so if you're looking for deals, be prepared to look a lot. I'm not very interested in 'new' stuff, even if it's super cool, like the recently released Xenogears figures. I focus almost entirely on finding old figurines from the 90s and early 2000s, and usually only Final Fantasy figurines. However, I do buy cool home stuff, so my apartment right now is pretty stacked. Up above is all that new stuff, the pictures down below are some of the retro stuff!
I used to have street sharks and was tempted to get the whale. You can put water in it and use it as a water gun heh. ZOIDS used to be a weakness of mine too, but after finally buying two and then never bothering to put the model together...I don't care so much anymore. Still cool to look at!
The two things I ended up buying from nerd paradise (one from Akihabara, one from a street a bit farther away) was this chocobo cup (which is now my favorite cup) and this absolutely sick Diablos figure.
So now for the Square Enix cafe, which I know many people are interested in. This is the second cafe Square has built (I'm pretty sure). I talked about the first one in a previous blog, and the third one is the Eorzea cafe, which is extremely difficult to get into without a reservation a month in advance. So this is the 'middle' one. Still popular, but not so much that trying to drop by on a weekday won't sometimes net you a seat.
When I went to Tokyo two years ago for literally 48 hours, I made sure to try and visit this cafe. Luckily, being a solo traveler, I was able to get a seat. It was amazing. The food was great, and they were celebrating the FF9 remaster release. This time around was...not as cool, sad to say.
I went with two people so we had a variety of food, and the only person who ended up being happy with their meal was me. I got the dumplings (pictured above) which were both cute and delicious, along with a grape drink and a jello dessert (which was not that great). The other two people got a curry dish and a noodle dish, and both were disappointing. But besides the food problems, the real problem was that it was just all FFXIV or Kingdom Hearts III (or Dragon Quest). They have the Eorzea cafe, why theme this as FFXIV and not all FFs? And Kingdom Hearts III, which was a huge disappointment of a game. With the FF8 remaster announced, I was really hoping for FF8 stuff...but nope.
I'm sure people will ask "is it worth going to then?", and to that...I think the answer is still "yes" if you're a Square fan. It's an experience and one of the better themed cafes out there in terms of food quality and variety. I had an amazing experience one year, and an okay one the next, so chances are you're still going to have a good time.
The next blog will be the final one! I'll be talking about a whiskey library, and a smaller but more retro-focused market!