You know when you travel by plane and you’re waiting at the carousel to pick up your suitcase and they all look the same? Well, those days are over with the release of this awesome looking suitcase.
The suitcase resembles a giant Nintendo Gameboy and is being released by Think Geek. It’s part of their “Travel Boy Carry-On Luggage” and has the right dimensions to take on the plane with you to stow away. Throw in ample zipper compartments, a 3 digit wheel security lock and wheels that swivel and you’re looking at the complete package.
Any Otakus visiting Japan must go past Akihabara. I’ve been fortunate enough to have gone a few times during our two trips to Japan and I can vouch for the eye opening experience it is. The whole district is one big oasis for anything and everything relating to modern Japanese pop culture. There are literally endless shops filled with anime, manga, video games, J-Pop music and tons more. Electronics fans are also catered for with a vast array and selection for any parts you may need or want to pick up on the cheap compared to most other countries. The further away you get from the train station, the smaller shops become but this is offset by the bigger bargains you will find. The streets themselves are filled with the kind of people you’d expect as well with their trendy outfits sporting their favourite characters on them and not just restricted to the youth. You’ll also find grown men and women especially in many cafes from Starbucks to Excelsior Caffé, having multiplayer games on their PSP’s and DS’s. On the first trip, Laucha and I walked into an Excelsior Caffé and were met by at least 6 different groups of 4 at separate tables all paying Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, this was before 3rd came out. I was really astounded by the tight knit group that these gamers have found for themselves with like minded people. Upon coming back to Australia I tried, via the Official Australia Playstation forums, to start what I called a Hunter Party, with no success. It saddens me to think that in my home country, it seemed that no one wanted to meet in real life, for some like minded social interaction. Oh well.
Akihabara has a whole swathe of cheap, second hand game stores such as Traders and Super Potato. During the second trip, on our last night, I went to Akihabara with my sister intent on seeing Super Potato one last time. However they close like clockwork at 8PM which was right when we got there 🙁 Shattered but not defeated I suggested a brief walk around to see what else we might find, which turned out to be a great idea as I came across the aforementioned Traders. A second hand store dealing in more modern games and handheld consoles, I found the Nintendo DS section and found what I had been looking for. Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars! For those in the dark, these play out like a brawl game but with anime and manga characters, this game will never be released in Australia or anywhere else due to the licensing nightmare that would ensue. In Japan, all the major rights are owned by just one player, Shonen, whereas in Australia, as with most other parts of the world, they’re owned by various different companies. This means that all the copyright owners would have to sit down and discuss money, how the character would be used and so forth. Too hard and and just not viable for the small market it would attract despite that these two games are host to some of the best gaming ever produced 🙂
Super Potato is a store that I see constantly mentioned by visitors to Japan and for good reason. Unless someone can prove otherwise, I am confident in saying that it is the best retro game store I have ever laid eyes on. It’s where I picked up three of my treasures. My mint copy of Rez for the Sega Dreamcast, a brand new never opened Visual Memory Unit for the DS and the platinum pack for Metal Gear Solid back on the PSX with all the goodies intact from the dog tags to the t shirt, soundtrack and artbook. All this rarity for $40AUD!!! Bargain 🙂 They have a floor dedicated to Nintendo, Sega and various other consoles and handhelds. There is literally nothing from yesteryear that they don’t have and it’s all in mint condition. The Japanese gamers know how to look after their stuff.
There are expensive stores as well and they’re usually the real glitzy ones that you can spot a mile away but for the most part everything, price wise, is within reach for the everyday gamer, considering how exclusive some items were. There’s definitely bargains to be had, but bring comfortable shoes as there’s a ton of walking to be had!
One of the other unique features in Akihabara are the Maid cafes where you can have a meal and the maids dote over you and power up your food with cries of “Moe Moe, Kyun, Kyun!” They do speak some English but we had very little problem navigating the menu and ordering food. The maids are very animated and speak in high pitch voices as they do in the animes so it isn’t for everyone! They do charge by how long you stay there as well, but 1 hour should be heaps of time to eat, talk, interact with the maids and if you like, have your picture taken with a maid of your choice which makes a great souvenir. You can take pics of your food however you can’t take pics of the inside or of the maids. We only went to Maidreamin’ which is on busy Chuo Dori, the main street, there are others but be wary, as some of the maids aren’t there to serve you food but to offer you…services. But they’re usually pretty obvious by the flyers they’re handing out.
Akihabara at night is a must visit as well, with it’s multitude of neon signs and the bright lights illuminating massive billboards advertising anime and new games. It truly is a unique experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world with heaps to buy and see, so bring your extra deep pockets. For me personally, things I want to buy next time I’m there would be the Cloud Black PS3 edition which isn’t cheap but looks beautiful and the Ouendan games for the DS or as it’s called in the West, Elite Beat Agents. It wasn’t until I saw through my pics that I realised the PS3 was in of the shops I had walked through…never mind, there’s always a next time!
Check the gallery below for my pics of Akihabara that I constantly look at 🙂 Before we know it, we’ll be back there with more pics and goodies! There’s also a video I shot on my camera of Akihabara at night where you can Club Sega and the Akihabara train station overpass which seems to be in quite a few animes.
One of the more cooler things I got to experience in Japan was a bar that I had heard about but had no idea where it was. Called the Game Bar A Button in Akihabara, the pics I had seen of it looked cool and very much my kind of bar. I was lucky enough to hook up with a friend of mine in Japan who was going there to film an event and asked if I wanted to tag along…as if I was going to say no?!?!? Pics below…
Tons and tons of controllers from all generations…
Some controllers and consoles I had never seen or heard of 🙂
These were not nailed or glued down and no one steals them!! Try doing that in Melbourne before some console geek makes a break for it 🙁
Manga that you can help yourself to as long as you can the local tongue 🙂
You had me at Dreamcast…
And the reason why we were all there…for Kikuta San! For the uninitiated, Kikuta San is responsible for the score to Secret of Mana on SNES amongst mnay others, one of the most highly revered RPG’s ever. He’s one of the most in demand and constantly busy composers in Japan and he makes time for his fans by posting where he’s making his announcements on his blog! Who else, big name musician, connects with their fans in such an intimate, and without fanfare, setting??
What I was dying over though was to the right of Kikuta San…that’s right…that’s a development Dreamcast. Looks like a PC probably because it ran Windows CE but that, along with Kikuta San, was a MASSIVE highlight. Shout outs to Hiroaki Yura, Director of the Eminence Symphony Orchestra, who made time to hang with me…the best trip so far 🙂
I think I might end up posting more of my pics from Japan now that I have the posting bug…there’s tons in interesting pics I have in my collection 🙂
>You asked for it and waited patiently (thank you for that) so here in this post, you’ll find Japandaman’s impressions, pics and videos of the recent Tokyo Game Show 2010 🙂
The Kahim Makuhari station where the Makuhari Messe hall is, where TGS was staged. This station was about a 20 minute ride from Tokyo station and that was on the express line or else you’d be up for a leisurely 35 min ride, as I found out with Laucha, on the way back.
Straight away we knew we were in for a different experience…this was taken at the train station when we had just gotten there and it was run by Capcom. How often do you see a game company running anything at your train station???
A row of banners advertising the gaming goodness that waited inside 🙂
Hmm…Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood…looking good, the recent mutiplayer beta on PSN was pretty impressive as well.
Wide shot of the Makuhari Meese Hall in easily 30+ degrees weather…the Laucha and I were sweating profusely needless to say by this point.
The shrine that is the Tokyo Game Show 2010
Gamania had a cool booth inside which I think I got pics of but their freebie bag was pretty big as well. I don’t know how I managed to fit it into my suitcase.
Not sure which booth this was but I remember thinking the graphics were very colourful and vivid!
Xbox 360 demonstrating what will likely be a Japan only game…it did look pretty crazy and will likely induce an epileptic fit just by looking at the case the game comes in…the screen action was very hectic!!
A personal fave of mine…Monster Hunter Portable 3rd for the Sony PSP…actors dressed as Felynes? Nice touch, Capcom 🙂
A Felyne with its handler 😉
Sora from the Kingdom Hearts Universe
Back in the days when Square was still called Squaresoft.
Some upcoming games…can’t wait for KH: Re-coded…looked great! And The 3rd Birthday following on in the Parasite Eve series is eagerly awaited…who doesn’t love Parasite Eve?? The 3rd Birthday will be a PSP exclusive, trailer below.
Konami booth but no Solid Snake 🙁 Sega in the background, got a great booklet from Sega with a dvd which I still have to view.
Another colourful booth who’s name eludes me…
Taking a break from all the excitement. Laucha and I decided to grab some lunch followed by a new experience…ice cream from a vending machine. We can personally vouch for the strawberry one and the chocolate swirl…delicious!!
A few may notive that the TGS looks empty, that’s because we went on one of the press days meaning it’s closed to the public. There were still people there but not as many as the public days which my pics below will attest to.
This was there on the first of the two, open to public days…people were clamouring to take pics so of course I joined the masses and started snapping 🙂
Further up, leading to the hall, was this mascot from an IT supplier shop that had a temporary booth nearby. Big suit, in 34 degree heat? Yeah, I’d be smiling too…
The very long walk from the station to the Makuhari Messe Hall with no shade in the sun was painful but at least there was pretty scenery 🙂
This is what I meant by the huge crowds on the public days…the queue in the background…imagine that times 5 times as long!!
More queues and I honestly didn’t have the strength to wait, by myself, in the heat for God knows how long to get it. I’m not too fussed though, it’s not like I won’t be going to another TGS in the future and the next will one hopefully have some sweet 3DS games 🙂
Farewell Makuhari Messe for this year and thus began the long trek back to Kahim Makuhari station. I think I may have more pics from my camera as these are all from my iPhone. Will double check and make a new post after this one soon also with videos especially the Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 footage *drool*
>I haven’t crawled up and gone to sleep under a rock but I did spend 11 days with my family in Japan!! Spending most of our time in Tokyo, Asakusa and 2 days in Kyoto and Osaka…a major highlight was gaining entry to the Tokyo Game Show using a press pass. Not a scalped or forgery but a real one from my work with aussie-gamer.com, thanks Gamer!! Some pics below and more pics to follow 🙂
Kahim Makuhari station. The hall where TGS was held was a stone’s throw away 🙂
Banners with featured games, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, a big highlight for the PSP.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood…looking tasty!!
A far off shot leading up to the hall…keen spotter will note the dark corners on the top of the pic…never take pics with your iphone in a case!! Lesson learnt 🙂
Shot of the logo for this year’s event…I bought a t shirt with a similar logo on it which a lot of the Japanese kept commenting on days after the event.
Gamania had an awesome booth inside the hall, pics soon in next post. I did have an interview arranged with them but it was on one of the open to the public days…biiiiig mistake as half of Japan was there and entry was impossible 🙁
Xbox 360 had a massive booth, as you do, and this game looked impressive. Didn’t play it but I remember watching it with my mouth open!!
From memory, I think this may have been the Gamania booth as they’re a pc only developer which I am not but their games did look really sweet.