Sushi, geisha, shrines, Godzilla and Mt.Fuji aside, Akihabara represents what the rest of this planet associate Japan with – technology. Formerly known as Aioi, the quarters of the lower class samurais, the district changed its name when a shrine was built in the area in honor of Akiba-daigongen, or some refer to as Akiba-sama, a Buddhist god who prevented fire, by adding the word “hara” to the deity’s name.
How Akihabara became the mecca for technology can be traced after World War II as a black market when electrical shops started selling vacuum tubes and radio goods to a nearby technical school. At present, even in the advent of China’s technological prepotency, Akihabara is the centre to be for a glimpse of modern Japan with more than 250 shops in bright neon lights bustling with what is the latest in the market.
Otaku is a Japanese term for people with passionate interests particularly in anime and manga. Its modern use is a reference to geeks. If you are one of us, consider Akihabara as your wonderland. From technology and gadget mecca, Akibahara has also evolved into a manga paradise over the years. Anime goods, video games, cards, toys, cosplay items, even robots and any other manga merchandise you can think of are found here, including those considered with parental guidance.
Communication is always our challenge in Japan. While most shop owners in Akihabara speak a bit of English, Chinese or Korean, an ingenious way to help yourself shop around is writing on a piece of paper the merchandise you are hunting for especially not knowing the equivalent Nihonggo or Kanji of the English name. Hubby, as a matter of fact, had to write down “Ghost in a Shell” for his souvenir and the shop owner had that checked on the internet. See, technology comes in handy, especially in Akihabara.