Akihabara: Tokyo’s Nerd Central

akihabara tokyo

Japan has such a strong culture of nerdy behavior that they actually have a specific word referring to “a young person obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture, to the detriment of their social skills”. That word is otaku, and this is where they come to fulfill their deepest nerd fantasies.

Akihabara is the legendary nerd central of Tokyo, offering something for each specific type of otaku. There are huge department stores devoted to life-size replicas of cartoon animals, collectible figurines and games; themed cafés celebrating beloved anime series as well as some wonderful animal cafés; and endless lines of colorful manga and toy shops. A very nerdy dream come true.

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I’ve always considered myself an honorary nerd, but I was in no way prepared for the amount of excitement this neighborhood awakened in me. I basically went insane inside the legendary Mandarake store, and ended up buying an original Tamagotchi from 1997. I named him Winston.

I was certain we would be best friends forever, but apparently it was not meant to be. Our shared life came to a quick halt when I tired of him constantly yelling at me in Japanese and decided to turn him off. Winston now lives in a small cupboard in my kitchen, still turned off.

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