WELL, HERE IT IS -- THE ADULT'S ONLY SECTION OF THE AKIHABARA CITY GUIDE. Every entity and organization in the Universe has a dark side, and in the case of Akihabara, the town has dark side in spades -- an almost pervasive quality of darkness. It is kind of not surprising, that a troubled young x Kato used Akihabara's crowded streets as his backdrop for mass murder, earlier in 2008. That massacre just added a veneer to the dark coat which is already plied on thick, to this part of downtown Tokyo. If that is the sort of thing to turn you on, you won't be disappointed. Walking the streets of Akihabara is like a dream come true for lovers of Japanese hentai entertainment.
It has been said by many people that Japan is one of the wierdest countries in the world. Having lived here for five years, I heartily concur. Tokyo is in turn the wierdest city in Japan, and Akihabara is probably the wierdest suburb of Tokyo. So if you like to see crazy sheet like whole department stores dedicated hardcore pr0n, Akihabara is your place. But it gets even wierder than that. Last weekend I noticed a new billboard at Akihabara Station. On first glimpse I thought they were spruiking a new maid cafe, or a place where the waitresses dress up as anime stars. But no, that would be too normal. The billboard was advertising an anime themed hostess bar/cathouse/brothel. But wait, it gets even wierder still. It turns out that none of the hostesses/prostitutes at this "cafe" are real. They are dolls. Patrons can shell out to spend the night with a doll! Is that f0*cked up or what? Anyway, the place is called Doll@Cafe, and I will be describing it in more detail below.
One Japan watcher who has consumed his fair share of hentai comics has observed: "The shit that I noticed the most was not the obsession with fluids or the many underaged children, what I notice is that the characters are just totally surrounded by huge clouds of sound effects. Not only that, but they have sound effects for things that are quiet in real life. Vaginas in particular are incredibly noisy. They can go kuchu or puchu or bicho or jun jun. Basically they just never shut up."
Anyway, here is a glimpse of some of the adult outlets and hentai themed establishments in Akihabara. It is just a glimpse of what is out there mind you, but a good start nonetheless:
(5th floor Hashikatsu Honten Building, 3-1-15 Soto Kanda.)
Time to time in Akihabara, you will come across something truly bizarre -- truly hentai. Battle is one of these places. The sign in the photo here says "Battle Catfight -- men & women pro wrestling". Battle proclaims itself to be a Pro Wrestling Shop, but there is much more to the place than that. As Harmful, a man well acquainted with the seedier sides of Tokyo, said: "Another one of those find-the-tiny-folding-sign-and-go-in-the-anonymous-looking-doorway-and-up-the-elevator deals. Battle is on the 5th floor.but -- lucky you! it is sandwiched between 2 other fetish stores! on the 4th is SPORTS FETISH store, where you can get videos of naked volleyball and pictures of old gym shorts, and 6th floor is FETISH WORLD.
FETISH WORLD is sort of a grab-bag of weird-for-the-sake-of-weird depravity, with a general focus on feet and trampling..."
Battle is open from 11am to 10pm.
Cheap Bastard, a porn purveyor who has certainly left a mark on Akihabara, said this regarding Brainstorm: "On the street there was a vending machine with a Pepsi can display that had Pepsiman on it. For the unenlightened, Pepsiman is one of the primeval gods of Akihabara. When people are in distress, he appears and delivers Pepsi to them with a Schwaaa! Anyhow, Verge wanted a holy relic, and thought a Pepsi can with the deity himself on it would be an excellent find. He could put it on his shelf back home, right next to the can of corn soup he got from another vending machine. Sadly, when he put his tithe in the machine, all that emerged was a regular Pepsi can. Those rat bastards, have they no heart?! Why am I talking about this anyway? Okay... Uh, take the stairs up to the 2nd floor, where they sell regular and hentai manga and magazines. Going up to the 3rd floor, they sell doujinshi, doujinshi soft, doujinshi goods, some live-action porn, and some other hentai anime-type shit. It's all retail price."
(3-1-11 Soto Kanda, in warren of small streets off Chuo Dori.)
Phone: 03/3258 8280. Web: http://www.cosmate.net. Map: http://www.cosmate.net/akihabara.htm.
As the company website claimed: "メイド、アニメ系コスチュームならここにお任せの、コスメイト！"
This is Cosplay on an epic scale!
If maid costumes and high school girls in leotards do it for you, then this is your place.
Actually, there are three places -- the address and phone number listed above belongs to the new store, which opened recently. They are basically stores selling the company brand of costumes, and from the rather gruff reception I got when I tried to enter one of the shops last month, that they don't care too much for strangers walking in off the street, just to check out the merchandise. This place is for serious fetishists only!
What's cool is that you don't even have to visit the store to buy that leotard or maid outfit -- you can order off their website! There is for example an アトランタブルー ("Atlanta Blue") number retailing at the moment for 7800 Yen. I am not sure if they do deliveries overseas, but you could always try!
(5th floor Akihabara Center Building, 1-6-7 Soto Kanda.)
Phone: 03/3251 5865. Web: http://www.doll-cafe.net. Map: http://www.doll-cafe.net/html/access.htm.
If Akihabara is the wierdest part of Tokyo, then Doll@Cafe is probably the wierdest part of Akihabara. Located on the fifth floor of Akihabara Center, Doll@Cafe is not actually a cafe but rather what they would call in England a "place of ill repute". That's right it is a brothel, a whorehouse! But here's the catch -- at Doll@Cafe there are no females, at least human females at least (with blood in their veins.) At Doll@Cafe all the ladies are lifesize dolls. I admit, some of them look cute -- see some more pictures here. But for the life of me I just can't understand why people would shell out money -- and this case a lot of money -- to sleep with a doll. For that amount of money they could purchase a real hooker. It is obvious therefore that some Japanese men would rather make love to a doll than to a woman. It is just too strange for words (but such is the nature of Japan!)
Like love hotels, there are two options -- the short stay (euphemistically called a "rest", although we all know that short Japanese love hotel stays are anything but restful), and the overnighter (at this establishment they call it the "night course".)
It's cool to take photos of yourself with the dolls, and you can also dress them up in whatever turns you on -- school uniforms and maid costumes seem to be particularly popular.
The dolls are specifically made for love and weigh in at around 26 to 28 kilograms, and are 140cm to 150cm tall when standing. A night of passion with one of them will set you back 22,000 Yen (around US$250). If you want a quick rumble then a 45 minute session will cost you only 10,000 Yen.
Want to experience modern sex Japanese style -- Doll@Cafe is the place for you!
But if real women are more to your taste, then perhaps you ought to head to Thailand!
Narrow seems to be the word to describe this needle-thin orange building, sandwiched between LAOX and Sega on Chou Dori near Akihabara Station. Not only is the building narrow, but the aisles are very narrow as well. Apart from that, it is stacked with anime pr0n -- adult videos or AV's as they are called in the trade. As tenwforty pointed out on AsiaScreens.com: "Two doors to the left of Rocket Soft is Lammtarra, which has an excellent selection of AV titles (including a lot of lesser-known labels) but has incredibly narrow aisles."
I personally find this an interesting store, though I am no hentai (the word roughly translates as "pervert" in Engliah.) As you head up the stairs (which are narrow, like everything else in the building) the vidoes and DVDs become progressively more hardcore. On the first and second floors it is fairly innocent enough -- lot of cute girls in school uniforms or maid outfits, a lot of lesbian action, tongues interlocking, bodies erupting in wild passion... The stairs go on, ever up. By the time you stumble out on to the fifth floor, things have gone too far, as far as I am concerned -- here it is almost exclusively girls with animals, girls chained up with the dogs which will no doubt be doing her in the video, sex in the stables. The amusing thing is, though this is probably the hardest of the hardcore porn, the customers look respectable enough -- salarymen on their lunch break and young students. Ahhhh... such is the paradox of Japan. Innocent but yet kinky -- and they don't even know how kinky they are. That's why I love Japan!
Interestingly, on the top of all this filth, there is a maid cafe called Lamm Maid Cafe. If you want to read about it, click here.
Laox Asobit C.
Phone: 03/3257 2590. Web: www.laox.co.jp/english/laox_store/asobit_c.html. Map: http://www.laox.co.jp/english/images/map.gif.
The "C" in this department store name means "character", and we are not talking about Chinese characters here! Incidentally, "Asobit" is a play on words combining the Japanese for play (asobi) and the bit from bits and bytes fame. Semantics aside, however, this is one serious repository of anime paraphanalia. In the basement you will find the adult publications such as comics, novels (literary and adult-themed novels as well as books based on games), magazines and Gachapon. This is truly adults' only territory -- people under 18 will not be allowed down the stairs or out of the lift. Things are a bit more family-minded on the first floor, which is devoted to trading figures, miniatures, collectable sets, fancy characters and character-based publications and DVD's. The second floor is filled with new character figurines, Gundam plastic models, paints, and relared publications and DVD's. The third floor is the "Anime Character Floor" and features the likes of Microman, Pokemon, Transformers, Zoids, and American toys. There are also goodies for the girls. The fourth floor is devoted to special effects and heroes, with Masked Rider, Godzilla, Ultraman and company filling the shelves.
The highlight of the building, in my opinion, is the fifth floor. This is where (as I described in lurid detail somewhere above) I stumbled upon a row of lifesize anime dolls and maids with US$6000 price tags. The floor also includes blister figures and smaller dolls, as well as plenty of costumes.
This place is only two doors from the equally notorious Battle, described in lurid detail above.
If you want to get emails from a guy pretending to be a girl pretending to be your girlfriend, visit this site. Miharu is in fact a fictional "Akihiaba style idol", and she is always dressed in that great sexual fetish of the Japanese mind -- a high school uniform. Basically the idea is you give Miharu your cellphone address and she will send you childish but rauncy and suggestive emails (I am not sure foreign email addresses are okay -- if your computer displays Japanese writing and you can read Japanese writing, you might as well give it a try.) As I said before, one of the male Japanese friends used to work at this kind of company, pretending to be a girl. Therefore Miharu wouldn't work for me because I could never believe that she was a real girl. If you one of those people who can suspend disbelief and believe the impossible, you might get turned on by Miharu. If you are in Tokyo you might also catch her in public -- I saw two of her at Harajuku today, dressed in her famous maid costume (see the picture above!)
Pop Life Department.m's:.
It's basically a sex goods emporium. I am not game enough to take photos inside but if you want to see how it looks, click here.
Cheap Bastard pointed out on his guide (mostly dedicated to porn): "This is a four-floor store that sells all sorts of pornographic shit. Funny, I didn't see any hentai manga, although they did have hentai anime. Anyhow, this used to be where a video store called Rocket Soft once lived, although that's not why I've included it in this guide. No, I've included it because of the surreal experience I had there. The store opened recently (recently meaning way back in May, damn I've been lazy about updating this section), and being a Curious Bastard I decided to see what was what. It was after working hours, so I found myself in a store full of young and middle-aged businessmen poring over, well, porn. This whole scene of salarymen earnestly scrutinizing various dildos, whips, riding crops, panties, and other accessories quite frankly scared the beejezus out of me. Having visited each floor briefly, I quickly departed this palatial proprietor of pr0n."
It should be noted that it is not only men who get into the costumes and sex aids at M's Shop. The adult convenience store manages to sell a lot of sexy costumes to girls. "When a girl tries one on, often she asks us to take a photo of her," a store PR guy said. "There are too many customers like that, and our walls are plastered with their photos."
I am heading up to Akihabara tomorrow to check this out for myself.
Radio Hall: Next to Denki Gai exit of Akihabara Station.
Harmful is a man much like myself -- a foreigner living in Japan, a self-confessed anarchist and lover of the Scandinavian metal sound who also seems to spend a lot of time tinkering with his website. He does a pretty mean guide to Tokyo, and one of the places he recommends for tourists and travellers to visit while they are in Japan, is Akihabara's Radio Hall.
In his Akihabara tour guide, Harmful says:
"Akihabara -- call it Akiba for short -- is on the JR Yamanote line. Go out the "Akihabara Electric Town" (Denki Gai)exit, and then GO LEFT once the machine eats your ticket. once you get to the door, turn RIGHT. you are now, hopefully, standing outside and shaking your head in bewilderment at the 1,000,000 billboards that plaster every square inch. quick, look at your ass! It has an ad on it now, doesn't it? how do they DO that??? anyway, if you look to your right, you will see a huge yellow neon sign on the opposite side of the street. the sign is saying: ラジオ会館 （radio hall)
(pronounced Rah-jee-oh kai-kann.)
This is like THE toy store. go up the escalator.
2F: Star Wars / Western toys and figures, as well as a hundred models of construction equipment, cranes, etc.
3F: Porn and Manga.
4F: just an INSANE amount of tiny stores selling TINY toys.
5F: merely a "regular" computer store.
6F: THE PAYOFF. VOLKS doll store. is just this huge place full of doll parts, doll clothes, doll eyes, and of course lots of maniacs. again, one of those places which you might not want to buy anything but it is good like a museum!"