Akihabara (Akiba), Tokyo’s electronics center, is always full of surprises.
First of all, visitors seem predominately male and, it has to be said, somewhat nerdy, herding around in small, nervous groups in the Japanese equivalents of anoraks.
Then there are the maids in their frilly skirts and long stockings touting cutely for business in “Maid Cafes” alongside their older and more worldly massage parlor sisters. (Note: no fliers for foreigners).
Next on the “Wow Scale” are the huge posters of sweaty, panting manga princesses with comically large breasts and eyes, both physical features Japanese women are not normally known for except in the escapist, unreal world of anime and comics.
Turkish kebab shops are another head-turner in Akihabara. There’s lots of them.
But when many of Akiba’s day-trippers are lads from out of town and foreign geeks and gorkers, there’s really not that much time to sit down and chow.
Akihabara is not yet known for its cuisine, though a few ramen shops had queues forming when we last visited.
However the biggest surprise of our latest trip to Akihabara were the upskirt warning signs on the escalators in Akihabara Station. Women in mini-skirts beware for the geeks with cell phone cameras want to shoot up your dress. If you spot one phone 110.