Chiba Days #6 - Side Trip to Akiba

Hello everyone and welcome to another chapter of Chiba Days. Recently, my mouse has started to act up by intermittently double-clicking every time I clicked on the left mouse button. Despite my best efforts, I could not muster a working solution short of prying open my beloved Logitech G603. Instead, I needed a replacement mouse to take the place of my now 4 year old wireless workhorse and where better to get my fix then a quick trip to Akihabara?

Starving and cold, I was initially hesitant to pay a visit to Akihabara and contemplated just heading home straight. But, the weather that day was good and I was certain I would regret the opportunity to pay a visit to Akiba. As such, I got on the Tsukuba Express and three stops later, I was at Akihabara station. The first order of business? To get some food!

My of my favorite eatery establishments in Akiba is Keisuke's Tori King Ramen which I almost always stop by whenever I am in Akiba. It is one of the few ramen shops which serve chicken broth ramen and is never too packed (read: tourist trap) on the weekdays. This particular season, the shop was having a collaboration with New Game offering a special New Game menu and the chance to get your hands on some New Game ramen bowls. 

The New Game menu in question was a mince meat tomato broth tsukumen. Rather than going for that, I opted to go for the tried and tested Tori King Ramen which the shop is primarily known for. I did, however, get myself a New Game post card featuring Aoba for free. I wonder if the other shops feature the other characters?

There were two types of bowls to collect. One smaller, single color bowl with each of the main character and another larger full color bowl with all the characters printed in full color. 

With my belly filled, it was time to hit the road and complete my main objective. Along the way, I did stop at several figure stores for a quick look. All the while, keeping a keen eye out for an electronics store which would have the type of peripherals that I would looking for. This is when I stumbled upon Sofmap's dedicated PC section which has been recently renovated. Looking bright and shiny and sporting what appeared to be a gaming section, I decided to give this lot a shot. 

While everything may look rather benign from the outside, nothing and I do mean absolutely nothing could prepare me for what was inside. For the past few years that I have visited Tokyo and by extension, Akiba, the PC gaming scene in Japan had often been mediocre at best. Certain electronic stores like Bic Camera, Sofmap of Yodobashi Camera would have a small section dedicated to PC and gaming parts. But, the selection was often poor and expensive.

But this, this was a whole other ball park with what I can only describe as PC gaming haven even to the most seasoned system builders. And not the Japanese variant of PC gaming with focus on eroge and visual novels but, the proper overclocking and benchmarking enthusiasts breed of PC gaming. Every major brand, Eastern or Western were accounted for. Logitech (in this case, Logicool), Corsair, Cooler Master, Razer, SteelSeries, Mionix, Thermaltake, Topre, Filco, you name it, they had it. The sheer spread of brands and models had me absolutely speechless and flabbergasted. As a self-professed Logitech fan, you can imaging my amazement to find not just one but three dedicated Logicool G Series product booths!

I had never seen these many gaming mice lined up in all my years of PC building.
What's more, Sofmap's selection was not just limited to PC peripherals. That was merely the tip of the iceberg, as the floors above and sections deeper in were home to some serious components. AMD's' Threadripper? Intel's Core i9-X Series? They all can be yours for a very reasonable price. If individual components is too daunting for you, Sofmap even has a pre-built section with gaming rigs and notebooks catering to all budgets and sizes. I was even pleasantly surprised to find a proper m-ATX gaming rig sold at a very modest price!

Funnily enough, almost every monitor was displaying the trailer for FFXV's Windows Edition. Needless to say, I approve.
I never thought the day would come where I consider Tokyo to be the best place for a PC gamer to live (next to Taiwan) but, there you have it. The market for enthusiasts-grade PC parts only continues to grow in Japan and is something I have consistently noticed with every visit over the years. While Japan may not be just there yet, I do foresee some incredible things coming from the PC gaming community of Japan in the coming years.

A new Madoka Magica pachinko game anyone?
If I had one gripe about Sofmap's Gaming Zone, it would be the rather comical amount of security implemented for the items in store. Almost every peripheral was strapped tightly with an independent electronic anti-theft sensor and this caused most, if not all, the boxes to suffer from some form of damage. But, I can empathize with their decision to do so. In a country where mice often costs no more than 2,000 Yen, it is not a surprise to see them secure something which costs several times more. All a matter of relativity you see?

With my main objective complete, I set out to head back towards the main station. But not before I paid a quick visit to K-Books' Nesoberi Corner in Radio Kaikan. They hold one of the largest stock of Nesoberi(s) in Akihabara including some very rare pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to find they had restocked on their Love Live Nesoberi(s) since my last visit and, now, with a good number of Muse Nesoberi added to the mix.

Alas, I was not able to find the Nesoberi Pajamas Eli which I have been hunting for close to a year now. Although I did manage to find a few other members in their pajamas variant including Honoka, Umi and Maki, which did make me consider the brief thought of collecting them all. Do take note that K-Books does sell their Nesoberi at a significant mark-up so, it is best to only get your Nesoberi there if what you are looking for is very rare. Otherwise, other stores may serve you better with prices nearly half of what is on offer here.

With daylight rapidly fading, I decided it was time for me to be on my way before it got to dark. From Akihabara to Chiba, the commute would take roughly half an hour with another twenty minutes of walking. Moreover, there was little point in me staying on longer as I had accomplished what I had set out to do. No Eli this time but, I am certainly not giving up anytime soon!

With that, we come to the end of my little side adventure to Akiba. There is a typhoon approaching Tokyo over the weekend and that means I would have to hunker down over the weekend while waiting for the storm to pass. Until then, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!

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