On the first day of January, after participating in hatsumode events at the Asakusa Senso-ji, I decided to go shopping in Akihabara for some new year’s deals. During the first week of the new year, stores in Japan have a custom where they offer Fukubukuro (福袋) which are “mystery bags” or “happiness bags” that contain discounted items. Some stores have posters which show some of the items that you can obtain, while at others it’s a complete mystery! Some of the most popular places to get them at besides Akihabara are Harajuku, Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City, and various department stores in Shibuya and Shinjuku. They usually are priced at around 円5000- 円10000, which seems expensive but are sometimes much cheaper than retail value depending on what you buy.
When I arrived at Akihabara Station, near the Electric Town exit there was a giant outdoor anime/manga goods flea market (フリーマーケット) set up with vendors galore. They featured discounted figures, DVDs, and character goods tax-free. I was impressed with their selection as it ranged from classic anime series (Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball) to some of the newer recently airing ones. The Kando shrine, which is walking distance from Akihabara, was decorated with Love Live! tags and even had an outdoor drum performance. Though I didn’t see any fukubukuro that interested me, I picked up some of the discounted figures for friends and enjoyed the lively and vibrant atmosphere.
After shopping, I decided to head over to Shinjuku and check out the 8bit Cafe. As an avid gamer, I was not disappointed. When I walked in the first thing I noticed was the giant Gameboy montage and the wide collection of posters and figures displayed all over the room. The menu was phenomenal and contained a lot of original drink concoctions. It had a food menu with a “lv. 99 salad” and as well as a non-alcoholic menu. I ordered the “Strawberry Switchblade” and the “Metroid” drinks and was not disappointed. The drinks averaged to be about 600-700 yen but were worth the portions. The bartender was super friendly and we talked about Comiket for a bit while I played with the figures. I definitely recommend this bar, as it is close to the Shinjuku 2chome area and is worth going just for the novelty.