Sunday, July 5, 2009

In and Around Akiba

Normally, I've kind of grouped photos together into themes, and if I only had one photo of a specific topic or type, then I'd make a really short blog entry featuring just that one shot and a couple of lines of text. But, I'm kind of building up a backlog of photos, so I decided to put a bunch of them together into one entry this time. Here they are. The only connecting thread is that they were all taken in Akihabara.

First, we have the building reflections. There are a lot of glass buildings in Tokyo, but the conditions have to be just right to get a good shot of one set of buildings reflected off another. I like it when this kind of thing happens.

A few blocks away, in a warren of smaller, older buildings, there's a bar that had western beer signs on the outer wall.

Back on Chuu-ou Dori, a block south of the reflecting building, there's a pachinko parlor in the first floor of the Donkey building (the full name is Donkioti, which sounds like "Don Quixote", but it's always rendered into English as the "Donkey Building"). First, we have the cut-out board that you can pose behind. The text says "Let's have fun together!" (kind of).

Then we have the Evangelion stickers designed to be placed on coin lockers, here on the lockers in front of the pachinko parlor. I like the effect of this one; kind of looks like he's actually in the locker.

Another couple of blocks farther south on Chuu-ou Dori, we have the Sega video game parlor, with the UFO Catcher machines on the first floor. In the U.S., they're called "crane arm machines".

I'm not really sure which character this is, but it's a bigger version of the ones found in the UFO Catchers. I think it's "Rirakkuma" (Lilac Bear(?)).

Moving east to the other side of the JR train station (and closer to the beer signs) there's a small shop on the street corner that sells roasted chestnuts, named "Amaguri-taro". "-taro" is a suffix common on many boy's names (Rintaro, Momotaro) and can be treated as just meaning "boy". "Ama" comes from "amai", meaning sweet, and "guri" is a form of "kuri", meaning chestnut. All together, in English it's the rather unfortunate "sweet chestnuts boy".

Finally, back in the little warren of shops, we have the Skatt Byggnad Building. Generally, advertisers and building owners use English names because they look exotic. But, there's nothing that says that the name HAS to be English. Then again, I have NO idea what language this would be. I'm a little disappointed that the owners copped out and only converted the first part into katakana Japanese (skattsu biru = skatts building). I'd like to know how they'd handle the pronunciation of "byggnad".


Bunny said...

Relax Bear

As for the building name,
I work in the "Lycra Thong" building!
Well, loykratong, but mail addressed
to any number of variations has been
delivered successfully!

TSOTE said...

Thanks for "Relax Bear's" name. I've been seeing him show up in more places lately, but didn't know who he was.

I wish I could work in the Lycra Thong building. Some people have all the luck... ;-(

Daniel Svennberg said...

Ah, I saw the "skatt byggnad" building last summer and wondered what it was about... The language is Swedish and it means "tax building" or "treasure building".

TSOTE said...

Hi Daniel.
Thanks for dropping by and explaining the building name for me.
I forget what building the nameplate was on, but it looked like a regular office building, or maybe an apartment complex.