The Accidental Gaijin #6: Eclectic Electric Town Part 3
With bargains in mind and flushed with enough sugar to rot the teeth of a small country, I slowly amble my way back to Akihabara’s main drag. Instantly regretting not asking my fellow Maid Cafe patrons about the location of this fantastic record sale, I did however gleam a name…Super Potato.
“Retro-futurist” paradise! Flickr/Danny Choo
Night has now fully descended on Electric Town, giving the area the “retro-futurist” vibe we’ve seen a thousand times in photographs littering the internet. But no pic comes close to the neon reality before me. As a HUGE fan of Ridley Scott’s 1983 classic Blade Runner, I’m in paradise. The brightly lit jungle appears to grow in front of my eyes, making a vision of Rick Deckard, hunting his prey through the human detritus of a ramshackle future LA easy to conjure up.
Will I find records here?! Flickr/Antonio Tajuelo
With my drifting further into a dystopic 2022, I spot the prize ahead. Nestled between two innocuous electrical stores stands Super Potato. Puzzled, I look at a storefront emblazoned with sky-high images of Pac-man and retro Mario! What kind of “record store” could this be? On closer inspection of the facade, I find myself staring at a gaming shop, but not just any gaming shop…
Much like my sentimental exploration of Nakano, I’m instantly transported back to the days of my youth. As Japan’s premier retro gaming store, Super Potato has everything you could possibly imagine to help scratch that 8-bit itch (not to mention 16-bit and 32-bit). From the NES to the original Playstation and retro games cartridges galore, this towering testament to pixels is more museum than store, with enough loot to satisfy the most prickly of gamers. With the rarest of items behind glass, Super Potato also offers everything game related, including vinyl! My already warmed heart skips a beat as I lay eyes on an array of beauty. Before me, stacked in exquisite alphabetical order are vintage game soundtracks, particularly Mario!
I love retro gaming and I love vinyl, so holding an original pressing of the OST for Super Mario World in my shaking paw is up there in my list of pinnacle moments. A quick glance at the whopping price tag makes me hesitate for a moment, but what the hey, I stupidly choose a hobby that will most likely send me to ruination so might as well role with it!
Homeward bound. Flickr/nakashi
With a wallet considerably lighter than when I entered, I exit Super Potato and join the heaving mass of humanity that squeeze onto the pavements of Electric Town. I set out this morning to buy audio equipment and end clutching a bag of retro gaming merch! This is what Akihabara, well Tokyo for that matter, is all about. It’s a city with it’s own plan for all who walk its streets, throwing up surprising delight after surprising delight. Musing on this poetic depiction of my adoptive home, I’m reminded of the immortal words uttered one of my favourite authors, JRR Token…“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to…”
Tune in next week to read about my extraordinary trip to Anime Japan 2018!!
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