PART 2: TOKYO CONTINUED
The second day of my trip, I exited my hotel with a mission - dive into the world of Japanese art. Museums are a relaxing way to explore a city, feel inspired, and best of all, stay cool when temperatures flare. The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art provided all of this. I wandered through the hushed rooms, gazing upon every installation in awe. Each piece was a rousing window to the imaginative mind of its creator.
Riddled with inspired energy, I left the museum. The comfort of air conditioning instantly vanished as the suffocating heat took control. I battled, but ultimately lost to the sweltering temperatures. The sun blasted so bright, even dogs wore sunglasses.
I swam through the swamp of humidity and arrived at the Akihabara ward. This section of Tokyo is a video game mecca. I took myself on a self-guided walking tour through this museum-like district.
Countless stores are tucked away within the neighborhood. Each spot houses an impressive collection of video game artifacts. If you're a gamer, or grew up with characters like Nintendo's Mario and Sega's Sonic, the Akihabara ward is a time-capsule you need to open.
The rich video game history is on full display. Endless rows of hardware and software mask the walls of each store. Familiar games from my youth lined the shelves, but with foreign, Japanese packaging. Even my girlfriend, who is by no means a gamer, found the Akihabara ward fun and fascinating.
If you have a few coins, rooms brimming with arcade games will keep you busy. And unlike other museums, you're encouraged to play with the art!
In a haze of appreciation, I stumbled upon lots of TMNT titles. 16-bit Turtle Power - in Japanese!
Across the Akihabara ward, I was able to track down lots of TMNT video games. Like visiting a museum, the musing nature of the the art tugged at my interest. I had no plans on making a purchase since I already owned most of their American counterparts. I was only here as an observer - absorbed by an artwork that was a curious mix of circuitry, plastic, and boundless creativity.
My self-guided walking tour eventually came to a close. Roaming through the Akihabara ward had evolved into a glorified scavenger hunt. In each store, I found another piece of TMNT video game history. It wasn't a museum, but it certainly felt like one.
A day of admiring electronic wonders kept my mind wired. The vintage video games were engaging, but their technology was decades old. I wanted to see modern machinery in action - and there's no place better than Japan.
That evening I made a reservation at Robot Restaurant. It's like Medieval Times...on acid.
The pandemonium takes place on a narrow stage flanked with spectators. Pure, limitless anarchy comes in every form imaginable - people, monsters, dinosaurs, fire, lasers, motorcycles, tanks, and of course, robots!
Words cannot describe the performance at Robot Restaurant. The wild mix of fantasy and hallucination spawn Tokyo's ultimate party.