Akihabara, Nerd's Paradise

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Roland Kelts, an expert in Japanese pop culture, takes Kurt Andersen to Akihabara, a retail paradise for otaku — obsessive fans of manga and other Japanese culture. But a recent tragedy casts a shadow over the fun and games.

→ See a video and a slideshow of Kurt and Roland's visit to Akihabara below

(Originally aired: February 6, 2009)










Video: Kurt Andersen Geeks Out in Akihabara


Slideshow: Kurt and Roland in Akihabara

Kurt and Roland spot a young woman advertising a nearby maid cafe.

( Jenny Lawton )

The streets of Akihabara — nicknamed Electric Town — are lined with shops selling consumer electronics, computer components, anime and otaku goods.

( Jenny Lawton )

The Dollfie is a customizable hybrid of a fashion doll and an action figure. The figurine comes unpainted, allowing the owner to customize it with paint, costumes, and accessories.

( Jenny Lawton )

Dollfie hobbyists can pick out every detail of their figurine — right up to the eyeballs.

( Jenny Lawton )

And what figurine would be complete without custom furniture?

( Jenny Lawton )

Costumes available for purchase in an Akihabara shop. Dressing up as manga and anime characters, or “cosplay,” is another wildly popular hobby in Japan that has spread to the West.

( Jenny Lawton )