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Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012

Akihabara opens subculture center


A new landmark has opened in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district that houses specialty shops for "Akiba culture" goods.

The six-story Akiba Culture Zone, which used to be a Laox Co. computer store until it closed in 2007 after business declined, now has tenants offering such items as comics, animation figurines and pop idol goods.

The shops include K-Books on the first and second floors, which stocks about 140,000 books and comics and about 300,000 recycled items, including games, figures and coterie magazines.

"I will be happy if students on school excursions visit our shop," said Ken Ashikawa, president of One up, a dealer in soft plastic toys that sits on the third floor.

Trio, a shop for secondhand idol goods, is also on the third floor.

Hobby items can be seen at Astop on the fourth floor, which runs a business renting showcases for people to exhibit and sell their products.

Also on the fourth floor, shop attendants dressed like robot characters or wearing maid outfits give fashion advice to customers at the casual wear shop Akiba Asobi Kan: Jam Gakuen.

Good Smile and Karaoke no Tetsujin Cafe on the fifth floor is decorated with figures and illustrations from popular animations.

The Akihabara Backstage Pass cafe on the sixth floor was designed by musician and music producer Tsunku.

Girls who apparently aspire to become pop idols work at the cafe.

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