Matt Schley

Matt Schley is an editor and writer at Otaku USA, a magazine devoted to Japanese pop culture,
and a contributor to several Japan-related publications.
He loves the Yakult Swallows and makes a mean Denver omelette.
Twitter: @rhymeswithguy
Instagram: mosk_
Homepage: www.mattschley.com

2016.05.23 MONDAY

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

(こちらの文章は著者の生の言葉を伝えるため、本人の母国語で記載)

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

Walk through Akihabara, goes the standard tourist pitch, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the LED signs, posters, maids and other symbols of otakudom on earth.

There may be some truth to that – it certainly takes a few passes through the flashy electronics stores and manga shops to realize there are quieter, older establishments right there in between them.

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

One fine example is Akatsuka, (1-10-2 Sotokanda). Sandwiched between a SIM card shop, adult bookstore and retro game arcade and with its main entrance down a small side street, Akatsuka is easy to miss.

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

Enter, though, and you’ll be treated to a traditional Japanese pub, or izakaya, that looks like it hasn’t changed a lot since it was established in 1954.

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

While Akatsuka’s specialty appears to be motsuni, or stewed giblets, they have a variety of typical izakaya offerings that, depending on how used to Japanese food you are, may seem either appetizing or turn your stomach. I personally dug everything but the dried shrimp, which were pretty crunchy and required a decent amount of beer to wash down.

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

Food aside, it was really the location and atmosphere that attracted us to Akatsuka. When it was established in the 50s, Akihabara was not yet known as an otaku paradise, but it did already have a reputation as a place to get radio parts and other electronics.

A 1949 crackdown on black markets did little to dampen the freewheeling vendor spirits of the place, and one can imagine how vital, exciting and a little dangerous Akiba was in 1954, when Akatsuka first opened its doors.

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

The izakaya offers seating options for people in large groups, pairs or even by themselves with a large semi-private room, tables and a large counter where folks can come after work for some drinking (nomu) and communication – or nomuinication for short.

The Beacon team did some nomunication ourselves, striking up a chat with the group at the table next to us who, as we could pretty much tell from their dress, were not your typical Akiba denizens. Instead, they were salarymen who decided to go for a drink at Akatsuka, having heard how legendary it was.

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

A new Beacon fan is born.

Aside from the large HDTV mounted on the wall, it feels as if Akatsuka has made little concession to the changing of the times, remaining as a small example of what Akiba once was. Speaking of lack of concessions, there seemed to be no English menu available – but don’t let that stop you from checking it out.

Remember, it’s all about nomunication.

Akatsuka: A Taste of 1950s Akihabara

LINEで送る