Sunday, 12 June 2016

Japan, Arcades & Gaming – 2004 Edition

Whilst having a bit of a sort out, I came across some old photos of a week I had in Japan back in August 2004.  I took the negatives to Boots and had them converted to digital format.

I stayed at Weekly Mansion Kiba Chou, located about fifteen minutes from Akihabara and twenty five minutes from Shinjuku. 

I had an awesome week, venturing down to Osaka, climbing Mount Fuji and of course getting in lots of gaming! 

Climbing Mount Fuji
It had long been my ambition to climb Mount Fuji (or Fuji-san).  At 3,776 m (12,390 ft), Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest peak by far.  Early July to mid September is the official climbing season when the trails and mountain facilities are open.  During this period the mountain is usually free of snow, the weather is relatively mild, there is good access by public transport and the mountain huts are operating. 

I had aimed to start my climb in the evening, the plan being to see the sunrise from the summit.  However I had underestimated the time it takes to get there (bad planning!) and didn’t start the climb until late in the night.  The trails are divided into ten stations, the tenth station being the summit.  Like most people, I started my ascent from the fifth station.  I purchased a wooden hiking stick, which could be stamped at most of the mountain huts for a small fee. 

The climb was hard work as the steep volcanic cinder shifts underfoot like sand.  At some points the terrain was steep and rocky, and the signs warning climbers of falling rocks were a little disconcerting.  Proper shoes, warm clothes and waterproofs are a must, along with food and water and a torch. 

As the sun began to rise, I was around three quarters of the way up.  I chilled for a bit, took in the view and had a well deserved Asahi. The chances of the mountain being free of clouds are highest during the early morning hours. 

As I approached the summit, the air became noticeably thinner and I began experiencing shortness of breath.  I spent around an hour at the top, walking around the crater rim.  It was much colder at the summit than the base.  

At the gift shop I bought my parents a gift they still treasure to this day – a can of genuine Fuji air!  Climbing Mount Fuji was an awesome experience and I did it all over again a couple of years later with my wife. 

Here is a pic of me with a very nice family I befriended on the way down.

Club Sega, Akihabara.  Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition and the newly released Virtua Fighter 4 Final Tuned were proving very popular.

Try Amusement Tower, Akihabara

The awesome Darius, released by Taito in 1986.

TV Game and PCB Stores

Super Potato, Akihabara

I remember being tempted to pick up one of these Virtual-On controllers.  They were really cheap as well, but sadly luggage space was my worst enemy!

I think this was taken at one of the “Trader” stores?

Mak Japan
There are some awesome PCB’s pictured in the cabinet, including 1941 - Counter Attack, Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands, Rod-Land, Gradius II and III, Ordyne and Xexex. 


I first visited theses stores in the late nineties and still remember my PCB ‘shopping list’: Aliens, Final Fight, Rainbow Islands, Shinobi, Street Fighter II’ Turbo and Super Street Fighter II X.

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