I had a weekend of poking around slightly less cultural sights. On Saturday I went and had a poke around Akihabara to see the shops etc. It certainly has a good range of electronics and manga porn. Being unable to appreciate Manga porn I stuck to the electronics shops though. There are some great gadgets and the Japanese seem to have a large number of options for really lightweight laptops which I liked the look of, but they're not cheap. I also looked at buying a camera since they are a bit cheaper here, but the Japan-only warranty didn't sound like a good idea, plus the possible duty to pay if I keep hold of the box. VAT in Japan is only 5% so even being a tourist doesn't save you much money.
Akihabara is of course teeming with thousands of people looking for a bargain. They also have large numbers of women hanging around outside the station in strange French maid outfits handing out stuff. Not sure what they're advertising, but the Japanese don't bat an eyelid at such things. Most odd. Other than that, and the strange placing of sex shops between computer shops, it's all quite tame really. For shopping it's great as you don't get pushy salesmen grabbing you as soon as you stop to look at something. They do stand around and shout stuff, but it's to no-one in particular.
After Akihabara I had a quick kip before heading out to Roppongi, an area known for its nightlife. I went there early evening as I wanted to just have a look around before it got too crowded. There's certainly lots to do though, even at that time of day - a lot of the bars seem to optimistically open all day. I went for a drink in some 'British pub' to check out the local take on what British pubs are like, and from all of the St Patricks Day flags it felt a bit more Irish than British, but never mind! I then had a drink at the Gaspanic Cafe, which was empty, then a burger at the New Zealand Centre (oddly), which promised many NZ beers but only had one. After that I headed to Geronimo's which was highly recommended in my Lonely Planet. There I met a bunch of expats and went for a Chinese with them, which was all highly random and entertaining, but I was back in time for the last train home!
On Sunday I went for a drink and a bite to eat with someone from CouchSurfing not far from Roppongi again. We chatted and watched the water from the pier and had a most pleasant evening. I caught the last train back to the hotel and arrived there to find all of the electricity off. The hotel had decided to rewire something, so I had an entertaining time preparing for bed and generally getting around the hotel. It's easy to forget how much you depend on electricity. It's not so bad at home, but believe me, it has its uses when you're staying on the 22nd floor of a hotel!