Myself, Dan, and Lee all play an online videogame called Final Fantasy XIV, and we had been advised to keep our eyes open in Akiba for an establishment called The Eorzea Cafe, a theme restaurant based on the game. Theme restaurants are quite a unique thing in Tokyo, and they seem to exist for all manner of themes (later in the week, Dan and Lee went to one called The Lock In where you were led, as a prisoner, to a cell, your food was delivered through the bars, and part way through there was a simulated break out experience with live actors), so we eagerly booked ourselves tickets for Wednesday lunch time. Wednesday morning, with Lee still very much interested in doing his own thing, we headed to Akiba to explore further.
At the suggestion of a close friend of mine who lives in Japan, and with a little help of our super trust WiFi box, we found our way to an establishment called, of all things, Super Potato on the third floor of an office building. If there’s one thing that must be said for Tokyo, it’s that the city is vertically orientated. You can’t just look on the ground level, you have to look up and see what else is in that one building. Super Potato sprawls across three floors, selling all manner of retro videogaming gear and merchandise – from old consoles and peripherals through the decades, to an arcade on the top floor. It was a videogame nerds heaven.
When we arrived at the Eorzea Cafe, we were greeted warmly by the staff there who explained the rules and menu system the Cafe operated, then took us in to our seats. Each of us was issued with a Cactpot Ticket to be drawn for a chance to win a grand prize of a gigantic honey roast. As you can see from the above pictures, we won!
The menu is all based on the creatures, player classes, and characters of the game; some of the food is made to look like the characters, others are just inspired by. Food wise, I tried La Noscean Toast (one of the craftable food items in the game), and a Titan Burger (named after one of the boss monsters), washed down with two alcoholic drinks, the Limsa Lominsan Cooler, and the Drink of Scholar (the green minty one). Dan had Machinist’s Fish & Chips, the Shiva Drink (ice blue) and the Dragoon (black drink with a lance in it). Lee had an Ifrit’s Fire Pizza, chased by a Black Mage (red drink) and a warrior (red with a lemon ‘axe’). Despite all three of our efforts, we could not finish the gigantic honey roast.
After the meal, Lee bade his farewell and disappeared again, leaving us to our own devices. I had arranged to meet up with the aforementioned friend (Leif) in Kita-Senju, which isn’t far from Ayase, and is on the same trainline that he would use to get into, and out of, Tokyo.
We ended up arriving at Kita-Senju Station a little earlier than expected, so Dan and I went for a walk through the streets, just exploring the town and seeing what it had to offer. All things considered, it was fairly like Ayase, just bigger, busier, and with an awesome Sky-Plaza over the main bus depot, with large plasma TV screens running the latest music videos and adverts.
After wandering the side streets, smelling the various different ramen and curry bars, we made our way back up towards the Starbucks where we were going to be meeting Leif (again, thank you WiFi box for keeping us in contact!) but stopped at the Plaza. There was a young Japanese girl there busking and singing away with her acoustic guitar. I stopped Dan and we sat and listened. Her name was Cana, and we spoke for a few minutes as she was packing up. Despite my extremely limited Japanese and her broken English, we got talking, and explained where we both came from, I bought her CD and bade farewell.
We finally met up with Leif in Starbucks, where he took us across to an izakaya above the Sky Plaza. An izakaya is kind of like a pub eatery, in this case with individual booths where we sat at a low table (with a drop in the floor underneath) and ordered drinks and food through a tablet at the end. The food was delicious and brought to us very quickly. Of course, we’d had to take our shoes off on the way in, and it all felt very traditional – this is how the locals eat frequently, apparently. I can see why. The three of us sat and talked about life in Japan, and Leif and I had a good catch up about the UK (He’s been living in Japan for a few years now). We made our plans for the next day, as Leif would be joining us, then went our separate ways from Kita-Senju station.