Objects Of Desire

Akihabara is the pristine gamer paradise daydreamt of over Mean Machines in the Mega Drive days.

It’s still thrumming with geeks, home to heaven arcades, and still exploding mainstream with your niche, JP-import fascinations.

It’s alive at night, seductive, slick glass in the black. Sega sign reflections like shimmering highlights in wet anime eyes.

The orange sign says “Kaikatsu Club, Josei Senyou” – Happy Club, Women Only.

Happy Club For Women in the swamp of Akiba, bobbing on a bog of nerd shops. After all those innocent game boy hopes, now you notice a seedy seam that had been over your head: Electric Town is rife with sexism.

To wit: plastic robo-toys mascotted by bigtitted nymphs; posters of women in positions of power – tank commanders, orchestra conductors, meteorologists – but clothing clinging on for dear life; bath-towel sweethearts with physiognomies so wild they could only be the product of hallucinogenics; femme-fatale figurines exhibiting a topological ingenuity that would have saved the world if applied in a different field.

Thank the lord, then, for the Women Only Happy Club.

But consider: have they really noticed the omnipresent sexual objectification in Akihabara and provided a place of sanctuary? Or is this actually some sort of sinister code, signalling yet another in-plain-sight titillation for darkness-dwelling geeks?

Cynical, I admit – but not unfair. The girls are toys and the boys are pigeonholed in their childish ideals

The skyscrapers shine on. The dream’s alive, maturing, but still that innocent face you knew. And yours looking back.

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people