The 23rd of December is the birthday of His Imperial Majesty Akihito, the Emperor of Japan, and is a national holiday, as well as one of the two days in each year (the other being the New Year) that the Imperial Palace of Tokyo is open to the public. We took advantage of this holiday to roam the palace gardens, and it’s a pretty neat way of spending the day without having to spend a lot of money (cheap thrills <3).
Our freeloading little side trip done, we headed to Akihabara to meet up with one of our friends Resh (AKA Team Tux videographer and photographer par excellence AKA human monopod AKA this guy), who was on a family trip to Japan at the same time we were there.
Together, we found out that ye olde Akihabara flea market was alive and well. Unfortunately for us they were closing shop for the year, but that’s alright as the guy manning the booth specializing in Love Live merchandise told us they will be back soon (for the curious, their schedule is on mottainai.info).
After that, we dragged our sorry carcasses to the most magical places in Akihabara: Mandarake Complex, Akiba Cultures Zone, Kotobukiya, and Don Quixote. While the other shops get a lot of press mileage, I would like to say that Don Quixote is my favorite shop ^^;; Not only does it stock random anime merch, it also offers skin care (Hada Labo! Shiseido!), food (KitKat! Pocky!), and extra suitcases (because of too much shopping!).
Best of all, like Tokyu Hands, Don Quixote offers tax-free shopping for JPY 5,001 worth of consumable goods (the aforementioned skin care and food), or JPY 10,001 worth of other items (likewise the aforementioned suitcases). Just bring your receipts to their special Tax-Free counter for processing and refund and you can be on your merry way :3