Akihabara isn't really all that, anymore. It's like post-Giuliani Times Square with fat girls in knee-highs. Nerds have been replaced with tourists, yuppies and couples on *get this* dates. Big business like chain stores have moved in, closing Mom 'n' Pop shops and adding a layer of gloss that didn't exist before. Hit book/movie/TV show Train Man made otaku cool, and Akiba culture mainstream. Journo Patrick Macias tackles in the issue in The Japan Times, writing:
...what you can't find is what it was that made Akihabara buzz in the first place. It wasn't just anime, manga, and video games that built it, or continue to sustain it even today. Instead, Akihabara was the side effect of collective fantasy and private desire desperate to find expression through technology, through commerce, molded plastic, pixel, and drawing paper. Now, those dreams are threatened by a dull and dreary reality.
Bummer. At least Osaka's Den Den Town still has its nerd cred. Otakool [The Japan Times]