In the days following the Tohoku Earthquake, Japanese people across the country began doing what they could for the relief efforts by rolling up their sleeves and giving blood. Just days after the quake hit, the Japanese Red Cross blood donation centres were running at a surplus.
"People seem to feel the need to do something to help quake victims," Koichi Sato of the Red Cross Society's Fukuoka branch told The Japan Times.
Those in Tokyo's geek hub Akihabara can give blood - and do it in otaku style. In 2009, the Japanese Red Cross opened Akiba:F, a blood donation centre designed to appeal to otaku. The look is futuristic, but the concept is a 1980s view of the future, giving the place a retro cool vibe.
To give back to those who are giving, there is free WiFi, which is still somewhat of a rarity in Japan, and iPod Touch handhelds for donors to play around with while they give blood. There are all-you-can-drink fizzy sodas and coffee as well as free snacks. There are manga like Akira and K-On! for folks to read as well - movies to check out, too!
Akiba:F has revolving themed exhibits. Thus, when it opened, there were figures and a hologram of Miku Hatsune, the Vocaloid character in Sega's music games. Earlier this January, there were LEGO creations, like brick Pikachu and Dragon Quest's Slime, created by the Univeristy of Tokyo's LEGO club.
The space has also been used in game promotions, such as the "game festival" it hosted last October. Six game companies showed off titles like armoured Core 5 and Radiant Historia at Akiba:F. There were also armoured Core figurines on display as well as copies of armoured Core picture books and guides for donors to flip through.
And as cool as Akiba:F is, people in Japan currently don't seem to need any enticement to donoate blood. "There are always patients who need blood," adds Sato. "It would be great if people kept donating blood over the long term."
For more information on Akiba:F, check out its official page for more details as well as directions.
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