The Washington Post today detailed the rise of a “geek ghetto” in the Akihabara district of Tokyo–complete with waitresses dressed in anime-inspired costumes, enormous arcades and warehouses of manga. Says college student Shunsuke Yamagata:
“In Akihabara, we don’t need to be ashamed of who we are and what we like. We can feel comfortable because here, we outnumber everyone else.”
Well, yeah…you’ve found a place (or a place has been constructed for you) where you’ve gone from oppressed minority to loads-of-disposable-income majority. That’s one of the thing about the emergence of geek culture over the last ten years or so–advertisers have noticed what a desirable demographic we are. We tend to be passionate about our interests and frequently have well-paying jobs, meaning more cash to spend on those interests.
I’m not at all surprised that there’s something of a “geek ghetto” in Tokyo–if I had to pick one place on the planet where I’d expect that sort of thing, Tokyo likely would have been it. What I’ll be curious to see now is if a similar phenomenon occurs here in the U.S. Would it be too much to hope that it would happen in Boston?