Some people have lamented the passing of the "true" Akihabara - from small one-person shopping streets like this one near the station to giant faceless electronic department stores. Akiba got its start after World War II via the black market trading of radio parts. Even today stores have the word musen (wireless) in their titles, although their core business has been transformed by time.
Walking down one of these alleys is an adventure in itself, and supremely fascinating for the do-it-yourself fan. Every possible piece of the electronics spectrum is covered by at least one guy in a six foot stall, surrounded by parts and bins. People yell at each other, haggling about prices for this and that. One or two stalls look like museums, selling vacuum tubes from ex-USSR manufacturers and such, with the owner giving a small tour to anyone willing to listen.
In the end, though, the world has changed - electronics is a field for consumers now, and only the small hobbyist world keeps these kind of side streets alive. Still, you can't help but be glad that these places are around - they always have more character than bigger stores.
After emerging from here, we should end up on Chuo doori, the main street of stores in Akiba. Let's see what's around..