While the Establishment packages Electric Town as a mecca for manga and anime obsessives, and a magnet for camera- toting tourists, the reality differs: 'Akiba' is alienating the geeks who once made it great

It's a humid and gray day in Akihabara around high noon. The late summer is inviting lethargy and the Tokyo district's neon colors will also be muted until nightfall.

The increasingly famous girls have yet to arrive on "Maid Row" to hand out fliers for their maid cafes, and when they do, they'll be standing in front of the now-closed Akihabara Department Store, a former haven of cheap eats, which will soon (like much of the area) turn into a yet another construction site.