Photo: Jay Yarow/Business Insider
I was in Japan last week.And, like anyone interested in technology, I wanted to see Japan’s crazy electronics district, the Akihabara (also called Akiba).
According to old timers, it’s not what it used to be. It’s pivoting towards Anime, and away from gadgets.
That makes sense, since there was a time when Japan’s electronics were weird, exciting, and dominant. But now that Apple’s in control, you don’t need 8 weird gadgets. One will do.
Regardless, the place still has an overwhelming and exhausting buzz to it. I wandered for a few hours and probably saw 0.01% of what it has to offer.
There’s the main drag, which I dipped in and out of. But there are also side streets, and even side streets to those side streets. The stores aren’t simple stores either. They’re 9-floor malls. And if the store doesn’t have multiple floors, then it’s chopped up into labyrinth-like layers.
It felt like Radio Shack on steroids, or walking through a physical manifestation ofÂ the tech gadget blogosphere.
There are weird gadgets you think no one will ever buy, video games, anime, and other stuff. There are lots of oversexed depictions of women.
It’s a quite a trip.
Disclosure: We were flown out to Tokyo by Rakuten, an e-commerce company trying to expand internationally. It put us up in very nice hotels, put us on bullet trains, and fed us well. That’s largely irrelevant for this story, but we thought you should know.