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 of 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.
Outside of the stores in the Akiba area are young women trying to get men to go to restaurants where the servers are dressed in short skirts
Akiba is not just for the perverts, of course. It's also for people who want stuff. Like humidifiers ...
As for electronics, I'm a little confused by the selection. Are people buying these single serving portable DVD players?
The electronics district may have been super cool years ago, but now it's filled with objects that will be obsolete. Like dozens of point and shoot cameras
Even though a lot of this stuff is pointless, it's awesome that there's a store with so much in one place. Like this giant megaphone. (I put an iPhone next to it for scale.)
More non-iPhones. We could (and probably will) have an entire gallery of phones trying to fight the iPhone in Japan
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