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A Video Guide To Akihabara

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the you-mean-it's-not-an-app? dept.

Technology 121

freaklabs writes "Tokyo Hackerspace just put up a video guide to Akihabara in Tokyo, an area that's densely populated with electronics components shops. We get a lot of questions about where to go over there and also requests for guided tours so we figured it's probably best just to put up videos, descriptions, and Google map markers. It was always difficult to tell people where to go, since the places are hard to find, so we're hoping this makes it easier for visitors to Tokyo that want to get their geek on."

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akihabara is awesome! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33700866)

I went; it is fucking awesome!

Re:akihabara is awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33700906)

But is there a decent takeaway selling rice?

Re:akihabara is awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33702678)

No. Sadly, only curry.

Re:akihabara is awesome! (5, Interesting)

object404 (1883774) | about 4 years ago | (#33701018)

For those who want to live a little more dangerously, you should try Shenzhen, right beside Hong Kong. It's the new Akihabara and all the new bleeding edge mix & match gadgets the rest of the world hasn't seen before is there. It's now also the electronics manufacturing hub of the world since Everything now's made in China :)

Check these sites out for some of the goodies: [] []
One of the most interesting non-knockoff gadgets to come out of there last month is the Apple Peel [] , a smart jacket you can slip over an iPod touch that turns it into an iPhone.

Not everything over there is fake knockoffs and Shenzhen China's Shanzhai [] garage hardware hacking & remixing culture is very interesting.

You should also check out the blog of Andrew "bunnie" Huang [] , said to be the first guy outside Microsoft to hack the X-Box & wrote the book on it. He co-founded & created the Chumby [] (open source hackable hardware gadget) and his adventures in Shenzhen [] are pretty cool.

Re:akihabara is awesome! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701888)

mod parent up. Lived in Tokyo, live in China.

Shenzhen godzilla stomps Akihabara on everything geek except girls dressed as Sailor Moon and Manga. Google "SEG Market Shenzhen"

Even most East / Northern Chinese cities put on a better geek gadget market than Akihabara these days.

Sure - there is plenty of shanzai, but there is just as much wierdtech you wouldn't have seen online, or in a western city, or thought you needed. Ironically, the lack of IP protection, safety code enforcement, and easy access to manufacturing is spawning a world of innovation that just wouldn't be possible elsewhere.

Re:akihabara is awesome! (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#33703002)

Ironically, the lack of IP protection, safety code enforcement, and easy access to manufacturing is spawning a world of innovation that just wouldn't be possible elsewhere.

There's nothing ironic about it; that stuff was DESIGNED to retard progress for specific financial gain, by making it harder to sell small improvements to the designs of others. Go sit in the corner with Alanis.

Re:akihabara is awesome! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#33703100)

Shenzhen godzilla stomps Akihabara on everything geek except girls dressed as Sailor Moon and Manga.

Akihabara has girls dressed up as books? Hurray! /Zoidberg

Re:akihabara is awesome! (0, Troll)

amazonkozmetik (1909336) | about 4 years ago | (#33702276) , , , ,

Maids... (1)

PmanAce (1679902) | about 4 years ago | (#33700872)

From the third video, I wouldn't mind doing a tour of those maids myself...

Re:Maids... (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 years ago | (#33700916)

Screw the maids. This is nerd porn. Pieces parts. Parts of parts.

Sigh. And I'm stuck with Radio Shack.

Re:Maids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33700924)

Screw the maids. This is nerd porn. Pieces parts. Parts of parts. Sigh. And I'm stuck with Radio Shack.

This may or may not be nerd porn. It definitely belongs in Idle though. As in, good for people in Akihabara that they have these shops. For the other 99% of the human population, it falls under "eh, good for them?" and is completely irrelevant trivia. Completely irrelevant trivia is what Idle is for.

And yeah for what it's worth.. fuck Radio Shack. They used to actually sell useful parts back in the day. Now they're a third-rate Best Buy wannabe.

Re:Maids... (-1, Redundant)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 4 years ago | (#33700950)

For the other 99% of the human population

70 million people live there? Holy fuck, I'm off to edit the wiki to reflect this reality right now!

Re:Maids... (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 4 years ago | (#33701054)

You may be joking, but 70+ million people DO live in Tokyo.

Re:Maids... (1)

bakarocket (844390) | about 4 years ago | (#33701118)

Only if you count the cyborgs. Otherwise, there's only 12 million, plus another 20 million in the surrounding metropolitan area. There really are a lot of cyborgs, though.

Re:Maids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701292)

They're ALL [] cyborgs.

Re:Maids... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 years ago | (#33700934)

And what's with this? Ten minutes after posting and four posts. What are you people doing? Actually looking at TFA?

Re:Maids... (1)

nwanua (70972) | about 4 years ago | (#33700992)

Yes, dammit! One of very few posts on slashdot worth reading :-)

Re:Maids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701020)

This one's important! Stop distracting us!

Re:Maids... (4, Funny)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 4 years ago | (#33701022)

Screw the maids.

Isn't that the idea?

Re:Maids... (2, Funny)

JohnBailey (1092697) | about 4 years ago | (#33701072)

Sigh. And I'm stuck with Radio Shack.

Could be worse.I'm stuck with Maplin.

Hmm (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | about 4 years ago | (#33700904)

Is there an American Equivalent to this place? I feel so third-rate here in the USA :-(

Re:Hmm (1)

iONiUM (530420) | about 4 years ago | (#33700942)

After going to Tokyo a few times, and living in Canada, the fact that North America sucks becomes pretty apparent. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Canada and the US has its moments too, but the sheer amount of technology and the railway infrastructure in Japan, along with the fact that you can find something to do at any moment there is kind of.. well, it just really puts things into perspective.

Re:Hmm (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#33700990)

But why do we need a big electronics bazaar nowadays? You can buy anything anywhere, including from home.

When I went to Disneyland recently I was disappointed all the Main Street shops are just the same, full of Disney trademark Chinese-made trinkets, with little differentiation even between themselves. I thought, 'is it just that I'm a grownup now?' But no, my kids didn't care for it either. Why? Maybe because they're a Disney store at every local mall, and because searching 'Disney' on ebay [] returns over half a million results. I really think physical location has become less significant in the last 30 years.

Similarly, when I visited the Guang Hua Market [] in Taipei, I saw nothing I couldn't have shopped for much more easily online.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33701070)

The problem with online retailers is shipping.

Not only do you have to pay more for shipping it takes forever. Returns are also a pain, plus there is more of a chance that something could go wrong with shipping. Even with the best online retailers, returning a defective product could take a week or so, rather than just a few minutes with a physical store.

If my HDD suddenly dies in my desktop, I'd like to have a place to go to in order to pick one up that evening and be up and running by the next day rather than ordering online and waiting a week to have that machine in full working order.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#33701116)

Certainly waiting for shipping can be inconvenient - then again neither is shopping at Akihabara :)

But OK, everybody has his price. I admit to spending the saturday before the Super Bowl last year scouring every big box store in town for a nice flat screen at a competitive price. I really wanted one THAT DAY. But I didn't find one, and got a really good deal on a refub Sony Bravia from ebay instead. It was still an enjoyable game on the old Trinitron, and I saved something like $400 on the new LCD.

And so help me, I will never buy cables at a local retailer, strictly on principle even if I win the lottery, unless they quit charging 1000% markup on them.

Re:Hmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701284)

Shipping is one of the biggest problems with online retailers, but the other is knowing what you want to buy.

Try shopping online for something that you don't know the technical term/trade name for.

Try comparing different items online when you don't know what the difference in the specs translates to in real world performance.

Sometimes you need to see the selection in person to know what it is you actually want to buy.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701322)

If my HDD suddenly dies in my desktop, I'd like to have a place to go to in order to pick one up that evening and be up and running by the next day rather than ordering online and waiting 2-3 days to have that machine in full working order.


Re:Hmm (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33703062)

2-3 days if you get express shipping and don't manage to order on a "non business" day. Yeah, they might get the thing shipped off in 2 hours since you ordered it, but sometimes UPS/USPS/Fed-Ex takes a very long time to get it to you.

Re:Hmm (1)

Hooya (518216) | about 4 years ago | (#33701366)

Another drawback is just plain browsing..

With physical stores, if you went browsing, you'd see a lot of shit that you wouldn't otherwise. Maybe that'd even give you an idea or two. With online stuff, while it seems counter-intuitive, you only get what you search for - in other words, you don't get exposed to things you didn't think to look up.

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

veganboyjosh (896761) | about 4 years ago | (#33701302)

Sure, you could buy anything from anywhere from the comfort of your home. Isn't there something to be said for browsing? How much inspiration comes from looking at that bin of wiring harnesses and realizing this other harness that you hadn't thought of would allow you to solve some other problem...allow your project to do more?

I've about given up on being able to go to a hardware store (in my local town, USA) and asking the hardware store employees for help solving some problem that requires thinking outside the box. If they don't sell some product that solves my problem, they don't carry it.

Re:Hmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701350)

But why do we need a big electronics bazaar nowadays? You can buy anything anywhere, including from home.

Probably because if you wanted to, you could hop on transit and pick up the parts and build your project over the weekend. Fresh idea + Momentum = Exciting!

Also are you sure your city doesn't have one? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33701430)

People are quick to hate on their cities here but are you SURE that there isn't a big electronics shop? There actually is where I live. Place is 100% DYI stuff. You need some parts, caps, resistors, etc they got what you need. Big warehouse of a place. Not as cool or famous as this, but there. So have you looked for local places that might be what you want? If not, don't bitch.

Also don't bitch if you love somewhere small. Please remember this is in TOKYO. The population there is north of 13 million people. Means there is room for more specialty stores. You won't find a store like this in Ikuno, just like you wouldn't in a small 5000 person American town.

Re:Also are you sure your city doesn't have one? (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 4 years ago | (#33701662)

A majority of the Fry's Electronics are in California. Lucky we have one here close to Chicago, but not every American city with 1 million + population has a Fry's Electronics. And no, Best Buy does not qualify as a DIY store.

Re:Also are you sure your city doesn't have one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33702316)

Tokyo is just one part of the Greater Tokyo Area, the most populous urban area in the world with almost 36 million people. So yeah, there's room for a few specialty stores.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33702420)

I really think physical location has become less significant in the last 30 years.

Yeah, it's almost as if a global communication network arose in the past 30 years that allowed people to order from home more easily than they could with mail-order catalogs before!

Re:Hmm (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#33701048)

Yeah, that's why the two most popular smartphone platforms in Japan were developed by American companies, ditto for the most popular portable music player, the list goes on. Yeah certainly the selection and service at Japanese big box stores dwarfs those in the us and Canada, but so do the prices. You'd better prepare to pay out the ass for a lot of this stuff.

Re:Hmm (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33701442)

That's also why every processor in every desktop PC in the world is designed by American companies, and many of them manufactured here too. But that's it. Oh well and graphics chips, every one of those, PC, or console, from the highest end workstaiton card to the lowest end integrated is designed in North America (US for nVidia and Intel, Canada for AMD). But nothing else... Well except airplanes. The US has one of the two major commercial plane manufacturers (Boeing) which are designed here. ...getting the picture? There is a LOT of high tech shit designed in the US and Canada, and a lot of it made there too.

What's even funnier is that people seem to focus on Japan's silly industries, the rampant gadgets with no real purpose and so on. Yes the Japanese love gadgets and they make a lot of them, mostly useless. I wouldn't point to any of that as Japan being awesome. That isn't to say they don't make great stuff, you just look elsewhere. First thing I'd look to is camera lenses. Japan is pretty much the be-all, end-all of good camera glass. May sound mundane but it isn't, lots of science and technology goes in to a good lens.

Gadgets are fun, but hardly indicative of a vibrant tech industry. An Intel processor may not be flashy but what it does is incredible, and the amount of R&D that went in to designing the chip and the fab that made it is staggering. THAT is high technology at its finest.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701752)

and can you purchase a camera stabilizer there?

Not any more, unfortunately.... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 4 years ago | (#33702994)

Once upon a time there was NYC's "Radio Row" near Cortland and Canal streets, but that started dying out when the WTC was built and the whole area got turned into yuppie hell. Several blocks of stores selling all manner of electronics, parts, military surplus, tubes, etc. []

All that remains of this history nowadays are a couple stores selling crappy car stereo junk.

Great Guide (5, Informative)

iONiUM (530420) | about 4 years ago | (#33700954)

I've been to Akihabara before and it's extremely confusing, much like the rest of Tokyo, so I'm really happy about this guide. I watched a few clips from it and it's easy to follow and the google maps addition is great. My only request is if you can do it for the rest of Tokyo :)

Re:Great Guide (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701800)

If you can find a phone in Japan that can access Google map that is. Japan does not want to sell you one, they can rent you one, but it may not be a smartphone that can access Google map. Besides, Japanese roads has no name and no number, their addressing scheme is a suburb-partition-sector-building number scheme: so several shops can share a single address and building number. Worst still, the building number on the same block of buildings are totally random. Whichever building was constructed first get the lowest number, so no.2 is NOT next to no.1 and no.3 is NOT next to no.2 and so on, it's total chaos. Fireman and paramedics got used to it by simply running around the entire block like crazy. In other words, even if you have a map, or some Japanese friend that would vow for you to buy you a phone in Japan to access Google map, the addressing scheme is a bit hard to figure out, especially if you don't read Japaneses.

No, you cannot buy a phonecard either, you are a gaijin, remember? There are some 3G phone that may work in Japan, however you will be paying full overseas charge anyway. Even if you can find their shops, you may be greeted with "NO FOREIGNER ALLOWED" thing, lovely huh?

Re:Great Guide (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33702098)

Even if you can find their shops, you may be greeted with "NO FOREIGNER ALLOWED" thing, lovely huh?

In Akihabara? No. In a district famous worldwide for selling electronics, with extremely expensive rent, you are not likely to find a place unwilling to sell to foreigners. That would be a bit like a bar with a sign "No drunk people allowed." In Tokyo, the only place I ran into a "no gaijin" policy was a love hotel in Shibuya.

Re:Great Guide (1)

iONiUM (530420) | about 4 years ago | (#33702890)

Yea I agree with you. I've been around Tokyo quite a few times and I have never ran into a no foreigners thing. I've even been to places in Tokyo most foreigners never go. I have heard that outside of Tokyo it's not nearly as foreigner friendly though.

Third Rate Shopping (3, Interesting)

dorpus (636554) | about 4 years ago | (#33700956)

Having lived in Tokyo before, I've never understood what the fuss is about. Most stores in Akihabara are tiny, amateurish ratholes run by guys who have no idea what they are talking about, but act snobbish to cover for it. They sell obsolete software for hundreds of dollars, out of torn boxes in poor condition. Most of the stuff will only work on the Japanese electric grid, on Asia-encoded DVD players, or on computers with Windows Japan installed on it. Despite the sales clerks' insistence, it will have problems in the USA. And cameras, they will act like they never heard of a camera that costs less than $300. If I tell them I just want something simple, that doesn't have a million buttons and strange features on it, then they are deeply offended and just turn their back to me. It is the last place I would want to go to buy anything. Between Wal-mart or ordering off the internet, these kind of places serve no particular purpose anymore.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701038)

Yay Asia-encoded DVD players! I've got some good information about that stuff at

Re:Third Rate Shopping (4, Interesting)

bakarocket (844390) | about 4 years ago | (#33701076)

That's because it's essentially a tourist trap, both for tech nerds (who live outside of the country and don't know any better), and for anime geeks (who know better but can't stop themselves). There are good shops there, though. It sounds like you went to a bunch of shops that had "Duty-Free" written on the signs. Just like everywhere else, those types of shops are the worst to buy from. You need to hit the backstreets that run parallel to the main drag to find good deals. That being said, anyone who's looking for electronics buys online from now. It's cheaper, and you don't have to run the manga-nerd gauntlets surrounding every cosplaying female-equivalent in Akiba.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (1)

ncrypted (9589) | about 4 years ago | (#33701900)

Wait....I'm supposed to AVOID the cos-playing female types in Tokyo? Why the hell else did I go all the way to Japan, then? To buy electronics hardware that I can get way cheaper in Shanghai? I think not!

Next think you know, you're going to be telling me not to go to a ramen shop because you can get packaged stuff cheaper at the conbini.


For the record, the "cosplaying female-equivalents in Akiba" are pretty and they smell nice...even the dudes...(Don't ask, it was a confusing summer.)

And walking through herds of "herbivore men" that swarm Akiba gives you this sudden feeling that for the first time in your life you could actually kick someone's ass at something more than Mario Kart or a Halo death match.


Re:Third Rate Shopping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33702256)

Well, I don't know about you, but I certainly don't like the idea of being among the crowd of drooling obsessive anime nerds who's only thought is "What kind of panties is she wearing?".

Why the hell else did I go all the way to Japan, then?

You would go all the way to Japan only to watch girls dress up like anime characters and fail to act like it Now that does not compute.

what's wrong with both? (1)

misanthrope101 (253915) | about 4 years ago | (#33702616)

Well, if you don't go in *both* the tourist trap duty-free shops *and* the backalley places where you can barely turn around, you haven't really gone to Akihabara. I was stationed near there for a few years, and loved it, just for the coolness factor. I liked the little warren of components and tool shops, but I also liked the high-end stores with $40,000 (in Yen equivalent) speakers. I thought it was cool to see the bleeding edge stuff. I remember reading about a new 50" LCD TV on a blog somewhere, and seeing it that evening for sale in Akihabara, for $25K. I still have that accursed Bic Camera tune stuck in my head, since there was one of those 10 minutes from my house. I do miss Tokyo, and I hope to get a job there again one day. My only disappointment with Akihabara was that there is almost no Linux representation there. There were a few Linux books in the big stores (in Japanese, naturally), and even Latex books, but mostly it's a Windows-only ad-space. I never even saw Linux or BSD cds for sale.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33701084)

So your complaint is that shops in Japan sell tings to the Japanese market? That they sell things designed to work in Japan? That they sell computers with a Japanese-localized OS on it?

Wow, the shops in the US are crappy! I mean, this game is designed to work with NTSC consoles and not PAL consoles! This toaster only has a US outlet on it and won't work with UK power! And I mean, they spell colour without the U! Its like the people in the US are self-serving and cater to people who live in the US and not people visiting!

I really don't see your complaint, people in Japan sell to a Japanese market, people in the US sell to a US-centered market, people in the UK sell to a UK-centered market, etc.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 4 years ago | (#33702980)

And in Akihabara it is not even true. There is plenty of "export model" PAL and 240V equipment in the shops around there.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701190)

If you don't want things with a million buttons, then what are you doing in Akihabara...?

Re:Third Rate Shopping (1, Insightful)

onesandzeros (445024) | about 4 years ago | (#33701298)

Having lived in Tokyo before, I've never understood what the fuss is about.

OP is (currently) modded as a troll. Anyone who's lived or been there and isn't a fanboy knows that the OP is /not/ a troll.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (1)

bakarocket (844390) | about 4 years ago | (#33701334)

I wouldn't call it a troll, but I certainly wouldn't call it informative either. The OP implies that he/she actually knows quite a bit about the area, when the information in the post shows otherwise to anyone who lives in the area AND speaks Japanese.

"Most of Akihabara" is certainly not overpriced stores with snobby sales staff. I'm sure some shops are like that, particularly the duty-free rip-off shops, but nowhere else I've been is. It is a specialty area with specialty goods for - as was so eloquently put above - people who live in Japan.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 4 years ago | (#33701520)

you feel this is a fair non-troll assessment about shops in japan serving the locals?

Most of the stuff will only work on the Japanese electric grid, on Asia-encoded DVD players, or on computers with Windows Japan installed on it.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (2, Informative)

dorpus (636554) | about 4 years ago | (#33701644)

I love how people assume I only went to the duty-free shops, or that I don't speak Japanese. I was born in Japan and it is my native language. I've been to shops in both the back streets and forward streets. I wasn't impressed with any of it. If some people see the point to spending $200 on a plastic bikini doll, $400 on some draft sketches of an obscure anime series, or $800 on a camera because the lens can move forward and backward like some unfulfilled manhood fantasy, then I suppose they stay in business. Oh I forgot, I guess I'm talking to the slashdot crowd here. Haha.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701738)

You literally give yourself away of being an American made trailer trash by quoting the price in U.S. dollars and not in Yens or RMB.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (1)

bakarocket (844390) | about 4 years ago | (#33702066)

Now, I don't want to seem confrontational, but your initial post implied one of two things

1) You had gone to the tourist traps, and therefore didn't actually see any real stores, or

2) You went to Akiba - an area famous for anime, games, and nerds - expecting to find a deal on a big-screen TV that was usable in the US, and when people looked at you funny because you were trying to buy (in Japan) a big-screen TV you could use in the US, you got annoyed that they thought you were kind of silly to expect that sort of thing in a place catering to nerd-geeks?

If you really are native Japanese, then you would have known before going that nerd mecca probably didn't have what you were looking for.

It sounds to me like you went there just to find fodder for this thread.

Or you made a blatantly incorrect post on a forum of nerds who really know about this sort of thing, and when you were called out on it you started lying to gain some sort of nerd cred.

No nerd cred for you!

Re:Third Rate Shopping (0, Troll)

dorpus (636554) | about 4 years ago | (#33702158)

I was there at the opening of the Yodobashi Camera store, where they made a big fuss of how it was supposed to be the new wal-mart of Akiba. Like every other store in Tokyo with the kushidango architecture, it was small, cluttered, and overpriced; the escalators/elevators seemed to take up more floor space than the merchandise. And yes, I was taken to the smaller stores in the back streets, with their random assortments of wires, diodes, screws, and other junk. And the anime fetishist stores with their oh-so-precious original sketches. Some store, whatever it was called, had a TV series on DVD on discount, which I bought, but I was hoodwinked; it showed about 10 minutes of actual show, then spent the next hour interviewing the actress when the series ended. That stuff happens a lot, the yakuza own the copyrights to the show and release scam "collections". I was also taken to the Uniqlo store in ginza, which was "revolutionizing retailing" in Japan. It was about as big as an average convenience store, with merchandise that looked like it belonged at Salvation Army. But let's not forget the prominent ads for "U-15" web sites at the train station, advertising child pornography. After so many years of embarrassing open displays as such, they're finally wisening up over there in 2010 and Ishihara is actually campaigning against it. But yeah, I don't know why I bother talking to Japanophiles about this stuff; they just get violent and deny everything. It seems nobody wants to talk about what's really good for Japan, not the Japanese or the Japapnophiles.

Re:Third Rate Shopping (2, Informative)

bakarocket (844390) | about 4 years ago | (#33702410)

I don't know what I wrote that gave you the impression that I am a Japanophile. That sort of name-calling seems to be used not just people who worship the place (which is undoubtedly weird), but for anybody who defends the place. In fact, you should have got the opposite impression due to the fact that I already wrote that I dislike going there (for the reasons I wrote above).

Your impression of the area smacks of "ex-foreigner who never really fit in" rather than "savvy Japanese dude who saw through the hype". I apologize if I assumed too much, but reread your comment and you can probably see where I'm coming from. Finally, the post I'm responding to here only enforces my opinion, considering the total "Japanese perverts!" tangent.

p.s. Uniqlo is the Salvation Army of Japan. It's supposed to be cheap crap. p.p.s. The new Akiba Yodobashi is pretty roomy, actually. full disclosure: My office is 15 minutes from the area, so I shop there sometimes at lunch. I avoid anywhere that has porn or anime, so maybe I just haven't been to the same places as you.

Wow (2, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 4 years ago | (#33700972)

It's like Digikey, Mouser, a hamfest, Radio Shack and Best Buy all mashed up together. Awesome.

Re:Wow (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | about 4 years ago | (#33701342)

more like a microcenter crossed with a anime convention.

Electronics Paradise (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33700978)

There is a place right smack in the middle of Sao Paulo, Brasil called Electronics Paradise that is just like this

I go there often and it is just as confusing

Osaka or Kyoto (1)

nillion42 (958816) | about 4 years ago | (#33700980)

Does anyone know of any good, similar shops in Kyoto or Osaka areas?

Re:Osaka or Kyoto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701182)


Re:Osaka or Kyoto (2, Informative)

Earyauteur (1142601) | about 4 years ago | (#33701326)

Try Nipponbashi in Osaka. It is sometimes pronounced in Tokyo by native speakers as Nihonbashi.

Re:Osaka or Kyoto (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33702878)

Wikipedia to the rescue! :-)

I've visited Den Den town a few times and bought a few items there, such as a copy card for my DS...:-)

Not as large as Akihabara, but adequate and interesting.

Kyoto has almost nothing. It used to have some interesting stuff on the south side of Shijo, on Teramachi, but I visited again this year, and many of the stores have relocated/closed.

Also try Yodobashi camera in Osaka near the Hankyu/JR railway stations (Umeda). Carries many, many electronics of all kinds, and I visit there whenever visiting Osaka.

Re:Osaka or Kyoto (1)

thewils (463314) | about 4 years ago | (#33703580)

Bic Camera also have a big store just east of Namba JR station on Sennichimae.

Stay away from... (2, Informative)

incognito84 (903401) | about 4 years ago | (#33700988)

I just made my fifth or six trip to Akihabara over the weekend.

Stay away from any store that says "PC game" (in Katakana). Chances are, by "game" they're referring to softcore-porn DVD roms... They're usually B1 level and full of otaku perverts. I went into a few looking for a specific PC title and it took me a bit to realize what was actually going on.

I highly recommend taking a couple thousand yen to a big arcade like Club Sega. Fun times.

Re:Stay away from... (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 4 years ago | (#33701694)

They need to do this to evade police detection. You know the code, you get the stuff. It is designed for a specific group of people knowing exactly where they need to go.

I can sum this up in one word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33700998)


Holy hell, I'm not claustrophobic but it just feels tight and noisy (not in the sound sense). Ugh, I would go crazy. Literally, mentally insane.

Not like the old days (1)

birukun (145245) | about 4 years ago | (#33701006)

Have not been back in years since the whole Otaku scene crap took hold.

I can appreciate the guide to cut through the crap though!

mostly pointless (3, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 4 years ago | (#33701058)

I watched this when it was posted on HackADay earlier. It was largely a waste of time, because there's not that much to see. Most of what I saw looked remarkably similar to some ham-friendly electronics stores in Boston, like You Do It Electronics (there was another great hobbyist store chain that went out of business, I forget the name.)

The video is shot without any stabilization, handheld, by someone who had a little too much caffine, and who points the camera at Interesting Things for all of about, oh, a tenth of a second. This combined with Youtube's low bitrates = blurry, compression blocks of Fail. Seriously, you can tell the place is amazing visually, but because Cracky McCoffee The Cameraman can't hold the camera still or stop to pause on something, all you see is a blurry mess. And it's all out of focus, too, because it was shot with a dSLR, and this one apparently can't autofocus while shooting video (or Cracky McCoffee bumped the MF/AF switch), and CMcCTC didn't realize that indoors, he has such a large aperture that there's zero depth of field. At one point, the guy is standing in front of the camera talking for a good 30 seconds, completely blurred out, until he steps closer to the camera to get out of the aisle, and then poof! He's out of focus again.

Most of the "cool stuff" seems to consist of enclosures. The guy leading the tour has a borderline fetish for enclosures. Here, let me blast right past these meters and industrial automation gear. Now, check out this enclosure! Wow, it's hexagon shaped, see that? And it's metalic! This one has a stand. Now, pay no attention to those's my other favorite enclosure store! This one can silkscreen graphics on the front. WOOOOOOOW. Oh that, those are nuclear-powered minisubs. Waaaaaaalking....

Hardly pointless (4, Insightful)

turkeyfish (950384) | about 4 years ago | (#33701418)

Perhaps you didn't see any products of interest to you, but I know of nowhere in the US or London that even comes close in terms of diversity of components for the do-it-yourselfer. Perhaps, things are picking up in Hong Kong.

If you actually go there, and you know what you are looking for and are willing to learn a little Nihongo, it is awesome.

For a quick non-professional filming effort, it more than served its purpose. My congratulations on developing a very interesting tour.

Anyway, I really appreciated the tour. We'll all be looking for SuperBananas awesome video of his local Akehabara on a future slahsdot post so we can make a fair comparison.

Ya (0, Redundant)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33701486)

Looks like "Family vacation," quality camera work. Ummm, that may be fine if you are just shooting something to preserve memories but if you are trying to make something as an online guide/information site, take more time. As you noted, image stabilization is key. Best idea is just a camera with simple optical image stabilization. You don't need an expensive one to get it these days and it works great. Then take some time on shots and frame them. Let people get a look at what you are showing them, in particular if you are showing something neat/unfamiliar and with a lot of stuff in it. Try to keep everything in focus. AF works pretty well more of the time, but you may need to focus it yourself from time to time. Also, roll a lot more tape than you think you need. Want to show people 5 minutes of something? Roll 10, 30, even 60 minutes of tape (or files on a flash card as the case is now). Why?

Because editing is the second part. Don't just shoot a video and dump it raw on to Youtube. Good video editing software can be had for a low price or even free. Get some. Then take all that footage you rolled and edit it. Toss out the parts that aren't good, where things are blocked or out of focus, where it isn't as interesting and so on. Just keep the good bits. If you rolled extra tape this should be no problem, you probably have more than you need. You don't have to do anything fancy, you can just cut or crossfade from one scene to the next. Just try and keep only the good bits for people to watch.

Then maybe take a bit of time for narration. Don't feel like you have to narrate on the fly, video editing software will let you talk over top of what you did. If something isn't clear, or what was being said on the day isn't reliance or hard to understand, redo the narration over top later.

Basically, if you want to put together something to show the world, spend a little time on it. It won't be professional, but that's fine. However with some effort you can make something that looks good, rather than something that is very amateurish.

If you care enough to try and post something special, like this site, you really should spend the time to do a better job on the video.

Re:mostly pointless (2, Insightful)

freaklabs (1359341) | about 4 years ago | (#33701510)

Hee hee hee...yes, I love enclosures. But perhaps you missed the FPGA development boards, the canine robot, 300 yen 5.6-inch LCDs, induction motors, wall of thermocouples, wall of tweezers, wall of heat sinks, wall of fans, airwolf RC helicopter, EL wire vest, RGB acrylic panel, surplus components, and the giant Mario statue.

Re:mostly pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701878)

Don't listen to that guy. This is really awesome and makes me want to go there ASAP.

Sooo much better than Frys, it's not even funny! :-)

Thanks for making it, and please don't let one or two assholes put a damper on things. Your effort is well appreciated.

Re:mostly pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701920)

I wish there was an option to undo mods.

Re:mostly pointless (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701812)

The moderators seem to be appreciative of your dismissive tone. It sure sounds like you could do a lot better.

But until you do, this is actually pretty fun to watch for some of us that have never been able to make it to Japan yet.

much brighter in there now (1)

mikeskup (1337) | about 4 years ago | (#33701074)

wow, much brighter in there now...

we went on our senior trip to japan 23 years ago.... visited there..

just think of all the projects i could start and not finish!!!!!!!!!

Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701204)

News for nerds. Stuff that matters.

subject (4, Funny)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | about 4 years ago | (#33701300)

It's a trap!

Re:subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33702526)

Admiral Akihabara?

What a great project..! (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | about 4 years ago | (#33701320)

A video catalog of the various shops in a tinkerer's paradise!

That was an awesome little tour. I think every city has a few electronic parts stores, but I've never seen anything so extensive or well-categorized. I seem to recall a lot more cardboard bins and chaos. The thing which surprised me the most was that it wasn't shoulder-to-shoulder madness. I've been in cities with a lot fewer people and you barely move around in shops like that, but in Japan (of all places), there was permanently enough room not just to navigate but to have a camera man follow you around also.

Maybe it was just early on a week day. Or perhaps that's just what happens when you spread everything out and have more of it.

What a fun video repository, though. Made me feel like a kid again!


Re:What a great project..! (1)

freaklabs (1359341) | about 4 years ago | (#33703142)

Yeah, actually we shot it on a Tuesday afternoon because the weekend would have been mayhem. A lot of the shops had no camera policies so Patrick filmed it all on his D-SLR hung at stomach level so that he just looked like a tourist rather than someone filming footage.

modd Up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701330)

they're gone Mac If You do not And she ran all servers. Coming

Akihabara's nice enough (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701680)

Just try to keep in mind that it's really more suited to the geek culture of Japan rather than the geek culture of America. Maid cafes and AKB-48 [] might have international appeal, but it's hard to imagine there are many slashdotters who wouldn't be surprised by Oimoya [] , self-described as the world's first idol-only shop, where—for a price—customers can talk to and take pictures of teenage and pre-teen girls who feature in DVDs that might best be described as soft-core porn plus clothes. (Not that I've watched any. Just follow the link to find some DVD covers.)

There are plenty of parts and electronics stores, but there are also many plastic model and figurine shops whose Gundam-related wares to non-Gundam wares ratio is much higher than might be expected.

Re:Akihabara's nice enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33701734)

In case you thought I was exaggerating:
Translated from a page from that site [] :
A representation of Junior Idol Okamoto Momoka-chan. With a running length of 60 minutes, "Peach Princess"* didn't have enough room for, in addition to her face, her funny side (until now unseen by anyone!), her cuteness, and her sexy charm.

According to this link [] , Okamoto Momoka was born in November of 2001, so she's not even 9 yet. So, yeah, it's pretty fucked up.

*The first character of Momoka means peach.

Re:Akihabara's nice enough (1)

hson (78256) | about 4 years ago | (#33702284)

Wow, that's a really old pic of AKB48. Like, half of those girls are no longer members.

GHD hair straighteners (0, Offtopic)

shiji007 (1909240) | about 4 years ago | (#33702236)

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Good luck keeping it up to date. (1)

SickLittleMonkey (135315) | about 4 years ago | (#33702348)

Even when I lived 15 minutes away every visit was confusing because everything there changed so often.
And it's not as diverse and interesting as it used to be anyway. Things are moving online or into super-stores like Yodobashi.

Scale (2, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 4 years ago | (#33702492)

Just so people don't get the wrong impression. This video since it is basically done indoors doesn't begin to show the immense scale of this place. Closer to the main strip all buildings are 10~20 stories tall filled with stuff. The sides of buildings are TVs. 16wheelers come through but instead of towing a shipping container they have a bunch of 50" TVs playing anime. On certain days you may see >100 people cosplaying while just passing through. And this guy totally focused on things he likes, if you didn't see what you are looking for in his video it isn't because its not there. Its because he skipped it. The fact that they had parts to set up your own bio-lab was telling.

Awesome (0)

DogDude (805747) | about 4 years ago | (#33702664)

Wow! One of the best articles in a long time. Really interesting videos. I'm inspired to learn something about electronics just so I have a reason to visit.

Akiba doesn't impress me (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | about 4 years ago | (#33702884)

I used to live in Kanagawa. Kanagawa is the prefecture bordering Tokyo. I was studying at a university in Tokyo. As such, I had the opportunity to shop there a few times.

Call me a buzzkill, but Akiba is not that impressive in my opinion. The arthouses along the border of the sub-city (??) were way more impressive.

Akihabara just feels like a city made out of Fry'ses.

Re:Akiba doesn't impress me (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 4 years ago | (#33703604)

And this is a bad thing? I make it a point to go to a Fry's every time I go out west. We don't have them here :(

Best story in a long time! (1)

ControlsGeek (156589) | about 4 years ago | (#33703166)

So much better to read about than Lindsay Lohan!

720P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33703180)

So why does that video default to 720P, then run in a rescaled window while you can't fullscreen it? I can even set it to 1080P, google likes to waste bandwidth, don't they?

completely pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33703456)

TFA describes one store as:

"Prices aren’t that great in the store, but the prices are much better online."

The sad fact is, this accurately describes every store that has ever been worth dealing with in Akihabara (of which many have gone online-only), and most of those which remain. Akihabara is great to visit once or twice, but not more than that. And for the love of god, unless you're in some kind of emergency situation (have to pick up a DC supply _now_ the wife will kill you) don't ever buy anything there. You _will_ be raped.

Re:completely pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33703536)

3 bucks for those 5.5" inch panels [] seems pretty cheap to me. I'd probably buy the whole case if I saw this while shopping here in Germany.

we used to have radio rows in the states (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#33703552)

the one in new york city was demolished in the 1970s when they built the world trade center []

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