Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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Ht Tokyo: Akihabara
Japan is a largely homogeneous culture, at least if you judge by the subways.

I was stuck thinking that there weren't many foreign folks.

One was to measure how rare they are - when you see a foreigner, you generally talk to them. Being foreign is rare enough in this culture that it's a point of bondage.

Then I discovered where the large bulk of the foreigners hang out, at least during the daytime - they were hanging out in the export electronics section of Akihabra, at Laox, asking if that digital camera would work with their PC, or if that TV would run off their power jack. Me I was there for an adaptor; three prong to two prong, so I could run my loaner laptop on the two prong Japanese jacks. I was in the Japanese home of deep geekery and all I bought was an umbrella and a plug adapter.

After all these days watching the Japanese go buy with their trends and toys, I found myself seized by consumer desire. It was called Laox - a giant seven storey store packed to the brim with hype laptops, camera/MP3s players, flexible floppy keyboards, knockoff PDAs, infrared nightvision binoculars.

Fortunately the many extra keys on the Japanese keyboards kept me from buying any objects of lust.

It was like the California tech superstore Fry's but it was denser. It was Fry's on meth.

The whole neighborhood is a electronics superstore - there are little sidestreets, stands stacked with specific electronics:

Security Cameras:


Mobile Phones:


Streetside Computers:


Electronic Lights:


Big Globe street corner
October 2001
Typical neon-lit Akihabara streetcorner. This one is dominated by the blond head of the computer generated spokesman for Big Globe, a Japanese internet service provider.

Tokyo | Japan | trip | life

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