When you had been let unfastened in Akihabara, Tokyo’s well-known Electrical City district, would you go trying to find a tech memento to take residence? I’m assuming the reply can be sure, as a result of that’s precisely what I did. With a time restrict of two hours, I scoured as a lot of Akihabara as attainable to discover a enjoyable, high-tech memento that somebody could wish to deliver residence, and right here’s what I discovered.
Which one would you’ve chosen?
If you wish to purchase a brand new piece of tech in Akihabara, that’s not likely an issue. Each Bic Digital camera and Yodabashi Digital camera — large, multi-floor tech megastores — are straightforward to search out, and promote virtually each new shopper tech product you may think about. If you wish to see all the pieces in both one, it’ll simply take you longer than the 2 hour time restrict I set myself.
Moreover, most of what you could find in there’s out there everywhere in the world, so it wouldn’t actually remind you of Japan after you come back residence. No, it’s way more enjoyable to discover a particularly Japanese merchandise, or at the very least a uncommon piece of tech as a substitute; however to do that, you need to tour the numerous various tech shops in Akihabara, and that is the place the problem lies.
It’s straightforward to spend the entire day doing this. There are a number of shops unfold everywhere in the city, typically on a number of ranges, or hidden away in basements, and should you can’t learn Japanese, it wants dedication and a willingness to stroll by way of mysterious doorways to search out them. Then, when you get inside a superb retailer, among the extra fascinating stuff is present in flea market-style cupboards and bins, they usually take time to look at. That is the enjoyable of Akihabara — you by no means fairly know what you’ll discover, or the place.
I wished one thing ideally distinctive to Japan, a particular version product, or on the very least one thing I hadn’t seen for years. My quest was not straightforward, and I quickly found it wasn’t going to be low cost both. Nonetheless, right here’s a have a look at the form of factor you’ll discover whenever you go touring in Akihabara for a tech memento.
There’s one explicit retailer alongside the primary avenue in Akihabara that sells retro video games consoles, cartridges, and discs. There have been stacks of those Gameboy Shade handhelds, all in several colours; nevertheless it was the Atomic Purple clear one which caught my eye. Initially launched in 1998, the Gameboy Shade just isn’t particularly uncommon; however it’s nonetheless a enjoyable retro toy to personal.
The small display has a decision of 160 x 144 pixels and will present greater than 32,000 colours, whereas the hand held itself required two AA batteries to run for about 10 hours. Why would I select one among these? It’s the quantity of cartridges bought within the retailer. You might select a spread and shortly take pleasure in a beautiful retro gaming expertise on the flight residence.
Most fashions had been up for about Eight,480 yen, which is about $77 or 60 British kilos, and every cart assorted in value. You might have additionally bought each R-Kind and Nemesis cartridges for $22 or about 17 kilos.
PlayStation Vita Hatsune Miku Version
Launched in 2012, this restricted version model of the PlayStation Vita was made to commemorate the discharge of the Hatsune Miku Undertaking Diva sport. The white console comes with Miku art work on the again, and initially included the Undertaking Diva sport together with a 4GB reminiscence card. This model was discovered inside a jam-packed used video games retailer, and though it got here unboxed, it nonetheless commanded a 24,075 yen value.
How a lot is that? Simply over $221, or 170 British kilos. That’s an costly memento, however because it was solely ever out there in Japan you’d be getting one thing fairly particular. The desirability is raised once more should you’re a Hatsune Miku fan, and I’m positively that. It was robust to withstand this one.
Sony FES U Watch
Sony’s FES U watch is an uncommon wearable with a customizable e-paper display that stretches from the watch face down onto the strap. It’s a trend watch reasonably than a smartwatch, making it much less helpful, and it was initially launched in Japan again in 2017. Since then it has been made out there internationally, full with an enormous, ridiculous price ticket.
There have been a number of FES U watches within the window of a backstreet Akihabara retailer, and what actually stood out was the value. It was the cheaper model with mineral glass reasonably than sapphire, however the 19,000 yen value converts over to $175 or 135 British kilos, significantly lower than the retail value of 440 kilos within the U.Okay., or about $570.
A comparative discount value for the quirky, uncommon watch, and reply me this: when was the final time you noticed somebody sporting one?
I used to be looking out for the Infobar A03 touchscreen cellphone, however couldn’t discover one within the many used cellphone shops in Akihabara, at the very least in my two hour search. I did discover a number of of those beauties although — the Infobar XV. It’s really fairly new, having solely been launched in 2018; nevertheless it (together with all Infobar telephones) is unique to Japan.
It’s an actual stunner, and in these instances of minimalist telephones just like the Punkt MP02 it’s nonetheless on-trend. It has Android put in, however with restricted performance so it solely runs essentially the most important apps. The three.1-inch display has a 480 x 800 pixel decision, and there’s an Eight-megapixel digicam on the again. Nonetheless, because it’s a Japan-only cellphone, it’s unlikely to have the fitting bands to be used internationally, so it might simply be a design curio reasonably than a useable cellphone.
I discovered two of the three colours made, and every value 24,800 yen. That’s about $228, or 175 British kilos.
Lastly, and possibly essentially the most extravagant memento most would ever purchase, it’s RoBoHon. Sharp’s robotic cellphone is simply too lovable for phrases, and the one product I requested to take pictures of when he got here out of the cupboard; however as with most Japanese shops it wasn’t allowed. RoBoHon has a 2-inch display on his again, and a projector in his head, plus a Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB of RAM, and Android 5.zero Lollipop onboard.
RoBoHon’s authentic value was an eye-watering 198,000 yen, or an enormous $1,820 or 1,400 British kilos. This used model was yours for 89,800 yen — $825 or 635 kilos. Costly, however a very uncommon Japan-only piece of tech that only a few could have ever seen, not to mention used. Nonetheless, just like the Infobar, the Japan-only standing could restrict RoBoHon’s usefulness outdoors the nation.
What should you missed your likelihood?
We’ve all carried out it. Seen one thing and been indecisive, after which missed our likelihood to purchase it. What should you didn’t get one among these, after which regretted it? I took a glance on eBay to see which is straightforward to purchase outdoors Japan. Unsurprisingly, the Gameboy Shade is plentiful, with costs for the clear fashions beginning at about $45. Virtually all of the Hatsune Miku version PlayStation Vita’s come from Japan on eBay, and costs are twice that of the mannequin I discovered in Akihabara.
You should purchase the Sony FES U watch new from Amazon within the U.Okay., whereas on eBay within the U.S. virtually all should be imported from Japan at costs starting from about $300 upwards, with many across the $500 mark. Just a few Infobar XV’s are on the market as imports for at the very least $425, whereas import RoBoHon fashions hover round $2,000 or extra. Primarily based on these costs, all however the Gameboy Shade would have been an ideal worth buy.
Which one would you select?
These are the objects that caught my eye throughout my two hour search, together with a number of others that I didn’t get to see intimately, together with a wonderful Astell & Kern A&Norma SR15 Uma Musume: Fairly Derby particular version for 55,000 yen ($505/340 British kilos). Which one did I select? I virtually purchased the Infobar XV, as a result of it’s so fairly; however as a result of that is Akihabara, my love of Japanese idol group Nogizaka46 meant I spent the price of the cellphone on different memorabilia as a substitute.
What about you, which one would you’ve chosen?