Feeds

Akihabara unplugged: Tokyo's electric town falls flat

Reg hack finds fancy dress maids playing darts, but few unique gadgets

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Maid Cafe massage sign

It must be said that despite such vaguely sinister Lolita/S&M overtones these establishments are very much above board, although one advert for a Maid massage looked a little more dubious.

Sadly we were not able to snap the inside of the café and those maids on the streets touting for business like downmarket geisha were equally unhelpful. However, you can see from these pics the kind of thing we’re taking about.

They even have themed Maid Cafes – one of which allowed punters to play said maids at darts, while the other catered to trainspotting otaku with a TGV-themed café.

As always with such sub-cultures in Japan, and elsewhere to be honest, smut is never very far away. The AV Factory depicted in this pic referring to porn, or ‘adult videos’ rather than audio visual cabling.

First Akihabara, then Japan?

It’s easy to speculate that Akihabara’s decline as a tech centre is symptomatic of the dramatic fall of Japan’s tech giants such as Sony and Sharp on the world stage, but the truth is more complex, according to the analysts.

Gartner research director Hiroyuki Shimizu told The Reg that such big name brands have suffered over the past 20 years from the commoditisation of electronics, and stiff competition from Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers.

“However, we consider that the biggest reason why the Japanese electronics industry is getting weak is the strict employment policy in Japan. It is almost impossible for Japanese companies to flexibly restructure their human resources. It is also difficult to close factories in Japan,” he added.

“In the global electronics market, companies focus on their differentiators. However, Japanese companies focused on the segments where they have plenty of human resources and large assets.”

IDC’s Nakamura strongly disagreed that Akihabara’s fading tech footprint could be linked to that of Japanese companies globally.

Akihabara tour poster

“The ‘hot products’ in Akiba were always imported from outside of Japan. Products were large enough and standardised enough that there was huge room for replacement of components for enhancing the user experience,” he told The Reg.

“There was little relation to Japanese technology industries then. Japanese tech firms were

trying to sell large TVs and stereos and commodities but those were not hot products in Akihabara. Now the PC market has reached maturity, other trends have come to Akihabara.”

It looks like they’re here to stay too. They even do guided tours of Akiba’s otaku hotspots. Or how about a master class in “cute decorative sushi roll making”? No? Ok then. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.