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Videos of Akihabara

September 28, 2010
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Tokyo Hackerspace has recently released these videos of a tour of Akihabara in Tokyo and they have done a viral tour of some of the major hacker blogs like Make and Hackaday.  If you have not already seen them then they are worth the time watching as Akiba of Freaklabs gives a great tour of this part of Tokyo which is brimming with stores that sell tools, electronic components and everything else for the hobbyist, maker, hacker and engineer.

The full collection of 24 videos are on the Tokyo Hackerspace website.  The video recording was made in HD so if you have a good bandwidth connection try the 1080 HD version on full screen. Here are a couple of the videos that I found particularly interesting.  First an amateur radio store called ‘Rocket Radio’

This next video shows a collection of indoor stalls that sell a wide variety of hobbyist items.  The location reminded me of a British indoor market, but instead of clothes and food here you can buy radios and enclosures. A collection of ‘candy stores’ for hobbyists.

I had heard of Akihabara but was stunned watching these videos how many stores there are.  I am sure it is unique in the density of electronics and construction retailers.  I would be interested to hear from anyone if they know of a collection of electronic component stores similar to this elsewhere, particularly in North America.  No doubt there were smaller collections of shops like this after World War II when the surplus gear hit the high street.  I know in London, UK, Tottenham Court Road had a concentration of such stores and I remember my father taking the family there when we visited London in the 70’s when I was a kid.  I believe that Shudehill in Manchester, UK, also had electronic component stores around that time  (again I recall a visit with my father) but they had all gone except for a TV and Radio store in the 80’s when I was a student there.

Thanks to Akira of FreakLabs, Patrick of Work in Progress and Tokyo Hackerspace for bringing us these videos.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2010 10:18 pm

    Great post Alan. That’s a real ham store!

  2. September 29, 2010 4:15 am

    I worked in London near Tottenham Court Road in the early ’70s and I remember I could often go and get all the parts I needed for a project I was building in my lunch break. There was only a handful of component shops, though, and often it was better to take the Tube to Edgware Road.

    Back in those days even the nearest big town to where I lived had a couple of radio parts shops. All gone now, thanks to high rents, high wages and accountants who decreed that there are better ways of making money than carrying a huge inventory of 5 penny parts.

  3. September 29, 2010 6:41 am

    It is amazing to see the amount of product that is on hand in one store.

  4. Graham permalink
    September 29, 2010 10:04 am

    Thanks for posting Allan.

    It used to be, but I can’t say it’s true any longer as I haven’t visited in a very long time (80’s), that there was a section on College Street, West of Yonge in Toronto where there was a collection of electronic and computer stores over a city block or two, Active Surplus being one (I think) .

    I miss living near Detroit (or other large US metropolitian area) as there where so many active Hams that any swapfest was large and well attended. When I lived in Windsor (early 80’s) there was hardly a weekend during the fall, winter, spring when there wasn’t a swapfest somewhere within a short drive (couple of hours at most) some of which where quite large filling the halls of a local high school with seller and vendors. Our local swapfests (Smiths Falls, Iroquois, Carp) would be but only a quarter the size.

    I was once told that in some of the larger California cities that weekend computer swaps where quite common at one time – perhaps not any more, times change.

    All in all, we where lucky here to have the “Computer Recyclers” and they always seemed to have some good stuff most of the time but sadly times changes and they too have moved on.

    cheers, Graham ve3gtc

  5. October 1, 2010 12:37 am

    Hi, Alan.

    If you’re ever in Tehran, check out the Capital Computer Complex on Mirdamad Blvd opposite the Eskan mall (there’s a great coffee shop in there by the way!).

    Not far from Vanak Square.

    Packed full of computer and electronics stores and so cheap (close to China/Taiwan).

    – Martin, VA3SIE.

  6. October 1, 2010 10:12 pm

    There’s one in singapore that I used to go to when i went there, havent been there in years, but im told it’s still there. i think it’s called the Funan IT Mall or something like that.

    I went there about 10 years ago and it seemed like the typical dark dingy blackmarket stereotypical scenter. I’m sure it’s not that way now even if it was back then, but as a 17 year old geeky kid (AKA PFY) it was a gold mine…

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