Dangerous Prototypes Visits Akihabara

DangPro visited Akihabara Electric Town, the fabulous electronic component district located in Tokyo. So jealous! [via Adafruit]

16 thoughts on “Dangerous Prototypes Visits Akihabara

  1. Two things…

    First I am amazed there such a large local DIY customer base that these huge markets can thrive. They all seemed busy. What the heck are they all building? Personal projects, start-up prototypes, low volume production runs?

    Second how does one get these bag fulls of electronic parts by the chuckleheads in US customs? A single sandwich baggie full of parts sure, I doubt they’d care, but I just can’t imagine them saying “Ah, I see you visited Akihabara. Nice parts. Welcome to the USA!” without nailing you with import duties on multiple tubes worth of IC’s and reels of LED’s and the like. After all going to a place like Akihabara who amongst us isn’t going to leave our soiled laundry behind just to make more room in the suitcase for the unobtanium that Akihabara temps us with?

  2. why doesn’t capitalist america have these? someone explain that please. why does japan have EVERYTHING while we get popular culture luxury items that are… well sub par.

    1. I agree Mitch, I sat through this entire video with my mouth hanging open. If there was a version of this in the US I know that several groups I am affiliated with would plan group excursions. Hell, rent a tour bus to get there.

    2. We do Mitch…we call them Radio Shack stores…but seriously folks…

      I think their advantage lies in the fact that probably 100% of Akihabara’s parts are sourced locally whereas such a venture in the United States would require importation and it’s related costs which, of course, would be added on to the price and passed on to the consumer. After all is said and done the only advantage that I could see from a business model perspective would be the circuses of going to such a location because I doubt the parts would be any cheaper than online ordering through the standard sources and, in the long run, the stateside model would thus not be sustainable.

      I have often wondered if Mouser, Digi-Key or any other large online electronic component sellers have ever given any thought to operating regional locations with a small showrooms. I know Allied Electronics used to have retail locations but I think they all closed in the late 70’s.

  3. Thanks for the positive remarks! We had a blast in Akihabara.

    I’ve never had problems with electronics and customs, as long as they aren’t in my carry-on nobody seems to care.

    When we went to Maker Meeting (like Maker Faire in Japan) I was astounded at the build quality of the projects. I think there is definitely a strong maker/hacker/tinkerer culture in Japan that helps support this market. Tokyo is also crazy huge, but then it’s surprising that the bigger, almost as dense New York can’t support something similar.

    I also hear Akihabara is way smaller than in the prime period a couple decades ago when Japan was an electronics manufacturing capital. Now that all seems to be in Shenzhen and Seoul, which coincidentally have even bigger, newer, and grander electronic markets. We’ll make a similar video at these markets in the coming months.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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