I woke up in the early morning, having 10 hours for myself until I had agreed to call Mr. Yokoi in order to make an appointment. I decided to walk around in Jimbocho, which is a discrict in which you can find many second-hand book stores. Unlike cities in the Netherlands, in Tokyo similar shops usually group together, making whole areas for specific products. Of course, we all know Akihabara as 'Electric City', where you can find the strangest old and new electronical products, even prototypes of products that never make it to the market. But there are more districts like this, like Shibuya (many record stores and other products for youngsters), Harajuku (for the hippest and weirdest fashion and related products for teens) and Ochanomuchu (where more than 50% of the Japanese students live). Bernard told me there even is a district where you can buy any kind of 'fake plastic meals', which are often being placed in front of restaurants to show what kinds of food they have on offer. Sumo wrestling areas and clothing areas are no exception either. This grouping of similar shops is actually quite useful, because if you are in search of an extremely rare product you just take the subway to the related area and with usually little efforts you'll almost surely find the product you are looking for. Being a music lover (working in a record store) myself, I managed to find several records of groups that are extremely hard to get in the Netherlands, often even brand new, in limited editions. If you're a music lover, Shibuya is a true walhalla. In Shibuya I also bumped into a huige bookstore (Book 1st) where a pile of MSX Magazine 3's were just waiting to be bought.

After this trip through Jimbocho, Nagatocho and Shibuya (where I spent many many hours) the time had come to give Yokoi a call and we agreed to meet in Akihabara, at Akihabara Convention Hall, the location where MSX World 2005 was going to be held. In short: the location they managed to arrange was simply amazing. Right in front of the exit of the train/metro station, in a huge and recently completed skyscraper with every modern facility you could think of. At least 30 stories, 36 elevators (all with flat-panel screens mounted in them), escalators, and a huge convention hall on the 2nd floor, the place where the meeting was going to be held. Together with Mr. Atsushi (who organized the MSX Waku Waku Park fair in the Hirose building in November 2003) and an employee of Akihabara Convention Hall we arranged how the hall was to be prepared for the MSX World 2005 event. After that meeting we met Mr. Pen, one of the little known yet highly active members of MSX Association, and with this group of four we wandered around in the convention hall for a while. We had a short dinner in a Victorian-style pub/restaurant and then went back to Yokoi's office in Oshiage. Here, he took me to the second floor of his office, which is completely occupied with his hardware, magazines and software collection. Everywhere I looked I saw boxes, bags and closets filled with MSX (related) computers, hardware expansions, magazines and software. Yokoi showed me his complete collection of Daewoo MSX consoles, a Fujitsu FM-X to FM-7 interface, a Quickdisk (sequential disk) interface, rare MSX Software, his European software (which included all MSX-Engine and ANMA titles), multiple turboR computers, joyballs and lots, lots, lots more. It certainly is one of the largest MSX collections I have ever seen. (Although the close to complete MSX computer collection he demonstrated at the 5th floor of the MSX Association HQ in November 2003 was equally impressive). Back in Yokoi's office (or frontline hideout, as Japanese MSX fans tend to call it) we joked around quite a bit, I handed out some MSX buttons and after a late dinner in a Chinese restaurant Yokoi took me back to my hotel where I got some well-deserved rest.

During my third day in Japan, the jetlag finally hit me. As it was raining quite a lot during the day, this wasn't much of a problem as I could not possibly have done a lot of sightseeing during the day. I took a lot of rest, knowing that I'd need quite some energy for the days to come. For Saturday I had planned some serious Akihabara shopping and Tokyo sightseeing with Bernard Lamers and Bas Vijfwinkel, while on Sunday MSX World 2005 was to be held. I wouldn't want to miss a single minute of either one of them. At the end of the day, I took the subway to Shibuya again and found quite a few record stores I had not spotted the other day. I felt like a little kid on a playground, finding the most obscure (and cool) releases of bands I like, sometimes even in high quantities. Due to the rain I decided to enter a large warehouse, called Tokyu Hands, where you can buy about anything you can think of. As a prize for a future MRC Challenge, I obtained a ChoroQ hanger for mobile phones, with a nice and powerful light in it. On one of the floors there was an entire 'nature' section, containing for example an Antquarium, which consisted out of a small, transparent box filled with blue gel and a couple of -real- ants. As an extra, small tubes of new ants could be bought as well. I spent quite some time in this warehouse full of bizarre objects that probably never would be released outside the Japanese market. After a nice dinner I went home to get some rest, as there was a long day to come.

Comments (1)

By robertwilting

Champion (467)

robertwilting's picture

21-05-2005, 15:46

Antquarium weird. Well these things are just sold by my local pet stores. So we have that weird stuff in the netherlands as well.
However I do believe that they don't sell the seperate ants Smile