If you’ve ever been to Japan…especially a major Japanese city such as Tokyo…then you undoubtedly are aware of the major chain of electronics stores here called 「ビックカメラ」 (“Bic Camera“) and also the major chain of affordable clothing stores called 「ユニクロ」 (“Uni-qlo“).
(Actually, I’ve heard that 「ユニクロ」 (“Uni-qlo”) has expanded overseas and has stores in America and other countries now…so maybe you know that store even if you’ve never been to Japan.)
Bic Camera logo
I like 「ユニクロ」 (“Uni-qlo”). In fact, I happen to be wearing a shirt today that I’ve bought from one of their stores. But for electronics, I normally go to the biggest competitor of 「ビックカメラ」 (“Bic Camera”)—「ヨドバシカメラ」 (“Yodobashi Camera“).
I choose 「ヨドバシカメラ」 (“Yodobashi Camera”) because I have a “point card” from that store. If you live in Japan and you don’t make use of the point cards that many stores in Japan offer, then you’re missing an opportunity to get free stuff! I have many point cards and I’ve gotten things I needed from many stores, including 「ヨドバシカメラ」 (“Yodobashi Camera”) at no cost!
Anyways, I saw a commercial on TV this morning for a new store in 新宿(Shinjuku, Tokyo) that is a collaboration between 「ビックカメラ」 (“Bic Camera“) and 「ユニクロ」 (“Uni-qlo“).
This new store will sell both clothing from Uniclo’s stock and electronics from Bic Camera.
The name of the store is 「ビックロ」 (“Bikkuro“)…which is a morphing in Japanese of both company names.
I saw a TV commercial yesterday for a 「シボレー」 (“Chrevolet“) car.
It was a car called the 「シボレー・ソニック」 (“Chrevolet Sonic“).
This may seem like nothing unusual to you…especially if you live in America, where TV commercials for American cars are quite common.
But I realized, after seeing that commercial, that I don’t recall having seen an ad for any foreign (ie: not Japanese) cars, until now, since I came to Japan in 1990.
I realized that every advertisement I’ve seen in Japan for automobiles or electronics (Japan’s two biggest industries) have all been for Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba and other Japanese companies.
Almost every car and motorcycle on the road in Japan is Japanese. Sometimes wealthy people buy a foreign car as a kind of “status symbol”…normally it’ll be an Italian or German car that they choose.
Also, close to every single electronic product sold in Japan is made by a Japanese company. Products made by American companies such as Kodak, Polaroid or Zenith aren’t normally found in Japan. Do those companies even exist anymore?
Here’s the commercial for the 「シボレー・ソニック」 (“Chevrolet Sonic“) that I saw on TV:
Do you see many TV commercials for foreign companies in your country? Are American products popular in your country? Have you ever seen a Chevy “Sonic”?
A number of people in Japan ordered the new “I-pad” computer product by Apple Corp. from a retailer in the U.S. only to receive empty boxes.
The I-Pad from Apple
The Japan Postal Service said that the products were removed from the boxes before they reached Japan and that the U.S. Postal Service should investigate the cases.
The I-Pad won’t be on store shelves in Japan until later this month so I guess some people couldn’t wait and decided to order them from America.
But I’m sure they’re regretting that decision now after spending about ¥56,000 (US$600) for nothing.
Anyways, I don’t know much about the I-Pad but I wonder why anyone in Japan would buy electronics outside of Japan.
For one thing, Japan has the world’s leading electronics products and also I doubt the products outside Japan have Japanese language support.
For example, my computer keyboard and my cell-phone keyboard both have English letter and Japanese characters on the keys.
So, I wonder, why would these Japanese people order an electronics product from overseas rather than wait a few days to get it domestically with Japanese-language features?
秋葉原 (Akihabara) is the largest electronic district in Tokyo. And one of the, if not the, largest electronic districts in the entire world!
I have heard that originally 秋葉原 (Akihabara) was called Akibahara (which would actually be a more accurate reading of the town’s name 「秋葉原」), so people who frequent the area often call it 「アキバ」 (Akiba), as a nickname.
Anyways, my kids went out with my inlaws today, so my wife and I went to 秋葉原 (Akihabara) because we’re considering buying a ケータイ電話 (cell-phone) for our oldest daughter.
All three of my kids want a ケータイ電話 (cell-phone)…but for a number reasons, we’ve decided against it until they’re in high-school. Once they begin high-school, they’ll take a train to school everyday…so we think a ケータイ電話 (cell-phone) might be necessary.
My oldest daughter will begin high-school (equivalent to 10th grade in the U.S.) next month…so we may give her a ケータイ電話 (cell-phone). I’m over-protective of my kids…so I’m not sure yet. I have to decide.
But if you want to buy electronics, manga, anime…or any other otaku (geek) culture (including a visit to a “maid cafe“)…then you should visit 秋葉原 (Akihabara).
Here are a couple videos I took too: