After months of preparation, our MIJ mission to Tokyo kicked-off Sunday afternoon with a casual walk-about through the famous Akihabara electric town district. Over the coming week of scheduled meetings and events, we plan to post a daily update — right here on WWJ — of the highlights to provide subscribers a current snapshot of Japan’s mobile space. MIJ has an extensive agenda lined up, including company visits and presentations from many of what we believe to be the most interesting local players, a major networking event at Mobile Monday tomorrow night and a whole day out at
Tech Disneyland — the CEATEC trade show.
You’ve got to experience it to believe it!
While most of these discussions will be held ‘off-the-record’ to gather info just for MIJ participants, we are looking forward to gaining an even deeper insight of where the industry is today and how things are shaping up for 2006 and to sharing what we can.
Yodobashi Akiba has quickly become Japan’s No. 1 electronics department store in an area dedicated to all things gadget and with sidewalk sales down alleys as far as the eye can see (in any direction). With 9 floors of products on display, it was interesting to note that their main floor
is dedicated, almost exclusively, to mobile phones and a staggering collection of accessories. We even got a peek at some of the mock-up terminals on display (see below) from e-Access, which is planning to roll out HSDPA services starting sometime next year.
Needless to say: after spending over an hour in the shop, we didn’t actually make it past the 3rd floor (Note to selves: pack a lunch for that trip again on another day), but there is so much more to see in Akibahara. Heading out into the jungle, we saw everything ranging from robot DIY shops to stacks of give-away CDROMs (anybody need a sealed copy of Microsoft Explorer 3.1..?!?), plus tons of used laptops for waaaaaaay too cheap — plus and lots of flashing lights and weird gyro-type gizmos that went beep! In the end… no Sunday afternoon on the dori (they block car traffic on the main 6-lane road allowing pedestrians only) would be complete w/o some live & loud music and lots of cute girls in maid costumes…
We capped off the day with a great dinner — and a few tall, cold drinks — on the Ginza so MIJ participants could network and get to know each other better. It’s gonna be a rush over the next 5 days but there should be the odd tid-bit of interesting snaps and thoughts posted here from our adventure.
– WWJ Editors