By Richard Barnett
My meetings in Tokyo are finished so I spent the morning in the incredible electronics capital of Japan, if not the world, Akihabara. Any and every electronic gadget and gizmo is on display in dozens, if not hundreds, of stores, including of course scanners. While the legality of owning and operating scanners in Japan is of some question, there’s no doubt you can buy them, but not the usual brands. You won’t see Uniden-Bearcat scanners on display here for example. Why that is I don’t know. But you can find ICOM, AOR, Alinco, and some unusual brands that have never made it to US shores such as Maruhama. While the Maruhama brand looks interesting you can’t find an English manual for it and of course it’s clear it isn’t capable of trunking or digital, it’s more akin to a basic scanner, possibly with some additional bands.
What’s most amazing about Akihabara are the mini-malls of stores, no bigger than half a vendor’s cart, where people specialize in capacitors, or switches or some such thing. It’s incredible. There’s aisles and aisles of these stalls and you get the feeling they’ve been handed down from one family member to another, selling extremely specialized equipment in maybe a 8′ by 5′ space. If you’re into unique parts and equipment this is the place to come, although you should go with someone who’s fluent in the language if possible. I’m sure there are many pictures online of Akihabara and these stalls — it’s worth a look.
On to Hong Kong!