Just got back from a fund raising trip to Tokyo with Marvin and Ian. We were hosted by friends who took very good care of us, and I got to see quite a bit of the Tokyo area. It was great fun to visit Japan again -- the last time I was there was just about 10 years ago. My favorite part was wandering the electronic components stores in Akihabara. I didn't realize Japan had such a vibrant hardware hacker culture. There were several multistory buildings packed with dozens of small shops that sold parts of all sorts. I haven't seen these sorts of shops in the Boston area (with the exception of the monthly MIT Swapfest) -- presumably because mail order is so efficient in this country. But I remember how nice it was as a kid in Montreal to be able to just run over to a well-stocked electronics store when I needed a part. One question I had was how the Japanese proprietors could afford to run such small businesses -- as in the one in this picture.