After the audition, I made my way to my fave otaku (geek) hangout, Akihabara. My intention, funnily enough, was to get the newest itteration of the extremely popular (Nintendo, are you getting this?) Nintendo DS, or Dual-Screen, namely the DS Lite, so called because it’s so much smaller and cooler than it’s big brother, which I actually bought right on the day of it’s release-
DS Phat vs……………………… DS Lite
Apart from lusting after it for quite some time, the real reason that I bought the ‘Lite is that I had bought a flash card for mini-movies and homebrew software and had gone for the extremely small ‘micro-SD’ version that I had read was compatible with the DS Lite, yet unbeknownst to me was only compatible with it. There being such a scarcity of the latter in Japan, Akihabara was the only place to go.
Before getting that, I had a look around at the second-hand laptops. I’m not usually a fan of such things (in Japan, at least), as anything with all the up-to-date features such as a dvd burner is often not much less than a brand new one, which is of course that little bit faster and also has the full warranty. But something I found here was to make me change my mind.
In a small shop along one of Akihabara’s many backstreets was a whole row of beautiful looking IBM X20 Thinkpads, yesterdays executive extravagance costing around $3,000, now at only 17,800 yen (around $150/£80). They are still more than good enough for word-processing and internet, with a (gonna get geeky now) 600mhz PIII, 128mb ram and a 20Gig hard-drives. Were was the catch? I spoke to the pony-tailed guy who runs the place and found out that they all work fine, with the exception that all but one had an issue in which the monitor would have a red tint for 5 minutes when first turned on. Also, they all had practically dead batteries, and with many of them, the catch was that there was no cover on the catch! Other than that they are beautiful, slim and have wonderful keyboards.
Satified that the one I was getting was fine (the one with the good monitor), he then replaced the latch cover on it from another one and put the best of the batteries in it- which gave me 10 minutes of use rather than 5! We then looked on the internet to see how much extra ram it woujld take, as I always like to max that out for smoother operation, and he offered a deal whereby he’d remove the 64mb that is replaceable, giving me a discount down to 16,000, then I would (very quickly, as it was coming up to 8:30, when everything closes in Akiba) get a 256mb stick from a nearby shop. We ruminated a but about how Akiba was gradually being taken over by maid cafes, which he said was creating a ‘strange feeling’, then I hopped nextdoor where I luckily found the ram and the guy there very kindly installed it for me, too.
So, at a grand total of 21,000, I was done!
This being done, I literally rushed to the place where the DS lite was avaliable and got it, not wanting to have to go back too soon to Akiba. I actually paid a bit more than the standard retail price for it, and also for a US version… yes, I really wanted it that much! I then checked in another shop about how much it might be to order an X20 battery… 17,800! I think I’d be better off scouring the backstreets for that one.
I showed Yuko the Thinkpad the next day, and she loves it, especially the slimness and lightness. It’s actually one of the most attractive laptops I’ve ever seen (if I say so myself) and all for less than that DS Lite. I fixed it up with all the latest updates to Windows 2000 Pro, which it comes with, installed a virus scanner and other goodies, wiped it over with a wet-wipe and now Yuko’ll have something convenient to write her stories on, as she’d prefer using a pc to the iBook I got her before. Which means that I can use the beloved iBook guilt-free in school now.
"So who do you love more, computers or your girlfriend?", I hear you ask.
Well, that’s a toughie… Just kidding, it’s Yuko, of course!!