Steve Barriault

March 26, 2018

There was an age, not so long ago, when getting oriented in a new city was something that required some planning. I remember buying the latest map atlas for Tokyo and figuring out how to get from point A to point B using the subway or some train. Then came online maps and smartphones, and the world was never the same again. These little guizmos quickly became the traveler’s best friend, providing him with instant connection with the office and loved ones, entertainment, the joys of photography, and of course mapping.

I love my Galaxy Note 5. But one thing I am less a fan of is the cable to charge the battery up. I went through many cables, and they all end the same. One day or another, some slight pressure bends the MicroUSB connector, and the wire doesn’t work consistently anymore. Connect a faulty wire and the morning after the phone is almost discharged. So, I went to a store before my last trip to replace a wire once again. I was left nonplussed by the quality of what was available – the same cheap plastic heads that would break if you look at them the wrong way. Not many choices available anyway.

But then, I earlier had the chance to have one of my Japanese team members lend me a rather good MicroUSB cable, one with sturdy heads. So, I decided to give Japan a chance. During my latest stop in Tokyo, I headed for the electronics city – Akihabara.

Want games?

Akihabara is a geek’s paradise, literally. You find there every gadget your heart can possibly desire. That includes cables – in spades! I found a store that specialized in cables, power supplies and other such supplies. Choices included a wide variety of microUSB cables – with steel head – of various lengths. And best of all, the price was quite reasonable – three times less that the asked price at the American store. My charging problem is now fixed. And I took this opportunity to get a few gifts for my daughters – small robots you can assemble yourself. As I said – geek’s paradise. 

Got cable?

OK, so that deserved a celebration! So, later on during the week, I got to Tsukiji – one of the largest fish markets in the world. Because, you know, you cannot visit Japan and not enjoy fresh sashimi while there. But then, I needed to practice Japanese, so I headed for a quiet, off the beaten path sushi joint with no English menus and no English service. In that occasion, the chef was in a mood to engage in friendly banter. He also become tremendously excited when I told him that I liked “dancing octopus.” He went behind the counter, got this piece of octopus arm and slapped it vigorously to cause it to “dance”. 

Pure marine goodness

Now, to be frank, his piece of octopus wasn’t moving much. But then, I was relieved. With that size, if it moved like some of the smaller octopuses I saw on my plate in Korea, it may have been a tad dangerous! This octopus was delicious, so was the fatty tuna and the other delicacies I had the chance to eat. Next time anyone comes with me to Japan, this joint is on my list of places to patronize.