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In Japan, the two most famous geek districts are Akihabara (in Tokyo) and Nipponbashi (in Osaka). Just their names alone conjure up notions of cute anime characters and old Famicom consoles. Yet, these areas aren't only for gamers or folks into anime/manga.

Take my father-in-law. He has zero interest in video games, comics, or cartoons. Yet, he loves going to Nipponbashi to check out speakers, amps, and old vinyl LPs. He's a huge audiophile, subscribes to multiple high-fidelity mags, and regularly goes to audiophile-type meet-ups. His set-up is quite impressive—nothing crazy expensive and much of it is decades old, but still wonderful sounding.

I was never really interested in audio equipment. I've always loved music, but I've never been picky about how I hear said music. My father-in-law has always been quick to loan amps and speakers under the pretext that he doesn't want his grandchildren growing up, listening to music from crummy audio equipment.

Sometimes I go with him to Nipponbashi—which is always interesting, because, as I previously stated, he's totally not interested in games and whatnot. Yet, he has a great time there looking at stereo equipment. It's a bit like when my brother-in-law goes there; all he ends up buying are model cars. That's one of the great things about these two districts in particular. They cater to a wide range of folks, not just the stereotypical "otaku".


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