I’ve been doing the Tokyo Thrift column for the best part of a year now, and it’s been a lot of fun covering a wide range of Japanese gadgets that otherwise might not get much attention in 2016. One name keeps popping up, though: Sony. It’s easy to see why, since the Japanese giant was the dominant force in consumer electronics throughout the second half of the 20th century, and is well known for its commitment to engineering innovation and occasional design hubris. Products like the Eggo headphones, Rolly, and VAIO P really couldn’t have come from anywhere else.
Tokyo Thrift is a column on The Verge where Sam Byford, news editor for Asia, trawls the second-hand market to explore the history, design, and culture of Japanese gadgets. It runs on the last Sunday of each month.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the iconic, soon-to-be-demolished Sony Building in Ginza, Tokyo. To celebrate the company’s 70th anniversary, Sony is replacing its flagship location with a public park that it hopes will become a new landmark in the city. And until construction starts next year, the building is hosting a wonderful exhibition called “It’s a Sony,” which places hundreds of devices on show from the company’s inception to the present day.
This will be the last Tokyo Thrift of 2016, since the last Sunday of the year falls on Christmas Day. Although this is the first time I haven’t actually gone out and bought a product for the column, I thought it would be a good way to draw a line under the year — and maybe Sony itself — by covering a huge number of gadgets at once. This way, I can shift focus to other companies next year.
Though, you know, I can’t promise I won’t be occasionally tempted by Sony again.