Mr. Sato buys a mysterious Exhaustion Removal Sheet from an Akihabara junk shop.

The Akihabara area of Tokyo is world famous as a sort of mecca for otaku culture as well as anime, manga, and video game enthusiasts in general. As such it’s become rather touristy in recent years, much to the chagrin of our own Mr. Sato.

For our writer, Akihabara has always been about the junk shops, these small stores scattered around the lesser known corners sell unusable electronics and obsolete accessories that would be of interest to no one except hardcore hardware hackers harvesting semiconductors to build their own robotic waste baskets and automatic tomato feeders.

Yes, for Mr. Sato it is here that the real character of Akihabara lies, so he can often be seen here strolling about to recharge his batteries. During one of these constitutionals, he walked by a rental showcase. This is an outdoor shelf that local businesses can rent to remotely promote their wares.

This particular showcase, however, proved to be more puzzling than promotional…

A pair of signs decorated with autumn leaves and a cute shiba-inu hung in front of a pile of random cases, wires, and tubes. The top poster advertised a “Stiff-Shoulder Reducing Necklace” that was originally priced at 5,000 yen (US$44) but knocked down to 3,000 yen ($27).

Below that was a similar sign boasting a “Sleepiness Prevention Ring” for only 1,000 yen ($9). The caption explains that when you feel sleepy, you should put this ring on your head, as demonstrated by the shiba-inu. Doing so will “reduce your sleepiness.”

Both signs were amended with comments such as “junk” and “No6 Bracelet ¥1,000” that looked as if they were written by someone whose hands were tightly bound together.

Had it been a slickly-designed sign for a health and fitness store making these kinds of claims, Mr. Sato probably wouldn’t have paid it much mind. But coming from an Akihabara junk shop that usually deals in iPhone 3 cases and Game Boy Advance adapters, this was endlessly intriguing.

So he headed over to the store selling theses magical items in order to purchase a Sleepiness Prevention Ring. However, the shopkeeper informed him they were sold out, but he was still in luck, because they still had “Exhaustion Removal Sheets” in stock for 1,800 yen each ($16).

It wasn’t quite a Sleepiness Prevention Ring, but Mr. Sato thought what the heck. He had already come this far, and might as well get something out of it.

He handed over the cash and was given this…

▼ …small French pouch?

Given the name, it wasn’t exactly what Mr. Sato was expecting. Probably the sheet was inside, so he headed back to the office to open it up.

Cracking open the zipper he could see a shiny silver sheet inside all folded up. It was no ordinary “sheet” though. It was a sheet of aluminum foil.

But more than that, Mr. Sato could feel something inside the layers of foil. He suddenly got really excited at what it could be. Junk shops are capable of anything, so while our reporter didn’t know what to expect, he knew it would be out of the ordinary.

He eagerly unwrapped the foil, but something was wrong. No matter how much he unwrapped, there seemed to be more and more foil left. He unfurled a length of aluminum that stretched across the room but still hadn’t reached the center.

Looking at it from the side gave a hint of how much was left to go, but little in the way of hope that it would be done soon.

Of course, Mr. Sato knew he could just cut into it with scissors, but that just didn’t feel right. Without any explanation or instruction, he somehow knew that this was how the Exhaustion Removal Sheet should be handled. So he pressed on.

Finally, he had reached the center of the foil and his prize was revealed to be… um…

▼ …wha?

Two plastic cases, normally used to hold lunch utensils, full of strange small metallic objects.

“Little rivets?” thought Mr. Sato, “No wait….”

Pop nuts!” he exclaimed, realizing they were indeed the load-bearing rivets used in thin pieces of metal.

He sat there and stared at the little bits of metal that he would have no use for — unless he was suddenly asked to assemble some airplane parts or metal shelving.

▼ By the way, ASMR fans may be interested in watching
these rivets in action. It’s quite soothing.

You’d think Mr. Sato would be sore about spending 1,800 yen ($16) on this, but as he stared at his new purchase he couldn’t help but smile.

▼ “Happy Lunch Time”

It was hard to be mad at the shop for their creative marketing. Also, in the excitement of opening his rivets, Mr. Sato’s exhaustion did melt away, so the product had worked as advertised. Besides, when you hang out in Akihabara junk shops as much as he does, you get used to this sort of thing.

Images: SoraNews24
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