Hello, this is Hiroko. Welcome to Akibatteru.

Today, we've come to Akihabara. It's been two and a half years since a stabbing rampage took place here and the weekend pedestrian zone was closed. Today it's reopening and we came to find out more.


On June 8, 2008, a truck was driven through crowds on the street, hitting and killing three. The driver then got out and stabbed four more people. An additional 10 were injured.

The incident left Akihabara in shock, and many worried for the safety of the area. In the days after it was decided to suspend the pedestrian zone, but it's now reopen.

Thousands of people came to celebrate the reopening and clapped when the street was closed to traffic at 1pm.

While pedestrians are again welcome on the street, other activites, such as ad-hoc performances, have been banned. A citizens group patrolled to ensure rules weren't broken.

The pedestrian zone will continue on Sundays until June 26, and be extended if there are no problems. The road is closed to traffic from 1pm until 5pm through March. From April it will be extended one hour until 6pm.

Retailers are hoping more people will mean more business.

Nintendo 3DS and Sony NGP

Next we have news about portable game devices.

The Nintendo 3DS will launch in Europe on March 25, and in North America on March 27.

Japan will get it a little earlier on February 26.

And Sony's new PlayStation Portable is coming soon. Here are some highlights from the launch in Tokyo.

The Sony NGP has a 5-inch OLED touchscreen, WiFi and 3G, front and rear cameras and dual analog sticks. The user interface mixes games and other entertainment and there's a built-in social gaming service called LiveArea. It has GPS, for location-based entertainment. The rear of the NGP is a large touchpanel for extra input and control. Sony is thinking of two version: one with WiFi and 3G, and one with just WiFi. The "NGP" name might be changed before launch, sometime later this year. No price was announced.


Next, we've come off the main street and to this little side street. Do you remember the logo? It's Kondo. We introduced them in a previous Akibatteru, and we're here today to see a robot contest.

Kondo regularly hosts robot contests and this one drew a small crowd. We first covered them in August 2009, when we looked at battling Manoi robots. This time the robots have to navigate an obstacle course.

First up this slope, then past a couple of automatic robots that try and block them. After that, the robots enter this enclosed area and have to be navigated with the help of someone else. Next it's across this bridge, which can quickly swing around, down a slope and across the treadmill to victory. It can be quicker if the robot falls off, but you'll get a penalty.


Now we're in Korea for a special Intel event. The company launched it's new Core chip with some familiar faces. Do you recognize them?

It's Girls Generation, one of the hottest pop groups in Japan and Korea. They held a mini-live to launch the new chip.

Girls Generation launched in Korea in 2007 and came to Japan in 2010. The nine girls quickly drew fans and their debut DVD was the first by a Korean act to hit the top 5. Their single hit number one here, and they've also performed live in Shanghai and Los Angeles. For Intel, they recorded a special music video.

The day is coming to an end, but there are still many people here. From the pedestrian zone in Akihabara, goodbye. I'll see you on the next Akibatteru!