The first time I went to Japan, in Spring 2002, the Sony Building
was high up on my list of places to visit. Six floors of space set in a classic 1960s skyscraper in Tokyo’s wealthy Ginza district, the Sony Centre is a showcase for the company’s brand, image and values, as well as its new technologies and products.
When I visited, dark, moodily lit corridors swept me to an audio playback lounge with towering speakers, rooms full of astoundingly slim laptops, and of course, saving the best till last, there was a pen full of yapping AIBOs to watch.
Despite the fact I’ve been back to Japan several times since then, I’ve never returned to the Sony Building. I enjoyed my visit a lot, but each time I’ve been in Tokyo, a visit there has seemed less relevant, less necessary, less worthwhile. It struck me that perhaps this says something about Sony itself, and makes me wonder whether it’s true to say that Sony doesn’t matter anymore.