by Robert Estel 

Ah… Valentine’s Day, time for love, cards, and lots of chocolate. For those who have grown tired of chocolate, or are on a diet, here are some technical sugges­tions on how to get the romance going.

For the computer conscious, there is nothing more useful these days than a USB memory stick (thumb drive). From carrying around those pictures from your last date to that all-important resume for when you need a copy ASAP, they are definitely handy to have. Carry your data with you—in style. At any ma­jor electronics store you also should also be able to find a food favorite in Japan—Sushi—a sushi USB memory stick drive, that is. These sushi, shaped as all your favorite types of fish, come with 256MG and up. Load up those pictures of the time you two went to Tokyo Disneyland or that first trip to Asakusa, and let the romance start.

For those who feel that shrimp just doesn’t set the mood, then let music do the trick. For those who really want to set their Valentine up in style, Apple’s iPod is the hands down winner this year. While not necessarily Japa­nese made, it is certainly stylish and does well to block out those rowdy salary men on the train who are on their way home from drinking. For the cash conscious, the new iPod shuffle comes with a nice bite size price of ¥9,800 at most retailers and comes with 1GB of space. Not only is the price bite size, but the actual size of the unit itself is also amazingly small, consisting of the clip and the controls only.

For those with a little more cash who like to be able to pick and choose their songs, then take a look at the second generation iPod nano. With sizes in flavors of 2, 4, and 8GB, you can give your loved one up to a week of music to listen to on the go. In terms of color, however, the 2GB version comes in silver only, while the 8GB version comes in black only. The 4GB version comes in silver, green, blue, and pink. There is a special edition red version that is currently available in 4 and 8GB sizes as well for the same prices as the other colors. Prices range from ¥17,800 for the 2GB to ¥29,800 for the 8GB. While the regular colors are available at most electronic stores, you’ll have to head to the Apple Store in Shibuya or Ginza to snag that red one. All that’s left is to load it up with love songs, and you are set to go. Now if they only made it a nice navy blue…

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