New product launches - like pretty much everything else - are done differently here in Japan and yesterday's Windows Vista event was no exception.

Thousands, rather than hundreds of geeks, lined up on Monday night in Tokyo to get hold of the operating system and shops opened their doors at midnight rather than keep people waiting till morning. Tokyo's launch was also distinctly more odd than the UK's and for several reasons.

Entertaining the masses

As you can see from the photos on the excellent Japanese-language PC Watch website, not only were sales staff dressed up in giant Vista boxes, but the masses were also kept entertained. The requisite young female celebrity was on hand to officially kick things off with a vacant smile and a Japanese version of Morecambe and Wise (also female) performing a banter known as Manzai spread shtick aplenty around.

Finally, another big difference lies in the cost of Microsoft's new cash cow. In Japan the pricing runs from JPY14,490 (£60) for the Home Basic upgrade to JPY51,240 (£214) for the Ultimate edition, considerably cheaper than the UK's top-end price of £370. So, if you're in the UK and can read Japanese maybe we can work out a little side deal perhaps? Just don't tell HM Customs and Excise, ok?