Part of a series on Parody / Spoof. [View Related Entries]
PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
Michaelsoft Binbows is the name of a now-closed used computer repair store in Koaigimachi, Japan, and a parody of the name "Microsoft Windows," the name being a bilingual pun playing off the Japanese term "binbo" meaning "cheap." An image of the storefront became the subject of memes, including image macros, as early as 2007 for its obvious infringement on the Microsoft Windows brand. It was first documented on the Japanese blog "Alf's Room" in 2001, its actual location being discovered as early as 2013.
On July 20th, 2001, the Japanese blog "Alf's Room," a personal blog covering a number of topics that has been updated consistently since 1997, made a post titled, "Michaelsoft Binbows." The post contains an image of a computer repair store in Maebashi City, Koaigimachi, with a logo reading "Michaelsoft Binbows" and Microsoft's old Windows logo to the left (shown below).
The post also contains a fictional back-and-forth text string between blog mascot "Alf," an elf who runs Alf's Room, and another elf character in which they discuss the name being a parody and the legality of it. In the last bubble, Alf suggests that the store closed around 2002.
Following the post to Alf's Room, photographs of the Michaelsoft Binbows storefront began spreading online as early as 2007. For example, on July 24th, 2007, Spanish humor website Paranoias posted the image from Alf's Room. Another angle of the building became significantly popular, although it is unknown where it was first posted. One of the earliest available uploads was posted to the forum "velocidadmaxima" on November 13th, 2007 (shown below).
On March 3rd, 2010, Consumerist writer arcperton posted an article describing how the name of the store is a bilingual pun, with the Japanese word "binbo" meaning "poor."
The image became the subject of a number of image macros over the next decade, spreading across social media. On April 5th, 2013, Know Your Meme user Gabenus Trollucus posted an image of the storefront with text reading "seems legit" to the Seems Legit entry (shown below). On February 14th, 2016, Know Your Meme user Dr.Sid commented with a link to the location on Google Maps. This is the earliest known link to the actual location on Google Maps, although it's unknown if it's the first.
On October 16th, 2016, Facebook page "I Hate Mondays & Love Weekends" posted the image overtop another one showing a confused Bill Gates, garnering over 4,400 reactions and 1,200 shares in five years (shown below, left).On October 28th, 2017, Redditor u/TylerZ1184 posted an image macro about copying homework to /r/me_irl using the image, garnering over 1,400 upvotes in four years (shown below, right).
On November 27th, 2018, YouTuber Andrew B posted a parody review of the "Michaelsoft Bindows OS," garnering over 22,000 views in three years (shown below).
Nick Robinson Video
On May 16th, 2021, YouTuber Nick Robinson posted a video in which he finds the location of the original Michaelsoft Binbows store using the location from the Alf's Room post as his starting point (shown below). Nick uses a VR program so he can walk through Maebashi City street by street to find the building. The video gained over 500,000 views in a week.
The location Nick determines to be Michaelsoft Binbows is at "Japan, 〒371-0046 Gunma, Maebashi, Kawaharamachi, 2 Chome−12−14," providing a Google Maps link in the description (shot by Google Maps from 2012 shown below). The video also discusses the store name as a bilingual pun and hypothesizes that "Michaelsoft" comes from the fact that "Michael" is known as being a comically overused name in North America by those overseas.
 Alf's Room – Michaelsoft Binbows
 YouTube – MICHAELSOFT BINBOWS
 Paranoias (via wayback machine) – Michaelsoft Binbows
 velocidadmaxima – Curious photos!
 Facebook – Meanwhile in china
 Know Your Meme – Michaelsoft Binbows
 YouTube – Michaelsoft Binbows
May 24, 2021 at 01:43PM EDT
May 24, 2021 at 11:58AM EDT
+ Add a Comment
Add a Comment