Sometime late in 1977 my girlfriend gave me a talking robot. It was partly a gag, and partly a not too subtle dig at my lack of maturity. I was twenty-five. I had a laid back job working swing shift, and I was more concerned with surfing and partying than career, and marriage. The box was all in Japanese. The robot was a silly looking thing like a bright red trashcan on stilts, and when you pushed a button on his chest he sang a little song, or yelled at you in Japanese. The talking mechanism was a tiny phonograph, with three different records. The thing was a crackup. You couldn’t push the button without laughing.
Robocon was the name of this ridiculous creature, and he turned out to be a Trojan horse. He would soon open my imagination, and my home to an invading army of interplanetary war machines.
"They had some other Japanese robots at the toy store," my girlfriend said. "But they were complicated looking things with a million parts, so I didn’t think you’d be interested."
I had my second Japanese robot within the day.