Update: I had a friend order TY DVD-RAM from Akibaoo. What’s neat is here in Japan, you can place an order over the web and pay via any local convenience store, if you don’t trust using your credit card over the web. So my friend did the paperwork, and I can pay at a Family Mart in Okinawa. Only thing is shipping to Okinawa from mainland Japan is $23 bucks! Plus a $3.00 fee from the convenience store. Amazon.jp is a $5 more per pack so cost ends up the same.
I visited Kojima, a big electronics store in Okinawa and Wow! As big a selection of DVD-RAM as I have seen anywhere in Japan, but of course, no TY, e.g., THAT’S brand. They had Maxell, Mitsubishi, Victor-JVC, TDK, Panasonic. Since I’ve had problems with TDK and Panasonic on my Toshiba RD-XS HDD recorders, I rolled the dice and tried Victor-JVC, since I know they use made in Japan products a lot.
I tested 8 disks before I was convinced: they all initialized on the Toshiba. I then measured the time it took to initialize versus virgin TY disks. Took about the same time: 42-43 seconds. At $19 per 10 and locally available, much cheaper than the $27/10 of TY ordered from Akibaoo via Family Mart.
I’m currently testing the Victor-JVC stuff, e.g., whether thumbnails initialize as well. Sometimes they will hang on non-TY stuff.
I will try Maxell next when I need more -RAM. My Toshiba recorders are pretty finicky creatures and for now, Victor-JVC gets a thumb’s up!