during our trip to akihabara this afternoon to explore tokyo's electronic gadget stores, dave and i decided to take my camera to Yodobashi Camera (a giant camera store in akihabara -- you can't miss it) to see if it could be repaired.
i was expecting that this would be either a.) impossible to repair, since nobody fixes electronics anymore, they just buy new stuff or b.) parts would need to be ordered, which would take weeks, since no repair shops seem to stock parts anymore.
to my great surprise, the electronics store did have a repair counter, and after inspecting my camera and calling canon to confirm their diagnosis, i was informed that my lens assembly would have to be replaced in the camera, and that they had the part in stock and it would take 2 hours and $120 to repair.
i quickly agreed, and now my camera is working once more, so i can now take much better photos for (hopefully) the remainder of my trip! plus they cleaned all the annoying lint that had crept inside my camera's viewfinder, so i think my camera's had a full service as well the lens mechanism repair.
tokyo electronics stores rule -- this is the fastest and best repair that i've had done on any gadget i've ever owned.