Mobile phone penetration in Japan is one of highest in the world. Because of the very high tech phones that they have, the Japanese have unique problems related to the technology. For example, one of the major concerns of parents is the ability of children to access objectionable websites through their mobile phones.
Mobile phone companies are now trying to help parents with this problem by instituting new policies that give parents more involvement in getting mobile phones. For example, NTT DoCoMo does not allow minors to buy phones for the first time if they do not bring their parents or guardians and check a box in the form that would allow the company to install an internet filtering service to the line.
The National Police Agency reported that crimes emanating from internet dating sites is increasing and that children are very vulnerable to this because of their curiosity.
This is the right move for mobile companies. Their conscious efforts to actually help parents in monitoring their children is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, this becomes a widespread practice in all manner of technologies that affect children.
Posted November 30th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
The popularity of PC modding as a hobby is a direct response to the universal opinion of computer users that PCs generally look boring. Before modding and personalization became popular, a computer buyer can choose any color for their PC as long as it is beige. The form factors are equally unimaginative, plain, boxes that redefines what spartan means.
Modding has allowed users to really personalize their computers — reflecting their personalities as well as their passions. For the DIYers out there, you can get this nifty device from Marubeni Infotech. It’s a do it yourself wooden keyboard kit that was handcrafted by skilled craftsmen. The kit, which costs 34,800 yen, needs actual assembly, which I know will thrill hobbyists everywhere. The finished product is no slouch either. It is a definite conversation piece. How many people do you know use wooden keyboards, anyway? The keyboard is part of a whole range of wooden PC products that include a USB drive, mousepad, desk organizers, keyboard stands and cable organizers.
DIY Kit, H901K-M/H901KI-W, Marubeni Infotech
Posted November 28th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
Hideo Nakata has firmly established his reputation in world cinema with Ringu — the seminal Japanese horror film that has spawned countless rip-offs in Asia and ushered in the highly lucrative “Asian horror” genre. Even though his American directorial debut had been less than stellar (okay, it was just a bit above passable), it has not diminished the cachet that he has developed for Ringu as well as his other wonderful movies.
It has been reported a few weeks ago that Nakata is now set to take on the hit anime series Deathnote. The series has already spawned two smash live action movies but Nakata will be directing the movie focusing on one of the most enigmatic characters in the series. The title of the movie is The Last 21 Days of L and it will be released on February 2008. Nakata’s dreary and atmospheric directing style will perfectly fit the Deathnote mythos. I can’t wait to watch it.
Posted November 21st, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
Japanese businessmen have thought up of the perfect way to incorporate their patriotic love for the country and the smarts to take advantage of a niche in order to earn money. The result is a new meal service that caters to athletes in training at training camps and dormitories. The menu for this service put special emphasis on nutrition and dietitians are frequently consulted about it.
D-Athlete Communications started the service back in 2001. The inspiration for the service came when the company’s chairman was requested by a track and field club of a university to provide meals for its training camp. From then on the company’s clients have expanded over the years. Currently, it services 1,500 people in 150 sports clubs in its area — this includes universities and high schools as well as swimming clubs.
Don’t think that you will get the same generic meals though. Since each sport requires different nutritional requirements for its athletes, the company provides a dietitian for each team. These professionals also give seminars on nutrition to the athletes.
This is one more idea that people in other countries should look into. The Japanese can really think out of the box.
Posted November 19th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
I love noodles. In fact, I love it so much that it is the first thing that I check out in a menu whenever I go eat at a restaurant. I doesn’t matter if it’s Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean or any other cuisine. As long as they have long strips of carbohydrates then I am ordering that.
I particularly love soba noodles. Soba is one of my most favorite Japanese foods. I love how soft and flavorful soba noodles are and how it complements the condiments and additional ingredients included with the dish. Of course, just like with any other noodle, freshly made soba is better than the commercially available dried ones. I know how hard it is to make soba so I was quite delighted to discover an actual soba machine being sold in Japan. Now, anyone can make soba, even at home. The machine will allow a user to make soba in just 20 minutes. The maker, Takara Tomy, designed the machine similarly to Italian pasta machines, meaning it is quite easy to operate. who says you need to be an accomplished soba chef to make soba? Now you can make your own soba!
Posted November 17th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
The Japanese aesthetic is wonderfully quirky and one of the most unique point of views in the world. Just take for example this really funky watch. The Pimp Pusher watch from Tokyo Flash is a wonderful fashion accessory that is not only useful it’s also a great conversation piece. The watch has 72 surface mounted LEDS. These LEDs tell time by lighting up one light for the hour, which is located in the left column. It then also turns on one light for every minute that passes. So for, example, it 3:15, 18 LEDs will be turned on on the watch face.
But where does the “Pimp” come in with this Pimp Pusher watch. Well, between 6 PM and 1 Am, which is considered Pimp Time (go figure), rows of the LED will light up at random in order to catch the attention of people around you. Maybe the light display is a technological equivalent of showing your mating feathers or howling like a banshee like howler monkey in heat.
Be warned though, the watch may look very cool, but telling time will require constantly exercising your math skills. All for the name of fashion, eh?
Posted November 14th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comments (2)
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 may be a success in the US, but go to Japan and the American made console lags behind both the Nintendo (the current blockbuster console) and Sony (whose PlayStation 3 is getting respectable number lately). Microsoft’ third place showing in Japan shows that the fiercely loyal Japanese are not that easily impressed by something that is American. In fact, even some of the games that are developed by American developers are not usually very popular among the Japanese.
It came as a surprise though this week when the Xbox 360 actually outsold both the PS3 and the PS2. According to the Media Create top 50 Sales Chart, the Xbox 360 sold 17,673 units in one week, effectively pushing total sales to 500,000. This is a figure that the original Xbox never managed to achieve.
The PS3′s sales numbers are actually very near the 360′s at 17,434. In fact, it may be likely that the PS3 beat the 360 in sales because Media Create only makes an estimation based on a sampling of stores. Thus, the 360′s triumph may be more of a moral one.
The true test for Microsoft is if it can continue the numbers for the following weeks. It will also be a gauge whether the Japanese has finally embraced a foreign console.
Posted November 12th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
One of the most disturbing and definitely saddest facts about Japan is its high suicide rate. Many experts give different views about this phenomenon, but personally, whatever the reasons are, the alarmingly high number of lives lost in the country is very alarming and dampens Japan’s national spirit.
Today the Japanese government issued a statement about this subject, urging that there is a need to take on the issue as a society especially with the number of suicides exceeding 300,000 again for the ninth straight year. The World Health Organization actually ranks Japan as the country with the ninth highest number of suicide victims.
The announcement is part of the first counter suicide white paper that has been released this year. The governement is calling for more care for suicide survivors and support for the families who lost loved ones through suicide.
In its first “counter-suicide white paper” for 2007, the government recognized suicide as a death of a person driven to desperation and someone who is at the end of their rope and said it is necessary to provide care to survivors of suicide attempts as well as the bereaved families of those who have killed themselves. The white paper reflects the government’s concerns over the findings of the World Health Organization, which ranked Japan as the ninth highest in the world for the number of suicide victims per 100,000 persons.
Posted November 9th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
I was watching the news yesterday and thoroughly getting depressed because of all the bad news the anchors were relaying. Fortunately, a light, lifestyle feature followed that lifted up my spirits and also showed how wacky the Japanese can get.
It’s the My Chopsticks bra that was created by Triumph Japan. The funny looking bra actually has sports cups that look like a bowl of rice (on one cup) and a bowl of miso soup (on the other cup). To top it off, the bra has side pouches where chopsticks can be kept. Call it a concept bra, if you will. The My Chopsticks bra really brings home the message that a woman’s breast can really provide nutrition and has a wonderful packaging.
Posted November 7th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comments (3)
Japan produces some of the niftiest, coolest toys on earth — and I’m not talking of just game consoles or those cool robots. Take for example this new product from Gakken Toys, almost industrial type Lego-like building blocks that you can form into the Tokyo Tower. The figure is very easy to assemble and will really give your mind a good workout. When you’ve finished building it, turn off the lights and light up the tower and what you’ll have is a very cool light fixture at home (or at the office) that will surely elicit many positive comments from visitors. It is a true conversation piece. When you’ve gotten tired of the Tokyo Tower just disassemble it and build it into any structure or figure you want. This means endless fun not only for the kids but for you as well.
Posted November 2nd, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (0)