Do you live alone? Do you NOT relish the thought of coming home to an empty apartment without anyone to interact with? Or maybe, you live with other people who you do not really get along with, prompting you to go directly to your bedroom.
If so, then you might want to get yourself a Pekoppa toy, one of the newest hits in Japan. It is just like a small plant which is merely beginning to grow. Unlike any other plant, however, the Pekoppa toy can respond to the sound of your voice. Speak and you will be delighted to see its two leaves flutter or its stem bend towards you, as if acknowledging what you are saying.
The Pekoppa toy is the brainchild of Japanese company Sega Toys Co. Ltd. Since its release in September of last year, more than 50,000 units of the Pekoppa toy has been sold, attesting to its popularity. According to Minako Sakanoue, spokeswoman for Sega Toys, the Pekoppa toy serves as a psychological buffer for interaction for people of all ages. She is quoted as saying “If you have no subordinates who would listen to your grumbling in the office or no children who would talk with you, Pekoppa will be by your side, gently nodding.”
Though in truth, you know very well that the toy does not understand a thing you say, I can very well see how it can help some, psychologically. Later on, in June of this year, they will also be releasing a flower version dubbed Hanappa.
Posted November 9th, 2010 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
Apple made the world stop on January 27 when Steve Jobs announced the newest gadget in its already long line of toys: the iPad. This tablet computer is being touted as the next gadget that will change the way we perceive things. Much like when the iPhone was launched, the unveiling of the iPad has got the whole world a-buzzing.
Japanâ€™s Fujitsu, however, is quick to speak up. Apparently, they have been using the term iPad to call a gadget that they launched as early as 2002. If this is true, then Apple might have to deal with a trademark issue in the coming months.
The official word is that the Fujitsu subsidiary in the United States launched their own iPad in 2002. The Fujitsu iPad is a small handheld gadget that is targeted at stores. Its purpose is to keep track of inventory, to scan barcodes, and other similar activities that store clerks may have to do. Inside the Fujitsu iPad, there is an Intel processor. It runs on Microsoft (big difference!). The gadgetâ€™s screen is 3.5 inches and has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The positive thing â€“ at least for Apple â€“ is that the trademark application has not yet been approved. However, Fujitsu applied for the patent in 2003, definitely giving it an edge. The company has not made any announcement as to what their next move will be though. The official word is that they are â€œsorting out the facts.â€ As for Apple, they are no strangers to this sort of thing.
Posted January 31st, 2010 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
Japan is well known for their protectionist policy. From their language to their products, the nation always prioritizes their own over any foreign ideas and things. When it comes to video games, it is not much different. That is perhaps one reason that the Nintendo Wii has had unprecedented success since its original release.
No one can say, however, that the Wii is not worthy of its success. Anyone who has tried playing on this gaming console will certainly agree that the Wii is something else. The original game that came with the Wii was Wii Sports, which was meant to showcase what the revolutionary console could do.
Now, they have released a follow up to the game dubbed Wii Sports Resorts. It has only been out for a week in Japan and yet reports are already coming in â€“ the new game is another smashing success! From June 22 to June 28, statistics show that the about 360,000 copies of the game were sold. This quickly propelled Wii Sports Resorts to the top of the charts.
The new game compilation has 12 different sports and comes bundled with the MotionPlus attachment. In fact, spokespersons for Nintendo have said before that the games are designed to make the most out of the new attachment.
As of now, the game is only available in Japan but for sure, foreign versions will be released soon. I think the US will be having its version by the 26th of this month.
Posted July 4th, 2009 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
This is NOT good news for PlayStation fanboys in Japan and the rest of the world. According to sales figures, the Xbox 360 is has outsold the PlayStation 3 and the Wii. This is according to Media Create, an analytics company.
According to Games Industry, the latest results in terms of hardware and software are:
The Square Enix title for the Xbox 360 displaced last week’s top seller, Mario & Luigi RPG 3 for the DS, pushing it into second place.
PlayStation Portable title Idolmaster Sp took three consecutive places with its iterations Perfect Sun, Missing Moon and Wandering Star at third, fourth and fifth place respectively.
Shining Force Feather on the DS also debuted during the week, taking sixth place, followed by Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (PSP the Best) at number seven and, another debut title, Sacred Blaze on the PSP at eight.
Meanwhile, Street Fighter IV for the PS3 slipped from second place to ninth, and Demon’s Souls, also for the PS3, came in tenth.
The region saw the Nintendo DS platform dominates sales at 51,814 units, breaking down into 41,839 DSi sales and 9,975 DS Lite sales, while Sony’s PSP followed behind at 29,552 units.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 led the home console sales with 25,334 units, beating out the Wii at 16,973 units and PS3 at 16,149 units, as well as the PlayStation 2 which lagged behind at 5029 units.
This is quite surprising, given the fact that the PlayStation and Wii consoles are both Japanese-made. There could be a variety of reasons why this has happened but that is quite beside the point right now. If Sony wants to make a comeback, they have to do something â€“ and quick.
Posted March 8th, 2009 by Maki+ | Comments (5)
While the rest of the world has been clamoring to get their hands on the iPhone, the Japanese seem to think otherwise. This is another classic case of cultural differences â€“ differences in tastes and preferences. According to Forbes.com, Japanese who sign up for a 2-year contract with Softbank Mobile can avail of a free 8GB iPhone unit. And if you happen to want the higher version of the iPhone, say the 16GB unit, you only have to pay $118 with the 2-year contract. Even with the payment necessary, the price is less than half of what the iPhone is currently going for in other countries!
This is probably quite incomprehensible for one who lives in a nation such as the United States, or even the United Kingdom, where people of all ages seem to be doing most anything within their power to find a way to afford the iPhone. So why is this happening? How can a technologically advanced country not fall in love with the iPhone?
Any serious techie will give you a shake of his head as an answer. It is simple â€“ the iPhone has not appealed to the Japanese people in general because it is not quite the technologically advanced phone that we think it is. It is true, the iPhone is cool. There is no arguing with that. But in Japan, where people change their mobile phones twice a year (this might be an exaggeration but you get the point), something like the iPhone is not that great.
Posted March 1st, 2009 by Maki+ | Comments (3)
Trust the Japanese to make use of technology for very practical reasons. This is, in fact, one of their strongest points, in my mind. They have been gifted with the aptitude for innovations when it comes to technology and they have not hesitated to make use of it. As simple as things may be, the Japanese are known to be able to create applications that are quite useful.
One of the latest things that the government is working on is to enable their cigarette vending machines to be able to check the age of the buyer using his or her driverâ€™s license. An AP article gives more information:
The Finance Ministry plans to allow a new type of cigarette vending machine that accepts driving licenses for age verification, in addition to those that read “taspo” smart cards, sources close to the matter said Sunday.
The move is planned because vending machines with the taspo card function have proved unpopular, probably due to the extra procedures required to obtain the integrated circuit card, they said.
In order to prevent underage smoking, Japan plans to restrict access to cigarette vending machines to adults carrying taspo cards by July.
Vending machines that check a buyer’s age by reading a taspo card have already been introduced in some areas, including Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures.
But according to the Tobacco Institute of Japan, only 8 percent of the around 26 million smokers had applied for the cards as of April 13.
To obtain the taspo IC cards, consumers need to fill out applications distributed by tobacco shops and to mail them to a designated address together with copies of personal identification papers such as a driving license.
The new type of vending machine, to be approved by the ministry, can verify a cigarette buyer’s birth date when a driving license is inserted in it, they said.
Posted April 20th, 2008 by Maki+ | Comments (4)
The Japanese love to karaoke. It could probably even be considered as the national pastime. This love for singing in public (to the usual detriment of the ears of people within listening distance) could only mean that the Japanese will try to develop gadgets that would take karaoke to different platforms.
Take for example the portable karaoke handset that was developed by Logictec. The device, which could be attached to MP3 players like the iPod is the answer to karaoke lovers who just cannot wait to go to karaoke clubs to get their groove on. By attaching the device to the earphone plug of a digital music player you can now sing along with the music in the player. An added bonus is the built in FM radio transmitter that would beam the signal to a nearby radio, effectively widening the range in bad singers can irritate people.
Posted March 20th, 2008 by Maki+ | Comments (3)
Flat screen TVs are probably the most sought after electronic equipment in the world today. Everyone wants to jump into the digital age and dump their oh-so-primitive CRT TVs for the space and electricity saving plasma or LCD displays. With digital broadcasting already in place in many countries (or about to be implemented in some) now is a great time to get those TVs.
But Japan’s Toshiba is upping the ante in terms of technological competition. The company is now going to use the Sony Playstation 3′s much vaunted Cell processor in their TVs. The addition of the chip is expected to bring more visual and graphical bang to Toshiba’s TVs. The company has already released prototypes of its TVs with the Cell processor attached to it and it has extended the capabilities of HD TVs by incorporating new features like multiple windowed channels that are shown all at once. This allows you to choose the channel much like flicking through thumbnails on your computer. Standard broadcasts are also enhanced to near HD quality. It also offers a much improved interface that is commonly found in media center computers.
No word yet on when these TVs will be made available to consumers.
Posted March 14th, 2008 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
In Katsuhiro Otomo’s anime Roujin – Z, caring for the elderly has become such an issue that a robotic bed system was developed in order to take care of them.
Now, in what looks like another case of life imitating art, the Japanese are beginning to use the help of robots in caring for the elderly and the sick.
These robots may not look as sleek as the humanoid like drones developed by Honda or even as technologically advanced as the bed system in Otomo’s Roujin Z, but nevertheless, this system is helping in giving care to the elderly in their own unique way.
The robot, a product made by the Business Design Laboratory Co., is called Yorisoi ifbot and it can “talk” to its users. The 604,800 yen priced device’s main purpose is to help entertain children but it has gained a lot of demand from senior citizens and families who take care of a senior family member.
The robot cannot only respond to greetings by the owner, it can also ask riddles or sing songs as a way of stimulating the brain functions of the elderly.
Another robot that is in the market is the Chapit, developed by Ray Tron, Inc. This robot actually helps the elderly in operating various equipment inside their homes. The robot eliminates the confusion that the elderly feel when trying to operate so many different devices at home.
Posted March 4th, 2008 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
Navigating the tiny streets of Japan can be so cumbersome but then any small street would always be a pain to drive in no matter the country. But probably one of the toughest things to do when in a car is parking it especially in spaces where the fit is just too tight that you really can’t see where you’re going and estimating the distance from the wall or another vehicle is just so tough.
But Panasonic has formed a solution for the dilemma by now selling a small camera that you can attach to the rear bumper of your car. The camera is then attached to a small monitor that is installed on the car dashboard. With this setup, parking becomes idiot proof. The great thing is that Panasonic is also selling the product in different colors so it will match the color of your car. Isn’t it ingenious?
Posted February 10th, 2008 by Maki+ | Comment (0)