Saturday, March 14, 2009

Electric DeLorean back for the future朝日新聞社):Electric DeLorean back for the future - English

Trust the Japanese to take a great idea and make it better. DeLorean - one of the most iconic cars of the 80s gets a new lease of life from university teachers and students in Hiroshima. There may be a commercial proposition here - how about an electric conversion kit to breathe life into all the old cars. Instead of junking old cars and recycling only a portion of metal, you could recycle 100%. Think of all the landfills, the energy used for recycling metal, the pollution and the terrible waste that could be avoided. This whole concept of having a new car every 3-5 years is so out of line with the current focus on environment - I wish someone would take up these real recycling ideas in right earnest.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu

 あけまして おめでとう ございます。

A Very Happy New Year to all my friends in Japan.

I just picked up this description from Wikipedia of the characteristics of people born in the year of the Ox, "The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. Like their animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in their work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint.
Ox people need peace and quiet to work through their ideas, and when they have set their mind on something it is hard for them to be convinced otherwise. An Ox person has a very logical mind and is extremely systematic in whatever they do, even without imagination. These people speak little but are extremely intelligent. When necessary, they are articulate and eloquent."

Sounded like a description of Obama - so I looked up his year of birth and lo and behold, he was born in the year of Ox - quite uncanny!

The year of the Rat gives way to the year of the Ox.

Kinkakuji temple looking beautiful in season's first snow

Ice-cold gold

The season's first snow covers Kinkakuji temple, known for its Golden Pavilion, in Kita Ward, Kyoto, on Friday morning as the temperature dipped to 0.8 C, below the 2.2 C average for this time of year. In western Japan, the cities of Osaka and Okayama also were dusted with the season's first snow, and the mercury dropped to 3.4 C in Osaka and 0.8 C in Nara.

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Copying machine graveyard

This can't be good news for the document technology industry here in USA either. With so much of unused, off-lease equipment in the market, sales of new equipment is likely to take a bigger hit. This apart from the fact that new copiers are not high on business' investment plans right now and increasing reliance on electronic communications is finally making a dent on the print volumes.

From Asahi Shimbun

Recession leads to copy machine graveyard

photoRecession leads to copy machine graveyard (TAKU HOSOKAWA/ THE ASAHI SHIMBUN)

With barely space to move in this warehouse packed with used copy
machines in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, OA Land, an office
equipment leasing company, recently placed a cap on buying used office
equipment. The company acquired as much as 70 percent more used items
in recent months than usual as the number of companies going bankrupt
or cutting back has risen amid the current global financial crisis.
(IHT/Asahi: December 24,2008)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Japan Subway Posters - "Please do it at home"

A very interesting series of posters teaching manners and etiquettes to Japanese commuters - we may soon need something like this here as ridership on public transit increased in US cities.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Latest Fad From Japan - Morning Banana Diet

Yes indeed it is as simple as it sounds. Just have bananas and room temperature water for breakfast every day.
Click here for more details.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mobile Web - Japan vs. USA

An interesting discussion of the way mobile web has advanced in Japan over the last several years leaving the rest of the world way behind. I think all the observations here are right on mark and provide a good understanding of why mobile web has taken off much more strongly in Japan.

However, I feel that probably the most important reason is ignored here - and that is the daily routine of an average Japanese. You see, the Japanese are more mobile than any other people in the world - they walk or cycle or take a bus to the train station in the morning, get on the subway or train, get down and walk out, take a bus or walk to their office, walk to the cafetaria and repeat the whole routine on the way back home late in the evening. In between, they may walk to shopping, to the pub, for dinner, etc. While in USA, mobility means four wheels, in Japan it is your own two legs.

That's why in USA we have our radio, satellite radio, DVD/CD player in the car, even iPOD docked to the car stereo. We lug our laptops to Starbucks and connect on wi-fi. In Japan, when you are on your feet, the only device you can carry is the cellphone - so Japanese do everything we do on their cellphone, while standing on their own two feet - while walking, while standing in the subway, while eating lunch standing up in the cafetaria, etc.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

The Hemline Economy

Thanks Vikram for the rejoinder - the hemline theory of economic ups and downs. This one probably goes back to just before the great depression of the 1920s - maybe even earlier.

It is interesting - how fashion corelates to economic conditions of the times. I'd love to have more comments on any other corelations that you might have come across.

Thanks Vikram for the rejoinder - the hemline theory of economic ups and downs. This one probably goes back to just before the great depression of the 1920s - maybe even earlier.

It is interesting - how fashion corelates to economic conditions of the times. I'd love to have more comments on any other corelations that you might have come across.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Japanese women hairstyles track economy ups and downs

Japanese women hairstyles track economy ups and downs

Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:13am EST

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Economic forecasters beware: Japanese women are cutting their hair again.

Women tend to wear their hair long when Japan's economy is doing well and short when there is a slump, the Nikkei business daily reported, citing a survey conducted by Japanese cosmetics company Kao Corp.

As for Japan's future economic performance, the Nikkei pointed to expectations for a trend towards shorter hairstyles.

This mirrors the view among some analysts that Japan's longest growth cycle since the Second World War may have ended and the economy is at risk of falling into a recession.

Kao, Japan's second-largest cosmetics firm, has conducted regular surveys of 1,000 women on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka over the past two decades, the Nikkei said.

Until the early 1990s, when Japan's economic bubble burst, 60 percent of women in their twenties kept their hair long, the Nikkei said, citing the survey.

During the 1990s economic slump, short hair -- defined as above the collarbone -- became the dominant hairstyle for Japanese women. But since 2002, long hair has regained some popularity -- just as the economy started to expand, the Nikkei said.

The Nikkei also identified a new factor that could affect the validity of hair length as an economic indicator: the rising popularity of the chignon.

(Reporting by Sophie Hardach; Editing by Eric Burroughs)

Monday, February 11, 2008

It happens only in Japan - Portable Subway Straps

Portable subway strap shows you’re no groper

Portable commuter strap --

A portable subway strap that sells for 525 yen (about $5) is featured on the cover of the fall/winter issue of Tsuhan Seikatsu, a mail order catalog with a readership of 400,000. The primary purpose of this male-targeted commuter strap is not to provide support when the train lurches, but to show other passengers — particularly female passengers — that your hands are occupied, thus reducing your chances of being falsely accused of groping. According to a report on the Cyzo website, Tsuhan Seikatsu quickly sold out of the portable subway strap, an indication that false groping accusations are a real fear for many men who brave the crush of Tokyo’s crowded morning trains.