A Geek in Japan |
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Shibuya rain

I love when it rains in Tokyo, it makes the city even more photogenic. It is difficult to walk around with a camera in one hand and hold an umbrella with the other one, but I always try to force myself to go out when it rains.

It is always fun and inspiring to go out shooting while it rains: the lighting changes everywhere with the humidity, neon sign reflections are everywhere, the mood in the air is different.

 

rain

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Tangible holograms

Researchers from Tokyo University just presented to the public their technology to create tangible holograms using lasers. Until now we were able to create holograms using similar techniques but they would burn the users skin if touched.

Reducing the laser pulse from femtoseconds to nanoseconds has been the key to achieve these first mini plasma tangible holograms that could constitute the base for a new generation of human-computer interaction devices.


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Via Yoursnew

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Tokyo’s GDP, the highest in the world

I like nerding out reading through wikipedia pages, I found this ranking of cities by GDP. Tokyo has the highest GDP, with a big difference over New York City in the second place and almost three times more than Los Angeles in the third place. Tokyo keeps amazing me even after being living here for more than ten years.

citiesgdp

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Walk around Setagaya

I love getting lost walking around, specially if it is an area I don’t know. Japanese cities are so full of surprises that you always have fun just by walking in random directions. If you are travelling in Japan, don’t worry if you get lost, just enjoy and when you want to find your way just ask. The good thing about Japan is that it is a very safe place :)

These are pictures I took taking a walk around Setagaya, the first picture shows rice vending machines!

 

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Japanese Sleeping – 19

Yet another edition of the most popular series on this blog. In this 18th edition I have added some photos that you have sent me.

By the way, notice the iPhone inside the shoe in the first photo :)

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

sleeping in japan

Other posts of Japanese people sleeping:

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Is still Japan the king of video games?

Mexican businessman Carlos Slim has recently been ranked by Forbes magazine as the richest person in the world. In Japan the richest person is Hiroshi Yamauchi, the ex-president of Nintendo, who transformed a small company dedicated to the hanafuda (traditional Japanese card game) card-making business into the biggest video game empire in the world.

At the end of the 80′s and during the 90′s Japanese companies like Sega, Nintendo, Capcom or Sony conquered the planet with their video games reaching a market share of more than 50% of the global market. Japan was the factory of dreams of millions of children around the world. According to a poll carried out in 1995 among children of more than 100 countries, Mario was the most recognized fiction character in the world, even more than Mickey Mouse.

nintendo

Nowadays Japan is still a video game giant but has lost a lot of the strength that once had. Japanese video game companies have gone from controlling 50% of the global market to just controlling the 20%. The two main causes of this change are the arrival of powerful mobile devices developed by American and European companies, like for example the iPhone, able to run video games of similar or even better quality than that of games developed exclusively for portable gaming machines like the PSP or the Nintendo DSi; and on the other hand the success of Microsoft Xbox and its successor, the Xbox 360, becoming the first two successful video game consoles developed outside of Japan.

The Japanese home market is really important for the video game industry. In terms of sales Japan is usually considered as a “continent” along with United States and Europe. In 1993 the consumption of video games in Japan was so high that with a third of the population of United States more games were sold in Japan than in United States. In 2010 Japan is still a big consumer, mostly of turn-based RPGs like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy, but in United States eight times more video games are sold, what supposes a radical change from the outlook of a decade ago. Satoru Iwata, the current president of Nintendo, announced in a press conference that the lifestyle of Japanese people is more and more “occupied” and that the people has less and less time to play. Satoru Iwata said that Nintendo is taking measures to create entertainment that can adapt to these new needs of the market but at the same time innovate in new ways like they did with the Wii. In the digital world where borders between television, computer, music player and cellphone are more and more diffuse, it is more and more easy and cheap to compete globally with software products, the rules are changing and Japanese software and hardware developers are having a hard time keeping their status as kings of the video games.

During the year 2009 the video game industry was not only in crisis in Japan, but all over the world. What will happen in 2010? Will the big Japanese companies regain market share with the arrival of the eight generation of video game consoles or they will keep on loosing market against the Android and the iPhone?

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Youth Crime Decreases, Elderly Crime Increases

The Japanese government has published some data showing that the criminality of the population over 65 years old has surpassed the youth criminality in absolut numbers. Last year 23,000 were commited by people older than 65, while only 20,000 crimes were committed by people between 14 and 19. One of the most frequent crimes committed by old people is shoplifting at supermarkets. This is just another curious fact about the long-lived Japanese population.

elderly

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sea

Day Of The Sea – 海の日

Today we didn’t work here in Japan, we celebrated the day of the sea (Umi no hi 海の日). It is celebrated every year the third Monday of July since 1995. It is a national holiday that was created by the government to “thank the ocean and reflect on the importance of the sea to Japan as an island”. It usually falls at the end of the raining season, which is usually an ideal time to go to the beach.

Today I enjoyed the day at one of the beaches in Tokyo.

sea

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2020 Olympic Stadium Meme

During the last few months one of the news that most frequently appears in Japanese media is the challenges faced by the construction of the new stadium for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. If it is built as originally conceived it will be the most expensive stadium ever built, and its cost will surpass that of the New York Jets stadium which currently has that honor. To show that the Olympics are being taken seriously, the government has named Toshiaki Endo as the “Minister of Olympics” to oversee the preparation for the Olympics. More affordable alternative stadium designs have been proposed but it seems that no decision has still been taken, something quite usual when something concerns Japanese bureaucracy.

Fruit of that indecisiveness, the Japanese internet community has created a meme of the controversial Olympic stadium design.

olympic stadium tokyo 2020
This is the controversial design.

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

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