A Geek in Japan | 2007 October
Adventures of a geek living in Japan
japan, a geek in japan, kirai, kirainet
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Contradictions

Life is full of contradictions, some Japanese shops also are.

swastika

I’ve seen this kind of mixture many times in shops around Harajuku & Shimokitazawa in Tokyo and around America Mura in Osaka.

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Tokyo Fortune 500

Fortune Global 500 is a ranking with the top 500 worldwide corporations based on their revenue. Here there is the ranking, but what I find more interesting is the breakdown by city.

Position- City – Country – Number of companies listed on Fortune 500

1 .- Tokyo – Japan – (50)
2 .- Paris – France – (26)
3 .- New York – United States – (22)

3 .- London – United Kingdom – (22)
4 .- Beijing – China – (18)
5 .- Seoul – South Korea – (10)
6 .- Toronto – Canada – (9)
7 .- Madrid – Spain – (8)
8 .- Zürich – Switzerland – (7)
8 .- Houston – United States – (7)
9 .- Munich – Germany – (6)
9 .- Osaka – Japan – (6)
10 .- Rome – Italy – (5)

Tokyo has almost double Fortune 500 companies than Paris! Furthermore, the United States and Japan are the only two countries with more than one city in the top 10. But if we look at the ranking by countries instead of cities, the United States has more than double than Japan. It seems here in Japan big companies are pretty centralized in Tokyo.

1 United States (162)
2 Japan (67)
3 France (38)

4 Germany (37)
5 United Kingdom (34)
6 China (24)
7 Canada (16)
7 The Netherlands (16)
9 South Korea (14)
10 Switzerland (13)
11 Italy (10)
12 Spain (9)

Data from wikipedia

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Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme is a donuts shop chain very well know in the United States. They opened one shop here in Japan last December and it became the most popular donuts shop in Tokyo. There is always a really long line, and I mean always! After some months since the opening even during weekdays there is always a long line. Since the business seems to be working, they just opened a new shop in Yurakucho. Now, instead of one long donuts queue, there are two long donuts queues in Tokyo.

krispykreme

krispykreme

krispykreme

krispykreme

krispykreme

krispykreme
This last picture was taken by Roy

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Who farts first?

I found this TV show so hilarious that I took a video with my digital camera so you can watch it. They put eight people in a room, and everyone has to fart if they want to go home.

More about Japanese farting at Dannychoo’s site

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Virtual humanoid

I liked this pictures from Mainichi.jp

Humanoide virtual

Is a system developed by NTT Docomo. Using special glasses you can see computer generated graphics “mixed/integrated” with reality. Right now, they managed to make a simulation where you see a girl but it’s just a green dummy. Look at this second picture, in the screen you can see what the person with the glasses is seeing.

Humanoide virtual

Of course, one of the first applications of this technologies is gonna be video games 😉 It seems that some VC firms are already interested.

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Expensive bicycles without padlock

Japan is possibly one of the safest developed countries in the world, criminality is very low (even though we have the Yakuza). In this post I show some pictures of “expensive” bikes without any padlock or security system; these bicycles could be stolen so easily! And I say “expensive” bicycles, because “normal” bicycles without protection can be seen everyday here in Japan.

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Inside a mirror and Rampo Edogawa

Rampo Edogawa was a Japanese writer who liked to write mystery novels. He admired Edgar Allan Poe so much that he changed his real name “Hirai Taro” for “Rampo Edogawa”. “Rampo Edogawa” is the Japanese pronunciation for “Edgar Allan Poe”. If you have never read any of his books I recommend you this book with some of his best short stories.

One of his obsessions and recurrent themes in his novels and short stories are mirrors and optical effects. He loved the “reality distortion” and deformation power that mirrors have. One of his stories is called “Kagami jigoku” (鏡地獄), it could be translated as “the infernal mirror” or “the mirror hell”. In this story, there is an empty sphere with a mirror inside. What would you see if you are inside that mirror ball? That’s what some Japanese asked themselves.

In the next video, there is a guy who enters a “mirror ball”. What you see in the screen is what it is being recorded by the camera he is wearing in his head. At the bottom-left corner you can see a diagram with the guy’s position each moment. It’s difficult to understand but still interesting. The most interesting moment can be seen at 5:50 where a “virtual 3D wall” divides the ball in two parts, it looks like some kind of plasma!

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