A Geek in Japan | 2009 April
Adventures of a geek living in Japan
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Phone building

I loved this! It is a Biccamera (Electronics shop) with a phone facade where each button indicates what the clients can find in each floor. For example in the button(floor) number seven we can find “Windows, computers” and in the button(floor) number six we can find “Macintosh, computers”.

telefono biccamera

telefono biccamera

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100 yen Netbooks

A while ago Japan was known as the country where 3G smartphones cost 1 yen. The terrible competition in the mobile phone market made telephone prices drop until the limit of 1 yen. Not only the most basic phones cost 1 yen, even the advanced and pretty good phones cost also 1 yen. Those were crazy times and the carriers only wanted to get more and more users even if they had to loose money giving away terminals. Nowadays this tendency is almost finished in the world of mobile phones, now users have to pay quite a bit of money to get new phones, although there are still some 1 yen phones like for example the 8Gb iPhone.

Chica
Selling 100 yen Netbooks on the street.

The same thing that happened with mobile phones is happening right now with Netbooks. Since more than 10 years ago there is a market in Japan of ultra-light portable computers with screens of 6 until 12 inches but these where never called Netbooks. These where laptops as good as any other laptop and were even more expensive, there was not much competition and the market of these ultra-light portable laptops was controlled by local Japanese manufacturers like Panasonic.

But the Netbooks also arrived to Japan, at the beginning local brands like Toshiba or Panasonic tried to stop it to protect their market but at the end they could not spot the inevitable invasion of cheap ultra-light computers known as Netbooks made by Taiwanese manufacturers like Acer and Asus or north-american like Dell. During 2007 100.000 Netbooks were sold in Japan and in 2008 it was 10X that number, 1.000.000 Netbooks were sold in Japan during 2008!

There is so much competition during the last months that Netbook prices have dropped to 100 yen and even 1 yen. There is only one condition; the user has to sign a 3G (HSDPA) data contract for at least two years. The contract fees and conditions are different depending on the carrier but for example EMobile offers a 7.2Mbps flat rate plan for 6.000 yen a month (45 Euros) without any download volume data limit. As it is a pretty good speed for a decent price there are many users who are canceling their home hikari lines (fiber lines) and using their Emobile connection also at home.

Emobile and other carriers like Docomo or AU-KDDI confess that they are loosing tons of money giving away 100 yen and even 1 yen Netbooks. Some analysts like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanly think that this tendency will last until the beginning of next year when the carrier will have the necessary data users to make good money without the need to give more Netbooks for free. Get one while it still costs 100 Yen! This is the one that Danny bought for Mirai.

Chica
This is our Dell Mini 9, it cost 100 yen with a two years contract with Emobile. The only bad thing of this Netbook is the keyboard, it is too little, I prefer the size of my Acer Aspire One.

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Testing the Nikon D5000

I’ve been trying the new Nikon D5000. A camera that I would classify in the middle of the Nikon D60 and the Nikon D90 but with a little bit of “new style” because of the vari-angle color LCD monitor. It is awesome to be able to freely move the LCD monitor in a D-SLR camera!

The first thing I noticed is how light it is, and how compact it is compared to my Nikon D90, it weights only 560 grams. But it has the same sensor as the Nikon D90, it also has 11 focus points and it also can record video. But the LCD monitor quality is much worse, I could notice it in a second, they’ve got rid off the little LCD from the top (Like in the D40 and D60) and it also lack an internal focusing motor (Like the D40 and the D60). The main reason I moved from my D40 to the D90 it was because of the lack of internal focusing that forced me to buy my lenses selecting only among a very reduced number of new models but I could not buy old lenses.

It is a very simple, cheap and light camera, where the quality of the pictures is comparable to the Nikon D90, I find it as the best option for those who are looking for their first SLR. Why do you need a D60 if you can get a D5000?

If you want to read more about this new mini-SLR trend with incredible sensors able to record video continue reading this excellent article by the NYT.

nikond5000 d5000

nikond5000 d5000

nikond5000 d5000

nikond5000 d5000

nikond5000 d5000

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Tsuyoshi Kusanagi drunk and naked

The Japanese popstar Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, one of the most charismatic members of the SMAP pop group has been arrested for alleged public indecency after he was reportedly found nude at a park and drunk. I can’t believe it! I don’t really like SMAP or any of its members but I thought Tsuyoshi Kusanagi was the most decent guy in the group.

This is going to be REALLY HOT news in Japan during the next days, it is like if you find Justin Timberlake drunk and naked in Central Park. He is a really famous guy with a pretty good reputation.

Kusanagi
Tsuyoshi Kusanagi with his nice-guy face. Would you ever think you could find him naked and drunk in a park?

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Fit’s Dance Contest

My friend AlePepino who we already know from his Kojima Yoshio video (A video that became so famous that was featured on Japanese TV) is participating in a viral video challenge to promote a new brand of gum called Fit’s.

Lotte has launched a new chewing gum called Fit’s and is organizing a contest to promote it. You can dance like the guys in the commercial and send them a video. The movies are then uploaded to YouTube and there will be prizes for the most seen videos. There are 3 prizes, being the first 1 million yen.

This is the video made a AlePepino, currently they are third, they need a little bit more views to win!:

Our video is a bit different in that it’s a Canadian girl and a Spanish guy dancing before a very typical spot of Fukuoka City as are the ramen “yatai” stalls. I think we haven’t been below 3rd place at any time so for now it looks like we should be able to get a prize. If we get the 1st place, I’d like to send the chewing gum to our blog readers. Please support us by watching it many times, and even sharing it on your blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. If we win, it’ll be thanks to you!

Here you can see the real commercials.

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Matt Harding on Japanese TV

I was watching TV this weekend and I found it amazing to see this VISA commercial featuring Matt Harding together with some historical Japanese whose faces are in the Japanese yen bills:

If you don’t know Matt Harding yet, you must! He became famous after he left his daily job as a developer, traveled all around the world and uploaded this video:

After the previous video became an Internet phenomenon he managed to be financed to travel more and make more videos. I think that his first video is still the best one, you can continue watching more Matt Harding videos at his official website.

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Dragon Ball Kai episodes

Two weeks ago I discovered the new Dragon Ball Kai. Dragon Ball has been my favorite manga and anime of all time. Right now I’m watching the brand new Dragon Ball Kai every week on TV, but because most of you are not living here in Japan I’m sharing all the episodes broadcasted up until now.

In this post you can watch Dragon Ball Kai episodes online via streaming. The Dragon Ball Kai episodes are subbed in English. Dragon Ball Kai is a remastered version of Dragon Ball Z for HDTV to commemorate the series 20th anniversary.

The image quality of this remastered version is just awesome! Enjoy it!


Dragon Ball Kai Episode 1


Dragon Ball Kai Episode 2


Dragon Ball Kai Episode 3

More chapters

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Giant robot spiders

This year is the 150th anniversary of the Port of Yokohama. It is a pretty important event since it represents the opening of Japan to the world after many centuries of closeness during the Edo period. The Port of Yokohama was one of the first five ports of Japan that opened their traffic to international commerce in 1859.

The celebration is going to last for five months, there are going to be many events and temporary expositions around the port area in Yokohama. This is the website with all the scheduled events for the next months.

One of the first events of the 150th anniversary celebration was the arrival of two giant spiders from France created by the french group La Machine. The spiders have been walking around Yokohama during the last three days, it has been spectacular, these are some of my shots:

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider

LaMachine yokohama parade kumo spider


Watch more videos

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