A Geek in Japan | 2009 May
Adventures of a geek living in Japan
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From virtual to real racer

Gen Kanai sent me this article about a young Spanish guy who has managed to become a professional car racer having trained almost exclusively playing with the video game series Gran Turismo for Playstation. This demonstrates once again how “serious” video-games can be, it brings to my mind the novel Ender’s Game. Another case also related with Gran Turismo is how the control panels from the video game are starting to be used in cars in the real world.

GT
From virtual to real!

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Swine flu fear in Tokyo

Last week the first cases of swine flu were confirmed in Kobe and days later in Tokyo. Japanese people are taking many precautions against it and have started buying tons of surgical masks. In the area of Kobe and Osaka more than 4.000 schools have closed and kids are supposed to be studying at home. During the last days I can see much more people than usual wearing surgical masks and it looks like it is very difficult to be able to buy new surgical masks since they are sold out everywhere. Some people have thought of it as an opportunity and during the last days there are tons of surgical masks at Yahoo Auctions being sold at high prices.

Swine

Swine

Swine

Swine

Some are trying to make money, and some others are trying to create new fashion trends :) But I thinkmexicans are better at this 😉

Swine

Swine

Swine

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Barbecue with panoramic views

I while ago I was in a barbecue somewhere around east Tokyo and the most impressive thing were the “super nice romantic views” we could enjoy eating and drinking:

It fascinates me how Japanese are able to elevate highways everywhere, sometimes it helps a lot to ease traffic in Tokyo and Osaka. But there are some extremes that I don’t really like, some exaggerations, like when they put highways on top of rivers to save space! This is what happened for example at Nihonbashi, where they build a highway on top of a beautiful river with a beautiful bridge and now it looks like…. after many years it seems they want to get rid of the highway and put it underground, we will see. These are some more pictures I took during the barbecue:

barbacoa autopista

barbacoa autopista

barbacoa autopista

barbacoa autopista

barbacoa autopista

barbacoa autopista

barbacoa autopista
Did you notice the Dragon Ball girl in the video at the beginning of this post?

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Lanes for pedestrians

In some of the most crowed areas in Tokyo and Osaka sometimes you can find yourself in a “human lane”. It is nice to have everyone walking in order but in summer it can be hard :)

Carriles
In which lane am I walking? 😉

In Shinjuku there are even some sidewalks with rules concerning pedestrian traffic. For example, this sign is indicating that on the right lane from 9 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon it is a one way lane. But on the left lane the direction changes depending on the time. These “extreme” rules are needed only in districts like Shinjuku where more than three million people commute by everyday.

carriles

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Japanese bizarre game

Haripako sent me this awesome video featuring one of the latest Namco video-games for Wii (WiiWare) in Japan. It is one of the most bizarre games I’ve seen lately, the objective of the game is to catch a “protein bucket thief” who likes to always get the proteins from others in a gymnasium. It is pretty awesome to see how they made a pretty decent game from a so “absurd” idea:

Muscle March
The game’s website is also pretty cool.

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Ninja typing speed

The girl in the video works typing subtitles in real time for Japanese live TV shows. It is just amazing to see how fast she can type and how she does it doing combos with a tiny keyboard. It is even more awesome if you think that daily Japanese uses around 2000 different characters, she can type all those characters using so few keys!

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50 yen vending machine

This is the cheapest drink being sold on a vending machine that I’ve ever seen in Tokyo. On of the drinks in the picture costs only 50 yen! Sometimes, in Japan it is cheaper to buy a drink in a vending machine than in a supermarket, I guess it is because here there are much more vending machines than in other countries.

drinks vending machine

drinks vending machine

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Tokyo CGM Night

At the last Tokyo CGM Night I decided to bring my camera and take some pictures. In the previous editions of the event I was too busy helping to organize.

Tokyo CGM Night is a monthly event and is organized by Danny Choo together with Andrew Shuttleworth.

CGM = Consumer Generated Media and Tokyo CGM Night is an event dedicated to folks who truly understand and excel in CGM – the result being millions of unique users and page views per month. Apart from the most awesome bloggers and vloggers, the best in the IT, media and entertainment industry are also mixed in to form an incredible recipe of Bodacious Harmonious Awesomeness. My vision is for CGMers and Industry folks to seek ways to either work with each other or gain new friendships while having a groovesome time.

Andrew
Danny Chooand Andrew Shuttleworth preparing the show.

Andrew
Eye-fi presentation.

Andrew
Star Wars figurines give aways.

Andrew
Jonny was very nice explaining me how to use an SB-800.

Andrew
Derek Arnwine, he showed up at the CGM Night. He was one of the first persons who thought me some advanced functions in my Nikon D40 a while ago. Thanks sensei!

Andrew
Chris Gaunt, he was pretty good at staying still!

See you at the next Tokyo CGM Night!

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