In October, for the first time ever in Japan, more smartphones were sold than keitais (“traditional” Japanese cell phones). It seems like the Galapagos Syndrome is starting to hit really hard Japanese cell phone manufacturers, that have to compete more and more harder with smartphones developed in the United States and South Korea. The number one cell phone in Japan right now is the Samsung Galaxy, followed by the iPhone 4 with 32 and 16 Gb.
I have also been reading about the latest developments of the Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories and it seems like they have ready a new version of their Geminoid robot. This new version, when finished, will be used as an actress in a Japanese TV show.
In Europe almost all arcade stores disappeared at end of the 90s, as video game consoles became as powerful or even more than arcade machines, and started to be affordable to everybody. In Japan the arcades are not in their heyday but they are still quite alive; they are known here as game centers. One of the companies that owns a lot of game centers in Tokyo is Taito (taken over by Square Enix in 2005). If you come to Japan, even if you’re not interested in video games, don’t lose the opportunity to visit one of them; it’s worth it just to see the different kinds of machines and the general atmosphere:
A usual visit to the usual figurines shop in Akihabara. There’s every figurine you can imagine: figurines of characters of shōjo manga, Dragon Ball figurines, Star Wars figurines… If you collect figurines Akihabara is a paradise for you. I’m not a big fan of figurines but I always enjoy looking around in this kind of shops to see what’s new in the otaku world.
One of the many things I love about Tokyo is the amount of green areas that you can find within a concrete jungle. Although Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world, there’s trees everywhere. The thing is that not only you can find plants and trees in parks but you can find them in almost any corner of the city. There are some areas where you can walk and forget for a moment that you are inside a city while thinking that you are in a small village in the mountains.
I put here a series of pictures taken in downtown Tokyo that show how green can appear in any “free” corner in the city.
One of the last things that I do before leaving Japan is to eat sushi at this restaurant at the Terminal 1 of Narita airport (4th floor). There are several sushi restaurants at the airport but this one is my favorite. This last time, the chef told me that he’s been working there for more than 30 years! Also he told me many anecdotes about travelers that have eaten sushi at his restaurant, some of them famous people, and some of them businessmen that looked like “James Bond” (that’s how he told it to me).
Here you have the exact place where the sushi restaurant is located inside Terminal 1.
I am in Spain right now; I have been on holidays for two weeks, presenting my two books and giving some talks. I brought my Nikon D90 and Canon S90 and took the opportunity to take some photos with them. These pictures are from Barcelona, Girona and my hometown Calpe. I love Japan but it’s always great to be back home.