Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

‘Ue o Muite Arukō’ (Sukiyaki)

June 29, 2013

'Ue o Muite Arukō' Sukiyaki
In June 1963 a Japanese-language record spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard charts. Few Americans knew what pop idol Kyû Sakamoto was singing about or the real name of the song, but the wistful tune was catchy, and the emotion evident. The song, written by Hachidai Nakamura with lyrics by Rokusuke Ei, was “Ue o Muite Arukō” (“I Shall Walk Looking Up”) but in the USA it was called “Sukiyaki” since that was a Japanese word Americans knew.

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Japan: True Fax

February 22, 2013

Japan: True Fax

“Japan is renowned for its robots and bullet trains, and has some of the world’s fastest broadband networks. But it also remains firmly wedded to a pre-Internet technology — the fax machine — that in most other developed nations has joined answering machines, eight-tracks and cassette tapes in the dustbin of outmoded technologies.

Last year alone, Japanese households bought 1.7 million of the old-style fax machines, which print documents on slick, glossy paper spooled in the back. In the United States, the device has become such an artifact that the Smithsonian is adding two machines to its collection, technology historians said.”

“The Japanese government’s Cabinet Office said that almost 100 percent of business offices and 45 percent of private homes had a fax machine as of 2011.”

“’There is still something in Japanese culture that demands the warm, personal feelings that you get with a handwritten fax….'”

— “In High-Tech Japan, the Fax Machines Roll On,”  Martin Fackler, New York Times

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-fXR

Image (“Faxing Wishes for the Star Festival, after Toshikata”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Santa Sighting: Japan & Korea

December 24, 2012

Across the International Date Line, Santa was sighted over Asian rooftops. NORAD continues to track  Santa’s flight, and you can monitor it here. Google even shows you Santa’s Dashboard.

Related: 

“Why Did NORAD Start Tracking Santa?” Matt Soniak, Mental Floss

“Santa’s journey differs on Google, Microsoft trackers,” Craig Timberg and Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-fnp

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Japan’s Jolly Old Elf: Colonel Sanders

December 24, 2012

Japan’s Jolly Old Elf: Colonel Sanders

When Christmas comes to Japan, thoughts turn to that jolly old man, Harland Sanders. America’s Kentucky Fried Chicken came to the Land of the Rising Sun in 1970, and homesick expat Yanks soon began gobbling the deep-fried fowl for the holidays. Japanese folks give Yuletide luxury gifts to their sweeties, and many have adopted this exotic Christmas culinary custom, too. Those who can afford it, that is. A KFC Christmas Barrel costs about US$40.

So クリスマス用のケンタッキー  (Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii! “Kentucky for Christmas!”) and to all a good night.

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Faxing: Big In Japan

June 10, 2012

Faxing: Big In Japan

59 percent of Japanese homes have fax machines.

“One reason is that computers, at the outset, never worked well for the Japanese. The country’s language — a mix of three syllabaries, with thousands of complex ‘kanji’ ideograms — bedeviled early-age word-processing software. Until the early 1990s, Japanese was nearly impossible to type. Even today, particularly for older Japanese people, it’s easier to write a letter by hand than with a standard keyboard. Japan also relies on seals, called ‘hanko,’ that are required for most official documents.”

“The government’s long-standing monopoly on phone lines kept high-speed digital Internet rates relatively high — particularly compared with South Korea, where the government promoted cheap broadband use.”

 — From “In Japan, fax machines remain important because of language and culture,” by Chico Harlan, Washington Post

Related:

“The Idea for the Fax Machine Has Been Around for 170 Years,” Matt Soniak, Mental Flosss

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-djS

Image (“Faxing Wishes for the Star Festival, after Toshikata”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Forget Rap Music’s ‘Robot Voice.’ Hire a Robot Singer.

April 28, 2012

Forget Rap Music's 'Robot Voice.' Hire a Robot Singer.
Rapper and producer T-Pain popularized that “robot voice” now infesting the world’s Pop Music recordings. But why imitate a singing robot when you can have a robot vocalist? A Japanese tech company has produced a robot chick singer who is remarkably life-like, at least compared to most of Japan’s aidoru pop stars. Of course, the most animated members of J-Pop girl groups are really digital animations.

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iPad 3 Invades Japan

March 16, 2012

iPad 3 Invades Japan

The new iPad 3 went on sale in Japan this week. When the Apple Store in Tokyo’s Ginza district opened on the day of its release, 450 people were in line.

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Pleasure Palace in Japan: Wendy’s

January 5, 2012

Pleasure Palace in Japan: Wendy's

Want a Wendy’s Foie Gras Rossini Burger? It’ll cost you $16 and a plane ticket to Japan. Wendy’s has reentered the Japanese market and introduced a luxury menu at a location in Tokyo’s tony Omotesandō neighborhood. That Foie Gras Burger also features truffles. You want fries with that?

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Japan’s Jolly Old Elf: Colonel Sanders

December 24, 2011

Japan's Jolly Old Elf: Colonel Sanders

When Christmas comes to Japan, thoughts turn to that jolly old man, Harland Sanders. Kentucky Fried Chicken came to the Land of the Rising Sun in 1970, and homesick expat Yanks soon began gobbling the deep-fried fowl for the holidays. Japanese folks give Yuletide luxury gifts to their sweeties, and many have adopted this exotic Christmas culinary custom, too. Those who can afford it, that is. A KFC Christmas Barrel costs about US$40.

So クリスマス用のケンタッキー  (Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii! “Kentucky for Christmas!”) and to all a good night.

(more…)

Attention Sports Fans

November 14, 2011

Attention Sports Fans

American sports fans: upset that there’s no pro basketball due to the NBA strike? Bored by the NFL and NHL, disgusted with college football? Don’t despair. The Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament has just started at Fukuoka Kokusai Center and continues through November 27th. Don’t miss it, it’s the last big sumo tournament of 2011. This is truly heavy competition: rishiki (wrestlers) weight in at 250 to 400 pounds. And talk about your World Series: competitors are from Mongolia, Brazil, Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Estonia, and the Czech Republic as well as Japan.

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