Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Hello Kitty in Space!

August 18, 2014

Hello Kitty in Space!

Japanese novelty manufacturer Sanrio has put a 1.6-inch-tall Hello Kitty figure into space on board a Hodoyoshi-3 satellite to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the fictional feline’s introduction.

Of course, this isn’t Kitty’s first space trip. Last year Lauren Rojas of Antioch, California launched Hello Kitty 93,625 feet into space as a seventh grade science fair project.

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What’s In a Name?

May 30, 2014

What's In a Name?

In an effort to attract English-speaking students, Japan’s Kinki University is changing its name. Actually, the old name probably sounds pretty attractive to most American teenagers ….

Kinki U (really “Kinki Daigaku”) refers to the school’s location in the Kinki (aka Kansai) region of Honshu Island, which includes the city of Osaka. Starting next year the school will be known as Kindai University.

More:

“Kinki no more: With eye on foreign students, university opts for new name,” Tomohiro Osaki, Japan Times

“Japan’s Kinki University changes its name due to awkward English meaning,” Justin McCurry, The Guardian

“Japan’s Kinki University decides to change its naughty-sounding name,” Casey Baseel, RocketNews 24

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

 

Becoming Sumo

May 13, 2014

Becoming Sumo

Sumo wrestler Ōsunaarashi Kintarō (大砂嵐金太郎) was born Abdelrahman Shalan in Egypt. In 2011 he came in third place at an international junior championship and moved to Tokyo to become a pro Sumo wrestler. His ring name means “Great Sandstorm.” After a 7–0 performance in a recent tournament, he advanced to the jūryō division. In July he will compete in a 15-day tournament while he fasts during Ramadan.

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Hello Kitty Studies

October 4, 2013

Hello Kitty Studies
“How might we think with and through an object like Hello Kitty? What kinds of structures of feeling does Hello Kitty enable? What does Hello Kitty, in effect, do in the private worlds of her fans, as well as in the larger public world of global goods?”

Christine YanoPink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific, quoted in “Cat Power,” Ben Gabriel, The New Inquiry

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Image 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.

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Diapers in Japan

July 14, 2013

Diapers in Japan

The Nikkei said adult diapers are expected to outsell baby diapers in Japan by 2020, but according to Unicharm, Japan’s biggest diaper maker, the tipping point was in 2011.”

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‘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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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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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.

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