Link

30 common characteristics of people who fall in love with Japan

 

fi

RocketNews 24:

 

Chances are since you’re visiting our site, you probably already have an interest in Japan or other Asian countries. But have you ever had a friend who knows next to nothing about Japan, but you just have a feeling that they would come to love the island country given the right incentive?

If so, you may recognize some characteristic qualities of that friend in the following list written by Japanese blogger and all-around-life expert Madame Riri. This time, she’s come up with some common traits of foreigners who grow to love Japan based on her own observations from time spent abroad.

Do you find yourself conforming to any of the following patterns?

 

In English, we’ve got a lot of terms for lovers of Japan. We’re sure you’re all familiar with at least one Japanophile, whose deep interest in Japanese culture leads him or her to study Japanese and visit the country several times. Maybe you also know a “weeaboo/Wapanese,” who tries a little too hard to sound like he knows what he’s talking about and borders on the slightly obsessive side with his huge anime DVD collection. The term otaku has even made its way into the English lexicon, despite its negative connotations in Japanese. But before those people had any connection to or knowledge about Japan whatsoever, was there some kind of hint that would predict their later infatuation with the Land of the Rising Sun?

The following list by Madame Riri tries to answer just that. As you’re reading, remember that the list refers to people who don’t know much about Japanese culture yet, but if you were to, say, introduce them to some cultural aspect or bring them to Japan just once, then BAM!–the spark of love towards Nippon will grow by leaps and bounds.

Madame Riri also stresses that these items are to be taken with a grain of salt. This list is not meant to imply that every Japanese person shares these common features, nor that people who have these commonalities are guaranteed to fall in love with Japan. They’re just personal observations that she has noticed in many people who fit a general trend.

Enjoy her list!

 

1. They like one or more of the following: manga, anime, or video games.

Yep, let’s just get this one out of the way nice and early.

2. They are vegetarian. Or, they’re health conscious and take great care in what they eat.

We think what she’s trying to say here is that these people place a high value on fresh, seasonal food and take great pains with presentation.

 

▼A traditional Japanese breakfast

1

 

3. They think that a society with men in charge is for the better. 

Despite slow progress, Japan remains a male-dominated society, with women largely expected to quit working once they start a family.

 

4. They think characters like Hello Kitty are adorable.

Along with that, they have ridiculously large collections of character goods, like one 29-year-old Brit Natasha Goldsworth:

 

2

 

5. They harbor good feelings toward unassuming people,  even if their own list of career achievements is impressive.

Maintaining a sense of modesty is emphasized, as in Japanese culture.

 

6. They like polite people, and are personally always thanking people with a smile. 

Tied in with Japan’s culture of extreme hospitality, or omotenashi.

 

7. They would choose fish over meat, given the choice.

But that’s not to say they don’t go wild for yakiniku, either!

 

3

 

8. They somehow feel at ease when they see shy people, or people who can’t express themselves well. 

 

9. They get irritated when others aren’t punctual or can’t keep promises. 

In other words, they’ll probably get along well with people from the country where station staff have mastered the seven-minute-art of cleaning the bullet train:

 

4

 

10. They aren’t religious, but believe there’s a god out there somewhere. 

If asked, most Japanese people would say that they have no religious affiliation, though they do regularly participate in several Buddhist and Shinto (arguably more of a spirituality than a religion) practices.

On the other hand, Japan does have a comic about young Jesus and Buddha living together as roommates in modern Tokyo

 

11. They think that couples will do better if the women walks a little behind the man (metaphorically speaking). 

See #3 above.

 

12. They dislike parties that last for a long time. They’d rather go home early. 

Perhaps along the lines of Japanese work-related drinking culture (see nomikai), which is a necessary but usually time-restricted aspect of Japanese work culture.

 

▼A typical nomikai

5

 

13. They often feel like shouting, “Don’t just talk about yourself but listen to others, too!” 

Group harmony is valued over individualism, perhaps?

 

14. They have slightly unconventional hobbies. They are probably seeking approval from somewhere. 

 

15. They live by a sense of the changing of the seasons–appropriate flowers are displayed during each month, only vegetables in-season are consumed, etc.

 

▼Extra points if they love cherry blossoms!

6

 

16. They constantly check up on the latest technology.

 

17. They can’t not go to the latest popular travel spots.

 

Case in point: What happened to Mt. Fuji after becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year:

7

 

18. They don’t get along with people who tend to think that America and Europe are the center of the world. 

 

19. They have a weak stomach. They often get stomachaches.

We’re not quite sure what she means by this one…

 

20. They enjoy taking baths–it’s the height of relaxation.

 

8

 

21. They are skilled at working with their hands, such as when wrapping Christmas presents. 

Furoshiki add a nice touch to any present, don’t you think? 

 

22. They are often told that they are too serious.

The key word here is majime, which suggest a strong sense of earnest diligence.

 

23. They think people should be praised for working hard and long. 

 

24. They don’t like to smell sweaty, but they don’t like to use perfumes, either. Unscented is the best. However, they do enjoy sniffing a waft of fragrant shampoo.

 

▼We recommend Shiseido’s popular Tsubaki Shampoo, made with oil from the camellia flower.

9

 

25. They often find themselves saying, “I’m busy,” or, “I don’t have time.”

 

26. They tend to be on the soft-spoken/taciturn side. 

Madame Riri is definitely referencing Japanese adults here, and not the crowds of squealing high school girls ubiquitous in Japan.

 

27. They are often called “kind” by others.

A bit vague…

 

28. They always wash their hands before eating when eating out. Or they kill germs with hand sanitizer.

Japanese people are very fond of cleanliness before eating. If you’ve ever been to Japan or to an authentic Japanese restaurant, you’ve probably noticed that the server provides you with a hot, wet towel (oshibori) to wipe your hands with before dining.

 

▼But the real question is, can any of you fold an oshibori bunny??

10

 

29. They are economical and hate wasting things. 

There is also a very specific Japanese word for this trait–mottainai.

 

30. They think that small details are very important regarding business matters. They believe that the success or failure of something depends on what extent they have emphasized the particulars.  

So–have we got anyone humming “I think I’m turning Japanese yet? Your friends may need just a little nudge, and soon you’ll have all the enthusiastic travel companions you could ever want on your next trip to Japan!

 

Check out this link:

30 common characteristics of people who fall in love with Japan

Video

Wearable art physically exposes you when you share data

In the digital realm, we are naked all the time,” flashes the text in the promotional video for x.pose, a project by Xuedi Chen and Pedro Oliveira. The sculpture is composed of several layers, one of which is a reactive display that, using bluetooth, alternates between transparent and opaque depending on the amount of personal data the wearer is transmitting through their smartphone.

The 3D-printed garment comments on our willingness to expose ourselves through the information constantly emanating from our mobile devices.

 

Chen and Oliveira explain:

“These displays are divided up into patches that represent neighborhoods and change in opacity depending on the wearer’s current location. If she is in the NYU neighborhood, that area will be the most active, pulsing, revealing her current location, revealing the fact that her data is being collected and at the same time exposing her skin. As her data emissions are collected, the more transparent and exposed she will become.”

 

Much like Anouk Wipprecht’s Intimacy 2.0, Chen and Oliveira have created a piece that’s political, technologically impressive and aesthetically pleasing. It’s not hard to imagine an art world celebrity actually wearing this out: Despite our knowledge of rapidly decreasing privacy in the face of big data, we still revel in the attention our broadcast provides.

Chen has previously combined 3D-printing and fashion when she designed parasitic accessories. She is a student at NYU’s ITP grad program. (Images: Xuedi Chen and Pedro Oliveira)

Link

Japan’s real and anime world technological icons combine with this Shinkansen (Bullet Train) transforming robot

 

SR 1

RocketNews 24:

 

You could argue that the Shinkansen is the greatest engineering marvel Japan has ever put together. Amazingly fast, the bullet train is also bulletproof in its reliability and punctuality, with almost no delays and not a single accident since the high speed rail service was opened in 1964.

To find a much cooler piece of Japanese technology, you have to go into the world of science fiction and anime robots. Now, some clever designers have put two and two together and created a transforming mecha character based on Japan’s fastest train.

The annual International Tokyo Toy Show is going on right now, and we stopped by to check out some of the 35,000 items being displayed by the 157 exhibiting companies. While there, we came across the booth for jeki, a promotional subsidiary of Japan Railways East.

The team at jeki struck gold with its previous creation, the Suica Penguin who serves as the primary mascot for JR East. You can find the loveable aquatic bird on prepaid JR cards and posters, not to mention in the display case of cake shops on occasion.

 

SR 8

 

But while the Suica Penguin is undeniably cute, he’s not exactly cool. Stepping up to claim that adjective is the new character created under jeki’s Project E5.

 

SR 3

SR 6

 

The robot is modeled after the E5 Series Shinkansen, which went into use in 2011 on the Tohoku Shinkansen line that connects Tokyo and Shin Aomori Stations. Aside from its sleek lines, the robot checks off two important boxes. First, it transforms.

 

SR 2

 

And second, it looks awesome posing.

 

SR 4

 

The company hasn’t given away much in details about the character’s backstory, so we don’t know yet whether or not the powerful looking machine occasionally has to change into combat mode and fight off alien invaders, all the while continuing to carry its load of business and pleasure travelers. Moreover, the giant-sized model shown here is still just a preliminary concept, although if you ask us, it looks good enough that jeki’s artists can call it a day.

 

SR 5

 

The jeki representative we spoke with said the long-term plan is to produce and sell figures of the character, so if you’re a model train or mecha toy collector, you might want to start clearing off some shelf space. In the meantime, the concept statue will be on display as part of the Tokyo Toy Show at Big Sight on Odaiba from now until June 16.

 

SR 7

 

Check out this link:

 Japan’s real and anime world technological icons combine with this Shinkansen (Bullet Train) transforming robot

 

Link

The singularity is coming: Eerily lifelike androids converge in Odaiba for exhibition

 

miraikan1

RocketNews 24:

 

What does it mean to be human? That’s the question being asked in a thought-provoking new exhibition of stunningly lifelike androids, which also suggests that maybe the singularity could be closer than we think.

On June 25, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, more commonly known as the Miraikan, will open an exhibition of humanoid robots entitled ‘Androids: What makes us human?

The exhibition is headed by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, the director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, which is part of the Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University. Ishiguro is a researcher at the cutting edge of robotics technology, and is famous for creating robots that look just like humans, including the Geminoid, an android modeled after himself.

 

▼ The real Ishiguro is on the left. Just kidding.

miraikan3

 

Professor Ishiguro’s research is driven by the question of what it means to be human, and by studying human behaviour and reactions in order to create an android that mimics them perfectly, he believes we can learn much about the human condition and consciousness.

This newest exhibition, which will become a permanent installation, features three different androids that each seek to provoke a different set of responses and questions in visitors.

 

miraikan2

Kodomoroid

The Kodomoroid is a remote-controlled android in the form of a human child, and its name comes from ‘android’ and ‘kodomo‘, the Japanese word for child. It looks just like a little girl, but functions as an announcer, relaying information and news on the weather and situations on earth and in space. She is designed to make a statement about the lack of knowledge many of our children have about the world today, and make the listeners think more profoundly about our futures on this planet.

 

Otonaroid

This name comes from a portmanteau of ‘android’ and ‘otona‘, meaning adult. Visitors will be able to try conversing with and operating this android, which is the spitting image of a real, adult human woman. Her function is to give people the experience of socializing with a robot face-to-face.

 

Telenoid

The Telenoid is an interactive android built to answer the question: ‘What are the minimum characteristics necessary for something to be considered human?’

Its neutral shape and features do not resemble any particular person, so it can take on the characteristics of any partner the viewer chooses; male or female, old or young. It’s small, and the shape and texture are designed to make it pleasant to hold and even hug, but its makers seem to neglect to mention the fact that it’s also incredibly creepy to look at. However, since it’s clearly not going to be mistaken for an actual human being, the robot probably doesn’t make it into the ‘uncanny valley’.

 

461px-Mori_Uncanny_Valley.svg

 

Another Japanese professor of robotics, Masahiro Mori, originally coined the term ‘uncanny valley’ to describe the response of revulsion among human observers when faced with something that looks almost, but somehow not quite, human. The theory goes that as a robot starts to look more human, actual humans will become more sympathetic towards it, until it reaches a certain point where it looks almost, but not exactly, like a human being, at which point real humans will reject it because of the feeling of the uncomfortable feeling it evokes.

 

miraikan4

 

At the same time as Ishiguro’s robots are getting closer and closer to pulling out of the uncanny valley and becoming indistinguishable from real humans, research into artificial intelligence is also progressing rapidly, and before we know it we might find that today’s far-fetched sci-fi stories have become tomorrow’s reality. The technological singularity is a hypothetical moment when artificial intelligence surpasses that of human beings, and many experts predict that it will occur during our lifetime. So perhaps it’s time to get yourself down to Odaiba to start trying to gain an understanding of our potential future overlords. You might just discover something about yourself, too.

 

▼ Will the real Ishiguro please stand up?

miraikan5

 

Check out this link:

The singularity is coming: Eerily lifelike androids converge in Odaiba for exhibition

 

Link

10 things Japan does better than anywhere else, according to the international community

 

JA 8

RocketNews 24:

 

Advertising agency Dentsu recently released the results of its annual Japan Brand Survey, in which it asks people from around the world for their opinion on the country. This year’s study involved 3,600 men and women living in 17 different countries, whose responses were used to compile a list of 10 things they feel Japan does better than anywhere else in the world.

In carrying out the survey, Dentsu spoke with people living in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Russia. All participants were between the ages of 20 and 59, with middle or upper-class incomes.

Roughly 80 percent of those questioned said they had either plans or a desire to visit Japan, a jump of more than seven percent from last year’s survey. When asked what intrigued them about Japan, the most common response was the country’s cuisine. Its numerous travel destinations, both urban and rural, came in second, and Japanese fashion rounded out the top three.

Being an advertising firm, though, Dentsu’s primary concern is with the perception of Japanese goods and services. To get a better grip on how people abroad feel about things stamped “made in Japan,” researchers asked participants what they felt Japan does better than anywhere else, resulting in the list below.

10. Video games

JA 1

It’s a sign of the times that Japan’s video game makers, who created and for years dominated the modern industry, only barely managed to crack the top 10. Still, even as overseas companies continue to make strides in the arenas of smartphone and social gaming, for some fans there’s just no substitute for a Japanese-made game.

 

9. Transportation infrastructure

JA 2

It’s telling that the list was compiled from responses from people who live outside Japan, and not in it. Residents have a number of valid complaints about the country’s narrow roads, expensive expressways, and difficult to find parking. If you’re a traveler though, or anyone else using public transportation in Japan, there’s a lot to be thankful for, as it’s hard to imagine the train and subway network being much more efficient or punctual than it already is (quibbles about service ending shortly after midnight notwithstanding).

 

8. Environmental engineering

7. Food

JA 3

No arguments here. While sushi was the dish most respondents reported eating, wanting to try, or just simply knowing about, Japanese food has a wealth of delicious dishes, ranging from subtle delicacies like tofu and lotus root to heartier fare such as ramen and the cabbage-and-pork-filled crepes called okonomiyaki.

 

6. 3D technology

5. Precision engineering

4. Cars/motorcycles

JA 4

Japan still may not be able to match Germany’s cachet in the luxury segment, and it’s facing ever-increasing pressure in the economy class from American and Korean manufacturers. That said, Japanese marques are still the go-to choice for many looking for reliably-made transportation, eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles, or a lightweight rear-wheel drive sports car.

 

3. Robotics

JA 5

Build a dancing robot like Honda’s ASIMO, earn a rep for robotics. Simple as that.

 

2. Anime/manga

JA 6

This one might be a bit of a linguistic technicality here. While in Japanese, the words anime and manga refer to cartoons and comics respectively, regardless of country of origin, among the international community, the terms generally refer to works made in Japan. For a lot of people, saying that Japan makes the best anime and manga is like saying Alaska produces the best Alaskan king crab.

Also, some fans are looking for completely different things from Japanese and non-Japanese animation. This makes the question of whether Japan produces “better” cartoons a tricky one to answer, sort of like asking, “Which is superior, a bicycle or an ocean freighter?” Sure, they’re both vehicles, but designed with completely different things in mind, and one isn’t really a substitute for the other.

Setting all that aside, though, if you want to see robots fighting, giant-eyed characters slowly falling in love, or some combination of the two, odds are the Japanese anime industry’s got you covered.

 

1. Audio/video electronics

Once again, Japan doesn’t have the same iron grip on this segment that it used to. Even as manufacturers from other countries offer alternatives with lower prices and passable quality, though, Japan still has the image of making some of the best-performing consumer electronics money can buy.

JA 7

Source: Niconico News

 

Check out this link:

10 things Japan does better than anywhere else, according to the international community

Link

Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell powered car ready for sale this December

 

vehicles_images_13

RocketNews 24:

 

Although the technology has been talked about for quite some time now, the concept of using oxygen and hydrogen to power an automobile seems poised to finally hit the market.

According to reports, the Toyota Motor Corporation has recently declared that their sedan-type Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) will begin production at the end of this year. At the moment Toyota claims this would make them the first automaker in the world to market such a vehicle to the public at large.

The FCV carries a stock of hydrogen on board and uses oxygen from the air to generate power. It’s said that a single 5kg (11lbs) supply of hydrogen can carry Toyota’s FCV over 500km (310mi). This is probably a good thing since at the time of its initial launch, stations where hydrogen can be purchased will be few and far between, found in only four of Japan’s major urban centers: Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka.

It’s also been reported while that the establishments of around 100 of these stations have been expected to occur over this year, they are currently behind schedule. As such the Japanese government has been stepping in to encourage faster development.

 

 

Like many new technologies, the FCV will initially sell for a high price. Previously it was expected to cost 10,000,000 yen (US$97,500), but as of this writing has been marked down to an expected 9,900,000 yen ($96,500) with hopes that certain subsidies will kick in and lower the price further over the year.

Toyota is aware that these vehicles aren’t going to sell like hotcakes in the early days and will only produce 50 cars a month when ready. The company is mainly aiming at national and local governments as well as wealthy individuals or corporations with a particular interest in eco-friendly cars as potential buyers. As such someone should probably consider setting up hydrogen stands in the ritzier parts of Japan as well.

 

 

Readers of the news reacted with cautious optimism. Several asked the questions “Where does the hydrogen come from?” and “In what way do we get the hydrogen?” The first question is by far the most important, as the method that the pure hydrogen is produced may cause a substantial amount pollution as well thus negating the whole environmental aspect of the car.

With regards to the latter question, when I first heard about hydrogen fuel cells I always imagined/hoped it’d be like those glowing energon cubes from the Transformers series, but based on this promotional video from last year it looks like you just pump the hydrogen into a tank like you do with regular old gasoline. However, this also begs the question: How much will the hydrogen cost?

Indeed, it’ll be a hard road ahead for the FCV with challenges in infrastructure, pricing, and public attitude to contend with. However, if this is truly the start of a wave of automobiles producing a small fraction of the emissions of regular combustion engines, my grey boogers may one day vanish into nothing more than bedtime stories for my grandchildren.

Source: Tokyo Web via My Game News Flash (Japanese)

 

Check out this link:

Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell powered car ready for sale this December