Saw this at Japan Probe. It’s a video of the tsunami from Chile finally hitting Japan and traveling up the mouth of a river.
It doesn’t seem amazing but you have to remember how much energy it takes to physically shove so much water that it crosses the Pacific ocean at hundreds of miles an hour to create waves in Japan (the wave slows and gets taller as the water comes to shallow water). To get an idea of the energy needed imagine being in the pool and shoving the water as hard as you can to make a wave a few inches tall travel ~20 feet.
Also you can see how a Tsunami isn’t just a big wave it’s a long wave. Watch the water level along the bank and it rises about a foot as the wave passes and stays there as water rushes up the river.
Seems to freak the birds out too.
One thing I miss from Japan was the themed
restaurants bars shopping centers pachinko parlors love hotels gaming centers.
The weird drinks in the bottom right looks like the strange “cure all” vitamin C drinks they sell there. The commercials claim results similar to taking some Mentats.
I’ve always had an interest in advertising, to me its just a commercial form of propaganda which I find fascinating. How simple imagery and words can influence people so much.
Abercrombie and Fitch ads always bothered me. It’s not just the fact that all the guys are half naked, it just seems ironic using unclothed people to sell clothes.
If you’re out and about shopping on the last Saturday before Christmas and happen pass an A&F store, look at the pictures in the windows and notice that the guys never wear the clothes. In some cases it’s actually hard to find where the clothes being advertised are at. Sometimes draped over a shoulder, other times out of focus in the background.
A few years ago there was a Frontline episode about advertising to the modern generation. It mentioned that direct advertising no longer works in America, if you tell people to “Buy Mountain Dew! It’s great!” people will be more likely to avoid it. Instead to advertise now you do it subconsciously. Show four extreme snowboarders doing all the wild tricks in stunts that you wish you could do. And hey! They’re drinking Mtn.Dew, maybe if you drink it you’ll be more like them.
It seems silly but it works even when you know about it and try to avoid it. About the same time Mtn.Dew started their new “Do the DEW!” advertising I started drinking it more. I don’t know why and to this day I can’t be 100% sure if it was just that I liked it more, or I was brainwashed to like it more. If you drink Mtn.Dew think back to when you started drinking it a lot, was it round about the late 90’s 1997-2000? Maybe they got you too.
Anyway it’s obvious that A&F’s message is: buy our shirts, throw them on a chair in the background, you’ll get a ripped 6-pack, and hot girls in t-shirts and bikini bottoms will glance over your shoulder running their hands over your chest while you stare off into the distance in that “Confused Jock” sort of way. It’s either that or they have found a way to ship free soft core porn to girls through the mail and call it a “catalog”.
All of this is interesting to me because A&F just opened their first Japan store and it’s not doing so well. Apparently half naked guys without shirts isn’t the best way to sell overpriced shirts there. It’s interesting that the now annoying sales technique used buy brands such as A&F and Hollister aren’t as successful over there.
I think A&F just needs to find a way to bend this into some kind of fetish café for females. You know that’d make money there.
Update: Danny Choo went there and posted about it too. I think it’s funny that he’s confused as to why the guys are naked. He even mentioned mentioned getting gassed from too much perfume, just like Maddox’s post about Hollister. Yes Danny, all “trendy” US clothes shops suck that bad.
Also he mentions and even has some pics of the outside of the store where the windows are boarded up so you can’t see the clothes for sale without going in. It goes along with what I was saying, what’s the point of advertising if you hide your clothes from sight?
Personally if the business isn’t going to take the effort to advertise their product I’m not going to go out of my way to check them out.
I like my women mysterious, but not my retailers.
Besides the “Google phone” and the Iranian Twitter hack it seems that the iPhone sales news in Japan is blowing up all over the place.
The news is that iPhone now makes up 46% of the Japanese smartphone market.
This sounds amazing considering that Japan is so phone centric that Apple could dominate the market in just a couple years. The problem is that the sample was only taken by what Impress considers “smartphones.” The ubiquitous Japanese keitai that EVERYBODY in Japan has wasn’t factored in.
So really the article heading should be that the iPhone makes up 46% of 5% of the Japanese phone market, hardly a market dominator.
“But it’s 46% of smartphones, not Dumbphones.” Keep in mind that the “Dumbphones” that weren’t included in the above percentage have features such as:
-Turn by Turn GPS directions
-2D Barcode scanning
-RFID payment systems
-2 way video calling
-MMS (the iPhone still doesn’t have that!)
In reality it should be the other way around, the iPhone has 46% of the dumbphone market. But that’s nothing to blow off, it means it’s got a good chunk of the market over Windows mobile, Android, Palm, and RIM. Pretty decent. But instead of looking at these skewed numbers lets look at the big picture.
46% of the smartphone market is 3 million phones. Pretty good for a year an a half.
But as of 2 weeks ago there are 110 million phones in Japan.
That means the iPhone makes up 2.7 of the phones in Japan. If you gather 50 random phone users in Japan ONE of them will have an iPhone.
This is really just another case of not seeing the forest for the trees; a problem that is common if you’re deeply entrenched in the tech news world (to be fair not all blogs got hung up on the 46%). For all the news we hear about the iPhone it’s only been out (in the US) for a couple years. Most non-tech people hold onto their for long than that so as rabidly popular the iPhone is it’s still not a market dominator.
The same thing happened yesterday when news came out that iPhone had just recently passed Windows Mobile in the number of smartphones in use. People were amazed that this hadn’t happened a year ago. It’s not shocking at all, RIM and Windows Mobile (and quickly Android) are on many handsets and all carriers. Plus RIM and WM have been on sale for more than twice as long as the iPhone. Joe Wilcox has a good breakdown of that data.
So as in most things before you freak out when somebody put out amazing numbers like “It’s over 46(9000)%!!!” take it with a grain of salt and look at it from the perspective the average person and not the tech blog angle.
I honestly don’t know who’s bad idea it was to make a 7 patty whopper, thank god it will only last 7 weeks, and only in Japan. Although a commenter at Engadget mentioned that you can get one anytime in the US if you ask, I don’t know if that ’s a good thing or a bad thing.
I notice he stops after the first bit. I’m sure most people who polish off one of these is going to be blowing chunks soon after.
But that’s seriously the strangest cross promotion I’ve seen.
I love this kind of stuff because it’s always so overblown, like the Jetsons which aired in 1962 and takes place in 2062.
Anyway these 1969 images (of life in 1989) from Japan are even better because the majority of the predictions have actually come true (roombas, personal computers, laptops, computers in the classroom, telecommuting, remote surgery). There may not be 1960’s styling but this guy basically saw what life would be like us today (minus the flying car); technically he was 20 years off but still pretty good considering that “computers” in his day took up an entire room, and by “computers” I mean big calculators.
Be sure to check out all three images broken down on the site.
This is a great article on the music scene in Japan. In the US and Europe indie music is very popular (sometimes even when it’s no good) but it’s very common for small indie artists to get a foothold and grow rather big without ever landing a contract with the big labels.
In some cases they even create their own labels for self release (like Suburban Legends or Less than Jake’s “Fueled by Ramen”) and these labels can grow to be a dominant force in their genre like Bad Religion launching Epitaph, so that the indie labels can go toe to toe with the big labels… at least in their own genre. However this is unheard of in Japan.
In Japan, “punk” is not an attitude or a spirit, it is just a fashion. So Japanese people will think that the Sex Pistols and Avril Lavigne are the same thing, because they are associated with a trend. The British movie This Is England has just been released here, but young Japanese people in are more interested in the skinheads’ wardrobes than in the historical background. They definitely enjoy it as a fashionable film, but won’t consider its political content. They don’t know what a skinhead really is.
Japanese people have a tendency to think that music is not “art”, but “entertainment”, something to be consumed.
Japan is just the opposite, fans flock to big labels and indie releases are seen as a holding pattern until you’re “discovered”. This leads to the assumption that if you haven’t been picked up by a big label you must not be any good.
There could be a lot of possibilities for this: the article mentions how fans see music as a fashion for consumption and not an art in itself. I personally think it has a lot to do with the Japanese tendency to conform, fit-in, and follow authority without question or without bothering to try something that may be “different”. In the west we pride ourselves for listening to something others don’t, in Japan they pride themselves for being a part of the fanbase of all their peers.
Regardless the outcome the result is a music industry even more top heavy than the US with a few massive labels and an almost non existent indie scene. Really there’s nothing wrong with that in itself, being signed to a big label doesn’t mean your music is any worse than before you signed the contract (although the label may make asinine requests to change or market your music). In America we sometimes go too far thinking that because a good band signed a deal with a big label that the music isn’t as good anymore and they’re nothing more than “sellouts”. This is sometimes true but often times not.
In Japan the trend leads music to become more homogenized that usual, good up-and-coming artists can be absorbed into a giant machine like Avex but never promoted as much as the big name artists like Ayumi Hamasaki, or Koda Kumi. Thus they don’t get the exposure, fans don’t find out about them, and they get swept under the rug.
Although I like a lot of big label music from Japan the times I’ve been to Japan it’s been nearly impossible to find underground punk music comparable to what I like in America. And even what I’ve found is usually bands that have been adopted by big labels so that they have a high enough visibility that an outsider on vacation like me can find them.
But when you do stumble upon the tiny underground scene it’s nothing like America. It’s akin to a watering hole slowly evaporating on the Serengeti, as it shrinks it gets more concentrated than when it was huge. So the underground scene in Japan is much more intense and raw than here in America. Instead of finding shows at big venues attended by a bunch of MySpace/HotTopic kids who are there because it’s popular to like psudo-irish music (Flogging Molly concert review coming soon), you get tiny hole-in-the-wall venues full of fans who truly listen to the music for what it is.
It may be small but when you do find it the indie scene is much more like Agnostic Front at CBGB’s than it is like Blink 182 at Warped Tour.
The shame of it is it’s the fans that miss out by not discovering new music they may like more than Ayu-BoA-Amuro-Kumi, and overseas fans miss out because good indie bands never get to play a venue larger than 200 people, let alone perform for an anime intro that might make it to the Japanophiles in the US.
Simply put, Japan’s attitudes to copyright are baffling.
The news via Ars is that “Japanese RIAA wants server-side music DRM for mobile phones.”
So anytime you listen to music on your phone it checks online with a central repository to see if you have the rights to play the song.
It’s mind blowing on so many levels.
First is the gall of any organization to try to pull this. Second is the massive amount of backend resources to log everybody’s DRM rights. And third the huge potential for failure rendering everybody’s legally purchased music worthless. Even though it’s not addressed I’m going to assume they’re smart enough to ignore tracks ripped from legally purchased CD and played on mobile phones. Otherwise multiply the audaciousness of the above list tenfold.
But what really interests me is how this speaks of the differences between culture in Japan and the US.
That there is even a possibility for RIAJ to suggest this speaks volumes about Japanese culture and the adage “The nail that sticks up is the first to be hammered down.” RIAA in the US would love this kind of thing but they know that the public would eviscerate them the moment they even hint at it as a possibility. In Japan I still don’t think they’ll allow it but nationally people are submissive enough towards authority that it actually makes it on the table. “If it’s the law follow it and change it through low pressure means, don’t make waves.”
Next is the incredibly lax copyright respect given to western music on TV and Japanese media. Watch Japanese TV for 20 minutes and you’ll hear a few music clips from western music; watch another 20 minutes and you’ll hear clips played by bands that most definitely did not give permission for the show to play their music. In the US copyright lawyers start circling the waters if you play as small as a three cord riff from a popular song (which speaks volumes of US propensity to litigate). However I think there may be a copyright law that says that you can sample on TV so long as it’s less than 30 seconds, or maybe that only applies to covering another artist’s works. Either way a lot of indie bands get a lot of uncompensated play in Japan.
Another oddity is the fact that piracy in Japan is so much less of a problem than it is in the US. While it’s not non-existent, Japanese people are generally much less inclined to illegally download music. Which is amazing considering how overpriced the music is brand new: $10 for singles, $20 for albums, $30-40 for limited edition albums!
Possibly tempering this is the fact that Japanese youth are less PC oriented and more Mobile Phone savvy. That keeps the act of running torrent servers more in the realm of the tech geeks rather than the everyday Japanese youth. So why in the world would the RIAJ think of such a restrictive process for controlling music?
But the real mind boggler is the fact that even though few people pirate music, when it does happen it’s quite blatant. In Japan they have DVD rental shops just like in the US, but in Japan they also have CDs for rent at the shops. It’s a prime place to get exposure for all the latest releases and will always have new hits the day they drop.
Ok that’s no so shocking but the kicker is that in additional to all your DVD and CD renting needs, the shops also sell all the blank CD, DVD, and MiniDisc’s that you need.
Put two and two together. It’s like one stop shopping for the CD ripping pirate. The icing on the cake is that they have hourly rentals, just enough time to go home, rip, and come back. I took a picture when I was there to prove it because I just couldn’t believe the audacity.
For more check out this interesting article about why RIAJ looks the other way over CD Rental ripping.
So why, with all things considered, is RIAJ thinking of such a draconian scheme as locking down all digital music copies on Mobile Phones?
Yes, another collaboration “Youth on the Road” to be released 10/21. This time with “The Collectors”. Here’s a translation from Google (I’d clean it up but my Japanese isn’t great and you can get the gist).
“Rock plan titled” BEAT CRUSADERS, New Rote’ka, the first anniversary activities Mellon has collaborated with artists Midori 4 has decided to collaborate Collector’s series.
Single “Youth on the Road” to 10/21 (Wed) will be released nationwide at Tower Records. Lyrics / Music: Hisashi Kato, produced: Hitoshi Yoshida, music: THE COLLECTORS by Pre-one songs.
Melon Kinenbi’s official blog, click here.
Melon Day Event hosted by the conjunction “MELON LONGE” also appeared in the decision. 10/17 (Sat) will be held at Harajuku Astro Hall. See “SCHEDULE” Please see the page.
The last few collabs have been with Punk bands and I’ve loved them, The Collectors (not the 60’s Canadian psychedelic group) are more of a Mod-Rock group that has been playing in Japan since the late 80’s. I’ve never heard the The Collectors so it will be interesting to see if it appeals to me as much as the recent Punk bands.
I’m just really shocked how Mellon Kinenbi has gone from being a part of one of the most over produced organization in Japanese music to jumping with both feet into more independent rock scene. It’s hard to think of an American example that would be as drastic of a change. Maybe if Justin Timberlake started touring with Iron and Wine or something like that.
Engadget mostly posted a concise version of the NYT article, both the NYT and Gizmodo basically come down on the Japanese cell market, the main reason they don’t like the phones: too many features…
Before I expand on this, I’m really shortening what they said, and there is a lot of logic behind the idea that you can make a device too complex; so much so that it is less useable than a more simple device. Sony suffered this problem in the PDA market 6-7 years ago when they made amazing devices that were so chock-full of features people had a hard time learning how to use all of them.
The reason behind this is that collectively the Japanese are gadget fiends; they love tons of buttons that have all kinds of extra features. Compare a US automobile to a Japanese import; there are buttons all over the place for added features. Me and a friend were comparing my ’93 Pathfinder to his ’90 Blazer and he loved all the cool switches that turned on a “Power Mode” for the fuel injection, or the “Auto” setting on the AC. The Blazer had a steering wheel, pedals, stick-shift and almost no electronics. So you have to realize that Japanese tech culture loves to sink neck deep into features that confuse and disorient Americans that just want something simple and just gets the job done.
Back to the phones, the NYT is pretty fair looking at the business of the Japanese cellphone market and how they don’t have any teeth outside the Japanese market (where they are also suffering economic woes like everybody else)
But John Herrman of Gizmodo is basically reading the NYT article and using its limited explanation of Japanese cellphones as a reason to kick around anything not iPhone related (and commenter’s aren’t letting him get away with it). Here’s a shortened quote to give you the gist:
an assortment of barriers…are keeping them from leaving the island. But for the first time in recent history, this is a good thing. Japanese cellphones, as they are, sound absolutely fucking terrible.
Sound absolutely terrible. My advice to John, don’t knock it till you tried it. When I was in Japan I got to see, use, and have demonstrated to me by a native user (the tech loving guys mentioned above) all the amazing things a smartphone can do. Let’s break it down point/counter-point to John.
“Over-the-air mobile TV is interesting, but can—and will—be replaced by internet-based video services”
This is a bad thing. Streaming is exploding the data rate usage on cell networks; as a WAN tech I can expertly say this is very bad, WAN tech and wireless in particular are dry up really quick when you get more people on the network as anybody at SXSW can attest. Don’t believe me? Japanese are already fighting this demon on their cell networks (further proof they are ahead of us in smartphone tech). Besides I’d love it if my phone picked up HDTV broadcasts the way it does FM radio.
”and cellphone payment systems, though great, are by no means impossible here—in fact, they’re on their way.”
They’re always “on their way” but they have it NOW, and have had it for the past 3-4 years. “Osaifu-Keitai” is one of my favorite features on Japanese phones and I can’t wait till we have the same thing here. I’ve seen a lot of “express pay” terminals around and putting a chip compatible with our local credit cards would be cake. The tech is there, American business just isn’t taking advantage.
”Scanning the article for other futuristic features I’d like, I come up dry: Barcode scanning? Any phone with a decent camera and an appropriate app can do that.”
True, this is more of a failure of businesses to use 2D barcodes to enrich and connect print and digital media. This is the holy grail of marketing and all it needs is an official standard on the phones to excite businesses into using it. I don’t see how anybody in tech can’t see the amazing benefits of being able to seamlessly connect print, broadcast, and digital media (I think this shows that John is just a little ignorant on the subject).
Waterproofing and solar power? For most these are gimmicks. Facial recognition unlocking? Please, no.
Ok, I agree with John here. You can go too far.
Let me rephrase that. It’s good to go too far with amazing features like this so long as you have a cheaper model for people who aren’t super gadget hounds. I might want waterproofing, solar power, and facial recognition, but it should be a limited edition of the phone so I have an option to go without for cheaper.
The NYT article and especially John Herrman’s interpretation of it remind me of when I was explaining all the amazing features of my smartphone to people 3 years ago. When I told them that my phone could check email, surf the net, watch youtube, IM friends, or connect to my computer their response was the same as Johns, “Why would I need all those features that I can do with other devices?”
2 years later the same people were raving to me how great their iPhone was and in my head I was screaming, “I was telling you this exact same thing 2 years ago!!!”
Japanese cell phones are the same situation. In two years (hopefully) Americans will be bragging how their phones can watch HDTV, pay for gas at the local 7-11, or scan a code in a magazine to jump to an online video related to the article; and John will be raving about how it’s so great the Apple invented the technology to make it happen.
Edit to Add:
Sorry, reading through that it seems I’m really coming down on John, I think he just hasn’t experience these features firsthand and would be a convert in a second the minute he saw how it all comes together (but shame on him for assuming the NYT knew what they were talking about when it comes to tech!).
It’s understandable due to how little these great ideas are moving across the Pacific. The answer to the NYT article about why Japanese phone tech hasn’t caught on here is that it’s the service providers are holding us back. All these features are provided by the Japanese phone carriers as added features, it requires additional work on their end to provide the service, agreement across the industry to have standards that all phones can use, and it needs to be done in an affordable way. All three of those things are impossible over here.
Our phone carriers drag their feet increasing data bandwidth, let alone increasing features; we still think MMS and video recording are great new features, the Japanese phones have dual cameras to work as true video phones! And just try getting the main carriers to agree on any standardization for barcode scanning or wireless purchases. And if they charge a $20-$50 premium to tether the same data plan, how much extra will they charge for HDTV tuners, barcode scanning, and phone payment systems?
I still think it would be great to have my phone double as a Credit or wallet. I bought a Suica card just so I could tap-on, tap-off the subways, and buy drinks out of the vending machine without carrying change while I was in Japan on vacation.
At $20 is was a small convenience charge.
I’m so jealous. I was hoping to be living in Japan by now and able to take a tour to Akusekijima to get the longest moment of totality, 6 and a half minutes.
Most people I’ve read or talked to who have seen total eclipses say it’s a very memorable, possibly life changing moment when the world goes into an eerie twilight where the moon swallows the sun. It’s no surprise than when these events were witnessed by more primitive civilizations they thought them to be the anger of the gods and the end of the world. I mean day becoming night is a Christian biblical sign of the end of the world!
I love those moments in life where the world around you seems so alien that you think that what you’re witnessing is something from another world. I definitely plan to travel to Kentuky for the next US total eclipse in 2017. It’s a paltry 2min 45sec by comparison but for 2:45 you’ll be able to pretend you’re in another world, or put yourself in the mindset of an Aztec Shaman or Hohokam Medicine Man wondering why the sun god that has provided the crops for your survival as suddenly forsaken you.
My personal favorite imaginary scenario is sci-fi, astronomy geek, scenario that due to extreme circumstances the sun has suddenly collapsed in on itself leaving a small black hole that the earth will fall into compressing us all to the size of a grain of sand. Or maybe it would be an odd supernova where during the contraction the sun goes dark right before it explodes and blasts the life off of Earth, ala Romulus in the new Start Trek Movie.
If you’re lucky enough to be in an area that can see a total eclipse don’t let the opportunity pass you by. For one thing they will eventually go away (in 600 million years the moon’s distance will be too great) and they have had major historic influences in our past, sometimes causing wars, other times stopping wars.
Many people say that Japanese are superior at building new technology because of the Wii, PS3, Plasma HDTV’s etc. I think the real proof is that they have hand driers that work in less than 15 minutes, and the handrail on the escalators go the SAME SPEED as the escalator steps (those yellow textured tiles on sidewalks for blind people deserve an honorable mention too).
Watching some leftover Japanese programs reminded me of this clip. Mari Yaguchi is cute/funny with her reactions in it but I really want this game to come overseas. It looks hilarious; an entire generation of 8-bit gamers over here love the old games, seeing something new that has the 8-bit feel with a bit of comedy would be great.
This show is probably the best entertainment put to screen. US, Japan, I don’t care where; nothing beats it.
However it’s a PITA to find copies of it. I guess people in Japan can stream the show on demand, good for them, but the rest of the world is missing out on all the greatness. By the way there are some interesting things you can do with computers nowdays.
Satoda Mai and the FUJIWARA duo are the only people I’m rooting for here; and seriously what’s up with the Animals? They always have interesting missions, but this is just weird.
Half the fun of this show is watching TARANTO run thorough places I visited when I was in Japan. Although I remember Ameyoko being shoulder to shoulder with people buying produce and meat. I always wonder how they get famous places like that so empty, the bit at the end of the show mentions the cooperation with the local police for safety and permission to shoot but I think they’re shooting in the early morning since Tokyo buisness doesn’t seem to “wake up” until about 9am. That also explains why most of the people in the background are delivery men, and a few early birds in suits aren’t showing up until the end of the show.
A while ago I thought if Morning Musume ever came to America I’d drive to where they were playing and go to see them to show support even if I only really like about 20% of the songs. Driving around the city today A href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUmcalXzoB8>Shanimuni Paradise came up in the random playlist (From the “happy” playlist) and reminded me that they’re in the US this weekend.
Funny how things change over 5 years, although not too surprising with a musical group whose roster is constantly rotating. All I could think was, “Too bad they waited till their popularity was waning before they tried to get more overseas fans”. It seems all big label bands wait until they’re in dire straits until they start reaching out to larger audiences to try to stabilize sales. Not surprising MM has painted themselves into a corner in Japan by appealing to only whacked out idol fans. Too bad too, they have the ablility to broaden their fans there if they didn’t keep sticking to the whole idol image.
So good luck in the US, but I won’t be there. They killed or cut off all their groups they have an appeal beyond giggly prepubescent girls, unless they grow up their fans overseas will be the same narrow genre they have in Japan, and there are even fewer idol otaku here.
Besides it seems like UFA is keeping a tight leash on their products on a tight leash even over here where 0.00001% of the people know who they are.
Update: Hmm… I bad mouth the Cutsie ,idols path that Hello Project takes but I was just listening to some blacklog of my music and “My Boy” by Buono is pretty good (PV is a little absurd though)… I guess I’ll shut up now.