Filed under: COOL SHT, Feature | Tags: animated gifs, Aritsugu, Asahi Pearls, bullet train, carbon, Cell Phones, Facebook, Facebook Camera, Ginza, Imperial Palace, Instagram, IPO, Japan, Knives, Kyoto, Lost in Translation, Nijo Castle, Park Hyatt, pearls, Shibuya, Shibuya Crossing, Shinjuku, Shinkansen, shogun, Smartphone, steel, street art, sushi, Sushi Dai, tampons, Tokugawa, Tokyo, Tsukiji Market
THIS WEEK: LOST IN TRANSLATION IN JAPAN
For the past week, I’ve been darting across Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto attempting to soak in as much as possible within only several days. I came to Japan in hopes of seeing family, a mission which became complicated by the challenges which only family can bring. I left Japan with a deep respect for the tradition and rules which make every day tick along to the second. Here’s a download from my maraudering…
Nothing Says Japan Like a 6A Sushi Breakfast
Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
Tsukiji Market is the renowned fish auction market where most of the fish in Tokyo is purchased on a daily basis. A few suggestions if you plan to go. Get there EARLY! I don’t mean 5A early. I mean 4A early. To get there this early, you can only take a taxi as the trains don’t run until around 5 in the morning. Friends recommended that we head there on our first morning in Tokyo. Being that time is misaligned from the many hours of time difference from LA, this was the perfect plan. Sushi Dai is the famous sushi restaurant in Tsukiji but with 2 hour lines and the crowds to match, we settled for a more random spot along the market. I would name it but unfortunately, the sign was in Japanese and well, there you have it. As you can see from the toro, salmon and roe in the bowl above, it did not disappoint.
Pretense as an Iron Chef
Knives in Tsukiji Market
In Tsukiji, you can buy many things from fish obviously to souvenirs. I suggest playing tourist fools like we did and walking thru the prohibited areas until you get ‘caught.’ Japanese knives are world -renowned and clearly a shop stop was necessary. The knives with the blue labels are the ones with the carbon steel. The others usually come crafted with stainless steel. You can find many knife vendors in the market and for a full download on the many attributes of Japanese knives and where to go in Tsukiji, click here. In general, Japanese steel is considered much harder than Western steel. In addition, carbon sharpens more easily than stainless steel.
THIS is as Close as You Get to the Imperial Palace
Water Fountaining, Tokyo
It turns out you need a reservation to visit the Imperial Palace, a fact completely lost on two most spontaneous of travelers. In short, the water fountain outside the stone walls was as close as we got. In a city where the trains run down to the second, order is imperative.
THAT’s Not a PEARL. THIS…is a PEARL.
Asahi Pearls in the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo
My father has worked in Japan at Toshiba since I was a little girl and ever since then, he has returned home with pearl earrings from his friend in Tokyo. I first met the shop owner on my trip to Tokyo last year, which was cut short after the wreckage from the tsunami. This year, I decided to return and say hello to the man who has been working in this store since 1949. He knows my entire family and has been selling my father jewelry since 1976. It’s a funny thing finding a piece of home in a foreign country.
Nothing Says Tokyo like Cell Phones for Babies
It seems necessary to make a stop in a cell phone store and check out all the gleaming technology. Here you have cell phones with only a few simple buttons, so the wee kiddies can use them. I’m constantly affronted by the challenge of technology approaching a destructive quality in peoples’ lives rather than a beneficial one. Being in Tokyo was filled with technology pornography but reaffirmed my assertion that we’re all running precariously close to being addicted to smart phones and the connections they bring.
Tampons are like Porn
The Japanese art of being demur translates to even the simple task of buying tampons. Not only were they protected from prying eyes in this fine brown paper bag, they were tapped shut, for security of course.
After 8 years of living in New York City, I thought there could not possibly be a place of more chaos. Color me corrected. Pedestrians cross in all directions including on a diagonal. Only in Tokyo could this chaos seem strangely organized.
Harder. Faster. Stronger. Tokyo.
Shinkansen, the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto
The bullet train maxes out at around 180 mph clearly giving it speed-advantage to anything we have in the US. That said, Amtrak has free Wi-Fi on several trains now and sincerely, I’d take free Wi-Fi over speed. I’m sure that says something about me but I hardly care. I expected to come to Tokyo and find Wi-Fi in abundance. While it is in fact everywhere, it’s heavily restricted, locked behind a series of passwords or payment gates. Free love otherwise equated to free Wi-Fi certainly doesn’t exist here. Perhaps the Japanese know where to look, but open Wi-Fi equals innovation, giving all access to the open educational system which is the internet.
One Bad Ass Shogun
Nijo Castle, Kyoto
Tokugawa was one bad ass shogun and here lies his castle. While he typically spent most of his time in Tokyo, here’s where he came to rest while in Kyoto. Tokugawa is a prime example of a smart leader. He imposed taxes on all the feudal lords so that he could keep their wealth under control. Pimp. Money brings power and heavy defense systems. Pimp. By keeping their purse strings tight, he kept them under his control. And yes, this makes him one badass shogun. PIMP.
Back to the Knives
Aritsugu in the Nishiki Market, Kyoto
Aritsugu has been making knives for over 450 years, originally favored by the Imperial Palace. I picked out a carbon steel blade based on some excellent recommendations from Shogo Minami, who spoke incredible English I may add. Aritsugu will etch whatever you like in your blade. Choosing “Marauder” on a carbon blade felt like I was having a Kill Bill moment.
Lost in Translation
Park Hyatt, Tokyo
This hotel may be the finest hotel I will ever experience. Selected due to its Lost in Translation moment, this hotel did not disappoint on any end. Even checking in was far superior to anything I have ever experienced. Upon arrival, you are whisked away to a lounge-like seating area and welcomed like royalty. Our room was on the 49th floor and showcased the most expansive urban view I imagine I will ever have of Tokyo. Swimming in the pool and reading Shakespeare’s love sonnets seemed incredibly surreal. In short, stay here for whatever time possible. You will never forget it.
Japan taught me a respect for order but a LOVE for passion.
I came away from my experience in Tokyo wishing that certain things in the US ran along the order the Japanese maintain so carefully but secretly longing for the crazy train of emotions that I had come to expect from home. I was hyper-aware of the mess I seemed to be making as I simply walked along the street and that awareness brought me nothing but an additional layer of stress. I loved Tokyo and would return in a heartbeat, but a little mess…aint that bad.
In other news, Salesforce acquired BuddyMedia, Instagram puts the nail in the PicPlz coffin, Facebook’s stock price continues to see decline, flirts with getting into the smartphone business (BAD idea), and launches a camera app clearly in direct competition with Instagram. Frankly, the Facebook camera application is a bad user experience with the exception to the News Feed which streamlines your Facebook feed simply to the pictures. To this end, I think the better user proposition would have simply been to allow for a visual picture-based-only-view to the News feed in the original Facebook mobile app rather than to launch an additional application.
Some more Cool Sh-t:
Filed under: TECHNOLOGY | Tags: Cell Phones, iPod, Magazines, Michael Lynton, Mobile device, Mobile phone, Science and Technology, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Hollywood studios may change the way they pay actors, directors and producers as DVD sales decline, says Sony Pictures chief Michael Lynton. “It’s not so much cutting salaries but making sure our partners share in the risk.” Studios can no longer count on DVD sales. (Iwantmedia 2/19, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=asMEvVm92mtc 2/19)
HP has reported that its profit fell 13% in the first quarter, while overall revenue showed a less-than-expected increase of 1%. Despite the slowdown, its printer and tech-services divisions boasted 18.5% and 12.8% gains in profit margins respectively. The Wall Street Journal (2/19) , Financial Times (2/19)
Despite a 17% uptick in global flat-panel shipments, overall shipments of TVs slid 5% in the fourth quarter, the first drop in two years. Total revenue in the category dropped 7%. PC Magazine (2/18) , Digital Trends (2/18)
Young, multicultural consumers are on the leading edge, embracing new media platforms; especially video-enabled handled devices, according to a new Horowitz Associates’ Broadband Content and Services 2008 report. The study found that nearly nine in ten (86%) of 15 to 17 year-old Internet users have a handheld device, whether it is a cell phone (69%), an iPod or other MP3 player (66%), a PSP (31%) or a Smartphone (12%). One quarter (26%) of 15 to 17 year-old users pay for internet access on their cell phone, compared to 11% of 35 to 49 year-old users. Similarly, one quarter (24%) of 15 to 17 year-old Internet users watch video on their handheld devices on a monthly basis. (Cynopsis 2/19)
Filed under: Feature | Tags: Cell Phones, CLL, Facebook, Mobile phone, New media, Sapporo, Science and Technology, Twitter
A GOOD REASON TO USE YOUR CELL PHONE AT A PARTY
Cell Phone? Check.
Cocktail? Double check.
Welcome to LVHRD’s next new media communication experiment entitled (CLL) PHN-LCKN ’09. Coming to a soon-to-be disclosed location in Tribeca Monday January 26th at 9PM, this party encourages mass cell phone use. Here’s how this thing goes down. Upon entry, guests are given a jumpsuit with a number and asked to fill out a short bio like the one in the image above. These jumpsuit-wearing fashionistas are then treated to cocktail-like libations from Dewar’s and Sapporo and music from Portland-based band Yacht.
Conversations between strangers at this party are enabled via cell phone. Upon gazing over at the bushy-haired hipster boy across the way, I can look up the number on his jumpsuit for the profile he provided on the way in. I can then either choose to engage in conversation concerning something I read in his witty bio or stalk him from afar.
Tickets are $30 with open bar. Click here to purchase and remember:
No jumpsuit. No cell phone. No service.
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Filed under: TECHNOLOGY | Tags: 5Megapixel, Black Label, Cell Phones, LG, LG Group, Lumen, South Korea, XGA
Definitive Technology said it will ship next year its “Disappearing In-Wall” series of custom architectural speakers that will be all but invisible. The speakers will feature hidden flanges, discreet micro-perf grilles and small diameters, making them nearly invisible to the naked eye. (TWICE 7/9)
Net income more than tripled in the latest quarter for South Korea’s flat-screen manufacturer LG Display as demand surged for LCDs while supplies of PC panels dried up. But analysts are not so upbeat about LG’s prospects for the remainder of the year due to the global economic slowdown and falling panel prices. (The Washington Post/Reuters 7/9)
Filed under: WIRELESS | Tags: 6212 classic, Asia, Cell Phones, Eco Sensor, Europe, Near Field Communication, NFC, Nokia
Near Field Communication technology will make the Nokia 6212 Classic capable of data transfers including remote payments. The phone will launch later this year in Europe and Asia. (Reuters 4/15, InformationWeek 4/15)
In addition, the phone will include Bluetooth-enabled Near Field Communication allowing easy transfer of pictures and video by placing the phone against a NFC-enabled device such as a digital picture fram or cellphone. Sweet.
Nokia 6212 Classic
An anonymous LG executive said the company would begin offering its LG Voyager handset to Sprint and AT&T customers in 2008. The touch-screen phone has sold more than 1 million units in the U.S., though available only to Verizon Wireless users. (The Kansas City Star (Mo.) 4/15)
As usability increases, Wi-Fi-compatible cell phones are becoming increasingly popular, as well as models that operate on high-speed networks. Apple will release an upgrade to the iPhone this year with a faster connection comparable to DSL, while Nokia intends to include Wi-Fi on all but its lowest-end phones. (The Wall Street Journal 4/15)
CBS is opening a citizen journalism Web site, CBSEyeMobile.com, where users can upload video and images of news events from their mobile phones. CNN launched a similar citizen journalism project called iReport in August 2006. It expanded into its own Web site earlier this year. (Iwantmedia 4/16,http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2008/04/15/cbs-trying-hand-at-citizen-journalism 4/15)
Google manipulated a U.S. government spectrum auction by bidding just enough to trigger rules that will open a nationwide set of airwaves to any device and then walking away, according to Republican lawmakers. Google was “successful in gaming the system.” (Iwantmedia 4/16, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=a0Qr4.4cpofA 4/15)
Time.com launched a mobile web site powered by Crisp Wireless optimized for the iPhone and Wi Fi-enabled iPod touch featuring sliding pages, expandable images and a more robust graphical interface. (Cynopsis 4/16)