Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The vending machines in Japan were amazing. They were almost everywhere, unlike the U.S. They are smaller in size, but carry a wider variety of items. There were mainly drink vending machines where we went, but the other types of vending machines provided cigarrettes, food such as noodles, and some even provided ice cream. That’s right, I said cigarrettes. And there were also beer in some of them. This shows how lax the smoking and drinking age limits are in Japan. While in the U.S. its common to see a vending machine with snack foods in it, however, when I was there I didn’t see any vending machines there with food save for the previously mentioned ones. I heard you could get all kinds of things out of vending machines and that they were everywhere in Japan, yet that wasn’t the case.

Either way, the machines filled with drinks managed to get a great deal of my money while there since we were always on the go. They came with both cold AND hot drinks. I had a coffee drink that was still hot when I opened it. I also had a drink that was more like liquid mixed with jelly. It was delicious, but the texture made me not want to drink it. Either way, I hope to see these wierd vending machines I’ve heard about when I go back to Japan.

A memorial of those who died, the building closest to the center of where the bomb was dropped

The biggest learning experience I received in Japan comes from the destruction caused in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 during WWII by the US. I’ve heard stories about it, but I never realized (and still never will) the true devastation caused on this day and the following effects until we visited the Peace Museum. It didn’t really hit home until I saw images of people with their skin coming off, both from burning and radiation. That image alone was enough to upset me (or anyone I would imagine) and the stories of what happened, I find it heartless that no one was meant to be spared, not even children. On the flip side, I find it admirable that the Japanese people as a whole don’t see the U.S. responsible and seek vengeance, but rather see it as a global issue that must not be repeated. My favorite part of the museum was the letters written by the mayor of Hiroshima pleading with any country that planned to hold nuclear testing, no matter who or where, to cease their nuclear efforts. The determination showed by the mayor of Hiroshima and the lack of animosity (at least public anyway) is proof that the nuclear bombings that occurred on that day must NEVER happen again.

Me in a Penguin Mask

The second place we visited today was Akihabara, known as the electric city because of the large number of shops selling games, appliances, etc. It’s also known for being an Otaku haven. The first thing we did was go to a Maid Cafe. It was somewhat interesting, but not really my cup of tea. The waitresses were all dressed in French maid uniforms and were really upbeat in everything they did. I was surprised to see how popular maid cafes are. The cafe served a variety of food and drinks, at really high prices. I ordered some sort of drink w/ ice cream and whip cream on it. I, however, had to WAIT 45 MINUTES AFTER EVERYBODY GOT THERE STUFF TO GET MY DRINK, AND I HAD TO LET THE MAID KNOW ON TWO OCCASIONS THAT I DIDN’T GET MY DRINK YET!!!!!!!!!!……yes…that’s how I felt today. It was irritating. Everytime they brought a menu item to the table, they made us do a little chant with hand motions before eating or drinking. It seemed to vary depending on what you ordered. Taking pictures weren’t allowed in the cafe, but they charge to take a picture with them. Pvan ordered some spaghetti that was really good btw.

Solid Snake

Afterwards, we went through a few of the stores. There wasn’t really anything worth taking note of save for the penguin mask I found and the statue of Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid. There was a gaming store filled with various old school games. I really wanted to buy them but they don’t work on American systems so of course I didn’t.

Harajuku

Today, we traveled to two districts. The first was Harajuku, known for the “different” style of clothing that can be seen there. I wasn’t able to get as many pictures as I wanted to because it was raining there, but I still enjoyed it. First, there was a band recording/performing on the first floor in a studio. I liked their singing. Next, we went to a KDDI store and viewed their selection of mobile phones. I didn’t really take a deep look at the phones because the interfaces were, of course, in Japanese and I didn’t feel like examining them to figure out which feature did what. On third floor were several interesting technologies, two of which caught me eye.

FEELINK

The first was a tiny robot-like machine that actually functioned as a speaker. I don’t know the specifics behind it but it was interesting to watch and enjoyable to hear “Beat It” by Michael Jackson coming from it. The second technology, FEELINK,  was a room with two chairs that monitored the heartbeat of the people sitting in them. The people sitting in the chairs (the players) played a “game” in which the chair vibrated in sync with the opposite player’s heartbeat. The player had to press the button at the same time as the vibration. The purpose was to test relationship compatibility of the two players. Results included Twins, A newly married couple, Lovers, Best Friends, Parent and Child, Acquaintances, Others, Strangers, Rivals, and Earth People ↔ Space Alien. We were encouraged not to take the results seriously. My results included Best Friends (w/ Kevin). Other results included Parent and Child (Meri & Jared), and Lovers (Sharnise & Bryce). I thought it was a fun game to play and it was interesting how it could monitor your heart rate through your finger. Afterward, I won a free post card at a slot machine on the computer on the first floor.

Afterward I went to this clothing store that had all kinds of clothes. I like the style of the majority of the clothes and picked up two shirts. I would have bought more but clothes in Japan run really small and it was a miracle I found XL’s in those shirts. Too bad, they had alot of nice clothes.

FutureScope  is a well known company that provides multiple services for mobile phones, with expectations of 110 Million subscribers in 2010. One of their services include a Mobile Phone novel service in which a user writes a novel using their mobile phone and publishes that novel to a website. Successful novels sometimes become movies. Another service is Shimeji, a mobile email service in which the user takes a picture using their mobile phone and the picture is automatically generated through email. FutureScope’s parent company, FieldsMobile, offers mobile content such as wallpapers and game apps. They are also the official partner of Dreamworks and therefore offers official Dreamworks mobile content.

My favorite part of the presentation was when the President of Lucent Pictures presented. He demonstrated Lucent Pictures’ 3D technology by showing images of popular manga in 3D. He also gave us a preview of the remaking anime and manga in 3D. The presentation got me thinking about a career in 3D design.

At the end of the presentation, the CEO of FS passed out free gifts and made us compete for other gifts by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. I lost in the first round of every game.