Japan Radiation Fears Cloud Outlook for Economic Recovery and Exports

Workers at Nissan, armed with radiation detectors, are visiting ports in Japan testing some of the company’s cars waiting to be shipped overseas. So far, no problems have been found, a spokesman said, but the company wants to be sure.

“Should any radioactive material adhere to our cars, we’ll take the necessary precautions to make sure that the material is not transferred to our customers,” David Reuter, vice president for corporate communications for Nissan in the United States, said Wednesday.

Add fears of radiation to the long list of troubles threatening Japan’s export-led economy.

As Japan struggles to contain radiation leaking from crippled nuclear reactors, many countries, including China, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand have already started to test food imported from Japan for radiation, and the European Union has recommended that its member countries do so. There have been no reports so far of any detected radioactive contamination.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Radiation Fears Cloud Outlook for Economic Recovery.

KDDI unveils WiMAX-ready phone

KDDI Corp. unveiled Japan’s first smart phone compatible with the WiMAX high-speed network Monday, aiming to differentiate its lineup from other carriers’ and keep pace with the smart phone trend.

Running Google’s Android operating system, the HTC EVO WiMAX ISW11HT has a 4.3-inch multitouch screen and will debut under the au brand sometime after early April.

"In the era of smart phones, you can’t really experience the merits of smart phones without a fast network," said KDDI President Takashi Tanaka during a preview event in Tokyo, referring to the frequent interruption of video clips caused by slow Internet connections.

Read the rest of the story: KDDI reveals WiMAX-ready phone.

Japanese firm invents mirror to spot the flu

A Japanese technology firm on Tuesday unveiled a mirror-like thermometer that can identify a person who is feverish.

"Thermo Mirror," which looks like a table mirror, measures the skin temperature of the person looking into it, without the need for physical contact, said the firm, NEC Avio Infrared Technologies.

The person’s temperature is displayed on the surface, and the device has an alarm that will beep when detecting a subject who is feverish.

Read the rest of the story: Japanese firm invents mirror to spot the flu.

Domino’s Japanese Pizza Chain Offers $31,000 an Hour for Part-Time Job

A Japanese pizza chain is looking to hire a part-time employee — for $31,000 an hour.

The offer is part of several events commemorating the 25th anniversary of Domino’s Pizza Japan, Reuters reports.

The employee, who must be 18 or older, will be expected to do an hour’s worth of work in December for the equivalent of $31,030. No previous experience or education required.

Read the rest of the story: Japanese Pizza Chain Offers $31,000 an Hour for Part-Time Job.

Touchable 3D Television

Norio Nakamura (Senior Research Scientist), Human Ubiquitous-Environment Interaction Group (Leader: Akio Utsugi), the Human Technology Research Institute (Director: Motoyuki Akamatsu) of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; President: Tamotsu Nomakuchi), has developed "i3Space," a system that presents a tactile sensation (sense of touch) and a kinesthetic sensation (resistance) in the air when a user views 3D images; this system enables us to design shapes of objects and to simultaneously confirm how we feel when we touch the objects. This system has been developed by combining 3D television and the small-sized non-base-type haptic interface using sensory illusion, which can present highly sensitive and continuous tactile and kinesthetic sensations utilizing the human sensory characteristics to mistake some vibration patterns as actual tactile and kinesthetic sensations.

This system is an application of the technology that creates the feeling of touch and resistance in the air by presenting virtual tactile and kinesthetic sensations. The system recognizes the user’s movement since the haptic interface is equipped with a marker for position detection; thus, the system can present a tactile sensation and a kinesthetic sensation in real time in accordance with the movement, in order to make the user feel like he or she is touching a 3D image. It is expected that the system will be used in surgery simulators and in 3D CAD (computer aided design), when an interface that integrates tactile and kinesthetic senses in addition to multiple senses such as visual and auditory senses is three-dimensionalized.

Read the rest of the story: Development of a System for Realizing Touchable 3D Television.

It’s All “Cho-co”

This season you can find sushi, beer, curry, green tea, shochu, and baseball in their chocolate incarnations.

A variety of Japan’s tastes and trends are made into “cho-co” versions for the Valentines Day boom.

Check the label on your favorite beer, curry or sushi package before purchasing to make sure if it’s the ‘real’ thing or the chocolate version!

beer chocolate

Curry Chocolate

If you hear this music playing in the background at the shop, you’re most probably looking at the cho-co.

Crush, crush I’ve got a crush on you,

Sweet, sweet I’ve got a thing for you.

Boom, boom my heart is beating for you…

You know I can’t stop Love.*

*(lyrics and photos from the “LOFT” Valentines Day display)


Aikawarazu Life in Japan

Yakult to Open Factory in US

Yakult Honsha, a Japanese maker of yoghurt-like drinks, plans to start output in the United States by 2012 to meet growing demand, the head of the company’s overseas business said on Thursday.

“We are planning to expand our business in the United States, starting sales of our products on the East Coast, in the north and in other areas in the near future,” Kawabata said.

Yakult’s U.S. business has been limited mainly to the West Coast. Currently it imports products to the United States from plants in Mexico, but Kawabata said it plans to build a U.S. factory that will likely begin production in 2012. He said the location is undecided.

Yakult’s products are currently sold by all major U.S. retail chains, including Wal-Mart and Safeway, Kawabata said.

The firm, one-fifth owned by French food group Danone, was one of the earliest Japanese food companies to go abroad, starting with Taiwan in the 1960s.

Outside of Japan, it sells about 20 million bottles of its sweet-tasting lactic acid drink every day, with Mexico and Brazil among the largest of its more than 30 overseas markets.

The company is aiming to cover 45 countries in the future, he said.

In Japan and some other markets it relies on direct sales by thousands of “Yakult Ladies”, who sell the drinks door-to-door and in office buildings.

Whats Wrong with this? Almost Everything! Angel Knee Pillow

Some new inventions should never see the light of day, but Japan has a way of inventing the unnecessary like no other country and coming out with some of the most useless stuff I’ve never wanted. But all the while some of the things I have seen lately atleast at certain times of the day are just ridiculous while making sense at the same time. Case in point…behold…


In 2007, Kaiteki Raifu Kenkyusho unveiled a kneeling bench that enables closer peeing range for male folk. That’s right if you are too manly to sit when you pee or you like getting your face a little closer to the bowl the Angels Knee Pillow (or Tenshi no Hizamakura) is for you!

The company that created it envisioned men kneeling down on this handy bench whenever they needed to pee.

The company’s overall goal is eliminating pee droplets on the rim as well as in the outer toilet area. Thus, they believed that shortening the distance between the person and the rim would minimize such spillage. Maybe they should try selling penis enlargers or attachable hoses next.


Phonetikana – Nihongo never sounded…I mean read any better.


So what do you do when you can’t read Japanese? Get a dictionary? Nope…create a font that has the phonetics embedded. At least that’s what the people at Johnson Banks are thinking. Driven by trips to Japan and continual frustration at being unable to read the language, Michael Johnson and his team at Johnson Banks have been trying to design a Katakana typeface that has English phonetic sounds embedded: ‘phonetikana’.

Their first forays into it are great proof of concept…In fact this might be used with any language with symbols that aren’t the alphabet. It’s worth exploring more and especially with something trickier — Kanji, but after learning Japanese the hard way I’m sure there will be some that find this cheating. But, how many times have you slightly got something wrong and read it that way only to have to start back over. For those that have studied Japanese the phonetics might throw you off a bit as you may be used to seeing things like “GU” for “GOO” or just “RO” for “ROH”. Though, I think sounding out Japanese this way is awesome as that’s the only way I was ever able to understand any of it. I would love to see it put to use on signs around Tokyo for those of us that would really use it.

Johnson Banks acknowledges this as a work in progress, so apologies to our readers for any linguistic blunders. But. if you’re interested in finding out more about Phonetikana, (or just want to correct their grammar) please email info (at) johnsonbanks (dot) co (dot) uk.


characters from the phonetikana typeface


for example, UNIQLO in japanese is pronounced ‘yoo nee koo roh’
above are the four characters in phonetikana.


‘big apple’




‘doki doki’ (Japanese for the ‘sound of my beating heart’)


‘baa + moo’


‘big in Japan’


‘nee-koh’ – Japanese for ‘smile’

Hello Kitty is the cute girl’s status symbol.

Hello Kitty, the leader of Japanese Kawaii (Cute) culture, became 35 years old this year.
Sanrio Company created her just that long ago.

She had been for little girls for a while. But, a Japanese popular singer said that she loved Hello Kitty’s goods, and then the lid was off and she got popular among broader generations. Kitty’s simple face and pink color are good accents in girls’ chic fashions everywhere. A lot of celebrities have Hello Kitty wares adorning them around town.

You will see Hello Kitty goods like pens and straps for cell phones at souvenir shops in every prefecture you go in Japan.

By the way, do you know why Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth? The reason is because it makes her face not specify her facial expression and so she shares the same feelings with you all the time. Mona Lisa can eat her heart out.

Get something cute: Hello Kitty Chic Goods and Wares

Read more about it: www.kitty35.com/