I was just using Google as a calculator this morning as usual when I noticed something new, at least to me: if you type a simple operation in Firefox’s Google Search box, the result will pop out as a suggestion without having to hit enter and going to the results page.
I love to stumble on those constant little UI and usability improvements that make you wonder if they were there yesterday. It’s brilliant.
Yesterday I was watching TV pretty late as I was backing up my laptop to prepare for installing Leopard, and I found a pretty cool program called 恋愛百景 on TV Asahi. The name translates to “The 100 views of Love” referring to the famous series of artist Hokusai.
The concept of the show is to give dating advice to guys, mostly where to bring the girl and what to say to her to maximize your chances of success, the whole thing being acted out by some random actor and a cute ドラマアイドル.
So last night’s episode was about how to bring out your 先輩 from university on a date and impress her without killing your budget. A full-day plan is given good cheap restaurants (in this case Matsuzaka beef lunch for 1000￥) and cool places where you can entertain your date for free: the TEPCO building in Shibuya and the SONY showroom in Odaiba. Some specific tactics were also given, like calling her ‘Senpai’ (a rather formal thing to do) so she doesn’t view it as a desperate attempt to get in her pants until you build up romantic momentum with photo posing with the cool camera you rented for free at the SONY place and printing out (still for free) a nice portrait of both of you. Then you are supposed to bring her to the Tokyo Tower, call her finally by her first name and ask her what she feels about you in the climax of the sunset over Tokyo bay.
I think it’s a cool way to get those geeks watching TV at 1:30AM to find a girl and maybe rise the abysmal birthrate of the country…
Today, I took 2 hours out of my not so busy schedule and called all the utility companies to cancel and/or open the gas/electricity/water/internet contracts for my moving next week.
To help with the process, I found this cool webservice by TEPCO, Tokyo’s main electricity provider. You enter your old and new address and it will find the utility companies that serve the area codes in question. You chose the ones you use and it will give you a checklist of all the phone numbers you have to call. Moreover, if an electronic application form is available, it will give you the link and fill out all the information you already give it, radically speeding up the process.
Living in Japan, we are often faced with tough quandaries, for example: in a typical closet sized Tokyo apartment, having a printer at home can take up a valuable portion of your living space. But then without a printer, you’re often stuck in problematic situations, like last weekend when my girlfriend had some last minute changes to do to her resume and I wasn’t at work to print it for her.
But no worries! In the land of the combini on every city block, 7eleven is here to save the day. After registering on the Netprint website from Fuji Xerox, you can upload any document (an Apple Word document will fail so save it as a PDF first) to the web application that will give you an 8-digit code that you can write down or send directly to your keitai. You can then walk-in any 7eleven in Japan, go to the printer machine, select ネットプリント and type that code. 20円 for a black&white A4 print, 60円 for a color A4 print.
Last week I received a flickr mail from a woman of Nokia Japan who wanted to have me come over to their headquarters to talk about my usage of flickr, my keitai and other web2.0 apps. I wanted to take a day-off from work anyway so I said “why not” and accepted the invitation.
Friday I headed for the Arco Tower in Meguro in early afternoon and had a 1h30 chat with the Nokia girl who happened to come from Hiroshima and be married to a french guy… What a coincidence!
She asked me a lot of questions about my usage of flickr, twitter, wordpress and how I use them to stay in touch with my friends. She took videos of how I use my keitai, and she also showed me some Nokia prototypes which I’m not at liberty to describe, having signed an NDA.
All in all, it was a fun experience.
I’ve started using Twitter today and implemented it on my blog’s sidebar with the cool Twitter Tools plugin. You can see my latest entries to the right, under the search on the main page of the blog.
I’ll use that to post all the one-liner updates that I never bother to post here for fear of breaking my pretty blogging structure. It’s also usable via my keitai so I can post on the go.
You can see my twitter profile and add me if you’d like. If you plan on signing up, be careful, I can see it becoming really addictive.
Vocabulary lesson in a bar of Shibuya yesterday:
合コン and 強姦
The first one is pronounced goukon and is a kind of group blind-date dinner very popular with the young japanese. The second one is pronounced goukan and means rape…
So when I got to my hotel room finally (after a ghastly 10 hours of travel), I checked out the bathroom and found the following room extras.
Very Arduous, Very Long Haul Sexy liquid medicine for lovers
This product is the pure Chinese medicinal preparation, refined many times and exquisite productive. It could enhance sexuality and energy of male/female. It can prevent infectious diseases, having no side-effect, no any stimulus, no dependent.
Directions: Use product ahead of 10-15 minutes. Use this product on and around the pudenda massaging tender for 2-3 minutes. Do not wash away by refined oil when using. It can get a better effect if you use YIRENBAO lotion after these products.
Only for man/woman
This product is specially designed for washing men/women’s genitals . As the pure Chinese medicinal preparation, it can quickly kill any kinds of latent germs and pathogens. It’s suitable for using at home, on trip, or in swimming, especially before or after sexual intercourse. It can prevent any infectious diseases.
Directions: Use this product on and around the pudenda by massaging for 2-3 minutes, then rinse with clean water and wpe with a pasteurized wet towel. It can get better effect to be used in bath.
Not much to talk about this week. Working a lot, preparing some business trips for next months. So I thought I should show you a little gadget that I’ve been playing with for almost a year now.
I’ve been geotagging as many as possible of my photos on flickr and with this great mashup by Sumaato Labs, you can all see them on a much better map than the lousy Yahoo! Map flickr offers.
I updated my blog template so that the header displays a random photo selected from my Tokyo by night set.
I’m not sure yet if I like it, so I’ll leave it on for the next few days and then decide if it stays or it goes. If you have any suggestions, I’ll be glad to hear them as soon as I’m sober, in January next year…
This Saturday I went to 丸の内 around Tokyo station to see the Christmas lights and, much to my girlfriend’s dismay, I took a bunch of maniac photos with my trusty Ricoh GR Digital.
I had seen an advertisement for the Christmas lightings in the train. It’s an event called Lightopia. They lit up the 2 Marunouchi buildings in emerald green, put a bunch of candles on the Wadakura park next to the Imperial Palace and of course dressed up all the trees on the street to Yurakucho.
But the real thing I wanted to see are those Citysphere contraptions on the square in front of Tokyo station’s Central Marunouchi exit, but it won’t be up until December 26, tomorrow. I’ll have to go check it out again next weekend.
This morning they had a raffle for 30 units at my local 7eleven Holdings’ Itoyokado (that’s a department store). I got there at 9:45, grabbed a ticket and came back at 10:30 for the results.
They had distributed 74 tickets that were supposed to count only for 42 units since families were supposed to have one ticket for each person but only take one Wii. But of course, it got out of hand and none of them would give away their tickets if they won. One chick redeemed 4 winning tickets… Of course, with my luck, I got nothing… Bastards…
A photo I took yesterday outside my office. There are huge condensers for the aircons that cool/heat the big factory under my office, they make plumes of water vapor that catch the lights at night and give the whole place an eerie feeling.
So I went to Shinjuku’s BicCamera at 5am on Saturday morning (btw, it’s incredible the number of puke puddles you can find around Koenji in the early morning…) hoping to score a Wii. Here is a map of the line I found there:
The line was closed, BicCamera people were watching it every 15 meters with big signs saying SOLD OUT and there was a cop at the back of the line in case to support them. We asked the Bic guys who told us the first in line had been there 3 days and they sold out Friday night a 8pm.
People there we’re really organized. I didn’t see any cosplay but they were all sitting on carton boxes, covered in space blankets (the gold-aluminum foil kind) with stacks of Boss coffee cans and cup noodles, playing on their DS lite in their finger-cut gloves.
So I just gave up and went back to bed. To my dismay, I later heard half a dozen reports of people buying Wii all over the weekend in various places (Don Quichotte, Kiddy Land, etc.) but I couldn’t find one myself when I woke up again around 4pm and went around little electronics shops in the suburbs.
This weekend they changed the ticket vending machines in my station and it makes me feel a little bit closer to Tokyo when I buy my ticket every morning.
On the left, the old busted early 80’s style machine with old-school orange monochrome screen. On the right, the new model they installed, exactly the same as any Tokyo Metro station (well, the older models they have there). Except we’re not on Tokyo Metro, we’re on the frickin’ Tobu Tojo line, 55 minutes away from Ikebukuro… I really need to move out of this hole…