Midori, The Blogging Plant. 今日の緑さん

9 10 2008

Yes. You read it right. The plant blogs.

今日の緑さん  (Midori San Today)
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Bowls cafe in Japan is home to Midori-san, the blogging plant. The interface and software was created by Kayac co, Ltd., and Midori san, a Sweetheart Hoya, has started blogging since about a week ago.  She blogs about weather, random stuff, thanks people who give her chances to photosynthesize, and even random fortune.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Here’s the design diagram.

So. How does this really work? This system uses sensors to get faint electric signals, from the surroundings. It changes with temperature, vibration, humidity, movement, magnetism, etc. So basically, Midori-san would “know” if something happens to be near her. These are then loosely translated to data about Midori-san’s surroundings, and then posted up on the blog. Here’s Midori’s post for today, translated by yours truly.
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There’s more! Their site has a widget you can use to give Midori san some lighty-love by clicking on it, and typing a nickname. When you’ve done that, it shows a live webcam view of Midori in real time! cool no?

Man. Midori-san sure got the good life~ I’m sure plants all around the world are green with envy.

First a Mind reading game, then now a blogging plant. what will they come up with next? 😀 I’m just shaking with excitement!

Taken from Midori’s blog, Kayac co, Ltd. and Bowls.

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Manga Heaven.

6 10 2008

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Look at the picture. See all those books. Manga. Every single one of them. Then imagine the floor to be about the size of two large 7-11 outlets. That’s about how large a floor is. Now imagine a whole 3 floors that large. That’s pretty much how large a comic store is in over in Akiba. It is one of many.

Whoah. I was really overwhelmed when I first stepped in one of these shops. So many comics, So little time(and money).

Anyway, the store was divided by demographic sections. For those of you familiar with manga, Shounen(少年), Shoujo(少女), Josei(女性), Seinen(青年), and finally eroge (エロゲ).

Shounen = young boys
Shoujo = young girls
Josei = girls
Seinen = guys
eroge = ero manga. H-manga.

I brought a list with me, on it was written some manga I was looking for. It took me quite a while just to walk around the store all 3 floors of it, much more browse for the manga(s) I was looking for(All in Seinen section. Don’t get any ideas. -_-) I found it after a good hour’s search. Phew. 1 down 3 to go. While I was browsing I found some interesting stuff you can only seen over there. They have a whole rack of BL… what the? and the biggest surprise was, there were some boys browsing in that section. I just quickly walked away from the area.

Now then, when I couldn’t find the manga I was looking for, I gathered up my courage and asked the store clerk where to find “IRYUU” in clumsy, broken Japanese. “Iryuu manga doko desu ka?” and of course he answered me in moonspeak. Why couldn’t he just point? Ok. Plan failed. Seems like the store clerk couldn’t understand English either. luckily your friendly neighborhood otaku, saw me struggling with communication and helped me out by pointing out where to find it. Thank you my Densha otoko. I would’ve preferred a Densha Onna though.

Now I wonder, where do they get that much paper for that? Most of my friends read manga through the internet. There is already a good number of manga that can be read online, but that isn’t in anyway representative of the number mangas out there. Only if these manga could sell as electronic data, or some other format, wouldn’t it save a whole forest worth of trees? The Japanese sure love using paper.

The sheer number of manga amazes me, even today. Manga-ka. The poor man’s job.





The Future is here?

5 10 2008

Brain-controlled game expected to make Japan debut in 2009

TOKYO —

A brain-controlled video game is expected to hit the Japanese market as early as 2009, officials of U.S. technology venture firm NeuroSky Inc say. The firm has developed and commercialized a headset, called MindSet, which can tell the mental states of users by analyzing their brain wave signals. The interpreted data are transmitted wirelessly to various platforms.

In cooperation with Japanese companies, the San Jose, California-based firm aims to release a game based on the technology on the Japanese market as early as 2009, the officials said.

NeuroSky plans to demonstrate the game at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show starting on Oct 9 at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, near Tokyo, the officials said.

In the game, users control avatars in a virtual world without using a hand-held controller. The avatars will not run quickly or throw balls very far unless the users concentrate enough, said Kikuo Ito, senior adviser of NeuroSky.

The firm’s technology could be applied to a wide range of products. Some 40 companies throughout the world are considering using it.

Possible products include music players that automatically select songs by analyzing the feelings of users, as well as devices to support nursing-care work and to measure learning effects.

Taken from http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/brain-controlled-game-expected-to-make-japan-debut-in-2009

Whoah whoah whoah! Hold your horses. So you say that I can make my character throw a ball if I think hard enough? What about when I think of pooping, I wonder what the character would do. This seems really interesting and yet scary at the same time. Does this mean that people have already found a scientific way to read minds? Does this mean that machines are able to process bodily functions as electronic commands? What if you are playing, then you suddenly have to go to the washroom. Too many questions. I guess we’ll just have to wait for “the future”.

Oh. and if I think 「あなたとは違うんです」 the in game character turn to Fukuda? I’m excited. and confused. at the same time. this seems like a really huge step in Biotechnology. Can’t wait for October 9.





WaterSalad/SaladWater

5 10 2008

Today marks the first entry of this blog.  I’m new to this, but I’ll try my best. To be honest, I don’t like blogging much and this idea came from a friend, Kenji.  We were chatting the other day over some really trivial stuff and it came down to us showing each other weird Japanese stuff, and he said that I should start a blog on it, and I thought “why not?”  This hits 2 birds with 1 stone.  I get to remember all the weird stuff I find all over the place,  and practice writing. It gets rusty.  So without further delay, the point of interest of this first post, the namesake of this blog, Water Salad.

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Some of you might know this already, but I found this a few years back rolling all around the internet and it kind of piqued my interest.  I still haven’t tried the real thing even if I spent a good whole 3 hours in Akiba (Akihabara. Dork Capital of the world)  last March looking for it. (Surprise Surprise. It was out of stock, who knew Water Salad would be a good selling point?) Anyway,  I trolled around on the internet some more and voila, look what I found.

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It came in 6 different flavors. Oh My God. Now I really have to try it. If 1 flavor wasn’t enough, what about 6? THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES! I can just imagine Sushi salad flavor, Okonomonoyaki(Japanese pizza) Salad flavor, Tako(octopus) Salad Flavor, Curry Salad Flavor, Wasabi Salad flavor, and so on and so forth.

Amazing? that’s not all.  If you’d look at the first picture carefully, you’d see a Coca-Cola sign at the top part of the bottle, and as I already said, Water Salad was probably doing well enough for me not to be able to find any in Akiba. (My friend showed me to the place where it was sold, and there was a dent in the Water Salad area so I tried and searched for other sources of this miracle drink.)

Being the capitalists that they are, Pepsi, promptly answered the call.

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Lo n’ behold. Pepsi Ice cucumber. It went on sale a little more than a year ago, on June 12 2007,  and here are some people’s reactions. http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1998

It probably wasn’t as tasty as the Water Salad anyway.  WaterSalad 1, Pepsi 0.

Pepsi Ice cucumber is probably rolling in its little green cucumberish coffin and saying あなたとは違うんです(I’m different from you).

One of these days, I’m gonna get my hands on these drinks.

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