Archive for May, 2007

May
08

Best Japan-related comment on Digg ever!

Posted by on Tuesday, 8 May, 2007

In this thread, relating to Manga-Kissa’s (Internet Cafe’s) in Japan, I found the best comment in a Japan-related thread on Digg I’ve ever seen (you have to read the preceding one to get the context):

by Marcus_R 9 hours ago      + 7 diggs
That lifestyle sure beats becoming a hikikomori. Seems that both of which are supplemented by similar reasons.
by renton 9 hours ago      + 47 diggs
  I don’t know what a hikikomori is so just I’m going to assume it means ninja

LMAO! I’m sorry, maybe I’m just tired, but I laughed for about 5 minutes after reading that comment. In fact, I’m still laughing… The ignorance of the comment is tremendous – but it’s a blissful, kind type of ignorance! (If that makes any sense at all)

May
06

Hokuouka! T-shirt

Posted by on Sunday, 6 May, 2007

I added two new T-shirts to my online store over at Cafepress:

The text reads “Hokuouka” (北欧か which basically means “Scandinavian?”) and is a play on the famous Taka and Toshi tagline (almost done to death by now) “oubeika” (欧米か)

If you wonder what the heck I’m talking about and who the f*ck are Taka and Toshi, you can check out a clip of them here:

The basic premise of all their “Oubeika” jokes is a regular stand-up routine where suddenly one of them breaks into some non-Japanese behavior or says some English word (where a perfectly good Japanese one exists) upon which the other guy replies Oubeika! (Are you Western or what!?) and then often slaps him on the head for good measure. Classic, good-hearted Japanese comedy when it is as its best…. (Yes, I might have lived here too long now)

UPDATE: Here is a subtitled version of the above video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kiy0QOMVb10

(It’s not a perfect translation, but it gets most of the major jokes across fairly well.)

May
06

Pandora starts doing geolocation

Posted by on Sunday, 6 May, 2007

Well I guess it was just a matter of time before Pandora started blocking people outside the US instead of just simply counting on people’s honesty to provide their true zip-code and not just a random US one to fake their way in.

Dear Pandora Visitor,

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for most listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

We believe that you are in Japan (your IP address appears to be 121.xxx.xxx.xxx). If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at pandora-support@pandora.com

It’s really too bad, because it’s simply a brilliant service – I wish they would speed up the licensing agreement proceedings in different parts of the world, but even then, I guess Japan will be very very late. I mean, even Last.fm in Japan blocks the radio function (although using the English client and English homepage in Japan works fine). Anyway, I just signed up for Last FM and it looks pretty darn good. I tried it for a few days a year ago or so, but didn’t like, but now the user base seems to be much bigger and the features of the site and the standalone player have been improved greatly!

May
05

Photos contiuously updated on Flickr

Posted by on Saturday, 5 May, 2007

I just wanted to let you know that if you are looking at this page to see if there are any new photos uploaded, you will not see any. I have stopped uploading photos here completely and rely only on Flickr now.

Please see the link below.

Also, to always see the latest photo additions, you can use the following RSS feed:

RSS Feed to Johan’s Flickr Photos

May
05

Top 20 Attractive Foreign Companies in Japan

Posted by on Saturday, 5 May, 2007

On Goo Ranking you can find tons of different ranking lists which are created through surveys sent out to a random panel of around 1,000 Goo users. You can find rankings of everything from “best looking movie star”, “presents girls do not want from their boyfriends”, or “famous movie star that looks suitable to run a cafe” (?)

Anyway, I stumbled upon a ranking that I felt was quite interesting, namely “Top 20 foreign companies I would like to work for” i.e. which are the most attractive foreign employers in Japan (Note: this survey was taken in November 2004).

You can see the list below:

  1. IBM
  2. Microsoft
  3. Apple Computer
  4. NIKE
  5. Louis Vuitton
  6. Intel
  7. Hermes
  8. BMW
  9. Adidas
  10. P&G
  11. Coca-Cola
  12. Nestle
  13. Christian Dior
  14. Dell
  15. American Express
  16. Vodafone
  17. Puma
  18. Oracle
  19. Citibank
  20. Pfizer

Some immediate thoughts that came to mind: The company I work for is not on the list….re-do the survey now and we’ll see. 😉 Anyway, it seems the companies fairly well match what is in the Japanese public’s mind so to speak: computers and luxury brands. I must say I was quite surprised to see Nestle and Pfizer on the list! I guess Pfizer has a reputation of being a good employer here and the pharmaceutical market is quite huge, so that can explain it. But Nestle? Is it because all Japanese love Nescafe? Yep, that must be it. They even have their own Nescafe variant here which is totally disgusting: Nescafe Excella. Darn that is one bland cup of joe! Maybe everything agrees with me and wants to join Nestle’s R&D to change it….?

Anyway, when I was searching for a similar, but more recent, survey I actually found an older one instead. It’s pretty interesting to compare: 1. IBM (stable!), 2. Microsoft (same here), 3. Merrill Lynch (status of finance institutions have decreased?), 4. Citibank (dito), 5. McDonalds (hmmm….no comment), 6. American Family Life Insurance (?), 6. P&G (always had a very strong presence here), 8. Coca-Cola (the Japanese are still lovin’ it), 9. GE (don’t know what happened to them), 10. Apple Computer (big winner!)