Experience New Year’s First Pilgrimage On The Net

Why don’t you experience some part of the Japanese traditions as we do from the New Year’s Eve to the New Year’s Day? Most of Japanese people, excluding those who do not like to go out home in such a cold day, will usually go to a shrine and a temple nearby for praying for peace in the new year.

There are some livestreams bringing you landscapes and atmospheres from well-known hot spots around the country. (The number of worshipers reach a peak in the midnight and at the dawn of the new year’s day at most locations. For your reference, Japan Standard Time is nine hours ahead of UTC, Universal Time, Coordinated.)

(The picture above is used under the Creative Commons License of Attibution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic. Taken by Get Hiroshima and quoted from his photostream on Flickr.)

  • Ouchi Hayao Shrine
    (You’ll be able to enjoy watching Kagura, ancient Shinto music and dancing. It starts around 11:30pm on the New Year’s Eve in Japan local.)

From all Asiajin contributors, wishing you a New Year sparkling with happiness, success and joy.

Men’s Fingers-Fixed Glove To Avoid False Charge On Train Molestation

Toshio Shimoyama, a Japanese inventor living in Nagasaki, developed a new glove named “Otoko no Guu Tebukuro”(Men’s Clenched Glove), which has all five fingers totally plated [J].

For what? With this glove, you can not grope on girls or dipping your hands into girls’ cloths so you can assure that you are not the accused guy on crowded train.

Several railway companies have been introducing “ladies only car” on Tokyo trains in last years. That implies that many ladies are meeting uncomfortable experiences.

But also, male commuters are also so worrying about the risk of mistakenly considered as a molester. There was a smash hit movie “Soredemo boku wa yattenai” in 2006, which depicted a poor guy lost everything by false charge. The movie was submitted to Japan’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008).

In 2008, there was also an incident in Osaka that a couple reported pseudo witness of molestation to expect to get indemnity [J].

Japan Railway started to set [J] surveillance cameras on one of the most crowded commuter train line Saikyo-sen since this 28th. Under this extreme situations, anxiety over police state seems to take a back seat.

via Sankei [J]

[update] fixed the spelling of “glove”. Thanks Matt.

Spoofing PM Tweets Cause Confusion, The Cabinet Office To Move Up The Day Of Real Account Launch

A cabinet advisor unveiled recently that Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama would start using Twitter in the beginning of next year to let the people know how the government is working on political issues.   On the Christmas day in prior to his first “REAL” tweet, someone (an ex-theater writer a.k.a. a blogosphere fussbudget) has pretended him to twitter, which gave rise to confusion among the leading party and Japanese politicians using the service.


On 25th at 1pm, someone set up a Twitter account named “nihonwokaeyou” (meaning let’s change Japan), which was not confirmed as an official, put the prime minister’s portrait on the Twitter account profile and twittered, “Very nice to see you, this is Hatoyama.   I’m very pleased to hear your opinion via Twitter.”   He has posted more than ten messages and been followed by more than 10,000 Twitter users.

Many people have asked the cabinet press office if he’s real or not throughout the day, and they were busy dealing with those inquiries.   The press office and Twitter Japan jointly confirmed it as a fake account and prime minister Hatoyama had not yet begun using Twitter.

Dec 27th Update:

Twitter suspended this spoofing account since it was considered as having been used for “strange activity”.

Susan Boyle To Sing On Japan’s Most Popular Year End Program

According to Asahi Shimbun [J], NHK, nation’s public broadcasting organization, announced that this year’s most Internet-buzzed singer Susan Boyle will appear in Kohaku Utagassen [J], Japan’s most popular TV program which once 80% of Japanese, still 40% watches on new year’s eve [J].

photo by Deborah Wilbanks from Wikipedia

[Update 2010-01-01] NHK put the recorded program on their paid web site “NHK On-Demand”, but only Susan Boyle part is excluded as they could not get permission from her.

But as the program is “the nation’s favourite”, it should be viewed couple of million people and not possible to stop it spread. You can just search and find it on several online video services.

See Also:

Comparing Susan Boyle, Exile (Japanese pop unit) and Jero (the first African American enka singer in Japan, who made Kohaku appearance last year) on Google Trends

Glad To Hear That iPhone Is No.1 In Japan Again And Again

iPhone’s “Big success in Japan” is on hype in English websphere, again.

My comment for that is “Google Translate sucks”, at least for this kind of research.

What does “No.1 smartphone” mean in Japan?

In Japan, “smartphone” is a cellphone category which does not support common Japanese cellphone features, especially accessibility to three major carriers’ official websites networks. Many phones from Willcom (No.4 carrier, though they have their own official network) are the typical smartphone before iPhone.

It’s not about a screen resolution, as recent Japanese cellphones have 800×480 pixels.

Roughly speaking, you may say “No.1 smartphone” is “No.1 foreign-OS-based cellphone”, Gizmodo.

So how much is the “smartphone” share among all cellphones?

Your favorite research company BCN told that the smartphone share jumped this year from 2.2% (Jan. 2009) to 12.5% (Jul. 2009).

BCN ranking does not include sales at carrier’s shop so not really accurate. But that increased share must be achieved mostly by iPhone. If you trust both BCN and impress(talk later) numbers, iPhone share among all cellphone is 0.125 x 0.461 = 5.76%. Not a bad number but it might have not caused sensation on those big blogs.

What Engadget points out seems more likely for me.

Does iPhone really take 46.1% share among those non-Japanese cellphones?

Misleading. That research is nothing about sales. The Impress’s research was just a questionnaire against PC users. They got 8,805 participants from their news site/e-mail readers on PC, and 2,886 of them are smartphone users and their answers were used for the “share”. So it counts no mobile-only and mobile-centric users, who are said bigger than PC internet users in Japan.

The question was “Which smartphone do you use the most?”. So Impress seemed to give a list of smartphone on the questionnaire.

# high smartphone owner ratio (2,886/8,805) may be because many tech-savvy people owns smartphone as their second cellphone.

Against whom iPhone is winning?

Not against Blackberry, Windows Mobile or Android. If you want to name a loser, it is Willcom, No.4 cellphone carrier on PHS network.

Blackberry and Android were not here in Japan before and Docomo is not so eager to promote them, as Docomo does not have much incentive to destruct their own eco-system, long lasting app/contents store which charge directly on top of your phone bill (Docomo is planning to have their own Android App Store).

How many iPhone units have been sold in Japan?

No official numbers from Apple or Softbank Mobile.

As CrunchGear introduced, iPhone unofficial evangelist Nobuyuki Hayashi(@nobi) tweeted it is 3 million by his original research and his three different undisclosed sources support it.

Softbank Mobile has been extending intensive free iPhone campaign. That plan is not really “free” but initial cost being very low attracts some kind of people, resulting the No. 3 carrier keep getting the No.1 position on number of increased users for months.