Japanese Classics For Kindle

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Amazon has recently announced their Global Wireless Kindle. However, as English only books are sold from Amazon.com, most Japanese couldn’t find the product very appealing.

Takayama Kyosuke just released a web based tool which translates books from Aozora Project (Japanese equivalent to Gutenberg Project) to Kindle supported PDF format.

To get your favorite Japanese classic on your Kindle, all you need to do is find it on Aozora and provide the Zipped file link to the form on the A2K page (Aozora to Kindle).

For example, Natsume Soseki‘s Ten nights of Dreams is available at this link. Copy the Link of the Zip file marked below.

Aozora Ten Nights of Dreams

a2k

Example above shows A2k Page with link filled, click the “PDF it” button, and there you have it, in PDF Format (including Furigana):

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On Kindle it even looks better:

KDDI Running Out of Motorola’s au BOX

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KDDI au, Japan’s 2nd largest cellphone carrier, announced that from October 31’st  it will stop accepting new contracts for the au BOX. The official reason given iswe will soon sell the allotted number of units for our au BOX service”. While new contracts are denied, existing customers will be able to continue using the service.

The au BOX was launched in November, 2008 as a set top box rental service. For 315 Yen per month (~3.5$), customers could play music and DVDs as well as rip CDs, purchase music from KDDI’s Lismo service to be later transferred to KDDI’s au mobile phones. The launch was very successful with over 100,00 contracts within the first two months. The latest report stated that by June, 09 KDDI had 290,000 au BOX contracts, which probably means that KDDI had about 300,000 au BOX ordered from Motorola.

What puzzles me in this story is that KDDI do not publish their plans for a new model of the au BOX, which opens the door for speculations on either the financial success of the au BOX or Motorola-KDDI communication blunder.

via impress BB watch

Mixi Connect Powers Eye-Fi’s Picture Upload

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Eye Fi Logo

Eye-Fi, makers of the wireless memory card for cameras and Mixi has partnered to support automatic upload of photos to Mixi.

Eye-Fi SD share-card (2GB) utilizes mixi-Connect, Mixi’s application API to automatically upload photos over WiFi connection to the user’s Mixi’s account. As Mixi’s press release states [JP]: “Uploading Photos becomes easier”.

Eye-Fi supported applications:

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and required Mixi-Connect application approval:

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This announcement is another important milestone of Mixi-Connect and the long awaited open application platform.

Fortune Telling Company Moves Up to TSE 1st Section

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Zappallas, a Japanese Fortune Telling content company has moved up to Tokyo Stock Exchange First Section. Enlisted in Mothers section in 2000, Zappallas has managed to meet TSE requirements of moving to the First Section.

Zappallas offer Furtune Telling content on Mobile Websites as well as normal web access. According to Zappallas financial reports, demand to their services has been growing steadily in the last few years, expected to bring around $100 Millions in 2009  (about $86 Millions for 2008).

Zappallas earnings are based on subscription fees of $3 per month (¥300), targeting women in their 20s and 30s.

Zappallas Demographics

Fortune Telling has a bit market in Japan, I wonder what the stars hold for Zappallas in the future.

UQ Communications Commences Mobile WiMAX Trial

UQ WiMAX Logo

UQ Communications, the Japanese Mobile WiMAX license holder, will commence a trial period of 4 months prior to a formal network launch expected in July.

Starting on the 26th of February 2009, trial area will include Tokyo, Yokohama and Kawasaki. Trial application forms are already available on UQ website, from which 5000 trial “Monitors” will be selected. Trial service is free of charge, with each participant receiving a “rental” data card from a selection of USB dongles, PCMCIA and express cards. Upon trial completion, participants will be able to select if they want to become paid subscribers or return the equipment.

On Service launch, UQ will offer the following:

  • UQ Flat – A flat fee, boasting speeds of 40Mbps on the Downlink, 10Mbps Uplink – priced at ¥4480 per month.
  • UQ WiFi – Optional with no added cost WiFi service to be offered at main transportation locations, including the N700 Shinkansen.

While currently available devices are data cards from Shinsei Corporation (UD01SS-USB and UD02SS-Express Card) and  NEC Access Technica (UD01NA-USB and UD02NA-PCMCIA Card) additional devices, including MID and Laptops are expected for the Network Launch in July.

WiMAX Devices

UQ Communication was formed by KDDI Corporation (32.26%), Intel Capital (17.65%), Kyocera Corporation (17.65%), Daiwa Securities Group (9.8%) and Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ bank (5%) to offer Mobile WiMAX services.
While Mobile WiMAX services around the world falter (Sprint-Clearwire in the US, WiBRO in Korea) UQ Communication is right on track with their plans to deploy a nation-wide Mobile WiMAX network, signing several MVNOs and promising unprecedented Wireless data speeds.