Yahoo! Japan to Open Silicon Valley Branch

The Jpaan’s largest web company Yahoo! Japan announced [J] that it is to have a new oversea branch in Silicon Valley “to research the cutting edge technologies”.

The release does not tell much details, except that it will send three staffs from its Data & Science solution department.

Veoh Likely Aquired By Japanese FC2

veoh-top

First pointed out by someone on Hatena Anonymous Diary, online video service Veoh‘s ownership seems to be handed over to FC2, a huge but scarcely known Japanese everything-portal. FC2 sent a mail to users, soliciting to use Veoh, as s/he wrote.

fc2_top

Veoh’s copyright on footer now has “FC2”. According to the Internet Archive, this copyright was changed between June 19 and 26, from “Qlipso Media Networks Ltd.” to “FC2”.

veoh-copyright-

Qlipso Media Networks Ltd. is an Israeli company who announced its Veoh aquire on April 2010. Qlipso’s company site is showing an error page.

Vaoh’s “About Us” page still has Qlipso name but the end of the text, there is FC2 name and contacts.

veoh-about

This Las Vegas address is just a mailbox, FC2 says it is an U.S. company but it is not believed much that it really operates in there. Its “PR agency” company exists in Osaka and their very few releases come from that company. FC2’s traffice is Japan’s 6th largest, according to Alexa (I know what Alexa is. But it is not only Alexa ranks FC2 in top 10 for a decade), and has almost all type of user-generated contents services. FC2 had purchased other video services like SayMove and Himawari-Douga before.

Japanese Restaurant Review Service Tabelog Opens English/New York Version

Popular restaurant review site Tabelog by Kakaku.com launched English site for New York City on March 28.

tabelog-us-top

US version tabelog has en accent mark on ‘e’, under .us domain. Its design is totally different and in Western-way design.

We’re incredibly excited to announce the official launch of the Tabélog New York website! The new site is live as of March 28th. Here’s an overview of just some of the new features you’ll find:

• Optimized restaurant review format
• User profile with customizable cover photo, introduction, and titles
• Maps to visually show which restaurants you’ve reviewed
• Bookmarks to keep you organized

The launch announcement on its official blog

See Also:

Tabelog, Japan’s Yelp Reportedly Tainted By Undercover Positive Review Agents

NASA and JAXA Runs Character Contest

GPM Anime Challenge - Umbrella Girl - Rainy Lake v4

GPM Anime Challenge is an anime character making contest run by NASA and JAXA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Overview

Anime is a Japanese style of animation popular around the world. Anime characters have filled television shows and comics, and inspired costumes and educational activities. The Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) and our partners at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are holding a design challenge for people around the world to develop an Anime character for GPM. You will need to learn about the GPM mission and science themes, including the water cycle, weather and climate, technology, and societal applications, and incorporate them into your Anime character design.

NASA

[Update 2013-03-17] Someone in 2-channel found [J] that NASA/JAXA plagiarized the girl with umbrella from another anime Card Captor Sakura, the other guy from the game Ace Attorney.

card-captor-sakura-raincoat

The contest page has a warning, “The work you submit must be 100% original, with the exception of official GPM and NASA imagery and logos. You are responsible for ensuring that your submission meets copyright and fair-use laws.” Ouch.

Rakuten Starts Featuring Pinterest On Its Japanese Marketplace And Other Properties

Japan’s biggest e-commerce company Rakuten (US$15 billion market cap, about 80 million user accounts in Japan) has started featuring Pinterest on some of its biggest websites yesterday.

Big R caused a major splash in back in May when it led a massive US$100 million investment in the American startup.

Rakuten CEO Mikitani was quoted as saying that his company has many dormant users with a Rakuten ID who he would like to see re-activated by teaming up with Pinterest.

TechCrunch wrote in May:

It is this ID that will potentially become the lynchpin of a commercial service on Pinterest: “We want to enable our users to pin their own images with our ID,” he says. “Users can click and buy with it, and in the future we can create more new services.” He notes that the “rich, graphic social network” can be used for “so many interesting ideas using the Rakuten ID.” One other area, TechCrunch understands, is for users logged in with Rakuten IDs to pin images and then use those pins to buy items away from Pinterest, on Rakuten’s own Rakuten Ichiba site.

And now this plan is being put into practice.

“Pin it” buttons are now visible in the Rakuten Ichiba virtual mall, Rakuten Travel and Rakuten Recipe, enabling users to send images to their Pinterest pinboards with one click.

The “Pin it” button is actually hard to spot, but don’t be surprised: that’s typical Rakuten design.

What I find weird is that certain pages don’t seem to feature the Pinterest button, i.e. the one for the Kobo Touch reader that was introduced a few days ago and is currently the most popular item (perhaps because it’s just a pre-order):

For beginners, Rakuten also set up a special “How to use Pinterest” page, which can be accessed here.