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Alchemista - Katz Ueno

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Airbag made for human

From TV Tokoy's World Business Satellite News, a Japanese safety and medical company developed a airbag for human.

© 2008 Prop  - 株式会社プロップ - All Rights Reserved
(The images were taken from company's web site - 画像は会社ホームページより)

Safety Life Jacket "Itsumo (Always)" (product page in Japanese)

The device was co-developed by Prop, Chiba University and Tokyo Metropolitan College of Industrial Technology, and sold by Prop, KK.

They designed this device for the elderly or the people who works on high places.

The device is equipped with acceleration sensor and angular velocity sensor which is similar to iPhone. If those sensor detects the fall, the it ignites the airbag on your back, and absorb the shock

Only the downside is... it doesn't look good. And it's expensive.

It costs 138,000 yen (approx. US$1300) to buy, and it'll cost 40,000 yen (approx US$380) to exchange the airbag if used.

Yeah, it's very expensive.... but good idea though.

The company plans to sell this device in the US market.


Wasabi Silent Fire Alarm developed by a Japanese Venture

BBC, Nikkei Business Daily and "Gaiya no Yoake" (TV Tokyo's Business TV Program) reported the invention of a wasabi fire alarm for deaf people.

This device is developed by Seems, Inc., a Japanese venture.

The CEO, Naoki Urushibata, began this scent business because of his older sister's unfortunate death of cancer.

He realized that his sister's body odor started changing as her disease progressed.

So he started his company, Seems, Inc., hoping that the technology could discover the cancer in the early stage by diagnosing the "cancer smell" of a patient.

Now, Seems, Inc. developed the new technology, a Wasabi Fire alarm.

The device blast out the strong smell of Wasabi to waken the deaf people in case of fire.

TV Tokyo's "Gaiya no yoake" (Sunrise of Gaia) broadcasted the interview of a deaf person who was refused to book a hotel. The hotel was afraid of failing to notify the deaf quickly in case of fire.

According to the one test, the deaf person was able to wake up within 20 seconds after the wasabi scent blasting out from the device.

Seems, Inc. is hoping to sell this devices to hotels, other commercial building and eventually to houses.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The first Indonesian hit film?

This reminds me of "Falan", the Iranian film.

Anyway, I just wanted to post this as a note.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

MacBook Pro

I think I need to buy a new MacBook Pro.

I think I know why I was born in this world.

I think I exist to buy this new MacBook Pro.

FYI, I'm not really a Mac Addict.

I also owns ThinkPad, and two desktop PCs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Japan Business Federation said "Japan needs immmigrants"

According to Mainichi Daily Newspaper, Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) suggested Japanese government to start easing up the barrier of permanent immigrant policy to prevent from the further population decrease (the decrease of workforce in Japan).

The Japan economy is suffering from the lack of workers due to the very low birth rate in Japan.

Lately, Japan started accepting Indonesian nurses. Also they have been doing "trainee" programs.

But these programs were limited to the temporary workers.

Now, the Japan's biggest business leaders are suggesting pernament immigrants.

Keidanren suggests Permanent Immigrants for Japan's population issue - 経団連:移民受け入れ提言…人口減対策 定住前提に

For your information, Nippon Keidanren is Japan's biggest business leader's organization which former leaders include Toyoyta, and Sony's former CEOs.

When I came back to Japan last year from LA. I was very surprised that Japan starts accepting more foreign workers.

I think the USA may be the most "closed" country in the world.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Spanish tourist dived into Tokyo's Imperial Moat NAKED

According to a various news sources,  at around noon today, a Spanish tourist dived into Tokyo's Imperial Moat NAKED.

And then, he was arrested right before 1pm.

According to some sources, he and his friend(?) came to Koban (police box) because his friend lost his bag under the moat.

And, all of sudden, the guy stripped off his clothes and dived into the moat.

Surprised local police started chasing after him, called for backups (a lot) and arrested him.

Mainichi News (Japanese)

I don't know if he was drunk or not... but I happened to watch the news coverage video from NTV.

Yeah, he was naked. But also the local police men looked like they were trying to catch a monkey.

They (Japanese police) definitely need to establish translation system. Like carrying a cell phone with a big speaker, so that the translator can persuade the suspect on the way to the scene.


What don't you understand about Japanese women (and men)?

Well, not a long ago, I was asked by one of my Japanese female friends that she was getting annoyed by foreigner who's being asking her out.

Even though she kept telling the guy that she had a boyfriend.

The guy kept insisting asking her out via phone, chat and emails.

She thought that it would be nice to be friend with him.

Anyway, I decided to conduct a series of surveys.

I'm currently asking Japanese women how they are saying "no" to foreigners.

But it's also interesting to ask the opposite side.

Have you ever had hard time asking a Japanese girl out (men also)?

Have you ever had a

Thing that you don't understand about Japanese women (and men)?

Anyway, please send me your comments by October 12th. And I'll post the result by Oct 19th along with the result of my other survey.

You can submit your comment anonymously, or leave a comment on this post

Tell us what you are wondering about here,com_contact/task,view/contact_id,2/Itemid,2/



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Japanese "Costume Play" invaded family photo industry

An Japanese photographer, Masashi Asada published this photo book called "Asada-ke" (Asada Family).

This photo book only has the family pictures of Asada Family.

This sounds boring, but what makes it very interesting is that he does "simulation" family photo.

For example, he made his family wore construction workers uniform, and took a picture at the construction site.

He even made his own family look like rubbery, and took a picture looked like a family is picking up the lock of a house.

This idea came from his assignment at photography school in Osaka in early 2000s.

Asada's mother works as a nurse at the local hospital.

When his father injured at home, his older broher fell down the staires when he tried to helped Father. And his sister fell from motorcycle on the way to the hospital.

So his entire family got injured in one day.

Asada wanted to re-create this incident and took as a "family" photo for his photography school assignment.

The photo turned out to be very funny and interesting. And eventually he published this photo book, "Asada-ke"

I think Japanese "Costume Play" invaded family photo industry.

Now Asada is looking for families to take this kind of family photo for free as a part of his next book.


Asada is also from same region, Mie prefcture where I am from as well.

The original story was from a Japanese Fuji TV show "Tokudane" on Oct 6, 2008


Asada Family's Blog (Personal blog of Masashi Asada - Japanese Only)


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saw two real gold medals

Last Wednesday, I happened to have dinner with Tomoya Ito, two-times gold medalist at Beijing Paralympic.

And I happen to manage his web site.

And we happened to have dinner at the Chanko-nabe restaurant which I made web site.

Chanko-nabe is a kind of hot pot food originally invented for Sumo Wreslers.

Anyway, I was able to see and touch the Gold Medals...


Today, he's going to compete half marathon. So I'm going to cheer him up.


Tomota Ito Official Web Site

Chanko Dining Fujiyama


Friday, October 3, 2008

James Tormé, John Atkins Explore Aspects of ‘The Male Vocalist’ at Clazzical Notes, Oct. 20

PRESS RELEASE For immediate publication or broadcast before Oct. 20 (Calendar listing follows main release)

Pasadena, CA – Singers James Tormé and John Atkins will present their unique perspectives on “The Male Vocalist” at the next Clazzical Notes performance, Monday, Oct. 20, 7-8:30 p.m. at Caltech’s Ramo Auditorium, 325 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106. Bubba Jackson of K-JAZZ-FM, will be moderator.

Clazzical Notes, presented by The Orchestras of Pasadena, is a free, increasingly popular music series where the worlds of jazz and classical music come together.

John Atkins has experienced first-hand the versatility of the male voice during his opera career. In the last six years he has made the transition from roles for baritone singers to higher-register tenor roles. Recent efforts include the Male Chorus (Rape of Lucretia) by Britten, the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Spoletta in Tosca. He is now exploring repertoire such as Wagner’s Siegmund and Parsifal, Richard Strauss’s Herod (Salome), the title role in Idomeneo, and Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth.

He admits that it has been both interesting and “terrifying” to shift his career so dramatically.

“I found that the higher parts of baritone became to feel more comfortable,” Atkins explained. “When you change to tenor you have to change your mind set. It makes your brain work in a different way. It’s very interesting to have this whole new world later in my career. I’d recommend it to everyone.”

Storytelling is important to Atkins. “Now Wagner is something I’m looking at; it’s much more interesting to me now than when I was younger, and I ‘get’ the stories he was trying to tell.”

That storytelling will come into play when Atkins joins jazz singer James Tormé onstage Oct. 20.

“I certainly have always sung works by Cole Porter, Gershwin and other popular composers,” he said. “I try to not make it sound like an opera singer is singing, because jazz aficionados might find that ‘square.’ When I sing opera, it’s about communicating a story through musical notes. I still do that when I sing Porter or Gershwin, by determining what is the story they’re telling.”

Jazz vocalist James Tormé logged more hours on a plane as a child than most of us accumulate in a lifetime. He grew up commuting between the Los Angeles home of his father – three-time Grammy Award-winner Mel Tormé – and London, where his mother, celebrated British actress Janette Scott, lived. Both parents were strong musical influences on their son.

“My mom bought me Michael Jackson's album Off The Wall when I was 6, and I think it did me in permanently,” James recalls. “On top of that, my father would dub tapes for me of any new music he thought was worth getting into. He introduced me to Earth, Wind & Fire, Steely Dan, and Blood Sweat and Tears and, of course, all the jazz songs from the American Songbook. I honestly see myself as an evolution of him and those influences.”

The Clazzical Notes audience will see that evolution when Tormé takes the stage as the jazz counterpart to Atkins’ classical voice.

“I am a jazz singer at heart,” Tormé said, but revealed he’s “a massive fan of classical music. The stuff that frightens me is ‘jazzy-classical’ by composers like Frederic Delius, who created wonderful ahead-of-his-time classical works. His On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring was one of my father’s favorites that he always wanted orchestras to play, but they couldn’t because it’s a very difficult piece to play.” Yet James Tormé was able to have the New West Symphony play the piece when he performed with them recently, a concert that brought tears to his mother’s eyes.

Clazzical Notes will give Tormé another opportunity to discuss the elements of jazz, just as he did recently during a tour in Alaska, where he and his band conducted jazz workshops in middle and high schools.

“Any music can be jazz,” he told the students. “Lil’ Wayne can be jazz. It’s about knowing the melody backward and forward in order to embellish on an existing framework. It takes knowing that so you can achieve melodic and rhythmic spontaneity.”

And you can count on spontaneity and improvisation with Tormé and his band mates – drummer Tony Austin, bass player Ryan Cross, and pianist Brandon Coleman.

Clazzical Notes is the only concert date Tormé has booked while he is finishing his upcoming CD for Koch Records, set for release in 2009.

“It’s a really nice time for me to be doing this concert,” he said. “I’ll bring all that energy from the stage back into the studio.”

Clazzical Notes is sponsored in part by Caltech, The Green Foundation, the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the estate of Richard C. Biedebach, and K-JAZZ 88.1 FM. For more information about Clazzical Notes, call (626) 793-7172, ext. 21, or visit


CLAZZICAL NOTES – “THE MALE VOCALIST”: The Orchestras of Pasadena presents “The Male Vocalist,” a Clazzical Notes free concert with opera singer John Atkins and jazz singer James Tormé, and hosted by Bubba Jackson of K-JAZZ 88.1 FM. Monday, Oct. 20, 7-8:30 p.m., Ramo Auditorium at Caltech, 325 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106. Free. For information, call The Orchestras of Pasadena, (626) 793-7172, ext. 21, or visit