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Alchemista - Katz Ueno

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wanna see Apple's new tablet (maybe)? "Sports Illustrated - Tablet Demo 1.5"

Originally from a Japanese article by Masaaki Kanda

First of all, watch this demo movie of Sports Illustrated - Tablet Demo 1.5.

We know that Time, Inc. (The owner of Sports Illustrated) has NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) with Apple, inc.

And Sports Illustrated dev team appeared to the Apple's iPhone demo when they released the subscription (in-App Store) option.

So Kanda is pretty sure that the reason why Sports Illustrated spent money to create the demo movie.

Apple's new touch device....

Kanda added the interseting points. Here is my translation and summary

This demo seemed not new. This looks like when Macromedia released Director (Now Apple Director) with the introduction of CD-ROM drive.

I don't really care about "intuitive experience". I don't think that magazine needs video contents, nor pinching photos slideshow...

Regardless the appearance of contents, Kanda belives that these 5 factors will be the primary key for electric publishing.
    • Serch Function: not only the exact word, but it may want to lead audience via suggestion word and related word.
    • Embed (Share): to Facebook, Twitter, and etc
    • Compatibility: Whether it's a paid contents, free content or other business models, the article must be able to save onto reader's device.
    • Communication: 3G Cellphone, WiFi
    • Affiliate: Reader could help to sell the products, and receive percentage from it (like Amazon Associates)
I don't think the device requires advanced control function like Sports Illustrated demo. All you need is "index", and "contents."

For more details, you need to know Japanese... but



Sunday, December 6, 2009

James Tormé - A Christmas Jazz Concert on Dec 19, 2009

The Nutcracker Swings - A Cool Jazz Christmas

Saturday, December 19, 2009
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Pasadena Convention Center
300 E. Green Street
Pasadena, CA
A Benefit Concert for the Pasadena Jazz Institute

Featuring: Pasadena Jazz Orchestra, RedWhite+Bluezz All Stars,
Sacred Nation Gospel Choir and PJI Junior Superstars

Special appearances by James Tormé, Renee Olstead, Sylvia St. James and Victor Vener

For more information and ticket, visit


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Google Wave for Dummies

I was just invited by Google Wave from a Usagi Project member a couple days ago.

Well, since Google team doesn't always promote their product as well as Apple marketing team. I had a very hard time understanding the potential of Google Wave.

But once I got into the Google Wave. I suddently realized the potential.

Google Wave is Advanced Chat and Email system without "replying"

Or I could just say that it is a whiteboard on the net.

For example, in the traditional email system, you:

  1. Create proposal/estimate
  2. Send an email to your customer/partner
  3. Your customer/partner receive email
  4. Read an email body / Open an attachment
  5. Reply the email or modified the attached document
  6. Send back the reply
  7. You check
  8. Repeat the same process

Google Wave will remove all these steps. Since you are directly working with your partner/customer on the message (wave)

Google Wave is "message" version of Wikipedia or concrete5 CMS

So I can say that Google Wave is more intuitive version of Wikipedia or concrete5 CMS.

Mediawiki and concrete5 CMS are both well-designed knowledge based CMS.

They are made to display and ditribute the knowledge.

concrete5 are made to create the web site at the beginning, but because its intuitive and advanced permission model, concrete5 is also good CMS like Wiki.

But MediaWiki is "keyword"-base. And concrete5 CMS is "sitemap (collection)"-base.

So Google Wave is alternative tool as "message"-base

QUICK TUTORIAL: How to Use Google Wave for Dummies

Right now, Google Wave only accepts via invitation.
It's a good idea since they don't really have a good help resource, and Google themselves hasn't found the right way to market this service since they have a lot more potential.

So you need to wait for the invitation (My invites has already run out)

But this is an simple example of how to use Google Wave.

1. Log-in
2. Click "New Wave" to create new wave

3. The following is the image of new "wave" (message).

Google Wave is like advanced chat or collaboration tool. So if you don't have a purpose to create a document with somebody else, there is no use. You need to find your buddy, and reason why you need to create a document or do a discussion.

So being said... you need to add somebody to this wave by clicking the plus icon next to you

And add your friend/collegue to start working on the document.

What makes Google Wave stands out is you can see how other person is editing the message in real-time although you need fast internet connection and relatively fast computer.

Pros and Cons of Google Wave over concrete5 CMS

So I think we can take advantages of both Google Wave and concrete5 CMS.

Pros of Google Wave over concrete5 CMS

  • Real-time editing
  • Very intuitive
  • Multiple-persons can edit the document at the same time
Cons of Google Wave over concrete5
  • Hard to find the article (You need to create new wave, or ask your friend to invite you)
  • Hard to navigate (it's only inbox list, and search via tag)
  • No advanced permission models
  • No advanced user management (No group yet)

So I think we can use both solutions under the right circumstances.

More Spefic Example of the uses of Google Wave

So the Google Wave has very high potential... if you want to

  • create a proposal in team
  • want to create an estimate with your customer
  • want to create a contract with your partner
So, this is how I'm planning to use Google Wave as "Drafting Tool" with concrete5
  1. Invite certain concrete5 Japanese language teams through our group site
  2. create a New Wave, and work on some concrete5 tutorial in real-time
  3. Once the tutorial reached the certain quality, move-on to concrete5 site
  4. Publish the tutorial/document
  5. Do some minor adjustment of concrete5 page that doesn't require real-time and multi-personnels

I just made Public Wave for concrete5 users

Anyway, I just made the public wave for concrete5 users. The image below was for Japanese users.

Search the following word
"with:public concrete5"

Let's do some talk via Google Wave


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Yeppy" = "Yes" + "Happy"

I came up with some new word.
So I suddenly want to spread this word for no reason.

"Yes" + "Happy" = "Yeppy"


Yeppy [yep-ee]
–adjective, -pi⋅er, -pi⋅est.
  1. agreed and delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing
  2. the combined emotion of agree and happy


A: You have a very good test score. Are you happy?
B: Yeppy.

Twitter hash-tag

Use "#yeppy" when you tweet something you agree and makes you happy

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Japanese Curry Rice

Dear Japanese Curry Rice.

You are my reason to live.
If I don't have you more than once a week, I will die.
If I can have you once a week, I am in the heaven.

Dear Japanaese Curry Rice.

I can have various topping.
Tonight, I choose spicy eggplant.

Dear Japanese Curry Rice.

I can die for you

Dear Japanese Curry Rice

I had Keema Curry today at Japanese Curry chain, CoCo-Ichi.
I ordered extra spicy just for fun (level 5 out of 10)

Dear Keema Curry.

You were spicier than regular level 5 spicy curry.
But I managed to eat you all.
Whenever people feed me Japanese curry rice, I must eat them....

Oh my stomache is still hot.
It's now 3 hours after I ate that spicy curry.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fumiko's Propose - A Japanese students' animation work

OK. When I saw this, I was stunned.

This 2 min animation was produced by the group of Japanese anime students in Kyoto.

For your convenience, there is some storyline.

Fumiko is a middle school student (?). She proposes Takashi to be her boyfriend.

But Takashi refuses her offer since he wants to devote his time for baseball at this moment....

Fumiko gets shocked and shocked... and shocked...... anyway... here is the anime.

Without a further due, here you go....

Those of whom got confused... it looks like Fumiko traveled around the world, and came back to where Takashi is.

And she tried one more time... "I will cook your miso soup every morning!"

But Takashi refused again, IMMEDIATELY.... poor girl.....

Anyway, I was impressed by thier work... here are the credit.


Fumiko - Hina
Takashi - So Raika (????)

Directed/Drawing/Background/3D CG/Edited/Sound Effects by
Yasuhiro Ishida

Background/3D Texture by
Yuuko Iwase (???)

3D Texture/Background by
Kazuhiro Murakami

Drawing by
Tatsuro Kawano

3D CG Modeling by
Yusaku Nagata

The director, Yasuhiro Ishida, is currently a animation student who is looking for a job.

He's 21 years old who goes to Kyoto Seika University, Manga Major - Animation Course.

Somebody, give him a job~!

I'm looking forward to seeing his future.

Here is Ishida's personal blog with pictures of drawing.

Fumiko's Propose - Detail Info and screenshots (in Japanese)

In addition, browse the rest of his blog... you can check out his "homework" projects, and the photo of his apartment where he made his animation?


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kyoto World Heritage Wedding for 600,000 yen

Nijo Castle, the one of World Heritage Site in Japan, is now accepting the reservation of the traditional wedding for the 2010 season until the end of this month (Oct 31, 2009).

Nijo Castle was built during the Tokugawa era (completed in 1603) as the residents of Tokugawa Family in Kyoto.

In 1994, Nijo Castle was registered as the part of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Wikipedia).

According to the report from NHK program, the City of Kyoto appointed Kyoto Kokusai Hotel to provide the wedding service at Nijo Castle.

By opening the door to grooms and brides, the City of Kyoto hopes everyone to be familiar with the tradition of Kyoto, and preserve its craftmanship.

For 2010, they are accepting 65 couples to hold the wedding at Nijo Castle.
  • 60 couples for daytime wedding between April-June, Sep-Dec, 2010, and March 2011
  • 5 couples for nighttime wedding between April 23 and May 30 2010
If more than 65 couples aqpply for the wedding, they will hold the lottery to select the couples.

* Perhaps, you should visit Nijo Castle on one of those weekends. You may be able to witness the wedding.

Daytime Wedding Schedule

This is the translation from

The plan includes:

1. Traditional Rikisha (Jinrikisha) Parade into the Nijo Castle

Carried by the Rikisha (Japanese wooden cart) specially hand-made by 30 traditional craftmen in Kyoto.
Gloom and Bride get into the Rikisha at Kyoto Kokusai Hotel, and they will go through the gate into the Garden

2. Zen-so (Introduction)

Groom and bride entrer to Seiryu Garden (清流園)
*the place is usually closed to the public.
*Music is accompanied by Gagaku (Japanese traditional music) from here

3. Kongi (Ceremony) - Vow, and exchange ring

4. Mizuawase-no-gi (水合せの儀), Konka &Kissa-no-gi (婚菓・喫茶の儀)

The group now moves to Kaun-Tei (香雲亭), the tea house.

For, Konka & Kissa-no-gi, the couple will be required to hand-make a bamboo chopsticks prior to the wedding.

And groom and bride will serve the Japanese snacks to the wedding guests by using the bambo chopsticks

5. Ko-so (Postlude)

Closing the ceremony.

Groom and bride will throw Origami cranes to the guests in the garden from the eave of Kaun-tei

6. Picture

7. Departure

Leave the Nijo castle by Rikisha.

*and you will be seen by a lot of tourist, of course.


I think you just need to see the picture here...

Basic Plan Detail

The basic daytime plan is 600,000 yen for 30 guests.
The nighttime wedding will cost 700,000 yen.
(I mean the price include the wardrobe rental~!!?? This is very cheap.)
  • Wardrobe rental for groom
  • Wardrobe rental for bride
    • Choose one from (Including hair and make-up fee)
      • Juni-hitoe (十二単) !!!!
      • White Japanese kimono
      • White Western dress
  • Ceremony (including master of ceremony, marriage certificate, location fee)
  • Music peformers (Gagaku)
  • Kaizoe (The special assistant to Bride for wardrobe and ceremony)
  • Origami crane, and flowers
  • Picture (1 set only)
** Most materials used at the ceremony are made in or around Kyoto (includes kimono and marriage certificate paper!)

  • Dance by Maiko (Geisha)
  • Music with flute and Japanese koto
  • Adiditional photo
  • Video production (DVD service)
  • Wardrobe rental for the guests


Call them by October 31, 2009 in Japanese.

Nijo Wedding (Kyoto Kokusai Hotel)
TEL 075-222-1111 (call them in Japanese)

Well... I'm sure this will be very competitive... But if you feel like doing Japanese wedding.... go for this VERY tradisional Japanese wedding.

I seriously started thinking about having the wedding at Nijo Castle (although I don't have the right person to get married yet :-p)


Friday, October 9, 2009

Japanese online audience are similar to TV audience

In the response to
CHART OF THE DAY: Lunchtime Is The New Primetime

A Japanese blogger posted this reply

The US's new Primetime is Lunchtime, how about Japan?

Japanese online prime time for online video is very similar to TV.
Between 9am-10am, and 7pm-11pm.

The Japanese work environment is very strict, and they are very careful about using somebody else's computer and typing credit card information.

Therefore, there is virtually nobody who spent their lunchtime using the work computer watching online videos, or shopping.

So what do they do during the lunchtime?

They use their cell phone~!

Japanesen cell phone can watch TV, buy stuff online and play games.

So the online video viewweship tends to have the similarily to the traditional TV viewership.

They only spend online time at home....

Very interesting,.


Monday, September 14, 2009

16,000 yen for New York and 21,000 yen for LA from Japan!!!

UPDATE (9/16 6pm JST): The ticket has sold out... the links below are no longer valid.

I've been researching an air ticket for my travel from Japan to USA.

And I found a craaaaazy travel agency.

Their name is Skygate.

It's Japanese online travel agency....

And I started subscribing their newsletter.

Just now, I received their newsletter....

16,000 !!!!!! yen Round Trip Ticket from Narita - New York

21,000 !!!!!! yen Round Trip Ticket from Narita - Los Angeles!

Well, the cheap ticket always has the restriction.

New York ticket: (Product ID 171599D)
  • CANNOT select which airline
  • MUST leave between Sep 23-30.
  • MUST be 5-10 days trip.
  • CANNOT change the return date.
  • No refund, no cancellation
  • Tax is NOT included (of course)
  • MUST call for availability and buying ticket
Los Angeles ticket: (Product ID 171602D)
  • CANNOT select which airline
  • MUST leave either on Sep 26 or 27
  • MUST be 5-10 days trip
  • CANNOT change the return date
  • No refund, no cancellation
  • Tax is NOT included (of course)
  • MUST call for availability and buying ticket
How to Order

They only take phone order, and their phone line will close 8pm today and starts 10am tomorrow (JST)



Good luck everyone.

The final deadline is by Sep 18 6pm (JST), but I'm sure they run out quickly.

If you are seeing this blog after 9/14 MON (JST), you may not be able to get the ticket.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Only Worry About Japanese Politics

Last weekend, I went to vote the Japanese general election. This was my 1st time that I was able to vote the Lower House (The House of Representatives).

Since I spent the most of my 20s in Los Angeles. I didn't really get chance to vote. We had to go through a very complicated paperwork in order to vote overseas. And you had to go to Japanese Embassy or Consulate by yourself to register? Downtown LA? Too much traffic and expensive parking... And you were only able to vote the parties, not the candidiate themselves.

However, from this time's general election, we could register and vote the local candidiate according to the local district. So I assume more Japanese people who live overseas had a chance to get involved the General Election.

Anyway, I'm not going to talk about the policy of Democratic Party of Japan this time, but I do have one concern..... which is the timing of hand over.

Too quick? The 20-days hand over process

15 years ago, Liberal Democratic Party once lost its ruling party position, but it didn't last long. LDP was able to gain back the power within a year. Also, since it was just a coalition of opposite parties, they had a hard time organizing everybody together.

But due to the overwhelming victory of DPJ, I think it will last this time.

But only 20 days to call the Parliament, and elect the new Prime Minister?

And under such a hard circumstances?


If you think about it, although Japan is a small country, the government is still big.

According to the number from Japanese Government Statics Bureau web site, the number of Japanese government official is over 300,000 in 2007.

It's still a huge organization.

And they only switch the boss within 20 days, whereas Obama spent almost 3 months to organize until the presidential inauguration, and he had 100 days thereafter.

In last 60 years since the World War II, the Japan have had only one ruling party, LDP, except the short period of coalitions parties era.

Japanese people are not accustomed to the switch of their ruling parties. And they won't understand how much work it may take for DPJ to learn the entire system of Japanese government.

And I'm kinda sure that Japanese government officials themselves don't understand how hard it would be either since it's been 15 years since last time.... many Japanese government officials have never experienced the switch of the ruling party.

And DPJ have overwhelming number of newly elected house members. DPJ themselves has to educate these rookies as well.

Yesterday, the upcoming Prime Minsiter, Hatoyama announced that he wants to review all the government spending of 2010 fiscal year from the scratch by the end of the year.....

Yeah... if you want to re-review the budget of 300,000 government within 3 month without understanding the entire system of the government?

DPJ may have to spend 3 month to get used to, and 100 days to really start executing its Manifest... at least

In my opinion, as the US Government usually take 3 month to switch the office..., DPJ would have to spend at least 2 month to learn the system and get organized everything.... (since it's a smaller country)

However, they already have to start working right away.... probably.... they will end up spending 3 months to get organized. And finally their actual "100 days" begins.

In my personal opinion, you will probably see the actual change in 300 days....

But I have to see how well DPJ can explain how long it will take to learn the government system, and calm the impatient Japanese people down next 4 years under such acute economy.

But it's very uncommon, and abnormal that one party rules the country over 50 years except the dictatorship.

So Japanese and Japanese government will have to pay its price that they didn't change the ruling party in the last 60 years. But I think this is necessary sacrifice to spend with the fact that we will lose the 2nd position of GDP in the world this year.

So be patient, guys. The change will come... slow but for sure...


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Forcing Propose Kit (For girls whose boyfriend are slow)

For the girls who has slow boyfriends

The Japanese bridal ring retail chain "Virgin Diamond" has released 「強制プロポーズセット」 which means... Forcing Propose Set for 8,892 yen on Aug 7, 2009. (Trademark pending)

When I saw the news, I was cracking up.

This set was made for the girls whose boyfriends are a little slow. So Virgin Diamond started selling these set to the frustrating girlfriends.

The set-ups

Once you (girlfriend) purchased the set, they will deliver the kit to your boyfriend's house.

Once he open the box, your boyfriend will see the following greeting card.

Congraturations, Ms. XXXX (Girlfriend's name) applied the our campaign
"Suprise Present Campaign ~ Support your love"

You are the one of lucky 80 winners~!

1st Prize - Vacation Trip to Pacific Islands 3 nights 4 days
2nd Prize - DVD Player plus ten (10) Romantic movies
3rd Prize - Overnight Train partitioned room ticket
4th Prize - For your up-and-coming day, Propose Set
5th Prize - One night Two day Zen Buddhist Tour with Love Lecture from a monk
6th Prize - Aphrodisiac Wine and Pair Glasses kit
7th Prize - Love card game - Game Candy, Special Box

And you have won the 4th prize. Congraturations!

And it follows by the instruction manual

For your girlfriend whom you think you want to be together forever.

From the web site, girlfriends should be prepared...:

If your boyfriend tells you that if he has received something, you must pretend that you don't know anything.

And if he tells you that he received Propose Set, you should laugh a little... but don't forget to add... "I hope it's true."

And boyfriends will see the following package.

Fake Engagement Ring and Box

From the web site,

" Many girls are suffering from their boyfriends are not able to buy her an engagement ring due to financial difficulty. And many girls are ended up not getting engagement ring.

Therefore, this fake engagement ring will bring a little happiness to the girls by your boyfriend giving it to you.

The ring was made of cubic zirconia which looks like diamond + platinam ring."

Okaaay. And then next.

Piggy Bank

*** This is not the actual piggy bank that they sell

From the web site

"Your boyfriend can start saving money for your real marriage. It can contain 100 of 500 yen coins, the total 50,000 yen.

If he saved up 50,000 yen, he can buy a real engagement ring from our store. Or he could try to save more and buy more expensive ring.

If your boyfriend think that he does not have anough money to buy you a ring, you could give him this piggy bank."

Okaaaay... here comes next

Engagement Contract (Promise Paper)

From web site

"This works best with piggy bank. This is the contract that states "I will buy you a real engagement ring".

It may be best if you kept it where the piggy bank is.

Also when you find your boyfriend spending a little much money, you can show this to him.

Moreover, this contract become discount coupon. If you bring this paper to our store, we will give you the discount of the same amount of this set, 8892 yen, when you purchase the real engagement ring.

So maybe you can spend the 8,892 yen to go out for fancy dinner together after you save the money from us."

Oh my god.... contract plus coupon... and you get full money back when you purchase the ring!

Moreover, they are doing this campaign.

Full Money Back Gurantee If Your Boyfriend Did Not Propose You by Sep 30

Ok girlfriends, you have nothing to lose.

Buy this Kyosei Propose Set for your boyfriend, so that you guys can finally get married~!


They set the price 8892 yen because

8 = ha, 8 =ya 9 =ku, 2 =ni.

8892 = Hayakuni = Hurry Up.

You can purchase this set at their online store. I don't think they ship it oversees... but...

Kyosei Propose Set - Online Store (Japanese only)

About Full Money Back Campaign by Sep 30, 2009 (Japanese only)


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Check out the current issue of Rolling Stone (Aug 6)

Check out the current issue (Aug 6) of Rolling Stones magazine (US edittion).

And turn to page 72 - "Isolated - Surfing a New Reality"

It talks about the surfing move that I was a cinematographer for~!

It was a fun memory in Papua, Indonesia last year.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Etienne" World Premiere in Vegas on Friday June 12, 2009

A Story about the little things in Life
World Premiere at CineVegas on June 12, 2009

Please join us for the world premiere of our film. I worked as a various role (mainly post-production) for this film.


About "Etienne!"

Synopsis copied from CineVegas BoxOffice

ETIENNE! is a timeless tale of friendship between two kindred spirits on a journey through life. The catch that makes this tale unique? One of the friends is a hamster.

Richard is a shy and boyish college dropout who has just started a new job at a hotel. His best and only friend is his dwarf hamster, Etienne, whom he cares for very well. When he finds out his pocket pet has terminal cancer, he decides to take Etienne on a bicycle road trip along the California coast so that the hamster can see the world before it dies. Along the way, the two meet various colorful characters that teach them about life, friendship, and happiness.

Evoking the spirits of films from yesteryear and enriched with a phenomenal soundtrack, ETIENNE! is a triumph of pure, innocent storytelling. Its remarkably controlled aesthetic transplants the audience to a nostalgic time free from pessimism. Richard Vallejos embodies the lovable man-child of the same name and infuses him with undeniable charm. Writer/director Jeff Mizushima's passion for cinema comes out in every frame. He has crafted a rare gem in this day and age...a G-rated art film for everyone.

Related Link

Purchase A Ticket

Purchase Package Ticket  (A $40 June-12th-Day Pass to get in to the AfterParty)

CineVegas Film Festival

"Etienne!" Official Web Site (More information about the additional screenings in SF Bay Area)


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The release of concrete5.3.0 Japanese, and the launch of its web site

Usagi Project is pleased to announce the released of concrete 5.3.0 Japanese version, and the launch of our web site on April, 17, 2009 (JST).

Due to the language barrier between Japanese and English, Usagi Project made a decision to distribute the package separately from concrete5's SourceForge account but through our account.

If you are interested in using concrete5 Japanese, please visit our web site.

We, Usagi Project, will closely keep in touch with the concrete5 core team to make sure that Japanese users continue to benefit from this wonderful CMS.

We hope that we can make the world the better place together with the concrete5 core team!

We, Usagi Project, are also an Open Source group, and keep looking for new members. If you can read both English and Japanese, and have extra time to help us, please visit our web site and submit your membership request.

Kuniharu Tsujioka & Katz Ueno
Usagi Project

Usagi Project がオープンソース CMS ソフト「concrete5.3.0 日本語版」をリリース。初心者に本当に優しい無料ホームページ運用システム

Usagi Project は 4月17日、オープンソース CMS ソフトウェア「 concrete5 」の最新安定版である「concrete5.3.0 日本語版」をリリース、同時に日本語公式サイトを開設致しました。

■ concrete5 日本語公式サイト

■ concrete5 動画デモ
concrete5 を紹介するために動画ビデオのデモを作成致しました。

■ concrete5 とは
concrete5 は、アメリカで開発されているオープンソース CMS ソフトウエアです。元は商用ソフトとして、130万円で販売されていましたが、昨年、オープンソース化、無料となりました。

concrete5 はアメリカの公共広告機構である AdCouncil が制作した「ルイス=クラーク探検隊200周年記念祭」のサイトのために生まれ、秒間1万ヒットにも耐えうる設計となっています。

Usagi Project では、アメリカの開発元、 Concrete CMS, inc. の協力の元、日本語版の翻訳と普及活動を担当することになりました。

concrete5 は、 HP 作成ツールを必要とせず WEB サイトへアクセスするだけでページ編集・追加・削除ができ初心者でも直感的に HP がつくれる画期的な CMS ソフトです。管理画面での操作も最小限に押さえ利便性が向上してます。




・画像を直接編集( のサービスを利用)
・YouTube ビデオ
・RSS 表示


■ concrete5 使用条件
・Web サーバー (Apache 等)
・PHP バージョン5
・MySQL4.1 以上

■ Usagi Project について
Usagi Project は、オープンソース SNS ソフトウェアを開発するために生まれたプロジェクトです。日本全国にいる沢山の開発者や開発協力者が、利用ユーザたちの満足度向上や新しい付加価値を求めて日々開発を行っております。また2009年2月からは、concrete5の日本語サポートを行うことになりました。

Usagi Project はボランティアグループです。メンバーを随時募集しております。

■ concrete5 資料リンク

concrete5 の紹介

concrete5 の歴史(開発秘話)

Usagi Project と concrete5 、 MyNETS の紹介

Usagi Project メンバー 一覧

Usagi Project メンバー募集要項

Friday, April 10, 2009

concrete5 Member of the Month!


I was selected as the member of the month of concrete5 Community in April, 2009.

Thanks, concrete5 team and Franz (CEO of concrete5)~!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Teigaku Kyufukin Letter has arrived

Today, my family received the letter from Yokkaichi City regarding Teigaku Kyufukin.

The letter consists three materials
  1. Return envelop
  2. English and Chinese instruction
  3. The Form which accept or deny your Kyufukin per household member, and where to fill out you bank account
English instruction letter followed by Chinese

The actual form where you check your household member and fill out your bank account.

For more information about Teigaku Kyufukin (定額給付金), read my related posts.

"FREE" 12000 YEN to ALL Registered Foreigners in Japan

How to Claim your 12,000 yen and Highway Holiday Discount

Monday, April 6, 2009

Softbank: iPhone Discount for Existing Users

Since February, Softbank began their huge discount of iPhone 3G. Now you can buy iPhone 3G 8GB model for almost free (with 2 years contract) called "iPhone for Everybody Campaign"

iPhone for Everybody - Softbank

"iPhone for Everybody" for Existing iPhone Users in Japan

But this is also a good news for existing Softbank's iPhone users in Japan. I called Softbank customer support to confirm, and I did renew my contract to reduce my monthly data plan today.

Effective on April 1st through May 30, 2009, the existing Softbank iPhone heavy data users will be able to benefit from this campaign.

If you are
  1. Bought iPhone 3G from Softbank in Japan
  2. You subscribe Softbank's White Plan
  3. You spend more than 5,000 yen per month for data charge
  4. You think you will be using iPhone in Japan for another year.
And then, you should definitely consider to renewing your contract.

If you are NOT existing iPhone users who spend more than 5,000 yen for data plan, just don't waste your time reading this post. It'll just add some more headache :-p

Detail of The Data Plan Discount

This campaign is not really advertised much.

But if you renew your contract now, Softbank will reduce the maximum data fee from 5,985 yen to 4,410 yen.

You need to know:
  1. You renew your contract (for another 2 years)
  2. Your data plan max charge will be reduced to 4.410 yen (1,500 yen/mo discount)
  3. You need to pay 9,975 yen cancellation fee if you decided to terminate your account within 2 years.
But 1,500 yen discount per month will add up to 18,000 yen per year.

As I am heavy iPhone App users, I've always maxed out the data fee to 5,985 yen every month. It's a no brainer. I went to Softbank today, and made the switch.

How to Join "iPhone for Everybody Campaign"
  1. Bring your iPhone, your valid Japanese ID (like Alien Regist. Card).
  2. Go to your local Softbank Service center
  3. Just tell them that you want to join "iPhone for Everybody Campaign"
  4. Fill out the form, your Softbank's cell phone number, name, Date of Birth, and show them your ID (Driver's License or Alien Registration Card which shows your address in Japan)
  5. They will renew your contract.
WARNING: This contract will renew your status after two years AUTOMATICALLY, so if you want to quit Softbank in two years, you have to show up BEFORE your contract expires and tell them to cancel when the contract ends.

Canceling This Contract Without Termination Fee

[UPDATED on 4/7/09]

So if you are ready to pay 9975 yen, you don't have to read this section.

But shibuya246 from JapanSoc,com asked me a question about Softbank's two-year contract. So I called Softbank customer center to find out.

According to their explanation, this "iPhone for Everybody" contract is AUTO-RENEW at every two years.

If you don't make any action on 25th month, you will be stuck for this contract for another two years. And you will have to pay 9975 yen termination fee if you want to cancel between 26th~48th month of your contract.

OK. So this adds to more headache... so let's take my case as an example.

I signed up for this "iPhone for Everybody" contract on 4/6/2009, and my billing cycle starts on every 11th day of the month.

If I want to cancel my contract without paying the termination fee (9975 yen), I will have to call Sofbank on 25th month which is between 4/11~5/10/2011....

But since I'm already saving 18,000 yen for a year.. I am ready to pay 9975 yen. So I won't care about the termination fee at all.

Japanese for Dummies

For those of who cannot really speak Japanese, I am just leaving this text for you. You are welcome to print this out and bring it to Softbank store to show it to them.

*DISCLAIMER:  You understand that I, Katz, will not be responsible for any of loss by using this examples.
(Although I am 100% sure that you can use my Japanese, I still need to protect myself :-))

  • 既存のiPhoneユーザーですが、iPhone for Everybodyキャンペーンの定額データプラン割引に加入したいと思って来ました。
  • I am an existing iPhone user, and I would like to renew my contract to reduce my maximum charge of the data plan
  • 私は、再び、今日から2年間の契約を締結する事を了承しています。
  • I understand that I am making another two-years contract starting today.
  • 今日から2年以内に回線を解約する場合、9975円の契約違約金が発生する事も理解しています
  • I understand that I will pay 9,975 yen penalty fee when I terminate the contract within two years.

Save your money~.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

BANDAI is planning to hire more foreigners for its worldwide expansion

From today's (Monday April 6) news of TV Tokyo, "E Morning".

BANDAI, the one of the major toy and TV game company, is looking to hire more foreigners.

According to TV Tokyo, BANDAI is seeking to expand their toy and TV game business towards international market more, and they think that hiring more foreign people is one of their plan.

The news did not say any details such as what department, what nationalities, or which regions.
They might have wanted to announce their plan only.

But this could lead to a good news for those of who love Japanese toys and games under this recession economy.

BANDAI - Corporate Page Explaining their Worldwide Expansion plan (Japanese only)

DISCLAIMER: No other online news sources reported this, but only TV Tokyo, as on 4/6/2009 12pm (JST)

Friday, March 20, 2009

US Embassy Japan warned Roppongi partying

On March 17th, 2009, US Embassy warned the US citizens who hang out clubs and bars in Roppongi for the drink-spiking incidents.

Warden Message – Roppongi Security Notice

I've been witnessing in the last 10 years that Japanese students in LA were intoxicated and deported. And an American friend had cardiac arrest and passed away in Roppongi.

Self-controlling could be one of the big issue for the people who lives in a foreign country, especially the city where there are a lot of fun stuff to do.

Now, some bad-mind people had spotted these people and US Embassy noticed the potential danger.

Although Tokyo is cool place, and Roppongi is the cool place.... just be careful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Japan Highway Holiday Discount Partially Delays

Today (March 11, 2009), NEXCO (Nippon Expressway Company Limited) Group announced that they will not be able to complete the system upgrade fully.

Therefore, they will start discount on March 28th. This delay mainly affect the driver who will go through Tokyo, Osaka area, Honshu-Shikoku Bridges and/or Tokyo Aqua Line.

Overview of Japanese Highway Holiday Discount Program

As the part of Japanese government economic stimulus program, they passed the law to approve the budget in order to execute the discount of Japanese regional expressway.

The weekends and holiday discount includes
  • 1,000 yen all-you-can-drive in regional area (Partially starting on Mar 28)
  • 1,000 yen discount rate of Shikoku-Honshu Toll Bridges and Tokyo Aqua Line Tunnel (starting on Mar 20)
  • 20-30% discount for Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan highways
*If you drive short distance, and the the price will be less than 1,000 yen.

This discount program is only effective if you:
  • Drive regular passenger cars, or motorcycle
  • Install Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) device in your car or motorcycle
  • You must make at least two payments a year

Very Complicated Charging System

I got confused at the beginning about this pricing system.

So let me explain to you.

If you drive from Aomori to Kagoshima and avoid Tokyo area, you will have to pass Osaka metropolitan area where they only have 20-30% discount.

So the pricing will be....
  • Regional Area [Aomori- Subarban Osaka + Subarban Osaka-Kagoshima] = 1,000 yen
  • Metropolitan Osaka Area = 1,500 yen
  • The Total 2,500 yen
So as long as you don't exit the highway, the charge of regional area will be fixed to 1,000 yen. And if you drive through Tokyo, Osaka, Bridges and Tokyo Aqua Line Tunnels, you will be charged additional discounted rate.

What's Late

However, due to the delay of the system upgrade...... the temporary pricing will be like this
  • Regional Area [Aomori-Suburban Osaka] = 1,000 yen
  • Metropolitan Osaka Area = 1,500 yen
  • Regional Area [Suburban Osaka-Kagoshima]= 1,000 yen
  • The Total 3,500 yen
So currently, whenever you passed Tokyo, Osaka, Bridges or Tokyo Aqua Line, the charge will be reset to zero. And it will start calculating again.

They said they will try to finish upgrading the system by Golden Week season in May.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How to Claim your 12,000 yen and Highway Holiday Discount

Yesterday, the controversial budget finally finally passed the Japanese Parliament yesterday. The major bills were controversial Teigaku-kyufukin (定額給付金), and holiday discount of highway.

12,000 yen Teigaku-Kyufukin

So it is now official that the everybody who legally resided in Japan on Feb 1, 2009 are eligible for 12,000 yen (the 18 and younger, and the 65 and older will receive 20,000 yen).

To check your eligibility, look at my older post.

The majority of Japanese people are already tired of this topic.

It's been over half year since the government started talking about it.

The Japanese people are sick and tired of these already non-sense-and-super-late policy after seeing Taiwan and China executed the similar plans within a month.

Anyhow, the bill has passed.

So it's now final that ALL people who lived in Japan on Feb 1, 2009 including the registered foreigners, are now eligible to receive the 12,000 yen.


The Japanese government passed this task to the local government to give out the money.

The problem is... now it's Tax season.

Most of the city official are overwhelmed with tax stuff. So it may be some delay.

Only about 5 towns and villages which don't have much population, are giving out the money this week.

However the most of the local agencies just don't have enough man power to execute the distribution quickly enough.

According to the survey of TV-Tokyo "World Business Satelite" on March 4, the majority of cities and towns are planning to distribute the money in April.

Here is the article from Mainichi Shimbun

One of the worst cities is Nagoya.

Nagoya doesn't have time until June~!

So I'm sorry to the people who live in Nagoya.

But the city officials are overwhelmed already. It's just too many people lived in Nagoya. And the city officials are already busy with tax, and bad economy.

And if you are planning to move out from Nagoya.... The letter will be sent to the address you lived on Feb 1, 2009..... The city never mentioned how to take care of movers.... If you are lucky to have a roommate or family, and then it may be ok. But if you don't..... you may have to give up 12,000 yen.

How to Claim Your 12,000 Yen

Anyway, here is how you can claim the money.

The small towns may give out the money at the local city hall with valid ID.

But if you live in a large city, the process may be like this.

* They will usually distribute the money per household basis.

1. You will receive the letter from the local government
2. You will confirm how many people are in your household, and accept or refuse this Teigaku-Kyufukin
3. You reply the mail to the local government with the bank account info
4. You will receive the confirmation mail to notify when the money being deposited to your bank account
5. And you finally receive money.

[CAUTION!!!!] BUUUUT, the Japanese government completely let the local government to decide how to distribute the money, so you will have to consult with the local city hall to confirm....

Ahh.. it's pain in an a**.

Toll-way Holiday Discount is Coming

So another bill that passed yesterday was weekend and holiday discount for toll-ways. They are planning to start this discount program on March 28th for two years.

(March 11, 2009) They announced that their pricing system will not be able to finish updating fully. Therefore, they will start partial discount on March 28, and plan to engage full discount at the end of April.

If you drive more than 100km on the Japanese highway on a weekend... the fee will be only 1,000 yen~!

Well, this is not that easy. Here are the catch.

1. Your car must have ETC device (electronic toll collection (system))
2. If you passed any metropolitan area and toll gate, the charge will be reset.

So you cannot go from Hokkaido to Kyushu with 1,000 yen.

For example, according to Mainichi Shimbun's article

From Aomori to Kagoshima, you need to avoid Tokyo area, and since you may have to go through Osaka metropolitan area.

1000 yen (Aomori to Kagoshima except Osaka area) + 1500 yen (Osaka Metropolitan Tollway) = the total 2,500 yen.

With the regular pricing, it will cost 39,250 yen. So it's still a huge discount (and then, of course, you need to pay your gas)

They will have the online fee calculator soon on their web site... but they are only Japanese.

Nexco East
Nexco Central
Nexco West

So unless you are an ALT who have the contract not to drive in Japan, it may be a good time to travel around Japan on the weekend with your friend... But I still recommend to get JR rail pass though.

Since I know that there are soo many foreigners living in Japan who do not know about this... I will release this blog post to anyone under Creative Commons License.

If you can add the hyperlink and credit to my blog, that would be great... but not required... I just want to help as many people as possible for this.

Creative Commons License
How to Claim your 12,000 yen and Highway Holiday Discount by Katz Ueno

Monday, January 5, 2009

Open Source SNS made in Japan

I am currently working on translating a Japanese Open Source Social Networking engine called MyNETS.

This system was developed by volunteer group called Usagi Project.

And I am one of the developer team as well.

And I have done translating most of the mainframe except mobile mode.

Now I open the door to the public to test drive.

Please help me test the system, and see if I have any errors and/or Japanese left-over.

About MyNETS

MyNETS is a Japanese open source Social Networking engine run on Apache, PHP and MySQL environment.

If you know Mixi, which is the Japan's largest social networking site, MyNETS is the clone program of Mixi.

This is very simple and easy to use system.

And you can run this system on your own web hosting server which meets certain requirement.

If you can set up other CMS system like WordPress, you can probably install this.

Currently, we have some issues of internationalization, so this version is not available to the public at this moment..

Basic Functions

> Blogging
> Messaging
> Community Discussion (called Topic)
> Event Listing
> Calendar
> Product Reviews using Amazon


> Embed Google Map to create a social map
> Twitter-like short messaging
> Supports Japanese mobile's picture icons
> Supports PC and mobile access (Japanese mobile only)
> Easy to embed YouTube video by copy and past the URL. (not those object tags)

Ideal Users

> People who shares the same common (like a hobby)
> Companies which want to use SNS as an inner-communication tool

MyNETS Requirements
1. Apache 1.3 or 2.0
2. PHP 4.3, 5.0, 5.1 (SAPI is recommended)
3. MySQL 4.0, 4.1 or 5.0 or newer

PHP Extensions
a. GD Library and etc...

1. Cron Jobs (php) - to send daily updates and etc.
2. Catch-All email - for Japanese mobile's email posting

History of MyNETS

MyNETS was first released on April 2007 as the derivation of another Japanese Open Source SNS system called OpenPNE.

And it is developed by a volunteer group in Japan, and we called ourself "Usagi Project" (Project Rabbit)

Usagi Project web site - Japanese Only
Currently, the version is designed for Japanese internet users. And it needs a lot of database customization in order to use each country.

This English version was translated by deerstudio.

We are currently working on version 2.0 with CodeIgniter.

And we are planning 2.0 to be more internationally friendly version.

If you have any questions, please contact deerstudio.

Contact deerstudio

I want to see how many people are actually interested in this system.

The Progress of MyNETS Internationalization

Currently, I have only translated mainframe of the system.

There is an installer for this system, but we are not planning to translate them into English due to the following reasons.

>> Right now, localization is very complicated
>> We are currently working on ver 2.0 which will be released soon
>> Version 2.0 will be written in CodeIgniter which is very easy to compile internationalversion

We, deerstudio, needed to launch the English SNS site ASAP, and could not wait for the MyNETS 2.0 which is scheduled to be released in Feb 2009. All of our staff can read Japanese. And the system will be used in Japan.

So we didn't have to create the English installer, and the region setting is still fixed the use in Japan only (e.g., the address has no country code.)

Please try the test drive and let us know how many people are interested in using this system.

For More Information

If you would like to test drive this system, please contact me.

I have not yet translated mobile site version yet... so I don't want to publish...