- 89% of respondents to an online poll by rType Research Online want to have a hobby when they are in retirement. The top hobby choice was travel (22%), followed by sports (11%) and playing a musical instrument (10%).
- 70% of women answering a survey for Risou Corporation regret getting a tan in the past.
- 63% of currently employed married men surveyed by U-CAN and iSHARE said they would like for their wives to continue working after having children.
- 41% of women polled by Covermark Corporation spend the most time working on their eye make-up (as compared to other elements such as skin or eyebrows).
Archive for August, 2010
The global economy is in shambles. Summer temperatures and humidity have reached record levels all across the northern hemisphere. In Japan this means two things for certain – an increase in the sales of odorless underwear and an increase in the sales of cheap no- and low-malt beer and beer-like beverages. However, this year real beer has also made a small comeback thanks to a boom in beer gardens.
While beer gardens are a Bavarian tradition (the term comes from the German “Biergarten”), the Japanese have been at the game since 1953, when one debuted on top of the New Tokyo Osaka Daiichi Seimei Building, and they’ve added their own unique touches to the fun. Technically beer gardens can and do happen on the ground (or below ground, in which case they are called “beer terraces”) or in any open area with enough space, but in Japan there is a romantic attachment to ones held on the roofs of department stores and other tall buildings. This makes them top draws in late summer after the rainy season has passed and when fireworks season has started.
Generally the drink service at beer gardens is “nomihodai” (unlimited refills) for a set period of time (90 minutes to two hours), and often food is included as well, putting the ¥3,000-¥4,000 ticket within the budgets of many consumers.
This year Yomiuri and Nikkei Shimbun have both noted that the customer base has also diversified. While the rooftop atmospheres lit with lanterns evoke a Showa-era scene filled with smoke and businessmen, more and more women are taking advantage of the offerings, and some beer gardens are offering healthier, low-calorie fare that incorporates hijiki seaweed and burdock as well as sweets such as tai-yaki. Nikkei Trendy Net also noted that there are more women working and therefore probably more women who want to take advantage of the liberating atmosphere of beer gardens as a form of stress relief.
On a linguistic sidenote, in Japanese beer is normally written “biiru,” but when put next to the Japanese “gaaden,” it is written and spoken “bia.” Japanese commenters on Yahoo! note that this is because it’s closer to the English pronunciation of the word “beer,” but that begs the question why it isn’t always pronounced like that.
Photo: Karl Baron
Ever wondered how those Harajuku chicks manage to transform themselves from ordinary high school girls into extravagant Gothic Lolita princesses? Part of the secret lies in those little suitcases they trundle around with them which store all the make-up and frou frou outfits necessary to expedite a full henshin. Traditionally these costume changes take place in the rather limited and pongy spaces of train stations or department store bathrooms, but just last week a far sweeter-smelling option become available for those girls in the know.
Just at the bottom of trendy Takeshita Dori is a changing space that can be rented for as little as ¥200 for 30 minutes where girls can titivate themselves to their hearts’ content. The basic package gives them a booth in a room that fits eight people, but for those prepared to pay more, it’s possible to hire a private room that they can share with a group of friends. The rooms come equipped with irons for smoothing out the creases of frilly Bo Peep dresses and straightening irons and curlers for creating the perfect coiffure.
COS-Pa Mini powder rooms are located on the second floor of the newly opened URATAKE Girl’s Style complex, which opened on July 31. It also houses lockers where girls can stash their school uniforms and, best of all, banks of Print Club sticker machines for taking snaps of the new transformations.
This isn’t the first COS-Pa powder room. The company debuted its first shop in March 2008 in Shibuya. The Shibuya branch is slightly more lavish and caters to an older clientele of women in their 20s to 40s who are looking for somewhere to chill out and change out of their office gear before a night out on the tiles.
In a city that’s packed to the gills, the concept of renting a little square of privacy, be it in an Internet café booth or a karoke box, has long been popular, so there’s no doubt that ventures such as COS-Pa are likely to prosper in the future.
Photo taken by Nicholas Wang
Social gaming is about to become very big in Japan: On July 29 Softbank announced that it was teaming up with American game maker Zynga in a bid to promote the format in Asia. Zynga Japan will be developing games similar to Farmville to appeal to the Asian market. They’ll be competing with locally made products that have already been coming out on the Japanese cell-phone market. These include games such as Naishoku, which re-creates the “fun” of manual labor with production-line tasks such as putting heads onto countless plastic frogs. If this trend takes off commuter trains could soon be filled with people relaxing after a hard day’s work by completing mindless tasks on their cell phones and posting the results to their network of friends.
But it’s not all drudgery on the social gaming front. Tonchidot, makers of augmented reality application Sekai Camera, have announced the upcoming release of a social augmented reality game that will have players not only communicating via the Web but also meeting up for drinks to discuss the game. Sekai Yuusha (World Hero) has been dubbed an ARPG, combining elements of Augmented Reality and Role Playing Games. Once players chose from a range of three possible character types – warrior, magician or monk – they can begin their quest by roaming the real world in search of monsters to battle and riddles to solve, collecting treasure and medals along the way.
The Sekai Camera app, which was released on the Japanese market last year with much excitement, allows users to interact with floating tags that have been placed virtually in real locations. The tags appear on the screen of your cell phone when you point your camera at them, presenting you with an augmented reality vision of the real world. Players of Sekai Camera games are not just exploring virtual space but are moving about in the real world. Monsters in Sekai Yuusha will have to be sought out in physical locations.
The social element to Sekai Yuusha will be directed through a dedicated Twitter communication tool with which players can exchange information about the game and decide to form alliances in order to do battle with monsters. There will also be 505 real locations around Japan where players can meet up and discuss their quests over a tankard of ale.
By taking the action out of the virtual into the actual world, the social element involved in AR games will far surpass anything other social game formats might offer. In my book this beats assembling plastic frogs or planting eggplants in virtual spaces any day.