Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week it seems that J-Convenience store giant Lawson has become something of startup funder, and a professor of sports and stuff at Tsukuba University has declared the FIFA 2014 World Cup ball to be “MADE OF NINJA THROWING STARS!!” ...okay, maybe the translation is off a bit on that last part.
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – May 30, 2014 ::
• Lawson HMV - Yes, J-Convenience Store Lawson - Collaborates in $1.1 Million Investment in Beatrobo’s 'PlugAir' Startup Thingy
HMV, a British music dealer a la the U.S.’s Tower Records, had a Japanese division. And actually, while they’re disappearing all over the Western World, there are still lots and lots of music stores here. CD sales remain solid, and even cassettes have an actual market outside of hipsters trying to Walkman their way into intentionally awkward conversations. Anywho, Lawson the convenience store giant bought HMV Japan in 2010, and now they use it for entertainment and stuff - part of which includes related startup investment. They and others have teamed up to support Beatrobo’s PlugAir, a patent-pending plugin device for smartphones that unlocks special content based not on a password, but on the physical properties of the the device it’s being plugged into. It’s all very analog, but Japan still digs analog, and it might catch on elsewhere, too. In any case, it's more startup movement here - the internationally cooperative kind, and in still-afraid-of-startups-land, this is almost always a very good thing.
[LAWSON HMV INVESTS IN STARUP CONTENT UNLOCKING PLUGIN THINGY - BROADWAY WORLD]
• FIFA’s New World Cup Ball Has Ninja Tech in There
Okay, it’s really difficult for the JTFF to pretend to be interested in soccer… but here goes: So, the new ball, it has like, fewer panels than the last ball. When you unwrap it, the resulting shapes resemble that of centuries-old ninja throwing stars. For the JTFF, learning this information tonight has caused a seam-ripping ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ of epic whogivesashittedness. But there you go. What does get us excited and interested and bothered is that this analysis comes from a professor at the University of Tsukuba, one of the best technical universities humanity has ever produced. The JTFF believes Tsukuba-U should be focusing on other things like robots and renewable energy and then some more robots and stuff.
[NINJA THROWING STARS IN THE FIFA BALL - JAPAN DAILY PRESS]
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.