Archive for the 'Services' Category

Weather girls go watch guerilla thunderstorms

The Worlds Largest Weather Geek Community A TV weather channel in Japan has added staff "Guerilla Thunderstorm Girls" to its volunteer force of citizens who report weather conditions around the country.

A "guerilla storm" refers to a severe thunderstorm which occurs with little warning – and is hard for forecasters to predict – and which has the potential for heavy downpours, high winds and tornadoes.

Weathernews has utilized volunteers nationwide to monitor the weather and developing thunderstorms since 2008. The 50,000 "Guerilla Thunderstorm Guards" use the "Guerilla Thunderstorm Defender" smartphone app to report conditions and send images and video of cloud formations and rainfall to Weathernews, which displays the reports online and in broadcasts. Viewers can also register to receive special weather alert emails on their phones.

Weathernews is able to direct volunteers to storm areas up to 30-minutes in advance of possible guerilla downpours.

The channel has now introduced a special team of Guerilla Thunderstorm Girls – some of the weather report anchors – who are sent out to observe the clouds where there is a possibility of a guerrilla thunderstorm.

The team is outfitted with ponchos imprinted with the slogan "The World [sic] Largest Weather Geek Community."

 

Weathernews channel Guerilla Thunderstorm Gals have nice ponchos Weathernews channel Guerilla Thunderstorm Gals party

 

Cremation ash urns use rack retrieval storage and ID card access

Private viewing booth at indoor tomb at Dentouin Akasaka Jouen in TokyoBuddhist temples in Japan that have run out of graveyard space for tombs are turning to high-tech storage solutions for ashes of the deceased.

In Japan, cremation is the norm and remains of the dead are kept in urns stored in a stone tomb on a family plot in a graveyard. The outdoor tombs have limited space for expansion. Rather than using the traditional method where each urn is displayed in a permanent spot, the new columbariums store the ashes out of site on multilevel racks, and then use a mechanical system to bring the urns out when loved ones come to visit. These storage racks have been installed in existing buildings on temple grounds, or specially designed facilities located on the grounds, or in temple-run buildings located off-site.

 

Unryuin temple in Kyoto is one location that offers computer-controlled movable storage of ash urns. Similar to an ATM, a contactless ID card and touchscreen control the functions of the indoor altar. Glass partitions create booth-like private spaces for privacy. The price of the perpetual memorial starts at JPY 893,000 which includes management fees, temple fees, biannual prayer service and a steady supply of flowers and incense.

 

Contactless ID card opens indoor tomb door at Dentouin Akasaka Jouen in Tokyo Row of partitions dividing cremated remains storage areas at cemetery Dentouin Akasaka Jouen in Tokyo, Japan Private viewing booth at indoor tomb at Dentouin Akasaka Jouen in Tokyo

 

Some of these high tech vaults add to the ambiance by displaying a photo of the loved one accompanied by music when transporting the urn out of storage.

 

Computer Controlled Automatic Cremation Urn Transfer System Toyota Industries Corp Computer Controlled Automatic Cremation Urn Transfer System Komyoji temple rein in Japan

Ryogoku-Ryouen mausoleum in Tokyo
 

The Computer Controlled Automatic Cremation Urn Transfer System was developed and manufactured by Toyota Industries Corporation. Storage of 7000 urns is possible in a structure on a 50 square meter site. (more…)

Yellow Card G-men patrol puts penalty cards on dog poop

Patrol looks for dog droppings in Japan Three days a week Izumisano city in Osaka Prefecture sends “Yellow Card G-men” out in city-owned vehicles on missions to put yellow cards on dog droppings.

The “Dog feces government men” patrol will keep an eye on the yellow cards and if the droppings are still there 4 weeks later, they’ll clean up the mess.

Dog owners usually walk their pets along the same route. The city is hoping the dog owners will spot their pet’s previous poop, feel guilty about having left it there, and then finally clean it up, so the patrol won’t have to.

The Yellow Card G-men force is staffed by folks from the city’s Retired Persons Human Resource Center. The average age of the retirees is 75.

 

Citizen patrol puts yellow card next to dog droppings in Japan

 

Citizens were not heeding the Izumisano ordinance requiring dog owners to clean up their pet’s droppings. City parks were becoming especially messy. Izumisano is also across Osaka Bay from Kansai International Airport and the town’s mayor doesn’t want dog droppings to be the first thing tourists see.

The Yellow Card G-men are also on the lookout for excrement-in-progress. A dog’s owner caught not cleaning up the dog’s droppings will be fined JPY 1000. The fine will be raised to JPY 5000 in October 2013.

The patrols hunt poop perpetrators in the morning and evening.

Neighboring cities are also cracking down on unscooped dog droppings. Izumisano has also received a call from officials from Eniwa city, a Sapporo suburb, which also has feces pickup problems.

How to make a yellow card warning for dog droppings in Japan In June the city of Takasago in Hyogo Prefecture began giving free dog dropping collection bags, plastic gloves and waterproof “yellow card” tent cards to citizens upon request.

[ Download instructions for making your own Takasago yellow cards: How to make doggy doo-doo yellow card.doc ]

 

Yellow card warning for placement next to dog feces in Japan park Retirees put yellow card warning sign next to dogshit in Japan park

 

Yellow cards for dog feces collection in Japan Yellow card for dog poop Japanese

 

Yellow card dog droppings picked up in Japan

Food truck kitchen cars get special places to park and sell

Food trucks in Japan kitchen cars Food trucks in Japan used to be found mostly at sporting events or other large events, and often the trucks were operated by brand name food manufacturers. Now updated versions of food trucks, dubbed "Neo Kitchen Cars", are offering take-away food at locations in cities.

Public open space cannot be used for kitchen cars in Japan, so kitchen cars often must rent space for their vehicles. One website specializes in matching kitchen cars with landlords who have a driveway or storefront parking available for rent.

 

Tokyo International Forum Neo Stall Village.

Japanese food truck cafe Barbecue BBQ Japanese food truck in Japan

 

Another company seeks to have kitchen cars use large open spaces owned by and adjacent to office building properties. Workstore Tokyo Do a provider of food vendors for events, matches building owners with the kitchen car operators and coordinates kitchen car schedules and locations. Tables are setup in the open space and the kitchen cars rent space there. The firm manages 33 locations in the Tokyo area. Almost 450 kitchen car operators are registered with the company and 200 of those operators have been assigned locations.

 

Kitchen car locations can be tracked online. Idouhanbai Navi is one website that lists locations of kitchen cars throughout Japan. The site also describes the foods offered by each mobile food neo stall.

Japanese food truck neo kitchen car in Japan Fried chicken Japan food truck Brazilian food sold by mobile food truck in Japan

 

Tacos Mexican food from food truck in Japan Italian food sold from food truck in Japan Food truck in Tokyo

 

photos : Barbeque (Tokyo) Bulldog BBQ; Brazillian Rodeio Grill; Crepes (Tokyo) Allo Cafe; Fried chicken and seafood (Tokyo) Wakayama; Kebabs (Tokyo) Subarkai House; Panini (Nagoya) Buono; Pork-wrapped-rice (Fifteen food trucks in Japan) Honke Niku maki; Pork-wrapped-vegetables & variations (Three food trucks in Japan) Ganko; Tacos (Okinawa)Taco Smile; Tofu burger (Tokyo) Tofu Tofu Cafe

Game arcades gaining elderly gamers

Elderly play medal game in Japan arcade game centerGame centers in Japan are making arcade-game-playing more comfortable for senior citizens and retirees. Almost a fourth of Japan’s population is over the age of 65, and amusement arcade operators are making changes to better accommodate the elderly.

A popular game among seniors is the "medal game" in which coins or tokens dropped into the machine may eventually push jackpot coins over the inner rim and out to the player.

Namcoland Aeon in Kyoto has access restrictions. Those age 15 and under cannot enter after 6:00 P.M. unless accompanied by an adult, and anyone age 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult in order to play a medal game in its "medal corner". The arcade’s theme is "Amusements for three generations."

 

Large text instructions for elderly medal game in Japan arcade game center Massage chairs at a US Land amusement game center arcade in Japan Blankets, gloves and umbrellas for elederly customers at game arcade in Japan

 

Namcoland Aeon’s aisles are wider to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs, there are no steps or other barriers, there are more chairs, and the outlet is easy to access from street level.

The in-store sound system volume has been lowered to make it easier for the elderly to hear and the text size has been enlarged on signs and displays.

The Namcoland Aeon staff has been instructed to speak clearly and to make the medal games more user friendly.

Some Adores game centers offer complimentary tea and sweets to customers over age 60 before 10 a.m. Free medal game credits to customers over the age of 60 are also offered by some Adores outlets. The chain also lends out blankets, gloves for wearing while playing medal games, and, if it’s started raining while the customer is inside, umbrellas, if the customer doesn’t have one for the return home.

Some of Konami’s latest arcade games have instructions in larger type to aid readability for senior citizens. Game instructions are also clearly indicated on the machines.

Many game centers have installed massage chairs, and provide reading glasses to customers upon request.

Other retail businesses are catering to the elderly market. The Ueshima coffee shops in Tokyo offers wider aisles an lower tables than the typical Starbucks, and Keio department store provides more chairs, and larger text on signs.

 

Crane claw game in Japan arcade amusement center Horse racing multi-player game in Japan arcade game center Taito-stat game center in Japan

 

photos: wheelchair; crane games; taito-station; horse racing game; massage chairs.

Dominos Dual Menus Divide Deals by Language

Domino's Japan TV commercial The Two Sides of Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza has opened an English-language website that includes special pizza offers not available on the Japanese version of the site.

For example, by ordering through the Domino’s English website, you can get two large pizzas with one topping each for JPY 2999. That special offer is one of several offers exclusive to the English side.

Compare the English two-large-pizzas offer to the one large pizza for JPY 2520 offer on the Domino’s Japanese website. (A current Domino’s USA special is 3 large pizzas with 1 topping each for USD 23.31)

In addition, with the Japan Domino’s build-your-own pizza tool, you’ll be able to choose between four types of crust and 22 toppings. (Sorry, you won’t find squid listed on the English menu!)

Domino's pizza Japn English menu offers exclusive deals.

 

Animation characters are also conspicuously missing from the English menu, which makes us wonder what they’re really up to. According to Scott K. Oelkers, President and CEO of Domino’s Pizza Japan, Inc., the English website was added in an effort to provide better services to their foreign community. Indeed.

As of 2005, 1,555,505 foreign residents permanently reside in Japan, and that doesn’t include the approximately 40,000 US military personnel stationed there. That adds up to a lot of foreign community to better service.

Domino’s has locations in 60 markets worldwide and 99 outlets in Japan. But in the areas where they offer online menus in both the native language and English, the offers and options tend to vary. Besides the fact that you won’t find squid on the English version of Domino’s Japan, you also won’t find the Mexicana – a pie topped with ground meat and jalapenos – on the English version of the Domino’s Mexico website.

Female Domino's Japan employees hold pizza boxes at outlet in Japan. Delivery scooter motor bikes in fron tof Domino's pizza outlet in Japan

 

But regardless of whether Domino’s’ motive for offering English-speaking residents a menu of their own was for the benefit of the consumer or simply a means to add more yen to their pockets, the site was needed, and most certainly welcomed.

 

(You need to log-in at the Domino’s Japan English website to see the special offers.) 
photos: Dominos delivery scooters

Meisters Eat Drink Drive Relax

Japanese women relax naked in onsen spa meister approved. Rice meister master Japan

In addition to the experts you can expect expect to find in Japan – such as  "rice meisters" – enterprises in many other fields are offering original in-house qualification courses. Employees attend courses in order to obtain "meister" certification. Local governments, business and trade associations, organizations, private extended learning and continuing education schools are also offering meister courses in various fields.

  Curry meister study book Japan How to be eco driver in Japan

Curry Meister – Learn the history of curry, spice characteristics and curry communication. Junior and Senior certificates.

Eco Drive Meister – Become expert in environmentally friendly fuel-efficient driving. Best for businesses with more than 50 vehicles. How to Kyoto.

Eco Meister – Courses and certifications offered by individual prefectural and city governments. Learn about the environment, garbage-related problems, recycling, global warming. Akita ecomeister.

Seasoning and food diploma Japanese meister Many Japanese spices and sauces.Japanese Food Meister – How to treat only the ingredient of harmony, how to cut only the dish of harmony, how to boil the fire, and how to apply it and how to dish up the taste. Also known as Washoku.

Japanese Seasoning Meister – Become well-versed in seasonal seasonings and talk about charm of seasoning happily and plainly.

Delicious kelp seaweed konbu served in Japan. Okonomiyaki  pancake-like dish served in Japan

Konbu MeisterKelp is filled with the spirit of ecology, and is the ultimate eco-food, according to the Konbu Meister. Learn how to get the most out of your seaweed.

Awamori Okinawa sake liquor alcohol Japan

Girls and women nude in onsen spa Japan Okinawa Liquor Meister – Official Okinawa Prefecture Awamori distilled rice liquor expert certification.

Okonomiyaki Meister – The qualification levels: Instructor, Coordinator and Meister. What is Okonomiyaki?

Onsen Meister – Learn hot spring hygiene management, the benefits of hot springs, effective bathing methods, and thermal physiology. Japanese spa is called onsen.
(more…)

Draft Beer Kegs on a Plane

ANA flight attendants demonstrate new draft beer keg tap for in-flight beerAll Nippon Airways says it is the first airline in the world to offer in-flight draft beer from a keg.

A traditional beer keg uses a high-pressure carbon dioxide bottle which is prohibited by law on flights.

ANA sponsored development of a special beer keg dispenser that does not use a high-pressure gas cylinder.

The new device uses the pressure from carbon dioxide gas captured from dry ice. The dry ice also keeps the beer cool so a power-supply unit and refrigerator are not needed.

 

How CO2 draft beer keg tap for in-flight beer works All Nippon Airways

 

Can of beer served on All Nippon Airlines flightAll Nippon Airways started offering this real draft beer on domestic flights for the first time on July 20.

The brand of the beer varies according to the route.

The price is JPY 1000 per 400 milliliter glass, including a dry snack.

Depending on the aircraft, 20-40 glasses of beer will be offered per flight.

Airline Gives Women Exclusive Toilet

ANA press release announces women only lavatoryAll Nippon Airways has designated one lavatory for exclusive use by women on most international flights.

Men may use the women-only toilet only when there are few female passengers and in an emergency. Men can also use the ladies-only rest room before taking off and landing before the fasten-seatbelt sign is displayed, and when there is an urgent need due to illness. An announcement about a given flight’s toilet-usage is made at the start of the flight.

A 2007 ANA online survey found women do not like using unisex lavatories because men sometimes leave the seat up. Women also expressed displeasure about waiting in line for the toilet with men after airline meals.

ANA says 70% of male passengers it surveyed say they did not mind the ladies-only washrooms, and some men approved because it means less time waiting for women to finish using the toilet. ANA said demand for a lavatory exclusively for women is especially high among passengers taking long flights.
Women-only toilet sign on ANA flightAll Nippon Airlines ladies only lavatory

Recycling Dept. Business Cards on Old Handouts

Setagaya ku recycling dept uses office paper for business cards

 

Setagaya ku trash collection posterThe Tokyo Setagaya-ku Cleaning and Recycling department uses expired departmental flyers for its business cards. The department uses the reverse side of printed material that has been used in the department. The front of the business card contains the usual business card information. On the back of the cards Lets Japan received is a portion of an announcement about the trash collection schedule at the end of the year. The flyer paper is not as heavy as a standard business card, but heavier than a standard piece of paper.

When two employees of the Cleaning and Recycling department presented their business cards to LJ, the employees pointed out the reverse side of their cards.