Archive for November, 2007

Fingerprinting foreigners

Tokyo%20Protest%20Fingerprint%20Justice%20Ministry.jpg I remember having to put my thumb to the ink pad when I first applied for the Alien Registration Card that all foreigners in Japan are required to carry at all times. Seven years ago, that law was changed, and my sparkling new card, which has a lot of other fancy features, is no longer blessed with my unique imprint.

Should we all be subjected to fingerprinting as we enter Japan? Well, if Aliens need to do it, why not also Japanese citizens. The “terror law” that Japan has imposed would not have stopped Japanese citizens belonging to Aum Shinrikyo from coming up with the Tokyo Subway gas attack 12 years ago. Fingerprinting would not have stopped the Japanese citizens joining the infamous Japanese Red Army from killing innocent victims in Israel and elsewhere in the 1970s. Japanese people didn’t take much responsibility for these autrocities; most people – and lawmakers – here probably have “forgotten”.

So what is behind all this nonsense?

I really do not know.

Join Amnesty International or its English-speaking branch in Tokyo.

(U.S. Visit, the system that Japan appears to have copied, currently holds a repository of over 50 million persons, primarily in the form of two-finger records…)

(Photo from The Mainichi: Protesters ‘flip the bird’ at Justice Ministry over forced fingerprinting)

Gaming Life in Tokyo


It’s an exciting season to be a gamer in Tokyo. We’ve already seen the release of Super Mario Galaxy, which is being hailed as the true “spiritual successor” to Super Mario 64. But for those that wanted to move to “true” next-gen but were hindered by cost, the even better news is that the Xbox 360, with its library of great games, is now being sold for the lowest price, anywhere in the world.

Coming in December, you will be able to get an even better deal on the Xbox 360. For 39,880 yen, you’ll not only get the new version of the system, complete with hard drive, HDMI support and two games, you’ll also get a copy of the hot new Mistwalker RPG, Lost Odyssey (Link). Having an NTSC-J version of the Xbox means that you can play the asian version of games. This is a boon for many reasons, but one major one is that the asian versions are cheaper than the same game marketed for other regions. Most of these games include English dialogue and menus which means that Westerners have an easy way to access cheaper games that should be easier to follow and are often released before their Japanese iterations. Play Asia is a great source for asian games and they offer free shipping to Japan. If you aren’t into RPGs, the Xbox 360 bundle currenly runs for 34,800 yen. If you’re into gaming, now you know what to ask for for Christmas or Chanakah or Kwanza or whatever relevant gift-giving holiday comes at the end of the year for you.

Harumi Triton Square

Tokyo Metblog
Curious display of petals & coloured sand near Triton Tower in Harumi, Tokyo. What happens if the wind blows?!

Posted from my mobile phone

Human Vending Machine


What did you dress up as for Halloween this year?

Pet Rental

Love pets but don’t want the hassle of feeding or housing them?

Luckily we have the solution here in Tokyo: pet rental by the hour!
I tried it last year to give my son some experience looking after a pet and we had a great time. Through the power of teh Interweb, I ended up getting interviewed about my experience and it will be in an article in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. You can also read it online here.

Tokyo Motor Show 2007 – The Girls

Tokyo Motor Show 2007 - The Girls
Following on from yesterday’s post, now it’s time for the photos you really wanted to see: the Girls of the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

Cut & Paste Tokyo

8 designers, 5 judges, 3 rounds of 15 minutes: Cut & Paste comes to Tokyo on Saturday night at Womb in Shibuya.
Watch digital design, live as the 8 contestants’ creations develop over each round of 15 minutes, beamed across the venue.
Till reviewed Cut & Paste Berlin.

More info on the Tokyo event here

Tokyo Motor Show 2007 – The Cars

Tokyo Motor Show 2007 - The Cars

Last Friday I was at the Tokyo Motor Show. Here are the photos.
My highlights were as follows:
Concepts: Mazda Taiki (pictured)
New model: Nissan GT-R
Car in my price range: Mustang
Luxury: Rolls Royce
Ugly: Mitsuoka Orochi

Tune in again tomorrow to see the Tokyo Motor Show girls….

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