Friday, June 27, 2008

JJNN 34 June 27th, 2008

Welcome again to JJNN for Friday June 27th, 2008. Today was another slow news day so I am going to be talking about two very small news stories.

The first story is about internet on bullet trains. Bullet trains are extremely fast trains that run on special tracks to a lot of places in Japan. The first bullet train made its first run in 1964, with a top speed of 210 km/h (130mph). Now, the fastest bullet trains run at around 300km/h (188mph). These trains are a little on the expensive side, but they get you where you need to go in a hurry.

The only problem with bullet trains, really, is the fact that you really have to bring your own entertainment. There are no "in-flight" movies or anything like that. Most people play with their cell phones, but if you end up going though a long tunnel that option is gone. There is always the old fashion forms of entertainment like reading and napping, but that can get old fast.

In order to remedy this problem Japan Railways (JR) decided it would be a good idea to give everyone riding on the bullet trains internet. Starting from March of next year, all of the bullet trains that run between Tokyo and Osaka will be equipped with wireless internet. They even got rid of the pesky problem about tunnels by running a special type of coaxial cable along side the train tracks.

That all equals free uninterrupted internet access on the trips to and from Tokyo. Not a bad thing at all. The speed is capped at 2Mbps. Not as fast as I get at home, but not that bad for internet on the run. All and all this is a good idea that should have been put into effect years ago. JR is also thinking about setting up most of the platforms with free wireless internet as well.

The second story is a look on the lighter side of the news. It is also to point out how far the Japanese go with their marketing strategies. If you go to Japan and you look around for a little while you will find that you just can't away from characters (either from anime or real people) all over the merchandise. My favorite is the Hello Kitty "massager" seen below:

It is not just Hello Kitty that can be found everywhere. The example that caught my eye is GeGeGe no Kitaro. GeGeGe no Kitaro is the story of a kind Japanese monster that goes around defeating the evil Japanese monsters. I know, I know, it sounds like every other anime out there. I don't really want to get into the story.

Any way, there is a new GeGeGe no Kitaro movie coming out soon. That means that marketing department has to get on the ball. What do you think the best way to market a movie is? Commercials? News Papers? TV shows? I would say yes, but apparently that is not enough. The people that are making the movie teamed up with NEC and made the GeGeGe no Kitaro computer. There is a picture of it below.

The character design hurts my teeth.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 新幹線(しんかんせん). It is pronounced shinkansen and means bullet train. Most foreigners that live in Japan just call it "The Shink." I remember my first ride on a shinkansen. I still love riding on the shinkansen, but saving money is also a good thing.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.


  1. Yeah Yeah. Maybe someday when I don't have a Japanese Visa I will be able to get that :p