Resurrection of TokyoFinds

BIG NEWS

I laid TokyoFinds to rest at the beginning of the year.

Thanks to Leah and Angie at Tumblr, IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE!!

REJOICE. Visit Finds here: tokyofinds.com

Sidenotes: as much space as I take up on the internet, TokyoFinds is the only place I post under a paid domain LOL
For those wondering what Finds is:

Instead of polluting my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with all things Tokyo and Japan, I decided to deposit them here. Enjoy.

Big shout-out to Leah!!!!!!!’n Thank you, thank you thank you!

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2014.

From Dec. 26th to January 4th, I traveled Japan solo. I chose to chronicle my trip on Hi — publishing platform — instead of Tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking and even on my own blog.

People have been asking why, this essay beautifully captures why:

Africa burns my eyes and sets my nerves on edge.

Even if you aren’t interested in Hi, the essay is a must read, for anyone looking to be whisked away to a land far away with…words.

Read Craig‘s essay here.

A photo from one of the many of the small Japanese villages I visited.
You can read my entire trip here: “Epic Trip 2013

Shirakawago

Asian Market 101

global market

1. Asia, is the global leader in online growth.

ChartOfTheDay_1088_Percentage_of_global_page_views_from_mobile_devices_n

2. Asia, is the global leader for mobile market share

2013-06-27-asia-revenue

3. Asia, is a lucrative market for mobile revenues.

This is no secret — that’s why so many people take interest in Asia and one of the reasons I moved to Tokyo.

However, Asia includes the following four countries: China, India, Japan and South Korea. Those four countries account for 66% of Asia’s population, 60% of Asia’s mobile connections and over 70% of regional mobile income. Four markets, four countries with four very different ecosystems.

China = population of 1.4 billion people, GDP of 8.2 trillion USD
India = population of 1.2 billion people, GDP of 1.84 trillion USD
South Korea = population of 50M people, GDP of 1.13 trillion USD
Japan = population of 127.6M people, GDP of 5.96 trillion USD

Then, there are the smaller countries with high GDPs and/or high population like: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, etc., etc.

To put that into perspective, the US has a population of 314M people (double Japan) with a GDP of 15.68 trillion USD. Compared to the big four Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, India and China), the US has been ahead of the race as far as development, access and economic distribution. This development gap the US has is significantly wider with India and China than the gap the US has with Japan and South Korea, but the US is still ahead of these four countries.

As much as I commend South Korea and Japan’s economies and their astounding growths, India and China’s rapid growth is clearly a focal point if you’re paying attention to the Asian market. Indeed, Asia is a lucrative market with bright economic futures and much wealth ahead.

However, the most important takeaway and my fourth point, is the Asian market is far from a market, one market, single market. People (including myself in the past), casually say Asia — almost as though China, Japan and South Korea are like what Texas, NY and California are to the US.

So for those intrigued by the Asian market, please remember Asia is a massive market that is close to impossible to penetrate, unless one understands what they are dealing with. There is massive opportunity here. It’s fun and lucrative, with plenty of room for disruption in each of the respective ecosystems in very different ways.

But in order to get anything done and move any of these economies forward, these points are so important — trust me, I live in ‘Asia’ ;)

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

There’s optimism. Then there is coddling. #Japan

Saw on Twitter that Sony has slashed their profit forecast by 40%, after poor Q2 results 1

Google News in English, search results are of course all about the profit cuts.
See? (points below)
Sony US

The news in Japanese? Is a crock of shit.

Sony Japan

This is at 6:02 +GMT (Japan time) — two hours after they announced lowering forecast.

Top headline from Oct 14, 2013 reads “Sony accelerating to 3rd global smartphone brand” followed by a bunch of bullshit about their eReader.

This is TWO hours after they announced Q2 losses.

The Japanese media failing to deliver information — good, bad or indifferent — is a bit…bizarre.

I’m going to keep checking, to see if or when the Japanese outlets will report. Maybe it’s cultural differences but I just don’t get this rose colored glasses mentality, where sugar coating hard facts are accepted (cough-Nintendo-cough)

I’m so afraid that coddling will be the ultimate downfall of this country; no matter how resilient the Japanese are.

DISCLAIMER: please excuse the Windows — my work computer is a X1 Carbon on Win7 T_T

UPDATE 11/01/13

Finally, about 12 hours later, there are three news sources that covered Sony’s losses. Bloomberg Japan, CNET Japan and one Japanese publication, IT Media. Sony, is one of Japan’s icons. Their continuous downfall should be a massive wake-up call to Japan.

I believe in optimism but I also believe in knowing the full truth, assessing the situation realistically, finding a solution and working towards the solution.

Directly communicating harsh realities, isn’t the ‘Japanese way’ but this sugar coating, is very troublesome. I hope this country wakes up soon, accept hard facts and figuring ways to move forth.

Or maybe, the Japanese way is to stay in its protective, isolated bubble.

Japan: This is why you can’t speak English

One of the greatest benefits of riding in packed trains during peak commute hours, is how I can peek on people’s mobile phones to see what apps they are using, what they are browsing. Look at people’s books to see what they are reading. Basically, learning by observing.

I want to say I’m looking at the brighter side of being a sardine in jam packed trains every morning and evening, but I’m gonna keep it real — I’m very curious about Japanese people’s consumption behaviors.

Today, I had the great (dis) pleasure of peeking on someone’s English study guide and was shocked to the shit. I mean, WTF is this???

photo 1

This looks more like an econ text book than an English textbook. Look all those Japanese hieroglyphics, breaking down English grammar!!

So I zoomed into the photo, expecting some complicated business colloquialism.
Turns out, those long-ass explanations were for one simple phrase: “An exciting game.”

What the fuck???

I don’t know about you, but there is no way I’d be able to form and speak basic English sentences, with all that extra noise in the way. I’d be terrified I wouldn’t remember all the learnings and apply them.

Jeez.

Why I Still Believe in Japan

Screenshot_10_6_13_8_14_PM

Thanks to Serkan Toto (who is by far, one of the most brilliant people I have ever met), I attended JapanNight, a start-up competition and boy, am I glad I did.

The winner was a wearable technology company called Ring and the promo video, had the entire room buzzing:

They are on their second prototype and Ring’s purpose is to complement wearable tech vs competing with monster companies like Google and Samsung — that approach is why I became a believer.

Ring, to me, epitomizes Japanese ethos: taking great things that exist and making them better. In Ring’s case, it’s taking wearable tech: Google Glass, Pebble, Samsung watch, etc. and made it stylish, minimalistic and more compact.

The other products really didn’t do much for me (some hipster app, a few niche gaming apps, a Japanese solution for Survey Monkey, some learning platform, etc.) but the websites and presentations were really well done. As we enter into the age of user experience and design, I’m excited to see how the Japanese will deliver our creativity to the world and where I fit into the equation.

I got to Japan at the perfect time, as I believe the next few years will showcase exactly why I chose to live in Tokyo — one of the best cities on the planet.

If you’re interested, Japan Night’s finalists are on their Google+ stream here.

Japan: this is why we are so behind #tech

This perfectly epitomizes what is wrong with Japanese tech.

So I received a snail mail invite to supposedly one of the largest tech events:  Japan IT Week Expo.
There are exhibitions and key-notes on: cloud computing, big data, security, web + mobile marketing and something about the 3rd annual Smartphone and Mobile Expo.

First of all, what is the difference between a smartphone and a mobile?
Or does ‘mobile’ mean tablet?? What is this… web and mobile marketing they speak of??? Why are they separate???? It’s 2013 — have you heard of responsive design? GET ON THAT.

Then please take a look at the brochure, jam packed with text.
This looks like a conference for bankers.

photo 1

And can we talk about one of the keynote speakers?
Does that man down there look like he can teach anyone anything about mobile tech and trends??

photo 2

To top it off, they showed some photos from last year’s exhibition:

photo 3

I mean seriously.

No wonder monster corporations like Sony, Panasonic,  Nintendo and et al., can’t get their shit together. The people on top are old farts who learn about ‘the web’ from other staunchy old farts at venues like these.

God. Sometimes, I’m so embarrassed for this country.

Goes to show how much opportunity for disruption there is.
Reason no bajillion I’m in Tokyo :)