The real April Fools from the Google Japanese Input team

Like every year, the team behind Google’s Japanese keyboard for Android has come up with a new innovative way to write with the keyboard, drawing kana on a keyboard.

IThe video explains the mechanism in a funny way.

What’s more interesting, is that, as they did with the “flick keyboard”, this project actually exists, the source code is on GitHub, available for everyone!

Did you remember the joke “with morse code you type much faster“from Google (USA)? 4 faked screenshots, and nothing real… but obviously the japanese team created a real device 😂 (Video, source code)

And every year new, crazy ideas:

  • Write using a party horn (Video, source code) – perfect for when your hands are busy or it’s not appropriate to use vocal dictation (crying kid)
  • Write using bubble wrap like a punched card (Video, source code)
  • Write scrolling letter by letter on a flipping display, like the ones at stations and airports (Video, source code)

Creative ads: Future with bright lights

Kandenko, a japanese firm that does electric works, has done this ads for their brand identity. With simple cardboard shapes and a conductive ink marker they did a masterpiece:

If you want to know about the company name: right now it’s KanDenKo (関電工), that’s short for Kantou Denki Kouji (事) – Kanto electric works.

Japanese socks

This one in the picture is the sock I’m talking about.

Quite normal, maybe it does not deserve a full story on DanDanDin, but who knows…

It all starts out outside the Toei Studio Park in Kyoto. It is a park/film studio where hundreds of movies and TV series are recorded, set in the samurai era.

The surroundings do not offer many options, but being a bit far from the city center, and having gone there on purpose, I decided to explore the whole area, making a “discovery”.

I see a “Lawson 100”, a little different from the normal ones.

The Lawson are small shops, called コンビニ, convenience stores, which have virtually everything you need for everyday life. Being small, it doesn’t offer a big variety, but they have a solution for every eventuality. I made some videos, but I do not remember if I published them… I have hundreds of videos waiting forever to be edited/published…

In short, normally a Lawson has two characteristics:

  • The corporate colors are white and blue
  • Every object for sale has its price

Instead, this is the “Lawson 100”, from outside:

(I was so ecstatic that I forgot to take photos or videos of it, this comes from Google Maps…)

Green and white, with the 100 doing a wink 😉

Never seen before. Intrigued, I enter the store, and I noticed something weird.

“Ah well, this drink costs 100 yen (1 euro) instead of 120 that ask from other parts”

“Um, this onigiri costs 100 yen instead of 140”

“Hey even these snacks cost 100 yen”

…and then I realize it! Everything costs 100 yen! I love 100 yen shops like Daiso! (Daiso is a chain of stores where everything is sold for 100 yen)

I start to look at everything, buying a lot of stuff. For example, I took these “fettuccine”, cola flavor.

Then I see them there, on the shelf. Three socks for 100 yen, one size. Beautiful! I had already taken a package of 5 for 500 yen from GU (a clothing chain) and they were of excellent quality, but a pair of socks is always useful. I’ll take them right away!

They are a single size and are very tight…

I let a Japanese play Majiang

On the Japanese gaming consoles there are hundres of games about Majiang (or Mahjong, 麻雀, 麻将, マージャン, according where it’s played). The game it’s totally different to the “Mahjong” we know in the west, that “puzzle/find couples”, but it’s some kind of poker, I never understood the rules.

I always wanted to play this game, but I was unable to learn the rules, so I asked to a Japanese friend to play to Mahjong Fight Club DS – Wi Fi Taiou for Nintendo DS ed I recorded the gameplay:

Unfortunately, I didn’t record mic input, it would have been much more interesting…

Is it worth to pay for the JR Pass?

A 7 days Japan Rail Pass costs 29110 yen (about 240 euro, depending on the exchange rate). It may seem expensive: is it worthwhile?

It all depends on our travel plans: if we’ll just visit the outskirts of Tokyo, it is a waste of money, even going to Yokohama, Kamakura, Saitama, we’ll never would spend this amount.

But, if we plan to visit also Osaka, we can see on Hyperdia that the pass is cheaper than a return ticket!

Obviously, there are cheaper ways to go to Osaka, for example, a night bus costs about 8000 yen, and even a plane ticket Haneda => Itami costs much less. Or you can try to take the train without reservation saving fifty euro each way.

But the Shinkansen is much more comfortable for many ways: in 3 hours you arrive, without bother to check-in, book months in advance, depart at odd hours, transfer to airports, overweight luggages, etc …

With the JR Pass you can take all trains except the Nozomi (the fastest Shinkansen), berths, and private companies trains (eg: the Seibu-Shinjuku line, Seibu-Ikebukuro, Keio, subway, etc.), so you can save even with a simple, one week trip like this:

  • Narita Express from Narita Airport to Tokyo (2630 yen)
  • Transfers on the Yamanote line to visit Shinjuku, Shibuya (200 yen for each trip)
  • Hikari for Osaka (14140 yen)
  • Train for Kyoto (560 yen)
  • Return to Tokyo (560+14140)
  • Narita Express for the airport (2630 yen)

Total: 35000 yen => a 55 euro savings!

It all depends by what do you want to see during the trip.

Tokyo 2020

Did you see the Tokyo 2020 teaser intro?

It was awesome! There’s captian Tsubasa, Doraemon, Pac-man and in the end the Japan prime ministry becomes Super Mario, jumps in a pipe and arrives in Rio!

You didn’t see it live?

Oh, bad luck! Unfortunately the olympic committee doesn’t allow distribution, takes down every mirror on YouTube… I don’t understand… you should be happy that your teaser is so great that has become a viral video, giving you free advertisement!! What’s the purpose in spending thousands of dollars to make a teaser, then forbid everyone to watch it?

I don’t understand this, like their war to the GIF videos on Twitter.

Screenshot_20160822-224630

The washable phone

On my first article wrote on Dandandin in the 2009, I talked about the “new” 3D phones fron Japan. We never got them, we got an autosteroscopic 3D screen 2 years later with the Nintendo 3DS and only one smartphone, the HTC Evo 3D, which I never saw in stores.

The 3D mania,let companies create products like the 3DeeShell for the iPhone, but were commercial failures.

Now, it’s trendy to make waterproof phones, but while Sony says that’s better to don’t get their waterproof phones wet, Kyocera in Japan launches the DIGNO rafre, the first smartphone washable with warm soap.

See the ad:

The official page doesn’t go in deep detail over the specs, but tells us more details: foam-resistant, scratch-resistant, and so on

The real flick keyboard

As an April Fool’s Google Japan made a Flick physical keyboard.

usecase

Designed for those who, accustomed to a flick keyboard on Android / iOS, is no longer able to use one for traditional computers. The website introduces it very well, even though he exaggerates with the functionality, with a laser tracking system that would look unrealistic even in science fiction movies.

What’s really interesting thing is that they made available the source code: one could actually make this keyboard at home with Arduino, although it lacks a fundamental thing: the files for the 3D printer. Yes, I can recreate it at home, but the little box and cute keys? You have to design them yourself.

With the “recipe” that have published, what comes out is something like this:

device

Which it is quite different than the cool prototype shown in the video.

However, it works. With 12 analog nubs from a PS2 pad, they convert the 24 analog inputs to digital using three MCP3208 ICs, using only 5 digital inputs on the arduino nano, while the nub click is directly connected to the remaining 12 digital/analog inputs. After that, the program communicates via serial port with a card, and is seen as a bluetooth keyboard.

Despite the cool looking prototype, in my opinion it’s actually awkward to use. If each key is using a PS2 analog stick, the click is much harder than one key on a standard keyboard, ok, maybe you can write a sentence, but a longer text? Best wishes!

Only in Japan: color-shifting bras

E-ink screens are on the market from many years. They use less energy, and are quite flexible, so Triumph used them to make an innnovative bra that can change its color from white to black. Just activate the switch and BOOM, color change!

Enough with words, the video shows the action much better.

This is the “sisters” kit (姉妹 – Shimai) inspired from Frozen – where the elder one gets the 姉 (Ane, elder sister) and the younger gets the 妹 (Imouto, younger sister). When they’re nearby, BAM, the bra can change color.

This other video shows more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voH1b5z9BCU

Anyways, it looks like the screen is not flexible enough for the shape, they separated it in two halves and it still looks too hard. (Maybe that’s why they chose skinny models?)

Fonte: Kyodo News