A song of Gratitude The whole family, harmonious and devout. Aware of debts to our parents and ancestors. Revering Nature, grateful for society. Always humble, learning from others. Able to give, demonstrating kindness. Making one's motto: "A bright life." Overlooking other's faults, correcting one's own. Moderate in speech, not getting angry. Gentle, kind, honest. Let's appreciate the joy of life. Patient. Peaceful. Not getting angry. Careful in speech. This leads to a long life. --Soen Ozeki
More pixels, faster pixels and better pixels were the key message points from NHK's demonstration of their 8K broadcast system in Japan. The Japanese public broadcaster announced their plans to skip 4K and go straight to 8K. At a resolution of 7680x4320, screens pack in an ultra high definition image of 33 megapixels per frame, at a frame rate of 120Hz. The details in the demo reel were amazingly clear, but you would expect nothing less. As a broadcaster, NHK aims to test in 2016 and in 2018 provide commercial broadcasting with a goal in 2020 to cover the Tokyo Olympics. The demonstration is less about the television monitors to display the content - there are a lot of manufacturers optimizing displays. Instead NHK is working out the transmission requirements. They estimate 100Mbps circuits for streaming content. But that is just the tip of the iceberg as far as infrastructure goes. Between the content creation and the receivers there are satellites, cable, wired and wireless systems, data centers and content delivery networks to consider. All of this infrastructure still needs to be built in order for widespread 8K delivery to succeed. In the U.S. we are still asking ourselves where the 4K content is, let alone ubiqutious high speed broadband. As lofty a goal as NHK has set, at least Japan is pushing the limit of this technology, 2018 will come sooner than you think and if successful will leap frog systems in the U.S.
Local tech company Oceanit and the Honolulu Hackerspace group HI Capacity are collaborating to help Japan with its radiation problems after the explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant this past March. They recently met up with Peiter Franken one of the co-founders of an organization called Safecast that is helping to map out the zones in Japan that are affected by the radiation fallout. Safecast's mission is to empower people with data, primarily by building a sensor network and enabling to both contribute and freely use the data. One of the main issues is that there aren't enough Geiger counters to survey all of Japan for radiation particles. Franken is working with grassroots programmer groups like the Hackerspace in Tokyo and LA to help build the necessary sensor tools. In Hawaii, Ian Kitajima, Marketing Director at Oceanit drove around central Oahu and Waikiki testing out one of the "bento box" Geigers called bGeigie built by the Tokyo Hackerspace. Kitajima told Bytemarks Cafe, "It is a multifaceted problem and Safecast is looking for a variety of ways to get this technology in the hands of the Japanese citizen." According to Franken, the Tokyo group built 15 of these bGeigie units and volunteer groups are driving around the affected region taking readings. They are also looking at both stationary and mobile sensors. The LA group Crashspace is building a geiger counter interface for the iPhone called the iGeigie. Back at home, Ryan Kanno said that the Honolulu Hackerspace group is looking at ways they can help aggregate the data into a central website. This would allow field workers to easily upload their data for instant analysis and visualization.
Ebisubashi is a central bridge and major attraction in the heart of Dotonbori. We crossed this bridge everyday during our stay in Osaka. Each time there was something new to experience. From here you can access all the restaurants in the area. Don Quijote is about one minute away and the iconic Glico Man looms over everything. In the evening this bridge is known to be a pick-up place where young people rendezvous. Nearby are the Love hotels, but that is a different story. During the day you will run into typical Osakaites scurrying from one shop to the next. You might also find street performers testing out their material. Ron Mizutani showed us a video he and Greg Lau took of a dance troupe practicing their moves on the Ebisubashi crowd. Unfortunately that footage didn't get into the video segments that were run on KHON about Osaka and Kyoto. On this our last day in Osaka, we happened on a street performance by a musician named Aimi. I find these chance meetings most memorable, nothing planned, pure serendipity. She happen to be playing what was to be her last song of the afternoon. With iPhone in hand, this is what I captured. I love her passion and expressiveness. Who knows, she might be the next big J-pop star. Regardless, it was well worth the experience.
If you are into electronics, cameras or gadgets in general Yodobashi Camera is the place to be. Knowing my geeky interests, @Sophielynette cued me on to Yodobashi. There are about 21 of these stores scattered around Japan, each one consisting of multiple floors of electronics gear. The one we went to in Umeda was 8 floors, jam packed with everything electronic you can think of. I recall mentioning to Bert Kimura, one of our guides on this excursion, that it was an assault on the senses. There were racks stacked full of gear, signs pointing you in every direction and people everywhere. You could get lost in there and your family would never find you. I was impressed with the vast assortment of gear on display. But it wasn't just the assortment, it was the depth. For example I happened onto the section of the store featuring telescopes. Yodobashi not only had a vast selection of telescopes and binoculars but in addition they had microscopes and scientific accessories. I couldn't even think of a place in Hawaii that sells microscopes. The camera department is the signature section of the store. It's a photographers heaven in there. Dallas Nagata White asked if they had the Leica M9 and sure enough, there it was. My measure of a store's worth is the amount of tripods they carry. Not just any tripod, I am looking for quirky Gorillapods. Yodobashi had tiny little tripods, big huge tripods and this rack full of Gorillapods. Okay, I am done gushing over Yodobashi. We had to pry ourselves out of there and get Dallas to the train for the airport. If you want more on our Osaka adventure check out Dallas' excellent photo gallery and Mari's delicious foodie video. You can also check out my Flickr set of our Day 3: Osaka. ** Mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines who sponsored this trip on their inaugural flight from Honolulu to Osaka, Kansai.
On this second day in Japan, we hopped a train to Kyoto and ventured out on our own. This shot was taken at Daitoku-ji Temple at the Daisen-in. This building was where Sen No Rikyu's tea room was on display. Unfortunately no photographs were allowed. I did snap of this shot of the rock garden which I found quite pleasing. I won't speculate on the meaning of the rock formations but leave that for your interpretation. If you have some insight, please share. You can see more photos of Daitoku-ji in my Flickr set of Day 2 in Kyoto. Soen Ozeki is the head abbot at Daisen-in whose poetry was displayed throughout the hall.
A video and a photo collage shares a thousand words. Enjoy... More photos from the Day 1: Osaka/Kyoto photo set on Flickr.
For Hawaiian Airlines this is the the second destination route to Japan. This opens up the Kansai area for Hawaiian Air to connect more tourists and business people between Hawaii and Japan. It was a festive event this past Tuesday, July 12th, as I tried to capture the celebration at the departure gate prior to take off. Stay tuned for more to come...
Last week I got a big smile from the heavens by Hawaiian Air. They offered me a seat on their inaugural flight to Osaka, Japan. An offer I gladly accepted. On Tuesday, July 12, 2011, Hawaiian Air will start regular daily flights to Kansai Airport. Hawaiian Air already flies a successful route to Tokyo which started last November. I've been to Osaka once before and remembered it to be a blast. The image that is seared in my memory is the one shown in the image. (Photo courtesy of Matsuyuki on Flickr.) Once you see this Kuidaore clown you can't forget it. It fronts a seafood restaurant which I hope to revisit. Fortunate for me I have some expert foodies, photographers and social media marketing pros joining me on the flight, including Mari Taketa (@nonstopmari), Esme Infante Nii (@esmeinfantenii), Dallas Nagata-White (@dallasnagata), Toby Tamaye (@atmarketing) and Jason Ubay (@jubay). In addition to the food, I will have my sights set on tech culture in Osaka. We'll also get a chance to visit Kyoto which I suspect will be more culturally oriented as I have a penchant for Zen temples. You can also follow me @Bytemarks, on Google+ and the hashtag #HAOsaka to track our trip tweets, wifi permitting. We love your feedback so let me know what think as we follow our passions through Osaka and Kyoto.
This story ran in the Star Advertiser on Friday and given my fascination with ships and planes I had to see if the Kaiyu Maru was still docked at Aloha Tower. On my morning run I detoured to Aloha Tower Marketplace and sure enough it was still there. My plan was to try and get a tour of the ship but that did not pan out. Trying to board a foreign ship at the last minute, literally hours before they leave is futile. But I did get to meet the Roosevelt High School students, Krista Ann Lee and Ronald Li along with their teacher Jennifer Williams as they made their last minute foray into town to buy a case of diet Coke. The threesome are on their way to Fukuoka, a 17 day trip on the training vessel Kaiyu Maru. They, along with 60 other Japan students will journey the western Pacific on the 223 foot vessel. Judging from their blog post, the first day at sea was a struggle with seasickness. It will be interesting to follow along with their adventure on the high sea. Stay tuned as I have asked Jennifer and her students to join us on Bytemarks Cafe on Dec 15th to share with us their once in a lifetime experience.