Posts tagged “trend”

Japan’s new education model is India?

Excerpted from this story

Japan is suffering a crisis of confidence about its ability to compete with its emerging Asian rivals, China and India. One result has been a growing craze for Indian education.

Many are looking for lessons from India, seen by many in Japan as the world’s ascendant education superpower.

Bookstores are filled with titles like “Extreme Indian Arithmetic Drills” and “The Unknown Secrets of the Indians.” Newspapers carry reports of Indian children memorizing multiplication tables far beyond nine times nine, the standard in Japan. And the few Indian international schools in Japan are reporting a surge in applications from Japanese families.

At the Little Angels English Academy & International Kindergarten, the textbooks are from India, most of the teachers are South Asian, and classroom posters depict animals out of Indian tales, including dancing elephants in plumed turbans.

Little Angels is in Mikata, a Tokyo suburb. Only 1 of its 45 students is Indian. Most are Japanese.

As with many new things in Japan, the interest in Indian-style education has become a social fad, with everyone suddenly piling on.

Indian education is a frequent topic in public forums, from talk shows to conferences on education. Popular books claim to reveal the Indian secrets for multiplying and dividing multiple-digit numbers.

Interesting to see how “foreign” India may be to the Japanese, such that a mythology emerges. Reminds me of the tantric sex mythology (one of many, no doubt, over the centuries) that the West has built up around India.

Pop Culture Osmosis, Tokyo (part 1)

What sort of stuff is “popular” in another country? How do we, as visitors, experience, catalog or contextuallize pop culture? More posts on this to come.

Being in Japan means constant encounters with kawaii, or cute, characters. Some will be familiar to visitors, whether imported (i.e., Stitch, Snoopy, Miffy, Mickey, Pooh, Pink Panther) or domestic (i.e., Hello Kitty, Totoro, Domo-kun). We were intrigued to come across a new character, then, and wondered who he was.

A display at Tokyu Hands featured this plush toy and a catchy song, in Japanese.
bottombitingbug1.jpg

Then we saw him (with friends) in an arcade window.
bottombitingbug4.jpg

And then we saw a complete window display in Harajuku featuring this (presumed) bug.
bottombitingbug3.jpg

And that gave me something to Google: bug, and mono comme ca (the name of the store). Success! It’s the Bottom Biting Bug (Oshiri Kajiri Mushi).

As my New Year’s Gift to you all, then, here is the video, with subtitles in Japanese and English. This is what started it all, and is an awesome, awesome earworm. Someday soon, very soon, you will awaken with a slight startle, and as the real world comes into grey focus, you’ll grasp at the fading threads of your dream only to realize that it’s been the Bottom Biting Bug song as your internal, nocturnal soundtrack.

Biting is important business, indeed.

Note: the first of what should be over 1000 images and stories are up on flickr here.

namespace iNcursion

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Not quite sure it’s really a new story, but still amusing/disappointing to read about the lower case leading i and its incursion into branding and naming

Just about anywhere consumers look, they will find products, brands and other commercial offerings that begin with a lowercase “i,” inspired by popular technology names like iMac, iPhone, iPod and iVillage. [Which of these things is not like the other? Although the article later points out that iVillage came before iPod — SP]

A contest sponsored by the Friendly’s restaurant chain, for instance, is called iScream. A television show that made its debut Tuesday night on ABC is titled “i-Caught.”

Other examples include iWireless, a line of prepaid cellphones available at Kroger supermarkets; iCare, a brand of liquid hand sanitizers; iBoxer, underwear with pockets for MP3 players, sold by the Play division of Intimo; and i-Report, video clips contributed by viewers of CNN and visitors to the cnn.com Web site.

“It’s a nice strategy for borrowing some equity” from the better-known i-brands, said Michael Cucka, a partner at Group 1066, a consulting company in New York specializing in corporate identity and branding.

“It seems to work because you’re associating yourself with the idea of trying to be cool,” he added.

“But when you start to do what everyone is doing, you start to lose the power of borrowing that equity,” Mr. Cucka said. “And perhaps the more people who do it, the less cool it becomes.” [Umm, yeah, can you say “i-played-out?” — SP]

The piece also acknowledges the earlier trends for e-names and even u-names.

BRAINSUSHI – The Mutant Media Agency

BRAINSUSHI – The Mutant Media Agency

Avant-garde technologies, social mutations and cultural turmoil… New York vampyres, Mexican freaks, Silicon Valley nerds, Guatemalan gangsters, London fetishists or Japanese otakus, the Brainsushi agency is specialized in documenting contemporary phenomena that foresee the world of tomorrow.

Interesting idea for an agency. Looking at the team, they are a bunch of cutting-edge/outsider/freaks themselves. It’s not clear what use their clients make of this information, and I see that if you must sign a non-disclosure before you can receive any of their insider cultural information (which makes sense business-wise but does seem at odds with the whole notion of cultural info.

[via Pasta and Vinegar]

Herbeau Creations Dagobert Throne Toilet

Step into a world of luxury with the Herbeau Creations Dagobert Throne Toilet. Take your bathroom back a few years with this pull chain antique style toilet that perfectly accents a clawfoot bathtub in your vintage bathroom. The toilet comes with an ashtray, candle holder, and hand painted toilet bowl and plaque.

PRODUCT FEATURES
– Solid ash throne with 3 layers of polyurethane coating
– Pull chain flush with bell, ashtray in arm, and candle included
– “Le Bon Roi Dagobert” plays when lid is raised – a song about a king who arrived at the minister’s council with his trousers on backwards
– Hand-painted toilet bowl and plaque


Base Price – $9,799.00

I think my fave is the ashtray. Just that extra touch of class.

Series

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