Interview with CoolIris VP of business development, Sebastian Blum

Occasionally the folks from Palo Alto-based Cooliris swing through Tokyo as part of efforts to promote their photo sharing service in Asia. Our readers may recall that we spoke with them back in March, when they were making good progress in China with an early partnerships with social service Renren …

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Snippet scraping

USA's Foluke Akinradewo, 2011

A part-time writing assignment that I took on a few years back was reporting on international volleyball matches here in Japan. Because I love sports, this is one of the most enjoyable gigs I've ever done. But there were some friction points that arose during my court-side writing process. I'd …

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Interview with Matthew Romaine, co-founder of Gengo

Back in July we mentioned that Tokyo-based translation startup Gengo would be relocating its head office to Shibuya. Today we were lucky enough to have the company’s CTO Matthew Romaine give us a brief tour of the place, as well as provide some brief updates on how business is …

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Brazil narrowly edges out USA in three close sets

Kyoto, Japan, November 20, 2013 - Both Brazil and the USA were winners on day one of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup in Kyoto, with victories over Iran and Japan respectively. Going into this match, the two teams had faced each other 64 times in international …

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Mousavi and Iran block Italy in Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan, November 20, 2013 - The Italians, who picked up an impressive game one win against Russia to open the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup, faced a determined Iran team who were coming off a loss against Brazil. These teams had played five times before, with …

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After loss to Italy, Russia rebounds by punishing home team Japan

Kyoto, Japan, November 20, 2013 - Coming off a disappointing loss against the Italians on the opening day of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup, Russia looked for a better effort against host Japan. Historically, Russia has dominated head-to-head competition with Japan, winning 56 of 66 total …

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An explosive Zaytsev leads Italy to opening day win over strong Russian side

Kyoto, Japan, November 19, 2013 - The 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup kicked off on Tuesday, with six teams – including four continental champions – converging on the city of Kyoto. Russia and Italy kicked things off in the first match at Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium, in a battle of …

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Brazil picks up opening day win, but not without trouble from Iran

Kyoto, Japan, November 19, 2013 - Brazil took on a spirited Iran squad on Tuesday, the first day of 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup in Kyoto. With enthusiastic pockets of Iranian and Brazilian fans in attendance at Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium, Brazil handily took this match 3–1 …

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USA bring the block party to Kyoto, beating host team Japan

Kyoto, Japan, November 19, 2013 - Japanese fans were pumped to support their home team at Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium, as they hosted the USA to open the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup. A strong USA squad ran into a speedbump in the third set, but managed to …

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Sakoda electrifies Japan against a spirited Dominican squad

Tokyo, Japan, November 16, 2013 - Japan hosted the Dominican Republic at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday. Japan had only lost to the USA going into this match, and they looked very strong in this match as well, taking the match 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 29-27). Japan was led by the dynamic …

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Yukai Engineering pushes the limits of Japanese hardware creativity

This week we had a chance to visit the office of Yukai Engineering, a really fun robotics and hardware development company based here in Tokyo. The group was involved in producing the hardware for the very clever TeamLab Hanger which we featured back in March. They also created the prototype …

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Interview with Kei Kajitani, VCNC Japan president

I conducted an interview with Kei Kajitani, the president of VCNC Japan, who operate couples app Between in the country. Here is a short video that I shot with him giving a brief overview of his company. It's in Japanese and I added English subtitles. Shot outside, on the fly …

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Interview with Yusuke Mitsumoto, CEO of Bracket

Myself and Yukari Mitsuhashi conducted an interview with Yusuke Mitsumoto, the CEO of Japanese e-commerce startup Bracket. Here is a short video that we shot with him giving a brief overview of his company. It's in Japanese and we added English subtitles. This was part of a larger 'Tokyo Office …

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Interview with Takako Kansai, founder of Zaim

It has been a while since we checked in on Japanese personal finance app Zaim. So I was surprised and delighted to bump into the service’s creator Takako Kansai at an event in Osaka last week. In addition to being a mainstay app on my mobile, letting me scan …

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Capitalizing on culture: Can new $60M fund help make Kyoto an innovation center?

As we return from our trip down to Osaka for B Dash Camp, there’s more news emerging from Western Japan, this time from Kyoto. A new venture fund of $60 million was officially announced today, initiated by Kyoto University with the goal of supporting entrepreneurial activity from that university …

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Before Japan’s startup elite, Nintendo president talks innovation and the search for something new

The highlight of day one at B Dash Camp in Osaka was the final session featuring Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. It’s unusual for him to join an open event like this, so this was a bit of a treat, especially following the social gaming session that took place earlier …

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Say Hi to beautiful location-based experiences

I like content presented on maps. And I’ve been a big fan of Hitotoki, developed by Craig Mod and the folks at Tokyo-based AQ, since a few years back. It was a great collection of geo-tagged stories, wrapped in the kind of beautiful design that great stories deserve. But …

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Interactive: Japan Internet Map

The following interactive was published on The Bridge 1 in June 2013. The data was collected mostly by Takuya Tsuchiya, and it was designed by me, inspired by Jason Davies Coffee Wheel presentation. It was made using the D3 Javascript library, thanks to great expertise by Nikita Basukov who we …

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Japan’s Weathernews hopes to take the US market by storm

Japanese companies have been very good at monetizing the mobile space, most notably gaming companies. But there’s one sector that you would likely not expect would be easy to monetize, and that’s weather information. But a company in Japan called Weathernews has done pretty well for itself in …

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Stand up: Lessons on entrepreneurship and innovation from the Japan New Economic Summit

Last week we live-blogged many of the sessions from the Japan New Economy Summit on disruptive innovation. Since then, we’ve had a chance to digest all the information, and our more in depth overview of the discussions is below. Admittedly it’s a little long, so we’ve made …

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