The Bridge


Saving the story of your kids: Notabli app launches version 2.0

Regular readers of The Bridge will remember that I’ve raved about the Notabli app before. It’s an app that lets parent save their children’s moments, in a space that’s private, shared with only friends and family members of your choosing. When I had my first kid …

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Explosive potential: Nitrous puts pre-configured development environments in the cloud

As someone who has been trying to learn programming over the past few years, one of the biggest issues that I continue to run into is getting my local development environment to function properly. For a beginner, an amazing amount of stamina is required to power through the inevitable command …

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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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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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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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Line Corporation’s CEO Morikawa on fast and furious global expansion

In the opening session of B Dash Camp Fukuoka 2013, we had a chance to hear from the CEO of Line Corporation, Akira Morikawa. The company’s popular Line chat app now boasts over 140 million users around the world, and over 45 million in its home market of Japan …

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The announcement I wish Nintendo would make

This morning I stumbled across M.G. Siegler’s post on the death of Nintendo, which he says has been “greatly under-exaggerated.” Like Siegler, I’m a fan of Nintendo. But I don’t think they’re completely dead. There is one final Hail Mary pass that I think Nintendo …

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A fine line: Shantell Martin projects freestyle performance art

At a recent FITC event in Tokyo I had a chance to hear renowed artist Shantell Martin speak about her artwork, as well as her connections to Japan, a place that has played a central role in her development. Her work is sometimes so simple that it resembles doodles that …

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YouTube opens its third global space for video creators in Tokyo

Located a few floors below Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) high-rise Tokyo office, the internet giant today announced a brand new space dedicated to video creators in Japan and the Asia Pacific region. It’s new YouTube Space in Tokyo is the third of its kind for the company in the …

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Rage of Bahamut and Japan’s quest for global gamers

One of the biggest Japan-related tech stories from 2012 was the success of Cygames’ social card battle game Rage of Bahamut on DeNA’s Mobage network. Whether or not Japanese social games can succeed in markets abroad is a very interesting question, and Bahamut so far is perhaps the most …

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