Friday, May 25, 2007

Paper-like Display

My story about Sony's thin display that bends like a piece of paper.
Some technological breakthroughs are more than just a gee-whiz.
If prices are the same, then the switch to ever thinner displays is the way to go.
Another link to my story.
This story shows how business/technology stories often make for the biggest news out of Japan.
I already said this, but we must be vigilant about what Sony (and other Japanese companies) are up to.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Great Japanese albums

Sixteen experts, including my son and taiko drummer Isaku Kageyama with Amanojaku, put in their two cents worth in compiling a list of great Japanese recordings _ including Yellow Magic Orchestera (whom I just checked out the other day in Yokohama), Hikaru Utada, Shoukichi Kina.
Isaku's recommendation: Toru Takemitsu's "In an Autumn Garden."
Thirty years ago when YMO arrived, they signaled change in being among the first in modern Japanese music to be aware of their position in the global music scene.
YMO wasn't imitative. YMO was intelligent in knowing what modern Japanese musicians could/couldn't do. YMO pursued a unique sound that was electronic, modern, mathematical and so so Japanese.
Still, YMO's language was universal (and it's not just the English lyrics).
It is in speaking to the world that art becomes Japanese.
It is in being aware of one's position in the world that one becomes Japanese.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sony proves important, professor reads bacteria

My story on Sony was the most e-mailed technology story on Yahoo! the other day. It was the only Japan news on the Top 10 List (including general news).
It goes to show how crucial it is for us to intelligently pick what intrigues ordinary people (not just investors).
There's more to a story than what drives stock prices.
I also did a story about research on storing information on bacteria.
Hard drives, memory cards and paper get lost/destroyed. But bacteria will be around millions of years from now.
The professor was telling me all this with a straight face, sitting in a cottage-like office on a campus filled with trees and tranquility on the outskirts of Tokyo.
But I had to burst out laughing.
I asked him if it bothered him most people would find this odd, if not outright amusing, maybe ridiculous.
That doesn't phase him at all.
Science is like art _ meant to entertain and fill people with the dream for eternity.
It's someone else's problem to figure out practical applications or implications of Pure Science.
At least he had an answer. But maybe that's why I'm a reporter, not a scientist.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nissan's new technology

Today, I went to visit the new Nissan Advanced Technology Center , where the automaker is concocting the latest technology like cars that produce no pollution and cars that are smart enough to avoid collisions.
The place is very futuristic looking with a lot of light and open spaces, presumably to encourage collaboration (in style).
The cafeteria looks down into a pond.
It's a beautiful work environment.
What stands out is that the engineers are brimming with pride.
Nissan went through some hard times.
But it looks like it's come roaring back since entering the 1999 alliance with Renault.
It's investing in the future by investing in technology.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Getting interviewed

I was on the other end of the interviewing table the other day with Mr. Isao Tokuhashi, who has a Web page, and Podcast.
What a learning experience.
"You know..." "Hmmm" "" "Whatever..."
A sophisticated speaker I am not.
I learned it's nerve-wracking to be interviewed.
And I developed a newly found sympathy for those I interview.
But it's also fun to prattle about yourself.
And to hear the sound of your own voice.
Isao Tokuhashi also taught me that interviews are to be enjoyed.
He is a special kind of person who genuinely likes interviews.
I'm not exactly sure what this means.
But we sometimes forget to enjoy the interview process as much as we should because we get caught up with trying to get something for a story out of the interview.
An interview is, after all, about getting to know someone.
It's a pretty fundamental form of human communication.
And that's an important thing to remember.
Mr. Tokuhashi also translated the interview into Japanese and posted photos of the AP office.
I got to know Mr. Tokuhashi after he visited our bureau with a clip of my AP article from the Fresno Bee.