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My iPod Touch has a bad sense of direction

The iPod Touch has had some weird glitches and bugs, but this one pops up for me often. It seems that sometimes the iPod Touch get’s confused about whether it is horizontal or vertical. Instead of choosing one it tries to hedge the bet by taking a little from column A and a little from column B. If you shake it or just leave it alone for a while it’ll figure things out and get back to normal eventually.

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Travel by (local) train for cheap in Japan

There’s a little known ticket in Japan called the Seishun Juhachi kippu (literally “Youth 18 ticket”). While it was originally conceived as a ticket for the young people, nowadays it’s used by anyone and everyone who likes traveling on the cheap. The ticket costs ¥ 11,500 and is good for five (consecutive or non-consecutive) days of travel. That means you only pay ¥2,300 a day!

You just show the person at the ticket gates, get it stamped the first time you use it, and you’re traveling for next to nothing all day. You can even have multiple people traveling on the same ticket (one day per person though).

The one big drawback is that you can only travel by local or local rapid train (and the Miyajimaguchi ferry). Depending on where you are going that could mean a very long train ride. But on the bright side you’ll see a lot more of Japan through the train window. All things considered this ticket is for people who have time to spare or like traveling slowly.

Spring
Sold: Feb. 20-Mar. 31
Valid: Mar.1-Apr. 10

Summer
Sold: July 1-Aug. 31
Valid: July 20-Sep. 10

Winter
Sold: Dec.1-Jan. 10
Valid: Dec.10-Jan. 20

I used it to travel from Tokyo to Kamakura to Kyoto to Nara, and then back up to Fukushima. In US dollars that trip would have cost a bunch, maybe $600 instead I paid about $120.

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Using the JP (Japan Post) to Send Money

If you want to send money from Japan you can use the post office. The JP (Japan Post) used to be the best deal in town. Nowadays there are other ways that are just as good. Short of setting up an account with CitiBank (which is marginally better), it’ll be pretty much the same no matter where you send money from.

Below you find the important pages from the JP booklet. You can send money in two ways.

One way is to send a money order to an address, this is the most annoying way because you have to pay for the EMS mail service and the money order can only be up to a certain amount per check— which means you may have to fill out six money orders.

The second way is to send money to an account. You can do this with cash or from one account to another. I recommend cash, because it is easier. You’ll need to have some bank account info (see below) and you’ll probably be charged by your bank to receive the money.

JP Post booklet (PDF)

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How American movies change when they are exported

Translation has always been interesting to me. It is interesting to me how something like a movies are translated. Even before making it to the theater the movie can be changed dramatically through translation. The name of the movie can reshape the expectation and focus of the movie for example. While not lingual, the movie poster can also be “translated” for a different audience.

Meryl Streep’s It’s Complicated is an example of those two things happening at once. The result is that the bakery (which isn’t featured at all in the American marketing) and the character’s family become the focus. While the American version seems to focus on the character’s complicated love life.

It’s really interesting. The big question is how these two marketing campaigns reflect cultural values and whether these reflections are pleasing to witness.

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Warner Brothers want more people to pirate their new movies

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Warner Brothers will be delaying release on Netflix by four weeks. It is a silly move to try and squeeze more money out of consumers at a time when most consumers don’t have lots of extra cash to spare.

From the article:

“Within the home entertainment category, we’re creating different times at which a product is available at different prices,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros.’ home entertainment president.

I place my bet on this being a total wash financially. Whatever money they gain from the few customers who are willing to pay the premium they’ll loose to illegal downloads. This is also a great move to anger and alienate their customers.

It is amazing that a company can create a strategy that is hostile to customers and simultaneously complain about things like piracy (which are in part an issue of customer loyalty). It seems that Warner Brothers doesn’t understand some of the fundamental changes in technology and culture that effect their business. This is yet another issue of boneheaded money grabs which make life more difficult for legitimate customers and much much easier for people who don’t pay a penny.

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