Plain Talk


Internet made easy. by Mardo

The internet is a wonderful thing to use, and its so easy! You just do a search and then click on the links. Its pretty self explanatory. Unless of course you have tried to explain it to someone. We all tend to think of the internet as easy to use, because we know its tricks. We are used to it. But to someone knew it is confusing. There are certain ways you are meant to type your queries into search engines, and not everyone knows that the blue links are what you are meant to press in the results. I liken it to telling someone to read Manga but forgetting that you should read from Right to left.

After being the go to tech guy for several older relatives and I have noticed several things that everyone is supposed to know, but quite frankly doesn't.

Where to click? Hyperlinks to me are pretty obvious. But do you remember when anyone told you that you should click the blue word? Its more than just that though. icons for log in, enter, search and any number of other functions appear all over pages, and unless they have a flashing CLICK HERE sign, a lot of people don’t notice them.

Flashing Click Here sign: Don’t Press the Flashing Click Here sign, EVER! Those pop ups, and ads are normal, but just ignore them. Sometimes you do have to search for the real link or icon.

Updates: Don’t worry about them too much, Java and adobe update so often its a running joke among many tech heads.

Toolbar: Many updates and downloads will ask you to install a toolbar. Don’t bother, unless you really, Really want to have smiley face icons. Make sure you check/uncheck these options before pressing continue.

Terms and Conditions: No one reads them, not even judges. Just click accept and download.

Not everything is broken: If something goes wrong it can usually be fixed with a few setting changes, don’t panic. No need to take your computer to the shop. Turn it on and off first.

I would add, if you do wish to help out the less computer savvy of your connections , keep in mind, once you do, you are ALWAYS there I.T. guy and will constantly be asked for advice. Cute co-workers good, Old Aunties who ask about your love life, not as good…. In which case, I am always happy to help out family and friends.

インターネットはすばらしいし、使い易い! 検索してリンクをクリックするだけだ。説明の必要がない。誰かに説明しないといけないなら話は別だが。誰もがインターネットは手軽に使えると考えるし、慣れてしまっている。しかし慣れていない人をまごつかせる。サーチエンジンで質問をする時は特定のやり方があるし、知らない人が多いけれど、ブルーリンクは検索結果後にプレスするべきものだ。 僕はリンクを付けて漫画を人に送ったのだけど、右から左へと読むものだと言うのを忘れた。


どこをクリックすればいい? 僕にとってハイパーリンクなんて、見てすぐわかる。でもブルーの単語をクリックするんだと誰に教わったか覚えているだろうか。単にそれだけではない。ログインする時のアイコン、エンターや検索アイコン、ファンクションキーキーの数字すべてが画面上に現れる。もしそれがフラッシュしてここをクリックするというサインが出なければ、たいていの人は気づかない。







Plain Talk



Foreigners arriving in Japan are always amused by the sight of white masks hiding the faces of Japanese, enough to show only the slit of their eyes. “What are those for?” All seem to ask in wonder. Perhaps, in the Western world, a mask is easily associated with a thief, a surgeon, or a Muslim niqab and the Afghan burqa. Hence, seeing them in the Oriental surroundings feels quite bizarre.

Masks existed in Japan since the Jomon Period (10,000 BC- 300BC) and were used for magic or for covering faces of the dead. The real masks we see in Japan are the Noh and Kyogen masks, which symbolize jealousy and sadness (red and white Hannya mask), playfulness and protection against evil (long-nosed Tengu mask), youth as deception of age (female Ko-omote mask), and anger against anything that does not fit the ideal world (Shukongou statue mask). Whatever the meaning, even then masks could change people’s personalities and were the perfect media for disguising true nature.

The mask can sometimes impose a great psychological impact on the mentality and behavior. Many years ago, there was a local news report about two high school girls who came back from a UN headquarters school trip in New York. Upon their arrival at Narita airport, they were diagnosed with a fever above 38?C; however, were sent home because they did not show symptoms of a virus. Not so quick. The next morning, they made the front headline news when they caught the rampant influenza virus and were not wearing masks at that time. They had not gone back to school since their return to Japan yet the entire school community panicked. The principal was harassed with mails and phone calls from parents whose children attended the same school or took the same train line the two girls took from the airport to home. The ridiculous claims were, "Why did you allow the students to go to New York?"
"Were you prepared for the consequences?"
"My child took the same train your infected students took that night. What responsibility would you take if my child catches the virus?"

Not wearing the precious mask can make the Japanese turn wild and frenzy beyond logic and reason. So pandemonium was this “scandal” that the school principal had to weep in front of the media, unable to hide his unnecessary shame and loss of dignity. Too bad, he didn't wear a mask to camouflage his true emotions.

Find yourself inside a Tokyo subway. Ten people are wearing masks except you. They all look at you with suspicious eyes. They are not saying, "You might catch the virus if you don't wear a mask like we do." What their eyes are saying to you is, "We're clean and safe; you're not.”

It may be an exaggeration but rerouting to the explanation of the Shukongo statue mask could counter suggest it. By not wearing a mask, Japanese may not just be afraid that they might catch the flu; more so, they fear that they might be segregated from the rest of the "normal" society if they don't do as the entire population does.

If people don’t wear the mask, perhaps they would be less dependent on what is expected of them, and rather learn how to think for themselves, cope with a crisis and survive considering as many options as possible.

Tokyo Fab



This years huge gathering of spectacularly decorated cars will again be held in the large open spaces of Odaiba. Following on from last years success with nearly one thousand participants, the growing event will bring enthusiasts, creators and collaborators together again to stroll around with unlimited freedom and enjoy the designs and uniqueness of the cars and their owners.
Itasha has been a growing creative culture perhaps since the 1980’s when people were into importing Italian cars with their surplus cash and adding designs to them. However, it was into the new millennium when the numbers of people involved, particularly in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, really increased and the sub-culture became more visible. In 2007, the first of the recognized Itasha orientated conventions was held and this seemed to propel the fun art form forward.
The rise of Itasha is linked with that of Anime and the relationship is tangible. The art is typically Japanese but a growing level of interest can be detected worldwide with countries including Taiwan, Malaysia, Brazil and the Philippines all getting in on the act. Even professional racing has embraced Itasha with both Japan Motorsport and Federation Internationale de l’Automobile having examples of inclusion in their programs.
Perhaps the beauty of such an event is seeing people happy and immersed in their chosen hobby. The Odaiba field allows for easy movement and relaxed interaction with friends old and new as you take in the various tastes and designs. Originally featuring soft toys and stickers in the early days, the forms now include paintwork and obviously, larger investments and commitment from the creators. Talk with them. Hear their stories and then, consider what you want to do with that. Perhaps you’ll start saving for a lavish outlay of your own vehicle or, get a few stickers for your bike at one of the stalls. Bikes and motorcycles are also being swept up into this relatively new form of fashion.
So as the weather slowly warms, don’t hesitate to investigate this fun event with its energy, its colour and its variety. We welcome you there.

What’s App With You?


Media Monster:

Having a hard time adding and editing music to your video? With Media Monster you can record HD videos while capturing background music from any app at the same time! Perfect for workouts, music, dance videos, tutorials and more, it’s an all in one recording solution on your iPhone and iPad! Use your device’s camera to its full potential with Media Monster. Record high definition videos at high frames per second, and take high resolution photos at the best quality. Post production software can be expensive and adding music tracks to videos can take time and editing skill. With Media Monster, none of that is necessary. Record the video and background music simultaneously from any music app, including Spotify, Apple Music and more!

Piku Piku:

Selfie camera apps are a dime a dozen these days, but most are limited to shooting and sharing still images, rather than video. If you prefer to send fun, short messages using motion instead, there’s an app that makes it drop-dead simple. Piku Piku is a free iPhone camera app designed for creating short repeating videos to share with friends and family. Recordings are limited to just two seconds, but that’s plenty of time to make silly faces or mug for the camera. In addition to the default video mode, Piku Piku can also create animated GIF files, which take a few extra seconds to process once captured. In either mode, files are saved to your camera roll, as well as in a dedicated album so they’re easy to find in the future. Everything is fast and automatic, with no quality or compression settings to fiddle with. If plain video selfies aren’t exciting enough, Piku Piku also includes live filters that can be applied to recordings in real-time!

Tokyo Voice Column


"The Emperor's Neighbor" by Curt Neilson

During one of my walks around Tenno’s palace, with its beautiful moats and walls, I sat and relaxed to read a book.

I heard a homeless man talking to his cats, and I was so interested in him that I stayed to see how he and his cats got along. The striking contrast of him living to near Tenno was unmistakable. I love the tenderness of the description on the map near there that says “For those who cannot go home.”

He sits atop a bench so high,
With waters below and gardens nigh.

Two cats sit warmly on his lap,
Dreaming of food while taking a nap.

They warm themselves and fight for space.
He chides but one and gives no grace.

“Sakura!” he snaps; her head, he “pops”!
She flinches low; her eyes, they drop.

His form is big; his clothes are rags.
His smell is gin; his life in bags.

Yet there he reigns atop the hill,
Surveying all that’s fair and ill.


He calls each night into shadows deep,
Pacing the stones, unable to sleep.


But Sakura hunts at waters’ reeds,
Stealthing her prey, preparing to feed.

The homeless man in Hibiya Park
Is king of cats and lord of larks.

One narrow road divides the two,
Where bicycles and Bentleys parade right through.

We saunter by, all truly alone,
Each mortal seeking his special home.

Poverty and royalty . . . who’s to blame?
We (with clenched hands) who worship fame?

Prince or pauper? Heads or tails?
Fate draws anchor and trims her sails.

Strange but True


Golden eggs for Easter 2018!

Easter or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. Usually easter eggs are decorated and used as gifts on the occasion. If you are looking for unique eggs, Lush has brought back its glittery golden bath bomb eggs for Easter 2018. They're scented with Brazilian orange and honey, made with fairtrade organic cocoa butter (the stuff used to make white chocolate), and enriched with bergamot (a type of orange) and almond oils. Lush says its Easter soap 'cleanses, rejuvenates, moisturises and uplifts' you − perfect for when you're wallowing in a post-chocolate haze.

The Real Elsa?

Elsa from “Frozen” was witnessed helping a car stuck in the snow in Boston! Only it wasn’t a female Elsa, but a male Elsa… The 37-year-old attorney was dressed as Elsa from “Frozen” at a Boston bar Tuesday night when he saw a department wagon stuck in a snowbank. The police needed help and Jason Triplett wouldn’t let it go. Triplett purchased the getup last winter and put it on Tuesday to entertain his friends. So what’s a pretend Disney heroine to do? He went outside in the storm to push the cops vehicle out all on his own, earning viral celebrity and cheers from patrons at the South End’s Gallows pub. The video, shot by customer Christopher B. Haynes, has accrued more than a million views on Facebook, but Triplett believes his fame will be fleeting. “Everyone will be over it by noon,” he told People. “But if this is my 15 minutes, I would like to leverage it to meet Adam Rippon.”