"cross-modal café" which can enjoy VR casually

Now, some VR game arcades open and the cyber cafes introducing VR HMD increase one after another in Japan. However, can we try VR more casually? cross-modal café is right the VR cafe which is friendly for VR beginner.

Seemingly there is a Japanese classic cafe, but you will find that there is some VR HMD there immediately.

Originally it was a common cafe, but Japanese tech startup Piyamaru made there VR cafe in November, 2016.

They have Gear VR, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and we can use them for 1,000yen(about 8.9USD) for 30minutes. In addition, one drink is included in this fee.

The menus of VR contents are placed in the menu book, too. Those most are free, but we can try more high quality VR contents by paying additional charges(300yen~600yen).

However, 30 minutes pass immediately because they have too much free VR contents. 1000yen/30min is enough to that beginners understand pleasure of VR.

The location of this cafe is a 2-minute walk from JR Yamanote Line Okachimachi Station. There is near from Ueno where is popular as a sightseeing spot. A regular holiday is Sunday, but it opens in 11am - 7pm, Monday - Saturday.


GREE's longtime seller mobile fishing game became VR game

From May 13 to May 21, Japanese major mobile game company GREE released VR fishing game "Tsuri Sta VR(釣りスタVR)" in game arcade Adores of Shibuya and Ikebukuro.

This was developed as of the 10th anniversary memory of their longtime seller mobile fishing game "Tsuri Sta".

Tsuri Sta is a pioneer of the mobile social game released in 2007 when future-phones were the height of prosperity. GREE provided various social games in their mobile Social Networking Service before Facebook became the open platform. Users of GREE made own avatars and they competed with other users for a catch score. When a lot of mobile social games were created and died through ten years, but  this survived. It becomes the game for smartphones now.

Tsuri Sta VR is the VR fishing game that reproduced an atmosphere and a game system of Tsuri Sta in full 3D. Controllers are Android smartphones, and players operate this and catch fish. In addition, the chairs were cooler-boxes. There was right a fishing place! :)

The game was PvP that six players comped for catch points within a time limit.

Finally three players of high ranks were commended. Of course the winners' platform was prepared.

Unfortunately this is showcase VR game, and not released in market places. It was only shown as the tenth anniversary project. However, it was the high quality VR game. I hope that this is shown by the big event such as the Tokyo game show.


Cafe & Bar of Colopl's popular game Shironeko Project

Now, the Collabo-cafe(collaboration-cafe) prospers in Japan. This is one of the new PR technique, the cafe and bars collaborate with mangas, animes, games, artists and provide the menu which assumed them motifs to their fans. They can enjoy worldviews that they love by menus and upload those photos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This is very important. The foods information scattered by photos is strong and they draw new fans.

Of course the Japanese popular mobile games use it. These are collabo-cafe and bar of Colopl's popular mobile games Shironeko Project(白猫プロジェクト).

It's held in new commercial facilities AREA-Q ANNEX in Harajuku, Tokyo. This has nine kinds of drink menus(three kinds are alcohol among them) which assumed characters of the game motifs, and fans order them at the time of entering.

 The price is 600yen - 700yen. To be frank, it's expensive, but is common for the collabo-cafe. Because...

"Bonus" is attached to it. Fans can get the coaster of game characters at random whenever they order menus.

In addition, sojourn time per once is set a limit by 90min. They may enjoy it enough.

Signatures of voice actors who played voices of the game character are displayed in this cafe. Voice actors are very popular in Japan.

Furthermore, various goods are sold in the cafe. In them, the special goods to be able to buy only here are included.

In other words, Collabo-cafe is a place for interchange between fans. It will be surely fun if they can talk with somebody about own favorite game and its characters at such a place. This Collabo-cafe is held until May 30. Infomation is here(Japanese).


Palmer Luckey appeared in a county town in Japan with hot costume suddenly

After having left Facebook, where in the world is the  Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey? He disappeared for a while, and appeared in Japan suddenly.

"Tokushima VR movie festical in Machi Asobi. Palmer Luckey of the developer of Oculus Rift who is the leading person of the current VR boom came! It is the biggest surprise in this event."

"Palmer luckey who made Oculus Rift comes to Tokushima!"

Tokushima Machi Asobi is an pop cultures event held twice a year in Tokushima-shi, Tokushima Prefecture. Tokushima-shi is the capital city of Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku island in Japan. There is county town, but a lot of companies and creators about anime, manga, and game participate whenever this is held. Furthermore, many otakus and tourists gather to enjoy this. Of course this contributes to regional vitalization.
Because VR film festival was held this time, it was not unnatural that Palmer Luckey participated in this event. However, his appearances might be slightly unnatural.

He cosplayed as "Quiet" from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. His hot costume and friendliness became the big topic in the Japanese VR industry in Twitter. Yoshihito Kondoh of Japanese VR evangelist took his funny photo.

"I put material of crappy collage."

Japanese VR creators used him in VR contents at once.

Of course he did not participate in this event only for a cosplay. He tried VR contents exhibited in event and gave a speech in conference.

In addition, he participates in Unity's Unite 2017 Tokyo and indie game event Tokyo Sandbox. His Japan tour continues still more. YOLO! Gotta have fun!


The consumer robot which does window cleaning

Do you have a vacuum cleaner robot? Next, how about the window cleaning robot? Gadget company Thanko released cheap window cleaning WINDY. It is only 29,800yen(in tax).

This sticks to the window by the power of the motor and cleans it while recognizing the area of the windowpane with a sensor. Cleaning time is 2.4 minutes per 1 square meter, and when cleaning is over, it informs it by alarm. In addition, users can control it by remote control. Because this has cleaning pad for water wiping and dry wiping, users can use them properly by uses. The size is W240xD240xH100mm and weight is 1.2kg. A power supply cable is necessary for it, but, for time when it fell by an accident, this has emergency battery.


Is this Super-Sentai show? No, it's company information session

Now jobs outnumber job seekers in Japan. Low birth rate and slowly recovering economy are keeping Japan’s job-to-applicant ratio at a 25-year high. Therefore the many Japanese companies perform various measures to get excellent talented people. Particularly, they focus on students graduating in 2018.

Tech company GMO Pepabo which provide various Web Service held interesting company information session for university students on April 12. It was surely company information session. However, the thing which students watched was Super-Sentai show.

Japanese superhero team franchise of TV drama series. Sentai(戦隊) means Squadron in Japanese. Each member are given colors, and they are very colorful. They are known by the name of "Power Ranger" in the North America.

These are Tweets of recruiter of GMO Pepabo.

At first, Kentaro-Magma, the boss of the cabal of evil "Death-Boys" appeared. They conquered Shibuya. Recruit-Sentai Peparanger appeared there! By the way, Kentaro-Magma is GMO Pepabo CEO Kentaro Sato.

You may think that they are joking around. However, they are earnest and finished all the necessary speeches and panel discussions as Japanese company information session...with costume on.

Their corporate philosophy is "We can make more fun" and they held unique company information session to have student job seekers experience it. Their executives played Peparanger, Kentaro-Magma's costume was handcrafted by an staff, sound track of this show was composed by the staff of former musician and it's shown in SOUNDCLOUD. They accomplished all in themself. Surely their passion must have reached students. Archive video is here. They speak only Japanese, but You can feel fun atmosphere.


Child rearing support mobile application "Moopen"

Child care always comes together with questions and the troubles. If young parents can teach child care know-how between them, they will feel encouraged. Therefore Medicalnet released open child care application "Moopen" which support mothers experiencing child care for the first time.

This resembles cooking recipes application. Mothers can post experiences and methods of their own child care and watch them of other mothers. This application is Social Networking Service also, and all users of this are mothers. Users talk with other users about child care and can talk with each other in peace. In addition, Medicalnet holds photocontests and questionnaires so that users use application more willingly. For example, when they invite photos from users on a theme "How do you store clothing of the baby?", users can take photos of the closet, and post it immediately. It is very convenient to be able to check the experience of various mothers in one kind of theme transversely.

The downloading of the application is free(iOS/Android) and you can read posts of users from the Web site.


The robot of popular anime was reproduced

Now, SF film Ghost in the Shell was shown in Japan. Ahead of this film, gadget maker Cerevo reproduced the robot of the original anime of this film.

It is mini-size of the 1/8 scale(352mm × 391mm × 249mm), but is a real robot, not a model. This is "TACHIKOMA", the AI deployment tank appearing in anime "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex". Cerevo made this with 1/8 scale as part of a project to reproduce the items which appeared in animes, games, and the movies using the technology of the household appliance. This has joints, pod, a manipulator, wheels, and of course they move.

Furthermore, this has a sound recognition function, a voice synthesis engine, a camera and is connected to the cloud Internet. And owners can talk with this. When you show an apple towards the camera of this and ask "What is this?", the object recognition engine in the cloud recognizes it and answers "I know, this is a apple". When someone tell this that "the apple is sweet", this understands it, sends the information to the cloud and share information with other TACHIKOMA. In other words, this learns a lot of information by many owners talking to this. They accept the pre-order of this, but surprisingly the price is 169,992 yen!(in Tax). Furthermore, SPECIAL EDITION using aluminum parts is 191,592 yen!(in tax). The shipment start is June.


Japanese flea market app "Mercari" went into the U.K.

Japanese flea market app "Mercari" step forward abroad steadily. They released application in U.K. This is their overseas development following the U.S. and they aim at the European market. U.K. version site is here.

Mercari was released in Japan in July, 2013. Various flea market apps existed before this, but as for them, web service for PCs was the main constituent, and the mobile apps were late departure. However, Mercari was the "mobile-first" thoroughly and simple(they have web service for PCs now). If you want to sell something, you have only to take its photos with the camera of the smartphone and write its captions. If you have luck, it may sell in several seconds. I used Jp version of Mercari, and earned about 170,000yen(about 1,510USD) so far. In Japan, we must pay recycling fees when we discard large garbage and household appliance garbage. However, we can earn pocket money if we sell these in Mercari.

They released U.S. version in September, 2014, and apps broke through 20 million downloading now(40 million downloading in Japan). They established branch office "Mercari Europe" in the U.K. in 2016 and prepared for the advance to the European market.

Mercari was established in February, 2013 by Japanese serial entrepreneur Shintaro Yamada.


Foldable and cheapness mobile VR goggle "Caramel VR"

Many people think VR Head Mount Display to be a bulky gadget with high price. However, Caramel VR which Moji sells changes their image. It is lightweight, thin, foldable and cheap with only 1,080yen(in tax)! It is only 49 grams, and the size at the time of the folding is W7xH7.5xD2.3cm.

You may think it to be like the toy loupe, but it support with Google Cardboard which is a standard of mobile VR of Google and users can enjoy 360-degree panoramic videos and VR application. Users can attach this to the smartphone of 6 inches. Lenses are 34mm, and the material of the body is ABS resin.

You can buy this in Amazon Japan.