Subtle Clues…

Subtle hints.I know a Chinese woman here named Rika. She’s actually quite beautiful, but I try to avoid her – mainly because I always have this sneaking suspicion she is trying to sell me something. Regardless, I respect her. After all, she’s a successful Chinese person in Japan, and that’s not easy. I think the picture on the left explains a bit of the reason why.

I was walking down Akihabara when I noted it. You don’t see a lot of Chinese-language signs in that part of town. I stopped to take a look and noted a smaller Japanese version nearby. Turns out it is a warning not to sell copied or foreign editions of software. Of course, right across from the sign was a store with wholesome Japanese owners, selling Nintendo DS card readers that have no real purpose except to aid in violating copyright.

Despite what the apologists will say, the presence of a Chinese sign warning about the punishment for a crime is a not-so-subtle clue about the mindset of the surrounding people. When I asked Rika how she deals with it, she told me simply that she wanted to succeed to prove them wrong. Maybe it’s because I understand that mindset that I respect her.

The evolution of the logo for my new site.

A few of you are aware that I’ve been building a hotel search engine called “Pinki”. The splash page is up now, so I thought I’d share the work I went through in making a logo for it.

I initially contracted a down-on-his-luck Korean friend to give me what his ideal layout would be. I gave him a month and he pretty much came up with the logo on the right Kang's hand-drawn logo for Pinki
Kang's logo, after somework. I thought the look was ok and decided not to press on it (since I had too much coding to do). One of the objectives behind Pinki was to let it be equally accessible by men or women. As a result, I started showing it around to a few Japanese girls I knew. All of them complained about it being too “Iyarashii” (Perverse). I wasn’t really happy with it either, so I took another shot at it over the past few weeks.
After a few weeks of messing with photoshop, I decided to keep the primary motif (the two hearts) and gave this a shot. Unfortunately, the colour choices were far too weak, and the logo itself had no impact. Yumiko suggested I try a bit more contrast in the colour scheme and to center the text itself. Pinki Logo Version 2
Pinki Logo 2 - with stronger impact. I liked the font, so I kept it and added some spots to the logo. I switched one of the two hearts to a pastel blue colour, and centered the site name on top. Yumiko again suggested that the hearts were overkill, and that the design was too perverse. I’m not one to argue. Taking a cue from one of the google gmail logos, we came up with the final version.

Pinki, final version.
The multiple colours, and the single heart (as the dot) was far better than what I had going previously. While not perfect, I’ve decided to run with this for Pinki.

In case you never hear from me again..

I met an American diplomat today. I’m sure my mom won’t be happy to know that our conversation went like this.

Business Card for a diplomat I met.

“Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you – where do you work?”

“Oh, I work for the American embassy.”

“…oh. Well give me your card, in case you send me to any of your illegal hidden prisons.”

“Uh… that doesn’t sound very, uh, likely..”

To be fair, I was sleep deprived at the time


Bullet Trains in America?

hmmmAsahi front page today had the normal depressing articles – and one that really interested me. Apparently, Aso Taro is talking to Obama about selling bullet trains to the US. I understand that there are a lot of regulatory problems involving the US railroad system, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. (SO SOLLY BOMBARDIER)

Boy-Band Optimus Prime

Exile Optimus Prime Everyone who knows me knows that I have a very large collection of Transformers at home. (yes, I am embarassed by the fact). A friend of mine noted that, and picked up a copy of Transformers Generations for me. It is a wonderful piece of work, with a lot of great pictures of upcoming releases in Japan, including some pretty sweet pictures of Alternity Optimus Prime (who transforms into a Nissan GTR)

More importantly though, it contains a single-page advertisement for Exile Optimus Prime, or Boyband Optimus Prime as I call him devilous His trailer has been replaced with an iPod dock, and his colours have been replaced with a ridiculously bright red and yellow colour scheme. It is quite fitting, considering the ridiculous fashions that survive and prosper among the japanese boy bands.