J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

Issue No. 129

Thursday, January 29, 2004
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

========================== SEMINAR ==================================
Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - February Seminar

Mike Alfant, President of Building2 and Chair of the High Technology
committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, will be
presenting, "Keeping Six Inches of Water above Your Head!"

Date: Tuesday, February 3rd

Name: Sharp DV-RW200
Category: AV
Price: Open (but approx. 80,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: Jan 29, 2004

The Gist: Seems every great piece of kit these days costs about
100,000 yen, so if you have that kind of spare cash lying around, and
you've been thinking about getting all your old VCR tapes transferred
onto DVD but can't be bothered fiddling around with buying a DVD
recorder then messing around with cables for half your life to get it
all working, Sharp has just the thing for you. The new DV-RW200 is a
DVD and VCR recorder in one neat, single unit, allowing the
simultaneous recording of programs on both DVD and videotape -- even
if they're showing at the same time. How cool is that? And, more
pertinent to how this piece opened, you can very simply dub from a
tape you insert in the machine onto DVD. Happily, the machine itself
is not the ugliest thing you've seen since Temptation Island. In fact,
it is quite tastefully finished in silver. For those of you in Japan,
the DV-RW200 has an internal BS tuner. Plus there's a DV input for
hooking up digital camcorders. All very neat indeed, so come on you
Luddites, get with the 21st century!

More info:

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Name: Sony LF-X1
Category: AV
Price: Open (but approx. 148,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: March 12, 2004

The Gist: Sony has released a funky new Airboard and, even though I'm
quite sure you're too busy to even care what this bit means, it's
compatible with IEEE 802.11a, g and b flavors of wireless protocols.
Even more startlingly, the model name actually make sense! Clearly,
the "Let's Think Up A Ridiculously Stupid Name Division" was closed
when this product was being planned, and the LF bit of Sony LF-X1
actually stands for "Location Free." Which makes sense, because the
LF-X1 can free you up from having to put the thing in a single
location and use it only there. Say you're just about to go on a
business trip. Astonishingly, by connecting the base station to the
Internet via Ethernet, you can leave it and the source unit (e.g. DVD
player) at home but take the display itself and then view whatever
it's showing in a completely different city. Way to go, Sony! The
screen is an 800x600-dot TFT touch panel, which owners can use to surf
the Internet, check their mail, watch TV and download porn while in
the bath. Oh, no, just joking about that last bit. All sorts of
image-source machinery can be connected to this Airboard's base
station, then get wirelessly transmitted to the portable display
itself, including a VCR, DVD player, DVD recorder, satellite receiver
and even the PSX.

Now, I was messing around with a handheld TV from Casio in the
"o-furo" (bath) the other day up in Sendai (don't ask -- you really
don't want to know the details) and have decided that portable TVs
totally rock. They're brilliant. Shame Japanese television is such
utter trash. Apart from the sumo, obviously. And NFL transmissions on
Gaora that cut out the advertisements.

More info:

========================== CONFERENCE ================================
Economist Conferences presents:
Taking the pulse of patient-centred reforms
February 10th 2004, Tokyo

Discuss key issues for IT providers
Assess the business opportunities for IT and internet providers within
the healthcare system
Gain insights into the financial impact of IT on the running of
For information:
Online registration:

Name: Sharp PW-9300
Category: AV
Price: 38,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Feb 26, 2004

The Gist: You might not have any interest in learning Japanese, but if
you do, an electronic dictionary is an absolute godsend. Now,
personally, I find it hard to get too excited about an electronic
dictionary -- in the gadget-holics world, it's the technological
equivalent of a vacuum cleaner: functional and necessary, but not
terribly exciting. But having looked around over the past couple weeks
for a replacement for my ailing Canon Wordtank, I have to say that the
new models are incredibly small, slim and contain a massive number of
dictionaries. Most impressively, though, if you're inclined to use
these things a lot, is that the screens are now fantastic. They're
bright, clear and very easy to read. Comparing these sexy new machines
to my ol' Wordtank is like comparing Pioneer's incredible new DVD
recorder/HDD combos ( to the first ever
Betamax VCR ( Of these new
dictionaries, the Sharp ones seem to have the best screens. So, feast
your eyes on the PW-9300: 22 dictionaries' worth of wordage for your
delectation and delight. This machine's claim to fame is that it's
actually the world's biggest electronic dictionary reference for the
examination hell that young Japanese folk have to trawl through, but
if that's not up your street, get over to Laox or Yodobashi and have a
look at the range for yourself.

More info:

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Written by: Max Everingham (
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (

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