The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 196
Monday July 4, 2005

1. Green House GH-SPA-215
2. iRiver U10
3. Green House GH-SPA-214K

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Name: Green House GH-SPA-215

Category: Speaker
Price: Open Price; estimated at 3,480 yen
Release date in Japan: Early July 2005

The Gist: Green House introduced the "GH-SPA-215" speakers
this past week, which take a kind of folding-chair approach to
providing audio to any situation. Sure, the unit uses a standard
3.5mm connection to your audio equipment, but the fact that it
"deploys" is something I haven't really seen on another unit.

Each speaker has a reverb panel that folds out as well...when
all unfolded, the setup looks sort of like two open books standing
on a table (actual pictures are available in the press release linked
in "More info" below).

The GH-SPA-215 (which somehow escaped the doom of Japanese
product "naming") can operate via USB bus power or four AA
batteries, providing roughly 40 hours of life. They're quite small,
too, standing only 94mm tall (about 3.75").

More info:

Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - July 5th Seminar

This coming July, EA-Tokyo is lucky to have well-known
entrepreneur, Fujiyo Ishiguro, President and CEO of Netyear
Group Corporation. For more information please visit the
EA-Tokyo website listed below.

Date/Time: Tuesday, July 5th 7:00 pm
Location: City Club of Tokyo - Maple Room (Canadian Embassy Complex)
Language: English

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: IO Data Device Star Wars USB Memory Collection

Category: USB memory
Price: Open Price; estimated at 4,880 yen
Release date in Japan: July 9, 2005

The Gist: No product can escape Star Wars licensing, so it was
no surprise when IO Data Device introduced the "Star Wars
USB Memory Collection" this past week.

There's plenty to like about these if you're at all into Star Wars.
There are four styles available: Darth Vader, Jedi, R2-D2, and
C-3PO. Each style is available in a lonely 256MB capacity, but
you do get one of those nifty flip-action USB connectors (which
actually flips around at the touch of a button on the top of the
unit). I'm in support of these flip-action connectors, but probably
just because I've lost too many caps on my own USB thumb drives.

More info:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: SolidAlliance "Yay" Drive

Category: USB memory
Price: Open Price; direct sale at 7,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Did I just say thumb drive? Yikes! SolidAlliance's new
"Yay" Drive" takes the term "USB thumb drive" to a whole new

The group of geniuses working at SolidAlliance sat down one day
and contemplated: what sort of communication problems arise
between foreigners and Japanese people in the workplace? I believe
some controlled substances were involved, but the conclusion they
came to revolved around the primarily Western usage of the term
"USB thumb drive." Apparently, Japanese people are thrown into
complete disarray when they hear this term; they simply have no
concept of such a contraption.

That's when SolidAlliance's years and years of bizarre product
innovation experience came into play. Why not drill the point home
to Japanese users and make a USB thumb drive that is ACTUALLY
a thumb?

Thus, the "Yay" drive was born. The name comes from a Japanese
subordinate's intended reaction when their foreign superior (no really,
that's what the press release says) asks them, in English, if they
have a USB thumb drive: "yeah."

Sure, it only has a 128MB capacity for a pricey 7,800 yen, but I doubt
anyone will seriously consider this product from a technical
standpoint. It's not as though SolidAlliance did.

More info:

SUBSCRIBERS: 7,992 as of July 4, 2005

Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

(C) Copyright 2005 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.