GW-259 -- Kokuyo memoribo W, Extreme HARD GLASS CD, Wacom FAVO HELLO KITTY Edition

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The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 259
Monday November 7, 2006
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@@The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

Name: Kokuyo memoribo W
Category: Electronic Word Card
Price: Open Price; estimated around 10,000 yen
Release date in Japan: November 20, 2006

The Gist: Office supply company Kokuyo has announced a new
version of their "memoribo," what they are calling an
"Electronic Word Card." The "memoribo W" is scheduled to be
released on November 20th.

The memoribo W is just a digital version of flashcards you
may have used (or are using) back in school to reinforce
your understanding of words and concepts. Although the
memoribo W is intended for Japanese users -- it includes
timeless classics such as "Business English You Should Learn"
-- intermediate to advanced students of Japanese should be
able to take advantage of its features to improve their
language skills. The included software allows you to create
customized cards, so if you're doing something like studying
Japanese business terminology for the JETRO Business Japanese
Test, you can whip up a quick list of words and study during
your downtime. Kokuyo has prepared a number of downloadable
card sets, but since most of these card sets are intended
for expert/native Japanese speakers, they may not appeal to
those interested in the device for learning Japanese alone.
It's hard to learn the Japanese word for "investment banking,"
for example, when you can't read the Kanji that mean "investment
banking" (Throw, Assets, Silver, Going, for those wondering).
The cards are transferred to the device via a USB connection.

In terms of storage capacity, the memoribo W offers plenty.
One of the new modes for the memoribo W is called "Information
Card Mode," where you can store as many as 1000 characters on
a single flashcard. You can then go on and create as many as
500 such cards, dividing them into boxes per subject area
("Kotowaza," "Onomatopoeia," etc.). The result is a total
capacity for some 400,000 full-width characters or 800,000
half-width characters. In the more mainstream "Flashcard
Mode," you can store 48 full-width or 96 half-width characters
per side of your flashcards, resulting in a total capacity of
about 192,000 full-width/384,000 half-width characters.

What may be even more important about the memoribo W is its
portability. The memoribo W isn't just pocket-sized -- it's
"crowded train-sized." Using two hands to operate a device
is difficult on a train virtually anywhere in the world (at
least while standing), let alone a crowded train in Tokyo,
so you'll be delighted to know that the memoribo W can be
operated with just one hand. The screen size has also gone
up -- it is now an 8 character x 6 line display. If you've
been searching for an alternative to creating and carrying
stacks of paper flashcards, the memoribo W might do the
trick. It takes two CR2032 batteries.

More info:
Name: N&F Co., Ltd. Extreme HARD GLASS CD
Category: Compact Disc
Price: 98,700 yen
Release date in Japan:

The Gist: It's extreme, it's hard, and it's...a glass CD.
Orders for such a CD are already being taken at Tower
Records Shibuya and Ishimaru Denki Soft 3 for the 98,700
yen CD. The "Extreme HARD GLASS CD" opts for reinforced
optical glass -- the same as is used in high precision
lenses, telescopes, and glasses -- instead of the traditional
plastic on the substrate.

N&F Co., Ltd. claims using such materials somehow improves
the audio qualities of the disc, and while that may be the
case, it's not likely that the *rest* of your audio system
is made of such high quality glass components. The CD
includes 69 minutes and 11 seconds spread across 11 tracks
of music such as Holst's "The Planets" suite and Bach's
"Aria in G." For comparison purposes, an "Audio Quality
Comparison Sample CD" is also included.

Once you get through the technical details about how glass
makes a better CD than plastic does, there isn't much to be
surprised about the "Extreme HARD GLASS CD." It weighs 33g,
which is actually the heaviest a disc can be and still
qualify as an official "Compact Disc."

Once you place your order, your disc will take about 1 month
to produce. Each disc comes packaged in an acrylic case with
8mm walls and has a serial number.

More info:

Name: Wacom FAVO HELLO KITTY Edition
Category: Graphics Tablet
Price: 9,975 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Graphics tablets join the ranks of product genres
touched by Hello Kitty. The "FAVO HELLO KITTY Edition" comes
from none other than the industry's leading graphics tablet
company, Wacom.

If you're familiar with the FAVO, you'll be glad to know
that the Hello Kitty Edition is the exact same thing. That
includes the resolution of 0.0125mm, 512 levels of pressure
sensitivity, 127.6 x 92.8mm input area, and read speed of
100 points per second. This product might be going to an
elementary-aged schoolgirl, but with these kinds of
specifications, the Hello Kitty Edition will last her
well through her final years at design school.

Included with the Hello Kitty Edition are the digital pen
and a special pen stand with Kitty-chan herself attached.
Even the software included is Kittitized; it features Hello
Kitty stamps, Hello Kitty paint tubes, and Hello Kitty tablet
design sheets.

If you think all of that is the cat's meow, move quickly.
Only 10,000 units will be produced. All modern flavors of
Windows and Mac OS are supported.

More info:

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Date: Friday 17th November, 2006
Where: Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Roppongi Hills - 3rd Floor Ballroom
Time: 7pm until very......late
Attire: Black tie event (Men - jackets with ties are fine also).
Tickets: Purchase through tickets at or online at
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Written by: Liam McNulty
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