GW-273 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:


The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 273
Thursday September 13, 2007
Subscribers: 9467

Name: Buffalo and Bandai Pasokon Kids Key
Category: PC peripheral
Price: Open Price; estimated around 3,480 yen
Release date in Japan: September 14, 2007

The Gist: "Pasokon" being the Japanese shorthand for "Personal Computer", Buffalo and Bandai have collaborated on a new product aimed to help parents control PC use by their elementary school-aged children. The Kids Key is a USB device which, when inserted, will automatically convert your regular PC into a child-friendly PC.

While many modern operating systems offer extensive options for limiting access to certain software, websites, and features, very few parents feel like dealing with all of the associated intricacies. Buffalo and Bandai are offering the Kids Key for the protection of children. Of course, it should also take a burden off parents' hands. Many parents these days want to limit the access their children have to computers and the internet, but products that actually help parents accomplish this have not really taken off.

As it should be, the concept behind the Kids Key is simple enough for a child to understand. When your child inserts their key into the PC's USB port, automatically they will have access to certain programs, games, websites, and nothing else. If a child clicks on "Play", for example, they will be presented only with a list of games they can play. If they click on "Look up", they'll be taken to "Yahoo! Kids" and cannot enter any other URL. Access to certain computer programs and websites must be explicitly defined; by default, children have access only to Yahoo Kids. The user interface is specifically designed for children, so maybe Buffalo and Bandai have put together a "relatively bulletproof" solution.

There are a number of other nice features of the Kids Key, such as how it has no access to files within the PC itself. Children thus cannot accidentally delete files. There is also a time limitation feature, protecting your children from spending as much time in front of the PC as the rest of us. A "Message" feature also allows parents and children to exchange messages. If necessary, children can also be granted access to the PC's printer. Finally, "Toy Box Mode" is a mode created specifically for children who are not yet of school age -- they can play several games that involve simple mouse movement and clicking.

Pasokon Kids Key supports Windows XP and Vista.

More info:
Name: Epson EMP-TW2000
Category: LCD projector
Price: Open Price; estimated around 350,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Late November 2007

The Gist: On a far more technical note, Seiko Epson has announced the release of the "EMP-TW2000", a new FullHD LCD projector that takes advantage of their fresh D7/C^2 Fine panel.

The TW2000's claim to fame is the glorious combination of an improvement to the "OptiFocus" optical engine and the company's own new "DEEPBLACK" phase compensation technology. Specifically, the latter is designed to prevent light from being where it shouldn't. The result is a stunning contrast ratio of 50,000:1, vastly improved over the 12,000:1 contrast ratio of their previous EMP-TW1000. For those just joining us, "contrast ratio" defines the different between darkest black and the whitest white. 50,000:1 is a contrast ratio unheard of for LCD projectors. If you think about how a light bulb's worth of light is being channeled to blast through three 0.74-inch LCD screens (red, green, and blue), adding up to a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, you can begin to imagine how hard it is to achieve such a high contrast ratio.

The lens on the unit can zoom as much as 2.1x, resulting in a target projection sized between 30 and 300 inches. For those of us who can't do the calculations, that's a screen as large as 100 inches even when the projector is only 3 meters away. Another new inclusion is the "6-axis Color Adjustment", allowing users to independently adjust the hue, saturation, and brightness levels of red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow colors.

Other specs include a brightness of 1600 lumens, two HDMI 1.3 inputs, Component input, S-Video input, Composite input, Analog RGB (D-Sub 15-pin) input, and a serial port.

More info:
Name: Sony LocationFree Home HD
Category: Home Audio/Video
Price: Open Price; estimated around 50,000 yen
Release date in Japan: December 1, 2007

The Gist: To get a signal to Seiko Epson's new projector, you could consider picking up Sony's new "LocationFree Home HD", the latest iteration of their LocationFree boxes designed for transporting audio/video signals inside and outside the home.

While previous LocationFree boxes have been designed to send video signals to wireless TVs or PSPs either via your local network or via the internet, the Home HD is designed only for in-home use. The idea is that you put the transmitter unit where your audio/video signal comes from -- perhaps a HD-DVD player by your home theater or a Playstation 3 in your closet -- and you use the receiver where you'll actually enjoy the output of that signal. If you have a HDTV in your bedroom, for example, you could use something like this to wirelessly tap into high definition content on your recorder's hard drive downstairs.

It has "HD" in its name for a reason; it's allegedly the industry's first solution for wirelessly delivering a high-definition video signal that uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression. How high? 1080i. 1080p support is nowhere to be found, so those of you searching for "FullHD" will have to wait until the next iteration. It's important to point out that this unit does not allow streams to be accessed via the internet. Given the high bandwidth requirements of high-definition video, it's not surprising Sony didn't bother to include this, as a viewable stream demands "industrial strength" connections for both the sender and receiver.

Like previous LocationFree models, the Home HD offers an "AV Mouse" feature that allows you to remotely control connected devices. That may sound basic, but it would be a hassle to have to walk downstairs just to push the "off" button on your Blu-ray player. That's where this feature helps.

More info:

Start a Company in Japan

Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 6th of October, 2007

If you have been considering setting up your own company,
find out what it takes to make it successful.
Terrie Lloyd, founder of over 13 start-up companies in Japan, will be giving an English-language seminar and Q and A on starting up a company in Japan.
This is an ideal opportunity to find out what is involved,
and to ask specific questions that are not normally answered in business books.
All materials are in English and are Japan-focused.

For more details:


Japan's First Family Social Network is here!

Are you raising a family in Japan? Do you speak English?
Would you like to meet other English speaking families in
your area? Piqniq is a Social Network Service tailored
specifically for you!
Our concept is "Families helping Families" and we invite
anyone that wants to meet other families, help other families, or discuss family-related issues pertinent to life in Japan to come and join the Piqniq today!

For more information:


RidgeRunner Niseko
International Cricket Competition 15-17 September 2007

This is your invitation to three days of fun at an
international cricket tournament in Niseko being held to
the benefit of the Tyler Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Cricketing legend Dennis Lillee will be attending the event
which is being co-hosted by the Higashiyama Prince Hotel and includes two days of cricket, a golf match and charity
dinner dance and auction.
For more information, and the chance to win a
dinner with Dennis,

please visit
or contact Simon Jackson
(, 011-876-3704)

------------------- ICA Event-Sept 20 -------------------


Speaker: Tim Williams, Founder and Director of Value Commerce
Topic: Japan Success Stories - Value Commerce

Details: Complete event details at
(RSVP Required)
Date: Thursday, September 20, 2007
Time: 6:30 Doors open
(Light buffet, beer, wine, soft drinks included)
Cost: 3,500 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members)

Open to all-location is Australian Embassy B2


Written by: Liam McNulty
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