NHK World TV app for J-Alert notifications

NHK World updates app to issue disaster alerts in English

Tourists and residents in Japan who don’t speak Japanese no longer need to be concerned about missing out on earthquake and tsunami alerts.

Thanks to a new feature added on Feb. 1 to an app offered by NHK World, an English news channel provided by the public broadcaster, travelers or residents who don’t speak Japanese will be able to receive emergency warnings on their smartphones in English.

They will have the choice of turning on notifications for earthquake and tsunami warnings as well as breaking news alerts. The breaking news alerts will include J-Alert warnings and updates on weather-related incidents, such as volcanic eruptions and typhoons.

English-only at the moment, Chinese is in the works.

I’ve had this installed on my iPad for a while and it works well. I installed the app on my iPhone for Apple Watch notifications. Let’s see how it works.

Your Olympics interests me and maybe earns my support?

In case you haven’t paid attention, I live in Tokyo. Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics.

Yesterday I briefly railed against the Olympics. I still think they are a waste of money, resources, and time. I specifically referenced the US.

And then there’s Tokyo.

Train stations across the city are being remodeled and improved. The stations not under construction have likely been already renovated. Hotels are shooing up. Transit plans started testing a year ago. Refinements to messaging to include English and other languages are in their late stages. More and more restaurants, shops, and other venues are taking credit cards.

If someone tries to tie specific economic benefits to hosting the Games, they will still be hard pressed.

But this city can and might just be, by 2020, the most globally accessible by language, culture, and disability. The country might be, too.

That will be a huge economic benefit.

According to what I’ve read, disaster planning includes Olympic scenarios.

You better believe that Olympic folk in Tokyo are taking notes about everything that happens in South Korea these next two weeks. They will break down, analyze, and game plan for everything seen.

I wonder how much raw data Japan gets from South Korea to prepare for their games?

I think the Tokyo and Japan governments are exemplifying something we talk about in Security circles – never let an emergency go to waste.

My Next Japan Trip Out of Tokyo is to … ?

I am correcting one of my sins – I need to get out of Tokyo into Japan.

I want to visit more of Japan. Kiushu, specifically Yufuin for the onsen, is definitely on my list.

Japanese friends, please weigh in on where I should go, when I should visit, and where I should stay. Once I book my trip I will again reach out to find out where to visit.

I want a mix of multiple days as well as quick trips.

Please help me. I appreciate your knowledge and advice.

My Docomo Gets a Big Update

Docomo iPhone customers got a big update today, My Docomo v2 with a completely new design and iPad support. It’s now easier to see monthly data usage and buy more (naturally) if necessary, access plan options and d Points, finally there is much better integration of multiple device accounts. It used to be that Docomo branded Android phones had all the bells and whistles but those days are waning fast.

Unfortunately changing plan options still kicks you over to the My Docomo browser page forcing you do make changes there. I’d rather keep all my business in the app but I think Docomo will get there eventually.

via AtaDistance.

This will be news, maybe good news, to my Japanese friends. I still use Google Project Fi service here because of the global coverage and relatively fixed costs.

HomePod and the Apple Music Japanese Metadata Mess

HomePod and the Apple Music Japanese Metadata Mess:

Japan is one of most profitable music markets after the US market. If Apple wants to sell HomePod in Japan at some point, they’ll have to get their Apple Music Japanese metadata problem sorted out first.

(Via Ata Distance)

Read the whole article for examples of how Apple Music/iCloud Music/iTunes Match is a “hot mess”.

The Shallowness of Google Translate

Despite my negativism, Google Translate offers a service many people value highly: It effects quick-and-dirty conversions of meaningful passages written in language A into not necessarily meaningful strings of words in language B. As long as the text in language B is somewhat comprehensible, many people feel perfectly satisfied with the end product. If they can “get the basic idea” of a passage in a language they don’t know, they’re happy. This isn’t what I personally think the word “translation” means, but to some people it’s a great service, and to them it qualifies as translation. Well, I can see what they want, and I understand that they’re happy. Lucky them!

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/01/the-shallowness-of-google-translate/551570/?single_page=true

Douglass Hofstadter, as quoted above, gets the gist of my use of Google Translate though it is clearly not the thesis of the piece. My value in Google Translate lies in its very shallowness: give me the key points quickly so I can best judge how to proceed. It works much better for me and is more respectful of my friends’ & colleagues’ time if I can pose salient specific questions instead of shoving an email in their face asking “What does this say?”, only to discover that it is yet another Nigerian Prince.

By the way, Hofstadter has a book, “Gödel, Escher, Bach“, of which I am a particular fan. Get it here: 🇯🇵 Japan Kindle and 🇺🇸 US Kindle

Photo by Drew Collins on Unsplash

The Apple Pay Japan One Year Mark

The Apple Pay Japan One Year Mark:

Apple Pay in Japan is all about Apple Pay Suica which we already knew. In the Suica home base area, the Kanto region, contactless payments grew from 20% of total transactions to more than 40% in the year that Apple Pay Suica has been available. My analysis is that Apple Pay Suica is responsible for driving that change. What used to be ‘some people some of the time’ is quickly transitioning to ‘most people most of the time’.

One 7-Eleven store owner summed it up nicely: “e-money (Suica) purchases have really taken off this past year.”

(Via Ata Distance)

I will not stop talking about how great Apple Pay Suica is for transit and purchasing. The rest of the world needs this.