Four in five already prepared for terrestrial analogue switch-off

Do you plan to buy a digital terrestrial television receiver? graph of japanese recently reported on a survey by JR Tokai Express Research into issues regarding television, including the upcoming switch-over to digital terrestrial broadcasting. They interviewed by means of a private internet-based questionnaire 330 members of their monitor panel; 59.7% were male, 20.3% in their twenties, 33.0% in their thirties, 27.3% in their forties, 14.5% in their fifties, and 4.8% in their sixties.

For my readers who might not have heard the news, on July 24th, 2011, all analogue terrestrial television broadcasting will be switched off. Most of the main population centres are already covered by digital broadcasting, and most of the new televisions either come with decoders built-in, or have ports (isn’t it a D-4) that allow a separate decoder box to be attached and full high-vision enjoyed, I believe. However, I cannot find any English site that describes what box might be necessary, and the main Japanese site, sponsored, I believe, by most of the major electrical manufacturers, seems keener to persuade you that you need a whole new television rather than just a wee box of tricks. If anyone knows of a clear English explanation of the whole affair, please let me know and I’ll add a link.

Thane Camus, tour guide

goo Ranking recently published the results of another silly ranking survey, this time on which famous person born overseas but living in Japan would you most like to go on an overseas trip with. As usual, no demographic information is available, and the scores given are percentages of the top votes.

Don’t ask me why Thane is so popular, and many of the other answers seem like people were just struggling to remember any gaijin’s name. Note that KONISHIKI, an ex-sumo champion, is actually a naturalised Japanese, I believe. Also note that for some reason they give the state that the USA people were born in, and “Los Angeles State” is an error in the published survey!

From that list, I think Panzetta Girolamo (a middle-aged Italian playboy sort of guy) is about the only person who might be interesting to go off on a trip with.

Use of manga cafes

Have you ever used a manga cafe? graph of japanese recently published the results of a survey by JR Tokai Express Research into the use of マンガ喫茶, Manga kissa, or comic cafes. They interviewd 330 people from their monitor pool, 60.6% male, 1.5% in their teens, 17.6% in their twenties, 33.6% in their thirties. 25.5% in their forties, 14.2% in their fifties, and 7.6% in their sixties.

Manga cafes are to be found all over the big cities, many offering very cheap prices (if you don’t overstay your welcome) for access to not just their huge stack of comics and magazines, but also computers, showers, DVDs, and even private cubicles for one or two, if you’re after a cheap and private location for a date.

Q1: Have you ever used a manga cafe? (Sample size=330)

Yes (to Q2) 43.0%
No, but I know what they are 54.2%
Don’t know what they are 2.7%


Guru-Navi rules Japan’s restaurant search sites

How do you get to searched-for restaurants? graph of japanese recently reported on research by Cross Marketing Inc regarding people’s views on restaurant search web sites. They interviewed 320 people who had used a restaurant search site by means of a private internet questionnaire; half of the sample were male, and a quarter in each of the age groups of their twenties, thirties, forties and fifties.

This particular segment of the market seems to have assumed the title グルメ, gurume, the Japanese transliteration of gourmet (actually from the French, not English), which is the reason that a number of the web sites listed below start with Guru-.

In my experience, Guru-Navi seems the first stop for most of the people I know; one benefit of the site is that many of the listed restaurants also have discount coupons available for printing out.

Rabid Tigers oppose any name change

Takarazuka Kitty versus Hanshin Tigers KittyThe Yomiuri Shimbun (Osaka only?) recently published the results of an opinion poll conducted in conjunction with goo Research to find out what users of Hankyu and Hanshin think about the takeover plans by Hankyu. Over four days at the end of June they got 1,065 members of the goo Research monitor group who were resident in the Kinki area to respond successfully to their internet-based questionnaire. 2% of the sample were under twenty years old (actually just 18 or 19 years old), 20% in their twenties, 41% in their thirties, 25% in their forties, 9% in their fifties, and 3% sixty or older. 58% of the sample was female. Note that sample sizes for the various sub-groups are not described.

For those of you not familiar with the Osaka private railway situation, both Hankyu and Hanshin run between Osaka and Kobe, along with a few other lines, of course. Although price-wise both services are much the same, Hankyu are nominally the first-class service, Hanshin third-class. (The ex-state-owned JR is second-class.) Hankyu has plush green seats with wood-panel effect walls in the carriages, and their line runs at a higher elevation between the two cities; the line, in fact, when passing through some of the posher areas like Shukugawa, Ashiya and Mikage defines the land prices to some extent; the hill side is more pricey than the sea side. Hanshin on the other hand passes through a lot of council housing estates, industrial areas, and the like, and while their trains are kept in tip-top nick, like almost all trains in Japan, of course, they are built to a much more basic design and finish.

The other business area where the contrast between the two companies could not be clearer is in their most famous subsidiaries; the manly and sweaty Hanshin Tigers baseball team versus the trying-to-be-manly-but-not-succeeding and definitely not showing any sweat Takarazuka Revue, the all-female song-and-dance theatre.

Finally, just as a bit of trivia, the name 阪神, hanshin, is just an abbreviation of the kanji for Osaka and Kobe, whilst 阪急, hankyu, is a contraction of Osaka Express.

Word of mouth most important way of finding restaurants

About how much per head is splurging out? graph of japanese opinioninfoPLANT recently performed a survey by their usual means of a self-selecting public poll available through the iMode menus regarding eating out. 5,926 people successfully completed the questionnaire between June 6th and 13th of this year, of which 67.2% were female.

I’ve previously translated a more detailed poll on eating out habits, but this one contains perhaps a few new revelations that weren’t apparent from the earlier survey. For me, I feel anything over 2,000 yen is a bit dear, and 2,500 yen is definitely pushing the boat out, although it must be noted that we don’t drink alcohol and usually only have just the one soft drink each, often free or discounted within the course menu we usually choose.

I often use discount coupons from free papers like Hot Pepper, but I didn’t realise that they were so favoured by women. It’s also interesting to note that although men eat out much more frequently than women, most of the restaurants I go to the ratio is more like 80% or more female. An interesting future survey may be on the type of restaurant people frequent; men appear to me to spend their time in pubs or the Japanese equivalent of a Greasy Spoon.

Since word of mouth is the top way of finding where to eat, why doesn’t someone start an English-language Japan restaurant Web two point naught CGM AJAX thingamajig?

Portable music players

How satisfied are you with your music software? graph of japanese opinionAt the start of May MyVoice surveyed the members of their internet community by means of a private survey regarding portable music players. They got 14,913 valid responses to their internet questionnaire, with 54% of the sample female, 4% in their teens, 21% in their twentiesm 39% in their thirties, 24% in their forties, and 12% in their fifties.

I have a Sony hard disk-based music player on test, but rather than a product review (I’ve mentioned it before myself, and Gen Kanai has a long thread or three on issues with the software) I’ll review myself. Before I got the machine on loan, I hadn’t used a portable player since perhaps my university days.

The first thing I noticed, for perhaps three or four days wearing it on my commute to work, was that the world seemed different; I felt I was stepping back from reality into a little cocoon that shielded me from some of the – well, I don’t really know what, just a transparent bubble that kept everyone else from intruding into my personal aural space, and to some extent my consciousness too. Once these feelings faded – or at least until I assimilated them as a normal commuting state – and as I started loading the player up with a decent amount of music, I noticed I was becoming a very selfish and intolerant listener. Before, I used standard CDs almost exclusively, and even ripped content was played on a per album basis, and I’d often keep the same album loaded up for days if not weeks at a time, playing it over and over. Now, with 300 tracks at my fingertips I find myself hitting the Next Track button an awful lot, tracks get marked down on a whim, and I find myself seeking out my favourites far too often. Part can be attributed to a lack of functionality in the software on the player; I’d love an enhanced random shuffle mode that took into account rating when selecting what to play so I’d only hear my one star tracks once in a blue moon, and skipping a track before getting past the intro downrates it a bit.

I think I should get rid of the player before it destroys my sense of musical appreciation completely, and buy a 128Mb player that I can only load one or two albums at a time onto. Yes, I’ll never listen to music on that player again.

Meanwhile, back at the survey, the Japanese people had this to say about the matter.

Consuming contents at home

At home, what do you mostly watch digital contents on? graph of japanese, in conjunction with goo Research, looked at how people obtained and used audio and video contents at home. They interviewed 1,046 members of goo’s internet monitor group from all over the country by means of a private web-based questionnaire. 55.7% of the sample were female, 22.7% in their twenties, 42.6% in their thirties, 24.2% in their forrties, 7.7% in their fifties and 2.8% sixty years old or more.

The one very surprising outcome from this survey is that almost one in five has paid to download video contents! Perhaps the full results of this survey describe what type of contents people are paying for, but I have my suspicions… Conversely, only 3% admit to using P2P software.

Typical Japan supporter: at home with a beer in one hand and a chocolate in the other

How do you predict the Japan team will do? graph of japanese opinionOver four day in the middle of May, goo Research asked 2,124 members of their monitor group by means of a private internet-based questionnaire about their thoughts on the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup™. The survey group was 50.8% female, 16.8% in their teens, 16.4% in their twenties, 20.4% in their thirties, 20.9% in their forties, 19.3% in their fifties, 5.3% in their sixties, and just 0.9% aged 70 or older.