Cracking the Code! Technology Review on QR Code

As Americans we are used to the standard upc bar coding system showing up at the check out counter at our favorite retail store or the local grocery store.  This system provides a small amount of information on any product such as the price and the amount available in a particular store or location. The type of technology seems impressive but what if their was a system that could store even more data, better yet what if the accessibility was just a phone click away? Surprisingly, the United States is a little behind because our friends in Japan have created this very system  called Quick Response and had been in the making since 1994.

The QR system was initially used for tracking vehicle parts as opposed to the early bar coding system, which was used for identifying and counting train cars. But what sets the two systems apart is the advance speed and data storage available on the QR system. As time progressed the Japanese started using this system for multiple purposes such as coupons, urls, geographic locations, business cards, advertising and much more. So how does one have such easy access to the system? Most Japanese mobile devices have a built-in camera and the reading software application installed so cracking the code is simple, just snap a picture and the system does the rest.

The name speaks for itself the quick response has the ability to send you directly to a company’s website, provide you with details about a business, watch a movie trailer or even give you an mp3 of your favorite band. Did I mention that it is readable from any direction and is dirt and damage resistant? But Americans, don’t get too jealous because the applications are starting to pop up in the United States. Cell phones such as the android and i phone already have the software applications that are ready to download. The only problem is getting the trend to stick in the U.S. and  making the transition from 1D to 2D since most businesses use 1D coding systems.

Once businesses understanding how beneficial this type of technology will be for marketing and advertising purposes I think most industries will jump on the bandwagon. Besides, Japan as a prime example and proof that this type of technology is functional and very useful. One interesting use would be the to use of QR codes on business cards, by having this on the business cards it also everyone to save paper and store personal information on cell phones instantly.

Overall, I think if we could have the success of adapting the QR coding system then local and global companies would have an easier way to brand themselves and stay connected with their selected audiences. It would not only increases their traffic but I believe overall sales would increase as well. I can’t wait for the day when QR is available everywhere in the United States and I won’t have to use google search engine for everything. But for now I will just settle with using my I touch.

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Add a comment June 13, 2010

Japanese bathrooms

Before I went to Japan I had to mentally prepare myself for the culture difference when it comes to the restrooms or should I say  the toilets.  When I heard we would have to hover over an oval bowl in the ground I wasn’t very excited because truthfully I didn’t want to have an accident on my shoes.  But the installation of railing was very helpful and after a few times it was like second nature.

However my favorite toilets by far were the western style toilets; mainly because they were so high-tech. I have never seen so many buttons in a bathroom stall. Just a few of the features I saw were bidet, strong perfume/deodorizer, flushing sounds or music, water pressure and even heated seats. It made me realize how considerate and polite the Japanese really are and that even your bathroom experience is pleasant.  My favorite bathroom was at the sumo stadium, the sink was a soap dispenser, faucet and hand dryer all in one.

1 comment June 3, 2010

Sumo

The first thing that popped into my head when I heard the word sumo was this t-shirt my brother used to wear that had a picture of a sumo wrestler that said” I’m big in Japan”.  How ironic that this t-shirt was spot on, yes sumo in Japan is big deal and these wrestler are like heroes. The day we went to watch Sumo I was excited to see the stadium and not surprised this wasn’t a  miniature arena.  We watched on the sidewalks behind ropes as the wrestler walked up to the stadium wearing colorful robes.  After we found our seats and sat down the rituals and fighting began. I didn’t know until I read in the program that the substance they threw in the ring was salt to purify the area. Another interesting fact was that the actually fight can not start until both of the opponents are mental ready which can take up to four minutes without any penalization.

3 comments June 3, 2010

Karaoke

Not to toot my own horn but I consider myself  a pro at karaoke due to the popularity in my own culture to sing.  Yes, it is very true that most Filipinos love to sing and I myself have a magic mic in my living room.  I have grown up going to parties were you eat good food and sing your heart out in english and tagalog.  When I heard of the karaoke craze in Japan I already had my song picks in my head for the big day or should I say late night.  It was such a fun and different experience in Japan. I couldn’t believe that karaoke included open bar, snacks and a private room for 2 hours for only 2000 yen! I even got to sing a song in Tagalog called Bakit ngyayon ka lang!My favorite was the ice cream we were served at the end, plus being able to sing with all of my class mates minus my good friend Bryce. He unfortunately got sick but he was there in spirit!

6 comments June 3, 2010

Harajuku

Fashion is something I consider one of my obsessions and like any other addict to the fashion world Harajuku is in my vocabulary. I have known since I was about 12 years old that one day when I was able to visit Japan that this was a must shopping spot.  The different fashion trends in japan such as lolita, cosplay, ganguro(black-face),Chapatsu(hair-dye),and kogals(California valley girls) were all very real and present the day we went to Harajuku and the rest of Tokyo. It was recommended to visit on a Sunday to have the full experience but unlike the rest of our trip the weather wasn’t very forgiving. It was a cold and rainy Sunday but we still managed to see lots of interesting fashion trends and styles. My favorite outfit was of a man dressed up in a gothic cos-play outfit waiting in line at McDonald’s for the bathroom. This would be so out of the ordinary in the US but here its just another day in Harajuku.

1 comment June 3, 2010

So fresh and so clean clean…

It is no surprise that the United States is one of the  dirtiest countries in the world, mainly due to pure laziness and the lack of emphasis on recycling. No matter how much we push to go green if the whole state or country as a whole doesn’t participant is makes it almost impossible to have litter free streets. I definitely feel strongly about this issue after visiting such a clean and respectful country known as Japan. In fact, the first thing I said to everyone when they asked what was your favorite part about Japan? My response, how much they care about their environment and how they managed to be an over populated country and I have yet to see one piece of trash on the ground. One thing I noticed was the lack of trash cans, this made you realize how much trash you are producing so it made you second guess your purchases.

2 comments June 3, 2010

Japanese Pancakes

I consider myself a sweets lover, anything from pies to pancakes. When our professor told us we would be trying Japanese pancakes, I was super excited in fact I remember my mouth watering! But when we sat down I was very surprised at the menu. All the pancakes were not filled with  the familiar fruits and creams but layered with meat, seafood and vegetables. Not exactly what I had in mind but  something I was willing to try.  I ended up ordering a tasty pancake that had bacon,noodles and vegetables. I really enjoyed watching the chef make the actually pancakes on a hot grill right in front of us. I couldn’t believe how big the portion size was compared to everything we had eaten in Japan and I know I definitively couldn’t eat this dish for breakfast. It was a very interesting meal and even though it wasn’t the typical sweet pancake I am used to I would recommend this to anyone heading to Japan.

2 comments June 2, 2010

Clubs in Tokyo

One of my best friends is from Japan and one thing we both loved to do in our free time is dance. She told me that the nightlife in Tokyo is intense compared to the United States.  Back in the States we as college student usually head out to the clubs and bars around 10pm and stay until close which is typically around 2am. But in Japan, it is another story…yes the locals can party all night and morning long! Most club in Japan stay open until 5am and even the subways system is made for such a life style.  We noticed in Osaka when we went out that we were the first people to come in and most of the locals starting packing in around 1am. In Roppongi Hills, we noticed how small the actually club itself was and how personal space was out the door.  But unlike the US, the Japanese clubs have great dj’s and have such diverse playlists making it enjoyable for everyone!

Add a comment June 2, 2010

Sushi

Two weeks before I went to Japan I banned myself from making any more visits to Sansu , Omi and Sushiya because I wanted the anticipation of eating real sushi. I arrived late to Japan so I missed the first opportunity to try real Japanese sushi. But when I did, it was an experience… not only did we get to watch the preparation of the sushi but we got to pick and choose from a conveyor belt around the sushi bar. I was amazed how different the presentation of the sushi was in Japan. Unlike the US, they don’t make specialty rolls such as california rolls and so on, they are more raw fish based with simple ingredients. Even though it was very different from what I was use to eating I really enjoyed the red tuna and how fresh the sushi was. I also enjoyed the plating and payment system. Each plate color represented the price of the sushi and the server used as device that was able to scan the plates and give you the grand total. Overall, a great experience!

Add a comment June 2, 2010

Maid Cafe Experience

As a female when I heard we were going to a cafe served my females dressed up as french maids I wasn’t super excited. In fact, I totally thought is would be sort of uncomfortable and since it was in the heart of the electronic district I figured we would be then only women in the cafe. Surprisingly, it is a very popular place  for everyone to enjoy delicious sweets such as ice cream, chocolate lava cakes and more.

Unlike American cafe’s there was a cover charge to enter the cafe and we weren’t allowed to take photographs, I believe it is due to the nature of the outfits the servers are wearing. I did enjoy the song and dance we had to perform before eating our meal. This performance was to ensure that is was made with love and now was ready to eat. Yes, this tiny crowded cafe was actually fun and thanks to our professor we were able to take a group photo provided by the cafe and I was able to wear a cute headband for the picture. I was also informed that there are now cafe’s with male servers that wear butler outfits…now that is something I think would be interesting to see.

Add a comment May 29, 2010

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