Friday, July 13, 2007

bye singapore, hello tokyo

It's time to say goodbye to Singapore.
Now, off to Tokyo. We're all looking forward to this new chapter in our lives.
Blogging will take a back seat for a while but will resume soon after we settle in.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

ana airplanes to have hi-tech toilet seats

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be the first airline to have Toto washlets in its airplanes. They'll be standard equipment in the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners ANA starts flying next year. The novelty is part of a larger battle, as airlines scramble to win customers, but it also corroborates what I wrote in a previous post, as this must be part of Toto's strategy to expand its customer base.
In-flight washlets will certainly bring more comfort for passengers. It will require some time for new users to get used to operating them though, but as ANA's chief executive well said (and borrowing from Heineken's classic slogan), the new equipment "will refresh the parts other airlines can't reach". (via Reuters)

to buy local or not to buy local

I've been hearing more and more about 'buy local' and 'food miles' (or 'food kilometers'). At first I thought this preoccupation with the distance covered by the transported food, from farms to supermarket shelves, made a lot of sense.
Recently however, I read "Food miles. Green good sense, ill-considered hype, or naked protectionism?", by Ethan Zuckerman, in worldchanging, and learned that the environmental impact of the food we eat should not be measured only by the distance it travels.
And in case you're a New York Times Select subscriber, you can also read "Don't buy local", by Richard Conniff, for another balanced view on the subject.
This debate is far from over and will certainly shape the way we buy our food from now on.
PS: I have truly enjoyed reading Richard Conniff's blog in the New York Times (unfortunately for subscribers only, sorry). Apart from learning a couple of German words - schadenfreude (pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune) and gluckschmerz (luck-pain, or sorrow at someone else's luck or happiness) - his writings offered an insightful look at human nature that were a delight to read.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

10 things about singapore

So far I have resisted to write any post that includes the words '10 things...' or anything similar in the title (pure adolescent rebellion against rules in general, I guess) but at last, here's a list of '10 things about Singapore'. It's a mix of travel tips you won't find in the guidebooks, with things that made me think, and things that I learned from having lived here for the past three years. So here's the list (in no particular order):

1. It's truly amazing what Singapore has achieved in the span of one generation (17th in the GDP/per capita rank, 25th in the Human Development Index). Of course, prosperity should not be measured only in terms of economic development but you can't claim the former without the latter. If you're interested in learning how a small island-nation became one of the Asian Tigers, watch Discovery Channel's documentary. It's fairly comprehensive, depicting Singapore's history since the times of the British colonization till the present (it's sold in DVD format).
2. The nicest magazine stand in the island (note that I said 'nicest', not 'largest') is the one inside Tanglin Mall's Market Place. There's an old gentleman who works there, I never asked his name. He always greets me with a smile. We exchange some words, 'so long no see', 'been traveling?'. Sometimes I can hardly understand his thick accent (and I guess he can't understand mine either) but small pleasantries like that always make me feel home. And he always keeps my 'Sports Illustrated'.
3. Cotton buds here are hard. I miss the soft J&J ones I was used to in Brazil.
4. There's something Jekyll & Hydish when it comes to Singaporeans driving cars. The usual affable and friendly Singaporean forgets all courtesy and manners when behind the car's driving wheel. There's even a government campaign called "Singapore Courtesy" aimed at tackling the problem. I don't know exactly what triggers this behavior, but there's a Ph.D. thesis there waiting to be explored.
5. Best cafe: Spinelli. Their cappuccino is very creamy and the tarts and cakes are yummy!
6. Best bakery: Simply Bread.
7. Multiculturalism vs. assimilation: Coming from the melting pot that is Brazil, I first became aware of this issue when I moved here. Singapore advertises itself as an example of a multicultural society, where people of different races, languages, and religions live harmoniously together while still preserving their culture. I've only scratched the surface, but from what I've seen, they've managed it like no other place. It's not perfect, there are many problems (one in particular that bothers me is the differentiated treatment given to foreign workers such as maids and construction workers), but to be fair, they acknowledge some of the problems and constantly try to improve it. With the growing movement of people from one country to another, the immigration discussions in the developed nations, and lately the terrorism issue, this debate will continue, here and in the rest of the world, for many years to come.
8. Overrated: Chili Crab (and this from somebody who loves sea food). Go for a Char Kway Teow instead.
9. Underrated: Siloso Beach. OK, it's not Hawaii, and there are oil tankers and other vessels in the horizon but this artificial beach is very nice on a lazy afternoon (and if you get the chance to go on a weekday when there's no crowd, it's even better. Just chill out and watch the sunset).
10. Changi Airport is the best in the world. Where else can you, on an international flight, get out of the airport in less than 20min after your flight lands? And that's counting the time to retrieve your checked-in suitcases!

como planejar a propaganda

Numa iniciativa do Grupo de Planejamento, foi lançado no Brasil o livro "Como Planejar a Propaganda", tradução do clássico "How to Plan Advertising", publicado pelo Account Planning Group da Inglaterra.
Para qualquer pessoa que se interessa pelo mundo da criatividade e da comunicação de marcas, é um livro essencial. O preço sugerido é de R$ 59,00, e você pode comprá-lo aqui.O projeto da versão brasileira foi coordenado por Jurandir Craveiro, sócio-diretor da NBS (e meu ex-chefe na JWT).
Disclaimer: ajudei na tradução de um dos capítulos.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

stormtrooper dancing in tokyo

Danny Choo, who has one of the most visited blogs in Japan written in English, puts on a stormtrooper armor and dances in the streets and subways of Tokyo, to the groovy sound of Earth, Wind & Fire. Watch it here.
The particular scene below was shot in Akihabara, Danny dancing with the local cosplay gang. Too funny.

apple evolution

Take a look at this chart that details the evolution of Apple product design from 1976 to 2007. Follow the link to see a larger image.(link via Guy Kawazaki)

Monday, July 02, 2007

toto is happiness

Toto, Japan's maker of hi-tech toilet seats (known as washlets) is trying to enter the American market. To me, it's a mystery why this hasn't happened before.
Whoever tries this comfy toilet seat will never forget the experience. Interesting to see how they're trying to sell a 'higher order' of cleanliness, if you will, and ultimately 'happiness'.
Check out their cheeky web page below.
And here, a shot of the control buttons. These icons always make me smile.

(link via cityofsound)