Archive for category Product of The Day

Date: December 28th, 2010
Cate: Product of The Day

Selection of things

What would you like? Strawberry, pair, or cherry? Or, perhaps, milk, orange peel with chocolate, apricot and basil, or mandarin with green tea? Whether for men, women, kids, or for someone with a sensitive skin, the French retail provides such an immense selection to body soap. The shelf is almost overwhelming for someone who is accustomed to a single brand providing a single product. Here, in one of the
supermarket chains, take one brand and you will easily get three fragrance variants. The incomparable rich selection of products are not only for the body soap; on the other end of the aisle lies hundreds of boxes of toothpastes, each brand offering easily ten variants.

In times when you have the information and most likely even the access to products around the world online, you feel like there is not much difference when it comes to a retail such as supermarkets; however, the actual experience tells you otherwise, as the combination of product range and how space is allocated makes each market can be so unique. Now I am curious: if everyone has such a specific taste in what toiletry product to use, will they ever have an enough space in the bathroom? What motivates consumers to choose one from so many variations?

Date: December 23rd, 2010
Cate: Product of The Day

Thermometer: it is not about measuring the temperature.

A simple gun-shaped thermometer sold in France, measures temperature of your body or room in a matter of a second. This device allows you to measure the body temperature a few centimeters away from a suspected patient’s forehead, which is something any parent would appreciate as babies are so restless and can never be still for more than ten seconds. What is more, the backlight changes its color by the result, indicating one’s body temperature being normal (green), relatively high (yellow), or high (red). Ultimately what parents would like to know is whether the child has developed a fever or not: the solution makes sense and worthy.

To my knowledge, a thermometer with an equivalent feature is not available in Japanese market. There is at least three thermometers in my house but all are slow, requires contact, hard to use. I am curious to find out what is holding things back.

Date: December 10th, 2010
Cate: Product of The Day

Costa Coffee Package Design

Costa Coffee paper cups come with fridges, which makes them not only easier to hold but also lets you avoid the heat as is.

Shanghai, China.

Date: June 24th, 2010
Cate: Product of The Day
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Muji Marker; To See Where You Are Heading

Something you have thought trivial yet sufficiently annoying to notice: when you are highlighting text you do not see where you are heading.

The new highlight marker from Muji comes with a small window at it’s pen tip. It enables you to see through beyond where you placed your pen.

Because there is a plastic at it’s pen tip, it does feel a little too stiff unlike conventional markers with felt tips. Nevertheless the pen remains quite nice and surely allows me to enjoy seeing the expression on other people’s faces as the Wow-moment kicks in.

Date: May 16th, 2010
Cate: Product of The Day

Point Cards

Beautiful point cards from Winged Wheel Stationary. I must say I am not quite sure of the purpose, the shop explains such cards are used before in French schools as some kind of rewarding system for kids.

Date: May 8th, 2010
Cate: Product of The Day
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Little faces

A matchbox purchased in Yamagata. Every little match stick has a small smiling face drawn. I bought a box because it was kawaii, cute in Japanese. But it is that kawaii-ness that prevents these sticks to fulfill its original purpose.

Date: May 6th, 2010
Cate: Product of The Day

Market Stereotype

One wipe is from Japan, another from China. Which one do you think comes from which country?

Had this been 10 years ago, I would have said that the small one with Snoopy drawing is from Japan. After all, Japanese love to make everything small; they love cartoons, too. It was no doubt.

As some of you can tell from the text, it is in fact that Snoopy mini-wipe that comes from China. After all, it is China where SARS had a serious impact to their economy and hygienic practices, the market seems to have more variety than in Japan.

Speaking of drug store products, I am always curious what kind of products come with different flavors and scents. For instance in France, I am always amazed by the countless lineup of shower gel, with so many different scents. Here in Beijing, I found out that sanitary napkins come with Aloe Vera and Green Tea scent.

The brand Watson’s is a pharmaceutical giant originally from Hong Kong, with 8,800 retail stores in Asia. And of course, none of them in Japan.

Date: May 2nd, 2010
Cate: Product of The Day

Public Charging Evolution

Eneloop stick booster from Sanyo. Contains two AA eneloop rechargeable batteries and allows you to recharge your USB products.

Although the product was slightly larger than I have expected and had a plastic feel against my hands, the product was generally welcomed by the Japanese consumers as it was out of stock for the first few months after the start of sales.

Above all, it is a hugr progress considering how convenience stores have been filled with these earlier. As long as your device is capable of charging via mobile, you will not need to buy another plastic device which produced more to trash away.

Date: September 28th, 2009
Cate: Product of The Day

SAL player, connecting physically

Japan may be a country of gadgets, but when it comes to recording videos and sharing them, it has been a disaster: Most operators have so far limiting the file sizes as 150KB, and local sharing is limited to Infrared (no Bluetooth).

That does not mean that Japanese consumers have been uninterested in taking videos. To the contrary, we all know that Japanese tourists are inseparable with video cameras.

While in US we are increasingly inexpensive, portable camcorders like Flip, the design-driven electronics firm amadana has come up with its own solution: SAL.

Apart from the fancy colors, there is nothing remarkable to its spec. The device allows video captures up to 2GB, and the resolution is fixed to 640 x 480. But I have been intrigued as I heard from several sources that the device is popular among moms. Why? Could it be once again the appearance that is single-handedly driving the purchasing?

20090928_0058.jpgI do not have the definite answer but based on my experience, the local sharing can be one attractive factor. Amadana shops in Tokyo allow us to rent SAL, and as I tried, I found out that the local sharing can be done by using their two USB ports. By putting one SAL device on top of another and docking them via USB, you can copy movies you have created easily.

The trick is fairly simple, but learning to exchange files wirelessly and relatively painfully, there was something really assuring and fun about this interaction. The interaction is surely practical, but it also gave something pleasurable to watch as a third person observing the action.


One disappointment, is that devices have to be placed on top of each other. If devices can be docked as two people hold the device towards each other, I believe that would have been more natural.

One minor drawback is that the device still asks you to select whether you are the host or the recipient. Since it is always the device on the top which transfer the files, I hope the developer will eventually remove this extra process in near future.


A nice detail: Two USB ports come with small slides so there will be no ugly ports exposed.
Date: June 20th, 2009
Cate: Product of The Day

Map over Route Finder

Route finder is definitely one of the most used online services here in Japan. Particularly in metropolitan areas where mesh of trains, metros, and buses intertwine, it is essential to know now only where to change trains but also consider issues like how long you need to walk between trains and which exit or cargo to take for an optimized path. Depending on the route there could be 5-10 minutes difference to your destination.

But what is it all for if you cannot access the information? Metros do not have network coverage while running, preventing me to access such service when I desperately need the information. It seems crucial for a service like this because the time you spend on transportation offers the perfect time to familiarize yourself for the upcoming route.

My solution to this is to have an information offline. Instead of using brainy applications which I could only access while I am on the move – besides, typing letters using touch screens while I am walking gives me a great challenge – I decided to give an old school a try.

Tokyo Route Finder is an iPhone application that does just this. The app simply provides the information on how trains are connected and where they stop.

Come to think of it, we used to carry these as a small piece of paper which can be kept inside our wallet or a daily planner. I wonder, how many people still carry them around?