Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Okada-san is on the left and Suzuki-san is on the right
Okada-san and Suzuki-san from the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry came to visit today. The Japanese bureaucracy is one of the things I often criticize, but I really like many of the individuals. I first met Okada-san when he was working for Governor Domoto. He had been seconded by the Ministry to Chiba to help the Governor. I liked him a lot because of his straight forward and aggressive style and he was one of the main reasons I decided to work with Chiba. He recently returned to the Ministry and is now in charge of venture business and SME related affairs there. This was very lucky for me because this post is probably the most relevant post for Neoteny inside of the Ministry. He manages the Ministry activity for the New Business Forum that I wrote about and is also quite active in trying to create tax incentives for venture investing. We talked a lot about the laws that bog venture businesses down such as the registration license tax, bank fees, etc. Since Koji Omi, one of my favorite LDP politicians is now running the venture sub-committee inside of the LDP as well as the head of the tax reform group, it's a good time to push for some changes. Another change that should be done soon is a waiver of the minimum capitalization of new companies. One is currently required to have a minimum capitalization of 10mm yen. The new law that should go into effect at the beginning of next year will allow companies to be created with only 1 yen in capitalization. This should help entrepreneurs who want to start companies. Go for it Okada-san!

Found this on IP...

Samsonite's 625 Series Hardlite ICT has bluetooth built in. It supposedly keeps track of your travel info, owner info and has an alarm mechanism for theft control... I wonder if I need one...

2hiptops.jpgHiptop Nation is a blog forDanger's Hiptop owners. They recently had a Halloween Scavenger Hunt. Smartmobs blogs about it and one of the members of one of the teams has written a paper about it.

Teams, games, wireless devices, photos. Cool stuff for blogs moving forward.

Speaking of games, although this is a bit old, I thought Survivor Blog was very cool.

We have a lot of different wireless devices in Japan that let you take pictures and email them. We should try to think of some cool games too.

Since I live in Japan and most people here read mostly Japanese, I've been trying to write in Japanese and read Japanese blogs. (Although I speak Japan fine, my reading and writing has never been that good.) I just spent the last few hours reading a bunch of articles and entries about myself and my friends that were quite negative. I'm pretty good at taking criticism and I actually believe that reading it is important for self-improvement. Having said that, it's quite tiring. Especially in Japanese.

One thing I've noticed is that people have more "local conversations" behind your back and tend to be a bit more personal and biting in their criticism than in the US. (Although it was sort of personal when Tim May came after me for being on a government crypto committee...) I wonder which is worse, getting really negative people writing comments in your blog, being ripped apart in a mailing list, or having to hunt down negative comments... Anyway, I blogged a rather negative comment I found by an intelligent sounding guy on my Japanese blog and pinged him for a response. Let's see if this turns into a mess. An experiment in the strength of weak ties... ;-p

What I am often criticized about is trying to "take all of the credit" or creating some sort of power structure or insider group. It's really frustrating because that's exactly what I am trying fight against. How do you try to evangelize when the people you are trying to reach react negatively towards people who get attention? It's quite a dilemma. This sort of thing does exist in the US, but I think to a lesser extent. For instance, I find that the Linux community in Japan is much more closed and populated by many people who pride themselves in how much they know, happy that so many people can't use Linux. I think there is much less evangelizing to the masses.

I wonder if this us/them closed mentality is what keeps Japanese from being more politically active. It reminds me again of Toshio Yamagishi's discussion about how Japanese come from a "closed" culture...

Saw a cool trick on Boing Boing. If you search for "http" on Google, the results are sites ranked by page ranking. As Boing Boing notes, the tops sites are search site., the online news paper is number one and that most of the top Japanese sites are mass media sites. I love that tabi no madoguchi makes it into the Top 10 in Japan. It's a great site and is all about conversation on the living web come true.

Top 10 Overall
1. Yahoo!
2. Google
3. Microsoft Corporation
4. Adobe Systems Incorporated
5. AltaVista - The Search Company
6. My Excite
7.'s Biggest Selection
9. Lycos Home Page
10. MapQuest: Home

Top 10 in Japanese
2. Yahoo! Japan
3. Tabi no madoguchi (a travel site with customer feedback)
4. Fresheye
5. Nikkei Net
6. goo
7. Yomiuri Shimbun
8. Microsoft Japan
9. NHK Online
10. Recruit ISIZE