One of the most popular Japanese podcast channels is Jun Returns a Favor (Jun No Ongaeshi), a collection of 50 stories in which Jun Miura, an illustrator, essayist, cartoonist, and musician talks about important people and things in his life history.

What's notable about him is the invention of new Japanese words including "Iyagemono," "Maibuumu," "Tonmatsuri," "Kasuhaga," etc. (He talks about them in his podcast channel.) They are all interesting to me, but today I wanna talk about "Iyagemono."

Iyagemono is a concise and convenient word to describe a no-thank-you souvenir. It's a combination of "Iya" (no thank you) and "Miyagemono" (souvenir). It could also be understood as a combination of "Iyage" (no-thank-you-ish) and "Mono" (thing).

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[Jun Miura's book on Iyagemono.]

Japanese give souvenirs quite frequently and casually. For example, when someone comes back from a business travel, he or she usually gives his/her colleagues souvenirs. But, what if you must travel to the same city every month? You might not want to buy the same souvenir every time. Perhaps because of this and other reasons, there's a market for "unique" souvenirs. But the problem is that they can be merely "unique" and not make the people who receive them particularly happy. Oh, that's Iyagemono.

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[Sample Iyagemono. left: a statue of a person looking through in-between his legs. right: a difficult-to-handle miniature ship made of shells. ]

By the way, Miura thinks Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario Brothers, should receive Nobel Prize. That's what he said in another podcast story.

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From Media Culpa:

Tobias Billström of Moderaterna (the Swedish Moderate Party) has introduced a bill that the webpage of the Swedish Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament) should be equipped with a blogging function in order to develop and improve the information on the webpage.

He writes: "Blogging in riksdagen.se should be a natural thing" and points first and foremost to matters that are published on the webpage like notes, press releases and questions.

In the center of town of Geneva Switzerland (at the Place du Molard), the street has been repaved, alternating cobblestones with "cobbleglass" - that light up at night - each one engraved with a few words, in a different language; «Bonne nuit», «See you soon», «Bienvenido»…

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The overall effect is just beautiful and... nice. Who said Geneva was boring! Click here to see how it was done.

Where can one find Wi-Fi access while travelling?
Hotspots spring up everywhere, says the press. But not every Wi-Fi-equipped place advertise its service.

So if you're looking for hotspots, one of the first thing to do, is to visit the Web: some Websites offer database of the various Wi-FI accesses in the world: but these sites would have to be constantly adjourned and not all establishment providing Wi-Fi bother to keep them informed.
JiWire , or Wi-Fi Zone , Hotspot Haven (this one gives price, reviews, ratings, etc.), or NodeDB are just a few among the international ones: they let you search by address and sometimes also by category (free, hotel, airport, café, etc.) But they don't cover every area in every country.

But what if you have forgotten to surf the Net and need access right here right now?
You can rely on international chains such as Starbucks or Mc Donald (provided they are among those which have already been Wi-Fi-equipped), but it might be worth pushing the door of non-chain coffee shops or restaurant located a few steps away from StarB: some have chosen to offer cheaper or free access to attract clients. Many university campuses, bookstores or libraries offer free Wi-Fi too.

Keep an eye open for traces of Warchalking too. These symbols on sidewalks and walls indicate nearby wireless access, allowing other computer users to connect to the Internet wirelessly.

No-hassle tools to search for hotspot are wi-fi detectors:
- the Kensington WiFi Finder is about the size of a credit card, it detects most WiFi networks with the press of a button and filters out other wireless signals.
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- WFS-1 from Smart ID is about the same size.
- key-chain size Chrysalis wifi seeker locates Wi-Fi Hot Spots and determines signal strength level too.
But these devices lack the ability to distinguish between closed and open networks, and a display to show what network SSIDs (the Wi-Fi network name) were found, not just that there is a signal (read Wifinetnews for more details).

So if you are looking for wi-fi node, there is only one sure way to find it: open your laptop and tour the city.

It looks as if this week everybody wrote an article about Gucci's case for i-Pod.

But the i-Pod is not the only tech gadget to be revamped by fashion.

It got to the point where in February, the GSM Congress in Cannes even organized a mobile-phone themed fashion show that demonstrated that some manufacturers and their clients want their handset to be in full view, as any other fashion accessory.

Now that everybody's got a mobile phone, the point for fashionistas is to possess one that's more stylish, more technically advanced (even if you just use it to call your mum) or more flashy.

Some of the most famous phones turned fashion accessory belong to the Xelibri range of Siemens which features spring-summer and fall-winter collections. Among its jewels, Xelibri 6 looks like a powder compact and indeed lets you phone and check your makeup with two beauty mirrors (one with magnification);

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number 8 has no pointy corners, no sharp edges and no buttons and its owner can proudly wear it around the neck thanks to the ring necklace accessory, it also has an integrated radio.

Very impressive and very fashionable too: the Samsung T500 - aka Flaunt - tailored for women.
First, there's the look: it's samll, ruby red, light. But the external LCD is surrounded by zirconia that can even flash pink or green, the screen can be turned into a mirror.
Let's turn to the Menu, now: the folder "Life" contains "Health" divided in "Pink Schedule" to help manage the menstrual cycle, "BioRythm" to inform the user where she is in her physical, emotional and intellectual cycle, "Fatness" to tell her how flabby she's getting and "Calorie" (my favourite) to calculate how much calories are burned during a series of activities. Its masculine counterpart is the T400 and apart from the fact that it is squarer and larger and boosts no "Health" section, it shows no strong masculine characteristics.

Nokia recently put on the market the 7200 , covered in Xpress-on™ textile (which beige version looks Vuittonish). The owner can invest in a co-ordinated "Style Pack containing covers (some are blank so user can design his own), soft pouch and wrist strap with matching wallpapers and screensavers.

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The latest arrival (in Japan though) is Panasonic P252iS available in five colours each with a different girly fruity logo.

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Big names in the world of luxury were called to add a posh touch to the handsets. In February, the new cover front of Motorola V600 made by Swarovski was the second experience of the kind since the V70 had previously been upgraded by the famous jeweller a year before.

This month, Motorola again proposed a limited (only 99 items) edition mobile phone of the V600 with couture cover, outer and screens and additional content designed by Vivienne Westwood.

The run for exclusive phones took an impressive speed when, two years ago, Nokia launched the world's first luxury mobile phone company : Vertu Ltd which first devices (24,000 euros), was cased in platinum, displayed a sapphire crystal glass screen and had a dedicated concierge service. Of course, years before other manufacturers had issued limited editions of expensive phones or built custom-made ones, but Vertu took it a step further by redesigning the inside of the phone as well. His communication is different too, while other handset are introduced on the market through big gathering such as the Cebit or the 3GSM of Cannes, Vertu launches its devices on Paris fashion shows or sells them in Harrods Fine Jewellery and Luxury Watches Hall for example.

I'd better stop the list here, the subject looks endless. Victims of the craze are the usual one: rich women would become addicted to objects like Vertu, while teenagers wouldn't be seen with a bulky phone, and run to get the latest "cute" or technically gifted one: just like clothes, phones are now a clear sign of how deep your parents' pockets are.

But it's not just mobile that takes advantage of fashion, the opposite happens too.

During London Fashion Week (February), FrostFrench teamed up with mobile operator O2 filming the catwalk and sending the images to mobile phones so that the masses could admire it within seven minutes (offering video clips on mobiles had been done before: at the Edinburgh Festival, preview videos of shows could be watched on handsets for free.

Well, the love story between phones and fashion has got many many other surprise in store for us. Let's wait and see.

Related article SONY proposes new emotional values

Yesterday on the bus, I received a message on my mobile phone: "Pepperoncino sends you a Bluetooth message". One is too curious... it was a pornographic image. Realizing I had just been bluejacked, I hopped off the bus and waited for the next one. I admit my reaction may be exagerated, but on the same day, I started to surf the net to find out if people had created smarter uses of the Bluetooth technology (see how it works).

This field is certainly an interesting one since unlike any other mobile communication mechanism Bluetooth is totally free.

Bluejacking is the act of passing anonymously a note via Bluetooth to a random recipient. To bluejack you have to save a message in the 'name' field of your PDa or mobile, for example, "I love your haircut", then send it via Bluetooth. A list of enabled devices within 10 meters appears on your phone; select one of them and off you go. Recipients must, however, have Bluetooth switched on and accept the incoming data.
The fun generally lies in watching the reaction of the recipient, given his proximity.

The possibilities it offers look illimited: from sexual practices (prostitutes looking for clients, toothing or harrassment), illegal location-based spamming as you pass near a restaurant or shop, to sheer annoyance, although it's possible to block anonymous messaging. There is also the problem of accidentally sending your phone number with your Bluejack message, exposing yourself to unwanted calls.

Then there is the issue of Bluetooth security vulnerabilities: to warn users over the peril of being unaware that Bluetooth is enabled on their hardware and that the security features are inactivated, a British researcher created Red Fang, a program that can "sniff" neighbouring Bluetooth-enabled devices unprotected by default security settings and steal them information.

But users came up with a series of Bluejacking "good" practices. To name just a few:
- Bluetooth Against Bush uses bluetooth enabled devices to create moments of solidarity for opponents to George W. Bush and his policies.

- Community activities: dating or gaming could take a new dimension through the anonymous component of bluejacking. Users could, for example, invite others to play mobile games on crowded commuter trains.

- I found on mbites, the idea to introduce Bluechalking: inspired by Warchalking - the practice of "marking a series of symbols on sidewalks and walls to indicate nearby wireless access". Bluechalking would indicate that someone with a Bluetooth-enabled phone is often in the area, using the Bluetooth symbol and the name of the device. The concept has been declined in tagging a t-shirt or a bag. "The idea would be to explore an entirely new kind of wireless social interaction. A kind of consensual Bluejacking."

- Among the minus sides of Bluejacking, I had listed spamming, but some users might welcome it if they could actually chose to be sent electronic coupons, promotional messages, cinema schedule and other information.

- TagText.com is a youth oriented site that lets you download (for free!) pictures of avatars to use as wallpapers, messages, or for Bluejacking. Their idea is that "Local Free Messaging (LFM) – by Bluetooth and Infrared is an area to monitor as it could just be one of those consumer-led market-changing paradigms".

A more dilagated use of the technology is called Piconet: when Bluetooth-enabled device come within a range of each other they can establish a connection. Each Piconet has one master (generally, the unit that set up the connection) and up to seven slaves.

See Mbites, Pocketpcthoughts, Bluejackg, Rainier PR,

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