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RFID Fitted Throughout Tokyo Ginza Shopping Center

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the dadburned-radiation-burns dept.

Wireless Networking 55

Liam Cromar writes "In one of several RFID trials being held in Japan, the famous Ginza shopping area in Tokyo has been blanketed with around 10,000 RFID tags and other beacons. The trial got underway earlier this month, and general trials should start on January 21st 2007. Four languages, including English, will be supported by the service, which uses hand-held RFID terminals to get information about shops in the centre, including special offers and restaurant menus."

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55 comments

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17368538)

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Re:Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368562)

I think the idea is to track the contents of carts in the shopping center. Not where you take a dump after eating an RFID-tagged P&J sandwich.

Do they know what RFID is for? (3, Insightful)

partenon (749418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368586)

With this you can just push a button and find the where you want to go even if you're drunk!
This is the *worst* use of RFID I've ever read about :-) OK, the entire solution is interesting, but does this guy (probably from marketing) knows the uses of a RFID tag?

Re:Do they know what RFID is for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370194)

It is a quote from Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara :)

Re:Do they know what RFID is for? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17371126)

Not at all. With RFID tags for pets, children's toys, and passports, the tracking possibilities of having the readers ubiquitously placed are quite intriguing. As the technology becomes more widespread it can be used for tracking stolen goods as well as for surveillance tracking by law enforcement and by the stores, customers looking for sales items and whether there are any in stock in the back room or sitting in the "returned" departments without troubling the staff to go and look or even being able to check the website and verify how many are on the shelves so they can pre-order one or put one on reserve before visitint the store, etc.

There are numerous uses for the technology. Evne putting a tag on the reader itself can let a grown child or spouse wander off for a bit of private shopping for holiday gifts and be tracked for safety or to meet at a specified time with ease. It's potentially useful technology, although I hope security concerns have been addressed properly.

Doesn't seem feasible to me (3, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368590)

I don't see how this would ever work. Hardly anyone would be willing to pay for the ability to carry around a little 3 1/2" shopping buddy, and the shopping center would lose their shirt if they just handed them out (since many people would probably walk off with them). Seems like beeming info to shopper' cellphones would be a much more marketable (and profitable) endeavour.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (3, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368608)

Seems like beeming info to shopper' cellphones would be a much more marketable (and profitable) endeavour

Knowing Japan, they're already working on getting RFID reading built into their phones. Everything else already is.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

BravoVictor (670890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17372374)

What do you mean working? Do you know what Suica is? Its integration into phones has been available from DoCoMo and Softbank for AGES. And yes, I was in ginza over christmas, doing dirty things with my girlfriend in a hotel room.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17368660)

It could easily be integrated into the cellphone that most people carry around with them.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (2, Interesting)

imasu (1008081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368674)

Hardly anyone would be willing to pay for the ability to carry around a little 3 1/2" shopping buddy
You've never been to Japan, have you?

and the shopping center would lose their shirt if they just handed them out (since many people would probably walk off with them)
You've never been to Japan, have you?

Seems like beeming info to shopper' cellphones would be a much more marketable (and profitable) endeavour.
this is totally true though.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370324)

Last time I've been to Japan a SINGLE grapefruit would cost you about $5. A pound of (cheap) beef would be about $20. I strongly suspect the Japanese are so short due to malnutrition.

Yet all consumer electronics items were ridiculously cheap.

So any shop would worry more about a customer walking away with an apple rather than some RFID gadget.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (2, Informative)

badasscat (563442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368688)

Hardly anyone would be willing to pay for the ability to carry around a little 3 1/2" shopping buddy, and the shopping center would lose their shirt if they just handed them out

Ginza's technically a city, not a "shopping center" as the headline here suggests. If I lived in Ginza, I'd be pretty offended at my city being basically labeled one big shopping mall!

(Tokyo itself is not a city; it's a prefecture made up of a couple dozen wards, one of which is Ginza.)

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

LS (57954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369028)

Despite any official designations, Tokyo is a city, and Ginza is a district in the sense that most readers of Slashdot would understand, so quit yer' misrepresenting. And I think you insult the Japanese by assuming they are so easily offended by an obvious unintentional and noninflammatory mistake.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369482)

Despite any official designations, Tokyo is a city...

No, It is a prefecture! And yes, you, are insulting an entire country because of your backwards and very small western mind that refuses to accept their definition of their own space.

You insensative lout!

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (2, Informative)

rpenguin (47905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369952)

Tokyo has a slightly different designation than most prefectures (ken) as it is known as Tokyo-to. Additionally there is a Tokyo-shi which is a city on its own that contains various wards. There are a few other shi within Tokyo to, and then there are machi (towns) and, elsewhere, mura (villages) One ward in Tokyo-to is Chuo-ku. Ginza is a district contained within Chuo-ku.

So maybe next time you're so smug and insulting you can make sure you're not talking out of your ass.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

rpenguin (47905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370180)

Clearly I missed the different authors and that the second one here was apparently being sarcastic.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

LS (57954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369072)

Oh, and BTW have you walked around Ginza? It basically IS one big shopping mall, considering the concentration of high-end stores and restaurants.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

Dahan (130247) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369758)

(Tokyo itself is not a city; it's a prefecture made up of a couple dozen wards, one of which is Ginza.)
Prefectures are known in Japanese as ken [monash.edu.au] . Tokyo is not classified as a ken--Tokyo is known in Japanese as a to [monash.edu.au] , which basically translates as metropolis. A metropolis is a large city.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (3, Informative)

martinjakubik (946240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370002)

The Tokyo governor does not share your qualms. From the article: "'Ginza is the most famous shopping district in Japan,' said Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara at an event to launch the project."

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

slash.dt (701002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17375516)

The Tokyo governor does not share your qualms. From the article: "'Ginza is the most famous shopping district in Japan,' said Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara at an event to launch the project."

I think you mean the Governor's translator, not the governor himself. I would be surprised if the ultra right-wing governor would ever reduce himself to speak in english.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

jmc (4639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369380)

Hardly anyone would be willing to pay for the ability to carry around a little 3 1/2" shopping buddy

As someone who just got back from a visit to Tokyo, I can't begin to tell you how nice it would've been to have some sort of pervasive English tour guide, as the article summary seems to imply these RFID transmitters would function as.

We went over under the naive assumption that finding your way around, or asking for directions, couldn't possibly be THAT difficult. Oh yes it was. :) We spent more than a few nights randomly wandering around Shibuya, stopping strangers and trying our best to say "Sumimasan... doko desu ka?" (Excuse me... where is it?) while pointing at a club name on a piece of paper. Of course everyone tried their best to help, but most could do little more than blush, shrug and apologize profusely.

I personally enjoyed the adventure of it, but we ran into a few distraught Western tourists who seemed to be having a hard time enjoying themselves due to the total maze of a street system and the fact that few Japanese can speak English (though most can read and write it fairly well). I'd have to think a system such as described here would be a huge help in letting them enjoy the pure awesomeness that is Tokyo.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

slash.dt (701002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17375540)

I personally enjoyed the adventure of it, but we ran into a few distraught Western tourists who seemed to be having a hard time enjoying themselves due to the total maze of a street system

Having lived here for a few years now, I think I prefer the Tokyo address system. It's much easier to know where things are in relation to each other. Think of a Tokyo address as targetting a bullseye - the first number gives the outer ring, then next number gives you the inner ring and the final number gives you the building. Compare that to most western systems where you could be walking 1 street over from your destination and never find it.

Re:Doesn't seem feasible to me (1)

thenickboy (171660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17372504)

I don't see how this would ever work. Hardly anyone would be willing to pay for the ability to carry around a little 3 1/2" shopping buddy,


They'll pay, oh yes, they'll pay. One thing the Japanese love to do is pay extra for something they feel is a great gadget and will separate them from the rest of the lower-class people. I don't get it myself, as a Japanese person. Also, being a Japanese-looking person who doesn't speak much Japanese, sales people can sometimes be rude since they think that I'm somewhat low on the IQ scale for not speaking totally politely with the correct mannerisms. After realizing I'm foreign, they're too embarrassed about their English skills to speak English to me, so then all communication breaks down.

In addition, this would be a great gadget to increase sales for foreigners who are overwhelmed by the 1,945+ characters that you need to learn in order to be able to independently negotiate the amazing technology in the wonderland known as the Ginza. Also, it would put less pressure on the already over-worked staff.

Hello Mr. Yakamoto and welcome back to The Gap! (3, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368598)

Four languages, including English, will be supported by the service, which uses hand-held RFID terminals to get information about shops in the centre, including special offers...

At least I hope there's headphones attached to this. I doubt I want people around me to hear about special offers regarding bikini cut briefs and wifebeaters...

It was ONE TIME and I was curious, damnit!

Other Interesting uses (2, Interesting)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368604)

How about a RFID network at the MET and MoMA, or any big museum or children's zoo? Heck, before all this happens we'll see RFIDs in driver licenses.

Re:Other Interesting uses (1)

msanford (1026234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17374318)

...and maybe even passports.

If It'll Find Me an Eglish Menu... (2, Interesting)

Copperhead (187748) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368612)

...it'll be worth it. Ginza has some very good restaurants, but I feel bad dragging my Japanese-speaking friend out just because I can't read the menus. If the English version will point out which of the restaurants caters to English-speaking guests, I'll be all over it.

Re:If It'll Find Me an Eglish Menu... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17368796)

Find a restaurant that has a food display outside, pick one that looks good, and write down its name. Show that to the waiter/waitress. You can show the slip of paper to your friend later to find out just what the heck it was you had ;)

Re:If It'll Find Me an Eglish Menu... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368966)

If it can find you an "Eglish" menu I'll be impressed. Elvish, no problem, but I understand that Eglish is quite rare in those parts.

Ever thought of... (0, Flamebait)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369070)

...I dunno, perhaps learning to read Japanese? Crazy idea, I know.

And please don't play the "Japanese is difficult to read" card. I lived there for 4 1/2 years, and when I entered the country my Japanese speaking and reading ability were nearly zero. Reading menus in restaurants stopped being a problem in less than a year. It shouldn't be difficult to pick up enough kanji to be able to recognise things on the menu and point to them even if you are not sure how to pronounce them.

Besides, picking up the language is a good thing. It gets you lots of free stuff. I've had 6000 yen bar tabs paid for by complete stranger just because I could speak Japanese and I talked to them...

Re:Ever thought of... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369140)

I went to Japan in 2004 knowing only 2 phrases, but all the menu's were in kanji and english anyway.

Re:Ever thought of... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369504)

And please don't play the "Japanese is difficult to read" card. I lived there for 4 1/2 years, and when I entered the country my Japanese speaking and reading ability were nearly zero. Reading menus in restaurants stopped being a problem in less than a year. It shouldn't be difficult to pick up enough kanji to be able to recognise things on the menu and point to them even if you are not sure how to pronounce them.
---
I guess the problem is more a _where_ question than anything else:

http://www.planettokyo.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/de tail/navid/16/cid/9/ [planettokyo.com]

Re:Ever thought of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17382396)

When I was in Tokyo I found it convenient that so many restaurants have display models of food, and pictures on the menu.

Re:Ever thought of... (2, Informative)

Copperhead (187748) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370134)

I'm working on it. I don't live in Tokyo yet, and I have a tough time learning my Japanese when I'm not there. If and when I move there, I will definitely be learning the language.

Re:Ever thought of... (1)

slash.dt (701002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17375580)

And please don't play the "Japanese is difficult to read" card. I lived there for 4 1/2 years, and when I entered the country my Japanese speaking and reading ability were nearly zero. Reading menus in restaurants stopped being a problem in less than a year. It shouldn't be difficult to pick up enough kanji to be able to recognise things on the menu and point to them even if you are not sure how to pronounce them.

I've lived here for 3 years and it is hard for some of us to learn japanese no matter how much we want to. I just don't have the ear for the words. Heck I have enough trouble in english!.

I can read a few kanji though and I am slowly getting better but I doubt I will be anywhere near fluent ever.

Re:If It'll Find Me an Eglish Menu... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17369682)

I think you spelled Engrish wrong.

Since this is in Japan... (-1, Troll)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368750)

...don't you mean LFID?

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369006)

Haha, funny joke. Except in Japanese there is no letter 'L'. The typical speech pattern is to substitute R for L, not the other way around. You can't even get your bigoted jokes right.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369168)

Yes I understand the flaw in my joke, I knew this when I posted it, but the fact you are informing me of my error would suggest its working.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369176)

Just FYI, in spanish, we used to think that asians in general changed R's into L's ("puelta" instead of "puerta").
I think it's because the ones that learn spanish, at first usually don't pronnounce a strong "R", the same as most non-native spanish speakers.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

readin (838620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369308)

"Haha, funny joke. Except in Japanese there is no letter 'L'. The typical speech pattern is to substitute R for L, not the other way around. You can't even get your bigoted jokes right."

'bigoted'? How so?

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369866)

'bigoted'? How so?

I consider ridiculing somebody else's perfectly understandable difficulty in speaking English like a native to be bigoted. I guess you could argue that his joke is not ridicule, but that's in the eye of the beholder.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373252)

While it was a joke I think you'll find the Japanese have a word for us Westerners. In their own way, they are being bigoted and they generally don't joke about it either when using this word. They call us 'baka-gaijin', which translates as 'stupid foreigner', this isn't an excuse either for my attempt at humour but merely to let you know that these things are all relative and at least I'm trying to be funny.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373270)

Hi, I'm just curious about the relationship change, what made you 'friend' me. I ask this of everyone just so you know, so that you're more than just a name because I know more about you.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

ruffnsc (895839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370724)

Would you still have commented if he got it right? I think all predjuidice and hate stems from peoples ability to give into the social meanings of words in turn this gives the words "their power". So if he correctly or incorrectly used a sterotypical Asian pronounciation of a word, is in fact irrelevant. Your post gave his bigotry more power than ignoring him would have. But our moderating overlords ultimately determine who are trolls and people of good character so my post is irrelevant as well.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17371464)

Would you still have commented if he got it right?

No. I'm not the PC police. I pointed out that his joke has no factual basis, which makes it even less funny than it already wasn't.

If anything, a politically correct motive just debases the whole issue, reduces it to a matter of propriety and politeness, as if that's all it is.

Your post gave his bigotry more power than ignoring him would have.

Not sure what you mean by this. That all hateful opinions should be met with silence and are best ignored? That we should let hate ferment and breed in the hidden corners of the world until it explodes? I don't want to silence the guy, I'm responding to him.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

ruffnsc (895839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17372476)

That we should let hate ferment and breed in the hidden corners of the world until it explodes

WHOA! It seems you were more offended by his comment than just attempting to point the errors in his joke. So one lame Asian joke turns has suddenly become exploding hate......interesting bias friend. I don't want to silence the guy

Who said anything about silencing. You are too quick to think this is all about you and defending yourself as to look to the meaning of my post. Take some time and look at what you let his response make you feel as opposed to what it actually was.

Re:Since this is in Japan... (1)

BravoVictor (670890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17372512)

Well, when they borrow foreign words they do the whole l/r thing. But I find that when they are actually speaking english they kinda just guess. My girlfriend has said "janualy" and "leally" before.

i'm used to it now, and it really is surprising how similiar l and r is when pronounced with a japanese accent so it leally doesn't matter.

In other news... (2, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368862)

...Japans Self Defense Forces (JSDF) have stated that they have successfully tagged Godzilla with an RFID, but are having trouble tagging Mothra. Happy Depato owner, Suzuki Tadao, stated, "This is extra glorious day. You don't know the trouble it is to rebuild this store everytime that F*&^ing lizard comes to town. Now with RFID, he will not get in door."

The JSDF is also considering whether or not to require Team Ultraman to wear RFIDs. Col. Niiyama Michio said, "Sure, that F*&^ing lizard comes to town, and I'm not sure who causes more destruction, him or those F*&^ing super heroes."

Japan News Agency note to news editors: Shin Nihon Dictionary - Godzilla translates to "that F*&^ing lizard".

The right tool for the job? (1)

angel_7th (984877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369020)

Wouldn't it be easier to use e.g. bluetooth or cell broadcasts on mobile phones people are bound to carry with them anyway? The way I understand it (I might be missing something of course), this is just a way to showcase RFID where other techniques might have been more appropriate...

Although I must admit it's nice to hear some positive angle on the use of RFID after all the privacy issues etc. :)

Re:The right tool for the job? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369814)

There's plenty of positive news about it, mainly centered around its primary use: inventory tracking. Supply chains are already being streamlined around RFID (mainly from tracking large palletes of goods, not so much with the individual item tracking but that's coming).

But mainly RFID is apparently an anagram for EVIL on /. We just need an "RFID gives you cancer" posting here to put a nice bow on it. (see the passport article from earlier - note that passports have their own shielding built in when reading the article). Yes, it can be misused, but so can pretty much every other technology. I'd much rather have /. focus on some of the cooler techs used with this stuff than 20,000 articles about how the government is going to know what sneakers I'm wearing from space or how muggers are going to read the contents of my wallet before going after me.

Re:The right tool for the job? (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17371362)

There's a big difference between tracking people in a voluntary fashion with a wrist bracelet, or giving ordinary people access to the RFID information of the contents of stores, than using it against their will via a national ID card or even a passport where they didn't ask for it and they have no access whatsoever to the data: only the federal government has access to the data, with all the risks and demonstrated incompetence the passport RFID project has demonstrated, and where the risks of forgery are much more demonstrable.

SUICA RFID debit (2, Informative)

rpenguin (47905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370106)

In Tokyo there is an RFID based card called "SUICA" (Super Urban Intelligent Card) that can be used for JR trains, several vending machines and some convenience stores. It is possible to get Suica functionality in your phone. Suica is not a "trial" as it replaced the JR designated value cards.

Also, SUICA penguin mascot ads are plastered everywhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suica [wikipedia.org]

Was I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370600)

who saw "rfid (tagging beta)" and loled?

Re:Was I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17382522)

I entered "tagging beta" in the tagging fields but apparently it did not catch on...
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