Shooting For Success

by Julian Ryall
Shooting For Success For price and quality, now is better than ever for a corporate video

If a picture tells a thousand words, a moving image must be worth many times more in terms of getting a corporation’s message across to the right audience.

And the common concern in the past that costs might prove a hindrance to small or medium-sized firms no longer rings true, according to Olivier Martinez, the 26-year-old chief executive officer of Video Solutions Ltd.

“We have a totally different way of looking at videos,” said Martinez, who arrived in Japan two years ago, then identified the business opportunities that exist here and set up his firm six months later.

“When companies think of having a video made, they assume that it will be very expensive and that it has to be something very special,” Martinez said. “But the equipment has become much cheaper in the last few years and the technology has improved.

“We consider video as a tool, a sales and marketing tool, and focus more on the efficiency of the video than on its creativity,” he said. “The goal of our videos is to have a direct impact on the sales rather than improve communication or brand image.”

Before coming to Japan, Paris-born Martinez had risen to the position of first assistant director on a number of independent French feature films, working with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Jean-Pierre Mocky.

He had also set up a firm filming theatrical performances and made two short films of his own. In Japan, he worked briefly for a Belgian firm making promotional videos before branching out on his own.

“I was lucky to work for some big companies very quickly,” he said. Video Solutions was commissioned to produce a DVD for the launch of the Peugeot 308 in Japan and the firm was so impressed by the final product that it sent the DVD to every one of its dealerships in the country.

Much of Video Solutions’ work is through the French Chamber of Commerce in Japan, the French Institute and Ubi Japan — which helps French firms gain a foothold in overseas markets — but that exposure has led to further projects for Elle magazine’s videos, the French Embassy in Tokyo, Longchamps and Givenchy, among others.

In each case, the process involves a lot of early discussions with the client to determine what precisely is required.

Martinez says his relative youth has been both a hindrance — such as when confronted by a group of older Japanese executives who are perhaps somewhat conservative in their approaches to marketing — and a positive attribute.

“Because I’m young, I can think quite fast and usually when I step out of a meeting I already have several ideas,” he

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Beer for Purists

by Robert Gilhooly
Beer for PuristsThe green of the tea that has been carefully combined with the rough pyramid of shaved ice is even darker than the needles of the pine trees in the garden of Kitcho. The taste and texture of the carefully prepared brew infuse this traditional summer dish and, at the bottom of the rough-glazed bowl, is a deep red pearl of sweet bean jam.  Read more »

AUTUMN 2010: From the Publisher

by Simon Farrell
Autumn needn’t be that inevitable yawning gap between summer fun and the looming winter. Onsen are a unique attraction of Japan and you are unlikely to find the special service common at these places anywhere else in the world. So read our cover story to find out WIFM’s top five places to soak and stay in a classic ryokan.  Read more »

For Kids With Cancer

by Custom Media
For Kids With Cancer NPO’s innovative new Beads of Courage program

The Tyler Foundation’s Rhinestone Cowboy fundraiser on 1 October attracted 369 people and raised about ¥36 million to help children with cancer and their families.

The NPO’s President Kim Forsythe said part of the proceeds — along with support from Servcorp and other sponsors—would go towards expanding to many more hospitals in Japan its latest programme, Beads of Courage — which decreases illness-related distress; increases the use of positive coping strategies; enables children to find meaning in illness, and restores a sense of self in children coping with serious illness.

Children are given beads to mark each stage of their treatment. “But these are not rewards,” she said. “The beads symbolize the child’s courage and honour their journey. They empower the child by giving meaning to a fight that is often hard for a child and their family to articulate. The beads are the child’s personal story — and these are very powerful stories indeed.”

The Tyler Foundation was started in 2006 by Forsythe and Mark Ferris in memory of their son, Tyler, who was diagnosed with infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia before he was one month old.

The NPO is changing the approach to patient support by making life better for children fighting the disease and improving their survival odds with a mission to improve quality of life during treatment and ensure a smooth and successful transition to normal life after treatment through four major programs:
  • Shine On! Beads of Courage
  • Shine On! Counselling and Support
  • Shine On! House (Support Facility)
  • Shine On! Therapy Dog

Alexandra Champalimaud

by Catherine Shaw
Alexandra Champalimaud New York-based residential and hospitality interiors designer Alexandra Champalimaud is renowned for her classical style with a distinctively modern edge. Born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal and with a degree in the decorative arts from the prestigious Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva Foundation, she presides over a global network of design projects, the most recent of which is the transformation of the Green Leaf Niseko Village — a popular ski resort in Hokkaido—into a sleek year-round luxury destination. Champalimaud is also responsible for the renovation of the legendary Algonquin Hotel, suites at the Carlyle in Manhattan, and the Berkeley and Dorchester hotels in London. She was named the 2009 Designer of the Year at the Gold Key Awards for hospitality design.

My personal style I would hope that others would see my interior design as sophisticated, grounded in classical design, paired-back, and modern … with an edge. I like to design spaces that are well proportioned, detailed beautifully, layered, open, fluid and easy on the eye. Lighting, both in function and its effect on mood, is of great importance. I use simple lines when designing or choosing furniture, and add texture and colors to create layers of subtle complexity and character. And, I use iconic art, creative sculpture and the odd, exceptional piece of furniture as anchors to my expression of style. Taken together, these elements create memorable spaces that are, seemingly effortlessly, places in which people simply want to be.

Inspiration for my work World travel, classical design and architecture, and ancient cultures.

Favorite weekend escape A family retreat in Kent, Connecticut. It’s an old children’s camp, on a private, pristine lake in the woods. Almost by definition, children’s camps bring back fond memories, even if you never went to camp. Normally, we see no one else in the site. The style is a simple version of Adirondack. This family compound of small houses containing bedrooms is centered by a large barn-like theatre, with a secondary Shakespearian stage painted by campers in the 1960s. It’s a wonderful venue for fun and games and great parties!

My favorite place in Japan In Hokkaido, at the Green Leaf in Niseko — of course! This great hotel, with its views of Mt. Yotei, is unparalleled in natural beauty, therapeutic natural onsen, great sport summer and winter and absolutely wonderful local food. What more could you want?

Personal Grooming Routine Do you have an hour? I can take you through my routine. It starts with a self-administered body massage with doshic oils by Charym and my signature perfume, which is actually an essential oil from Floracopeia. When in New York, I visit Julian Farrell for hair on Madison Avenue and the Peninsula Spa, and ESPA — designed by yours truly.

The luxury I cannot do without The

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wifm’s Top Five Onsen

by Catherine Shaw
wifm’s Top Five OnsenMy first experience of “skinship”—the special bond said to be created when people share a traditional hot-spring bath, or onsen, in Japan—was unforgettable. Relatively new to Japan and wracked with shy western notions of shedding clothing in front of strangers... Read more »

SAVED from the Scrap Yard

by Julian Ryall
SAVED from the Scrap YardMoored at Funabashi Port, the orange hull of the Shirase rises solid and uncompromising. The immense power that the vessel exudes comes as no surprise, given that it was designed to drive through sheets of ice up to 5 meters thick during its 25 years of supporting Japan’s expeditions to the hostile waters of the Antarctic.  Read more »

Product Review: The Groom

by Jun Igarashi
Dyson makes cleaning your dog a pleasure Dyson makes cleaning your dog a pleasure — for both you and your pet!

We’ve all thought about vacuuming our pet dogs to clean them, but now you can — with Dyson’s new “Groom” attachment. The multiple award-winning UK manufacturer rolled out to the Japanese media in October its latest innovative product.

18International Support Engineer Martin Peek told WIFM that Dyson thrives on solving people’s everyday problems. “Frustrations and irritants inspire us to develop innovative products,” he told WIFM. “We analyzed how humans brush dogs. The team spent a year and a half to create the same effect as a regular grooming brush but with the added convenience of mess-free vacuum grooming.”

Motivation to develop the Groom also came from the many dog owners at Dyson’s HQ in Malmesbury, southwest England, a country renowned for its animal welfare.

Dog trainer Dai Suzaki showed journalists how the Groom fits neatly on Dyson DC26 models — and on most other Dyson vacuum cleaners — to quickly and harmlessly suck up hair, dead skin and allergens.

Another reason Dyson marketed the Groom was that 60% of respondents to a survey of pet owners said they were fed up with hair from pets falling on floors and furniture. And one of the biggest fears of dog owners is allergies caused by fallen hair and dead skin.

The Groom could become an important tool in Japan as some local authorities here have rules to outlaw owners from letting their pets’ hair fall in parks, public spaces and even on private balconies due to the allergy risk is poses.

19Suzaki said “Grooming relaxes dogs but you should let them get used to it gradually. When we groom dogs it helps them secrete hormones that decrease stress.”

Certainly, Suzaki’s golden retriever Tiara looked content and calm at the media event, even with the bright lights on her.

The Groom — which features a stainless-steel brush and adjustable power — best suits dogs with medium- to long-hair coats, but can be used on all sizes, although it is not fit for cats or other pets.

Dyson Groom
¥7,350 (extension hose ¥2,625)
Fits Dyson DC models 12, 22, 24 and 26

DC26 Motorhead Pet Care
¥94,800 (including the Groom tool)

Choosing and Using a 3-D Camera

by Julian Ryall
Choosing and Using a 3-D Camera It’s never been easier to create a multi-dimensional masterpiece

The ability to accurately capture images in three dimensions was for a long time the elusive dream of shutterbugs. But never one to shy away from a challenge, Japan’s audio-visual giants have recently come up with a range of 3D-capable cameras, many of which were on display at the Photokina 2010 exhibition of the latest imaging technology in Cologne in September.

Panasonic used the industry’s premiere event to unveil the Lumix DMC-GH2 as the latest addition to its 3-D range, combining a downsized body with the latest functions — including the G 12.5mm / F12 3D lens, the world’s first interchangeable 3D lens.

LumixThe device features two optical systems installed within the lens mount, which create stereo images from the left and right lenses. And despite its top-notch performance, the complete lens remains extremely compact, as it has done away with the need for a panorama system.

Sony Corp. has focused its efforts in this sector on producing the world’s smallest 3D cameras, designed to be easily slipped into a pocket and used by the casual camera fan. In July, the company announced the latest addition to its Cyber-shot range, the DSC-TX9 and DSC-WX5, both of which utilize a single lens that takes advantage of the 3D Sweep Panorama technology to capture stereoscopic images.

Using the “press and sweep” function, a user can capture detailed panoramic photos that are then automatically processed and combined together into a 3D image. That photo can then be viewed on Sony’s range of 3D-compatible televisions.

The TX-9 is fitted with a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen and a 4x wide-angle Carl Zeiss lens, while the WX5 has a 2.8-inch LCD touchscreen and a 5x Sony G lens.

Yet the biggest names in consumer electronics were still a long way behind the first electronics company to determine that three dimensions were the way of the future.

Back in the summer of 2009, Fujifilm was the first to unveil a compact digital camera that could shoot both still images and movies in 3D and without the user having to wear special glasses. An updated version of that breakthrough camera was released in August, with the FinePix Real 3D W3 able to now shoot high-definition moving images at higher resolution.

The super-slim camera weighs just 8.5 ounces — complete with battery and memory card—and is equipped with a 3.5-inch LCD screen and an auto 3D mode. The updated W3 is now able to record 720p HD movies.

And it is not just the traditional powerhouses in the camera sector that have released 3D products for the general public. Takara Tomy — more renowned as a toy firm — has released the 3D Shot Cam targeted at kids who want

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I Beg Your Pardon!

by Anne Good
I Beg Your Pardon! What you say is not always what is heard

How often have you been in a business or social setting where what you said to someone is clearly not what they heard and the communication process — and relationship — just deteriorates?

As a coach, I regularly meet people who are having trouble communicating with their colleagues, boss or partner.

Everyone has his or her own communication style and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a great starting place for anyone suffering communication meltdown.

Let’s look at two of the Myers Briggs dichotomies and explore the preferred style of each:

  • Likes evidence (facts, details, examples) presented first
  • Wants practical and realistic applications shown
  • Relies on direct experience to provide anecdotes
  • Uses an orderly, step-by-step approach in presentations

  • Likes suggestions to be straightforward and feasible

  • Refers to a specific example

  • In meetings, is inclined to follow the agenda

  • Likes global schemes, with broad issues presented first

  • Wants possible future challenges discussed

  • Relies on insights and imagination to provoke discussion

  • Uses a roundabout approach in presentations

  • Likes suggestions to be novel and unusual

  • Refers to a general concept

  • In meetings, is inclined to use the agenda as a starting point

  • Prefers to be brief and concise

  • Wants the pros and cons of each alternative to be listed

  • Can be intellectually critical and objective
  • Convinced by cool, impersonal reasoning

  • Presents goals and objectives first

  • Considers emotions and feelings as data to weigh

  • In meetings, seeks involvement with tasks

  • Prefers to be sociable, friendly

  • Wants to know why an alternative is valuable and how it affects people

  • Can be interpersonally appreciative

  • Convinced by personal information, enthusiastically delivered
  • Presents points of agreement first

  • Considers logic and objectivity as data to value

  • In meetings, seeks involvement with people

Look at the differences in how each type responds! If you are a “thinking” type communicating with a “feeling” type, then your brief and concise words are going to come across as unfriendly and unsociable. On the other hand, if you are an “intuitive” type communicating with a “sensing” type then you are going to be talking around general concepts, using your imagination, whereas the sensing type needs examples and hard facts so he or she just won’t get it.

It’s not surprising that communication is such a difficult thing to get right, and yet it is what we spend our days (and sometimes nights) doing!

The MBTI is the most widely used personality assessment in the world. Developed over 50 years ago using the Typology theory of Carl Jung, the Swiss physician and psychologist, it is taken by more than 2 million people every year and has been translated into more than 30

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