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Linda Sherman
Social Business Strategist and Trainer, Public Speaker Wordpress Websites, Japan Expert, Presentation Training, Travel Destination Marketing
Social Business Strategist and Trainer, Public Speaker Wordpress Websites, Japan Expert, Presentation Training, Travel Destination Marketing


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New York Times In-Depth Expose of Fake Twitter Followers and Retweeters Industry

Fantastic, in-depth +The New York Times article on +Devumi, its clients, its CEO German Calas, and the world of fake Twitter BOT accounts that are sold as followers and retweeters. I sincerely hope that this article encourages anyone who is already using this type of service to take steps to repair this deceit immediately.

#fakefollowers #twitter

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Japan Demographic Time Bomb: Nine Interesting Signs

Japan is dealing with what economists call a "demographic time bomb."

Through a vicious cycle of low fertility and low consumer spending, the country's economy has gradually shrunk over the last 25 years.

People are living longer, and they're heaping greater social-security costs onto younger generations who aren't having kids to replace them — thereby furthering the cycle.

Here are some of the most visible signs in daily life that the time bomb is ticking.

1. There are now 68,000 people over 100 years old.

To put Japan's widespread aging in perspective, 2017 marked the 47th straight year that the country has broken its own record for the number of centenarians, or people living past their 100th birthday.

In 2016, there were roughly 65,000 centenarians out of the total population of 127 million. The new total for 2017 stands at 67,824, The Asahi Shimbun reported in September.

Japan has the highest rate of centenarians out of any country, with 4.8 per 100,000 people. The US, the country with the most overall, has 2.2 per 100,000.

2. Adult diapers outsell baby diapers.
Ever since 2011, sales of adult diapers in Japan have outpaced those of baby diapers.

The trend reflects just how big the cohort of senior citizens is: People over 65 make up a larger demographic than any other in Japan. Of the 127.11 million people, about 26.7% of them are seniors.

That proportion is up 3.7 percentage points from six years ago.

3. 2017 marked a 118-year low for fertility.
Ever since 1899, the annual number of births in Japan had exceeded one million — until 2016. In 2017, it dropped even further below that threshold.

When government officials conducted a tally of total births last year, they counted roughly 941,000. The death count, meanwhile, was around 1.34 million, up 3% from 2016.

4. Young people have started "granny dumping." (just a few 100/year so far)
The word ubasute is an old Japanese word that translates to "granny dumping," and according to Japanese news sources, it's making a comeback.

It describes the unfortunate practice of younger citizens bringing their senile elders to hospitals or charities and essentially abandoning them — generally because they can't afford care anymore.

The trend still isn't widespread yet: One social worker estimates the total number of cases is in the low hundreds each year.

5. Prisons are turning into nursing homes.
About one-fifth of all crime committed in Japan is done by the elderly. Most of it is petty theft and shoplifting.

As crime rates among the elderly rise, prisons have effectively turned into nursing homes. Guards are made to bathe the inmates and help them get dressed, and experts say living conditions are too good to keep recidivism rates down.

Normally, younger relatives would take care of the inmates once they're released. But in some cases the costs (and loneliness) are simply too much to bear in a troubled economy, and seniors look to prison as the better alternative.

6. Seniors are suffering a spate of "lonely deaths."
With fewer young people to care for them, elderly citizens sometimes live in total isolation, according to a New York Times report.

In the most severe cases, people's apartments become their tombs. Neighbors only find out they have died once the stench of death seeps through the walls. Some people have worked out pacts with their neighbors to watch out for signs they may have died, like not opening the blinds in the morning.

"If it's closed," 91-year-old Chieko Ito told the Times, referring to a paper screen on her window, "it means I've died."

7. A doomsday clock counts down the seconds until extinction.
Over time, low, unchanging fertility rates (without additional immigration) could mean actual extinction for an entire country.

In the short term, that could mean losing 34% of the country's population by 2100.

Taking a longer view, Japanese researchers recently pinned down the expected date of extinction with a doomsday clock. The date, according to the latest fertility rates, is August 12, 3776.

8. Friends are getting married out of desperation.
One of the main traits of the demographic time bomb is that young people focus a lot of their time on work instead of socializing, largely to keep up economically.

They still want to get married, however, so the compromise they're making is just partnering up with friends.

It's a real-life version of that game "If we're both not married by the time we're 40..." — except people are playing it in their late 20s.

9. Employees are succumbing to 'death from overwork.'
Long work hours are leading to a rise in cases of karoshi, or "death from overwork."

A October 2016 report that examined karoshi and its cause of death found more than 20% of people in a survey of 10,000 said they worked at least 80 hours of overtime a month — a signal of just how desperate young people are for extra income.

Japan's government is taking steps to encourage people to leave work on time or take off one day entirely.

#Japan #aging #JapaneseEconomy
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Last Minute Tech Holiday Gifts

It’s the last minute but you are not too late. Here are our suggestions for last minute Tech Christmas / Holiday Gifts from $20 for a fast charging laptop car charger, to $180 for an Apple Music Subscription for six family members for a year, to $250 for Amazon Choice’s Audio Technica USB Turntable.

+Marsha Collier, +Kare Anderson, +Audio-Technica USA, +Texture

#techgifts #CES2018 #gifts
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What Happens When You Lose Your BitCoin Password

Good News! You Are a Bitcoin Millionaire. Bad News! You Forgot Your Password
By Alison Sider and Stephanie Yang for Wall Street Journal
Dec 19, 2017
11:38 am ET

Distraught investors go to extreme lengths to recover their lost cryptocurrency, including hypnosis and ‘brute force’ attacks with a supercomputer
What’s worse than missing out on bitcoin’s 1,900% rally? Not being able to access your windfall because you forgot your bitcoin password.

These bitcoin owners have watched in anguish as its price surged over 20-fold at times this year to more than $19,000. (It traded around $18,000 Tuesday morning.) Even technology titans have found themselves in the predicament: Elon Musk tweeted last month that he’d misplaced part of a bitcoin.

Philip Neumeier bought 15 bitcoins for around $260 in 2013, when he was deciding whether to accept the virtual currency on his e-commerce site. Now that his cache is approaching $300,000 in value, he is hoping to recover a long-forgotten password. He’s considered hypnosis, but for now opted to build a supercomputer that tries to use “brute force” to crack the code.

The five foot-tall computer system is working so hard that it sits in a 270 gallon tank in special mineral water to disperse the heat it generates. Still, Mr. Neumeier figures it could take a couple hundred years to run through all the possible combinations of letters, numbers and symbols.

“I should probably be about 332 years old by then—hopefully bitcoin will be worth something,” he says.

A video producer in the San Francisco Bay Area named Nick Testa Jr. let a client pay a $150 bill in bitcoin in 2014.

Mr. Testa’s fraction of a bitcoin would be worth more than $2,500 today—if he could get it. He still has his old laptop, but when he opened it, the digital wallet where his bitcoin was stored had been deleted, possibly a victim of overzealous computer housekeeping.

“I really am kicking myself for not taking better care of how I access it,” he says. “Trying to pick it up a year or two or three later it just seems impossible.”

Youssef Sarhan, whose father wiped the old laptop where he kept his password, is live-tweeting his saga. “It’s a slippery slope to going crazy,” Mr. Sarhan says. “It’s like trying to crack open your own brain.”

Transacting in bitcoin requires two keys—one public, and one private. The paired strings of letters and numbers are part of a system that allows bitcoin to change hands without any middlemen. The private key is cumbersome and looks something like this: E9873D79C6D87DC0FB6A5778633389F4453213303DA61F20BD67FC233AA33262. Protecting the private key is paramount—anyone who accesses it can transfer or spend the bitcoin, and transactions can’t be reversed or stopped.
That’s why digital “wallets”—where these keys are stored—have to be heavily guarded, typically with extra passwords. But a lot can go wrong, and layers of security have ensnared many rightful bitcoin owners.

Chainalysis, which tracks the movement of bitcoins in and out of wallets world-wide, estimates that 2.8 to 3.8 million bitcoins are lost—as much as 23% of the total supply. Chainalysis counts the roughly 1 million coins believed to belong to bitcoin’s mysterious founder, who goes by the name Satoshi Nakamoto, among the missing. If true, he, she, or they are now out more than $18 billion.
Some try to avoid these issues by storing bitcoin with an exchange or another third party that acts as a custodian. But others say such accounts are vulnerable to hacking.

Some people go analog to avoid the possibility of being hacked. Brian Goss, a radiologist in Arizona, stores his keys on a PIN-protected hardware device. He also keeps a 24-word recovery phrase and an extra password in two separate “Cryptosteels”—miniature metal contraptions with stamped tiles, like Scrabble pieces. He keeps one of them several states away to slow down any would-be thieves.

“This might seem a little paranoid, but it’s money,” he says.
Jason Miller, a hypnotist in Greenville, S.C., recently began offering to help people recall forgotten passwords or find misplaced storage devices. He charges one bitcoin plus 5% of the amount recovered, although he says that’s negotiable.

“I’ve developed a collection of techniques that allow people to access older memories or see things they’ve put away in a stashed spot,” he says.
The quandary was featured on a recent episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” a CBS sitcom. Leonard, Raj and Howard, three main characters, go on a wild-goose chase, trying to find thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin they mined seven years ago.

One of the writers on the show had bought bitcoin years ago, to the amusement of the rest of the staff, showrunner Steve Holland says, and “we’ve enjoyed watching and making fun of her emotional roller-coaster” as the value fluctuates.

James Howells, an IT worker in Newport, Wales, lost 7,500 bitcoin he mined in 2009 after a hard drive with his private key was accidentally thrown away during an office cleanup. His story went viral this month as the value of the hard drive’s contents rocketed to more than $100 million. Now he’s attempting to excavate the landfill and dig through four years’ worth of trash to find it.

For J. Robert Collins Jr., it’s all about family togetherness. Mr. Collins, who launched a fund to trade cryptocurrencies this year, gave 16 family members each half of one bitcoin for Christmas four years ago to educate them about the virtual currency. Fourteen have since lost their passkeys.

At this year’s gathering, the group plans to look for the access codes together as a family activity. If all are found, it would result in a $125,000 Christmas bonus, which Mr. Collins says would then probably be entrusted to one responsible person for safekeeping.

Nathan Murdoch, who had forgotten about the bitcoin he bought three years ago, turned to Dave Bitcoin, a faceless locksmith in the cryptocurrency world. Initially, he harbored doubts over Dave Bitcoin’s anonymity and bare-bones website.

“I got to a point where it was take the chance and maybe get lucky, or spend my life and wonder whether I’ll ever get it back again,” he said.

Dave Bitcoin is actually four people who run a company called Wallet Recovery Services, which for a 20% cut of the recovered trove try to find a lost key using high powered computers and algorithms. Typically, clients have a vague notion of their password already, and send Dave Bitcoin any possible words or characters they might have used. The founder, who requested to remain anonymous, said the group is getting four times as many requests as a year ago.

On the day of Mr. Murdoch’s birthday, Dave Bitcoin emailed saying that his password had been retrieved.

“Now I’ve done the paper copies, I’ve done the back ups,“ Mr. Murdoch said. “I won’t make that same mistake again.”
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How to Minimize Text, Talk and Data Costs While Traveling in Japan

My latest article on Boomer Tech Talk:

Japan is a cool place to visit. I have found ways to help you enjoy your trip without worrying about the cost of phone calls, instant messaging (including texts), emails, and internet access while you are in Japan.

Without access to a Japanese phone or SIM card, a key concern for travelers has been roaming charges for both domestic communication within Japan and calls/text with their home country.

Here are the topics I cover in this article:

1. AT&T has improved their international calling offering for travelers. The simpler International Day Pass replaces International Passport. For just $10/day you get free talk and text with ANYWHERE and you bring your data plan with you.
2. AirBnB’s have made traveling in Japan less expensive – but almost all of them use pocket wifi’s with limited daily data.
3. Have you made friends in Japan and want to stay in touch? While traveling, you can text, call and video FREE using apps and services such as LINE, Facebook Messenger, Apple FaceTime, What’s App and WeChat. Of these, the popular choice for Japan is LINE.
4. How to dial your cell phone when you get to Japan: Hold down 0 for 2-3 seconds to get + to dial USA +1 then your number as usual; to dial local in Japan start with +81, then dial the city code for example Tokyo is +81-3-xxxx-xxxx. For Japanese mobile phones +81-90-xxxx-xxxx. Ignore the 0 they use when they give out their phone numbers eg 03 or 090. These are for local callers.
5. When you get home you can check with your wireless or cable company for special plans for calls to Japan. And you continue to use the apps and services in topic 3.
6. ALWAYS keep an eye on services you sign up for with your wireless or cable company. Check your bill monthly.
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Halloween in Shibuya Tokyo

A recent phenomenon, Shibuya is now THE place to be for Halloween. I was there last year and caught these photos.

Everyone’s favorite spot for photos is “The Scramble” which is the intersection where pedestrians are permitted to cross diagonally. Almost any time of the day, this is an interesting sight, but on Halloween, with most everyone in costumes, it is a special event with each pulse. Please see the article for more of my photos.

#Shibuya #Tokyo #Halloween #Japan
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Ceramic Tea Art Exhibit in Tokyo

Running through October 31st at Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi.

I've included photos and videos in my article.
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Why You Seek Swastiakas in America But Not Germany

Good thorough article.

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed horror at the racist marches that roiled Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend. “It is racist, far-right violence, and clear, forceful action must be taken against it, regardless of where in the world it happens,” she said on German television Monday.

She might have added that such a thing wouldn’t have happened in today’s Germany — because it’s illegal.

While America protects the right of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and other hate groups to hold public rallies and express their views openly, Germany has strict laws banning Nazi symbols and what’s called Volksverhetzung — incitement of the people, or hate speech. Like more than a dozen European countries, Germany also has a law criminalizing Holocaust denial."
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Toro Nagashi Lanterns on Last Night of Kauai Obon Festival

The last night of the annual Obon Festival on Kauai was a beautiful Toro Nagashi ceremony Sunday evening, August 6th at Kukuiula Small Boat Harbor.

The traditional Japanese ceremony was presided over by Reverend Ishikawa from the Koloa Jodo Mission.

Toro means lantern in Japanese and "nagashi" means flowing. Toro Nagashi is written like this in Japanese:

Five volunteers swam the flotilla of lanterns out past the break at the harbor. (All paddlers that use this harbor are familiar with the challenges of negotiating past this surf break). From there the procession of lanterns was able to catch the current with the rudder-ed boat at the front, and proceed down the coast.

#Kauai #Japanese
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With ZIMA in the US news for a limited time come-back, I wanted to share some of our launch of ZIMA in Japan story.

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