Recently Google has released the BETA version of Google Optimize, which at the moment is an invitation only tool which offers AB testing, website testing & personalisation tools for small and large enterprises to help engage customers and visitors.Obviously there are some things that need improvement since it is, as it says, the BETA version. But for a BETA version Google sure has shown that they're ahead of the game when it comes to making something that is supposed to be very complicated into a tool that anybody can use with a bit of practice.Invitation → Setup
So today I'm going to explain the massive changes to ZenFotomatic that were introduced on the 7th of February. But before all that, I'm going to give an explanation about ZenFotomatic and what it does for our users!ZenFotomatic is an image automation software which removes backgrounds, colour corrects, resizes, trims, auto rotates, adds stamps for promotions... Well, the list goes on, but it does all of this for you with just one click. It also batch processes all your photos, so you can basically click a button and relax, while ZenFotomatic processes 100s, even 1000s of photos for you.
On the 30th of January 2017, it marks the second year of when I first stepped onto Japanese land - not for a holiday that time, but to live indefinitely. In these two years, my Japanese has improved immensely, I’ve met amazing friends, explored magical places and learned many valuable lessons. Although for an expat living in Japan can sometimes prove to be tricky, there is so many things to love about this place. Throwing yourself into one of the most wonderfully backward countries on the planet full of delightful surprises, of course things aren’t always what they seem. While these things you may think do not make sense; Please pause, step back and reflect - Japan is not where you grew up, so it’s time to stop the expectation that Japan is going to accommodate to make you feel comfortable all the time. Here are some things I’ve noticed and experienced...Japan ≠ EnglishYes! In Japan, the main language is not English, it is, wait for it, Japanese! So please do not get irritated if someone cannot understand you! So many times I have noticed expats or tourists getting irritated with shop staff, train station staff and the like because the poor person cannot understand them. These people make all of us look bad, and maybe if you’re living here it may help that you learn a little bit of the language to help yourself to be understood. Better yet, pull our your smart phone or a pocket dictionary and use that to help you.
This is a translation of a blog entry by Masatsugu Murakami.Hello everyone,I’m the photographer and photography consultant for Glams, Masatsugu.Today I am going to explain about ISO sensitivity and how it works.If you have picked up a camera before and spotted a setting called ISO which made you think ‘Huh? What’s that?’ Well, you’re not alone. Hopefully my explanation will be easy to understand, so let’s master ISO together.
Osaka is historically known as a merchant city, for it served as the center of the rice trade back in the Edo Period. This was known as the Doujima Rice Exchange, and ran from 1697 until it desolved entirely in 1939 - Meaning it finished just 78 years ago after 242 years running, and basically created the foundation for the modern banking system of Japan today.Now that we have established Osaka’s roots briefly as the merchant city of Japan, let’s get to the theme of today’s entry - Toka Ebisu Matsuri. Ebisu, or Ebessan as it’s called by the locals of Kansai, is one of the 7 Gods of Fortune in Japan. Businessmen, entrepreneurs, restaurant owners and the like all gather at the several shrines within Osaka dedicated to the Japanese deity Ebisu.
Over the new year break, I got the opportunity to spend almost a week in one of the northern villages of the Okinawa main island called ‘Nakajin’, in the Kunigami district. It’s about a 90 min drive from Naha airport via the Okinawa expressway.Nakajin is famous for its UNESCO listed castle ruins, called Nakajin Gusuku (Gusuku = Castle in the Okinawan dialect). It also consistently serves as one of the first locations to celebrate and view the blossoming of cherry blossoms in Japan.
It’s almost been two years since I’ve moved from Sydney to Osaka, and it’s safe to say there’s a few things that I miss terribly from home. You start to notice the little things that are lacking quite quickly. Even though they may seem so trivial, you realise how much they mean to you. The things I’ll talk about will primarily be understood by Australians and maybe New Zealanders, so I’m sorry if there is a cultural gap. However, there is some useful information that may interest you!FoodIn Sydney, there is wide variety of nationalities living here that all types of foods are so readily available. Pho and Banh Mi in Cabramatta, Hummus and Tabouli in Bankstown, Charcoal Chicken and Pasteis de Nata in Petersham… Even the post-pub crawl kebab when you’re absolutely ruined from the night out. And, even though it’s not a food, but a good cup of coffee. Osaka’s coffee culture has been booming in the past year that I’ve been able to find delicious cappuccinos like I could get at home.BANCO - America-muraThe food here is amazing with generous portions, and the vibe is chill af.
One of the most infamous subjects in Japanese history - Tattoos.I’ve mentioned a few times before that I have a few myself, and surprisingly I have yet to experience any negative comments about them. Most of the time I receive compliments that they’re beautiful and unique. I guess the one time I did get a negative comment was from a little kid in the supermarket line who said my skin was ‘dirty’, to which his mother quickly scolded him. She then proceeded to tell her son that they were ‘cool and fashionable’.I really appreciated that she apologised to me, and that from her comments I can see a small glimmer of hope that society’s view of tattoos is changing. However, this young mum’s generations before her tend to have a different opinion. The history behind Japanese tattoos is quite interesting. There were some parts of Japan that associated tattoos with beauty and status. Then there is the majority that believe tattoos are the mark of a criminal.So where did this bad rep for tattoos begin? Well, there is evidence of going back to the 4th Century in Greece, but that’s another story. In Japan’s case, there is some texts from China dating around 470 AD stating that ‘Japanese men of all ages were adorned with tattoos’. At the time, the Chinese thought that tattoos were associated with criminal punishment, therefore considered anybody with a tattoo to be ‘barbaric’. Japan has been influenced by China a lot throughout history (one huge example being Kanji) and so Japanese society took in that belief, and began to associate tattooing with criminal punishment - and performing such punishments too.The earliest evidence of tattooing as punishment is stated in ‘Nihon Shoki’ (the second oldest book in classical Japanese history), within the first reign of Emperor Richuu (around AD400). An imperial order was issued for Hamako, the chieftain of Azumi, to be brought forth before the emperor, who said: “Now, together with the imperial prince Nakatsu, you have plotted to rebel and overthrow the state. This crime is punishable by death. I shall, however, confer great mercy on you by remitting the death penalty, and order you to be sentenced to be tattooed.”That very day, Hamako was tattooed by his eye, and to be put to work as a slave along with his supporters.Tattooing for punishment gained speed around the Edo Period (1603~1868), where prisoners received punishment of their crimes by tattoos on their arms, legs and for pretty harmless crimes such as burglary left you with a tattoo right on your forehead. Depending which city you were from, different symbols were tattooed on you.
The reason why we suggest white backgrounds for product photos is not only due to ZenFotomatic’s processing capabilities, but it’s widely regarded as the best method to present your items for sale.These are a few points that we believe why white backgrounds are the way to go:→ The image is focuses on nothing but your product, advertising it without distraction. Confusing your customers = Bad. Focusing them on your amazing products = Good!→ Compared to product photos with complicated backgrounds, photos with white backgrounds have a higher conversion rate.→ If a different colour is used on the background, it can reflect onto the product itself and make it appear a colour that it’s not. Which in turn, can create customer complaints.We have come to this conclusion as we at ZenFotomatic have been processing large volumes of photos for some years now. Glams Co., Ltd. was an e-commerce shop that sold brand goods in Japan before it became a digital solutions company! (We kinda know our stuff.) Through use of our software by our team and various big clients, we have been able to analyze and verify the effect that white backgrounds have on customers and conversion rates. Even recently, Amazon has made it compulsory to have white backgrounds on product photos. This was not decided just because someone in the web design department prefered white photos, it’s because they have comprehensive data proving the fact that white backgrounds are essential for selling products online. With the information stated above, ZenFotomatic is an obvious perfect fit to meet these requirements. Going back to the three points I mentioned before, if you use a different colour other than white there is a chance that the colour can reflect onto the product. From accessories to underwear, when it comes to products with light colours it’s important that you use a white background.For example, if you look at the photo below (and you may have seen many like it on the internet before) it’s safe to say that the grey in the centre are different shades of grey, right? Nope. They are the same. This is called the contrast effect.
So I am back with some more information for people thinking of moving to Japan. I didn’t write about this in my last entry because there is just so much to know and watch out for when signing a phone contract in Japan that I felt like it needed it’s own entry. Getting your hands on a phone number could turn out to be one of the biggest headaches for an expat. I went through a lot of stress, mainly due to my visa type (which I explained in my last blog entry, and I will explain again later in this entry). One of my suggestions is to bring a Japanese friend/colleague with you and treat them after as thanks since you will be holding them hostage for a few hours.Let’s talk about phone contracts.Almost all phone contracts (digital communications contracts in general) in Japan are about 2 years. Signing up to a phone company also costs you money. Yes, you have to pay the company to start using their service - As if paying them monthly wasn’t enough. When I started my contract with Softbank, I had to pay a fee of about ¥3,000 to begin the contract. Make sure you keep a reminder somewhere in your phone, laptop, anywhere! of the month that your contract ends. If you wish to switch providers, you must do so in this month. Why? The company assumes you will just keep using their service, and automatically renews your contract for another two years. So if you try to cancel 2 years and 1 month later, you will be charged a hefty cancellation fee. Another thing I would like to seriously warn to my future expat friends is get a contract with a free-sim phone. Why you ask?Your phone is not yours, actually.I heard this from a friend of mine before I started living in Japan. She has a perfectly good iPhone5 that she cannot use with another provider because Softbank has locked the phone. What’s that you say? Just ask the provider to unlock it because you paid it off and it’s rightfully yours? Guess what? It cannot be unlocked. Make sure you get something like an iPhone6, Samsung or any other Android released after May 2015 because they are unlockable. Do not get one of the provider phones (you can tell if it is a provider owned phone by the logo being imprinted on the phone), it will just be an expensive paperweight unless you stay with the company or pass it to someone who is also using that same provider. If you’re not sure, always ask!