Mamasan & things this week

2 minutes estimated reading time

AI Mamasan

A Mamasan is the owner of a neighbourhood bar who listens with empathy and occasionally doles out advice to their patrons. Kind of like the proprietor in the Midnight Diner anime by Yaro Abe. This was then adapted into a Japanese TV series and movie.

When suit company Yofuku no Aoyama decided to create a virtual bar, they interviewed a real life Mamasan called Yoshiko extensively.

They then took the conversations and incorporated them into a chat interface to dispense bar top wisdom. The bar is called ‘A.I. Yoshiko’s virtual bar‘, interestingly they didn’t look to get any kind of data through a site registration. I suspect that was to reassure users that what gets said in the bar, stays in the bar.

AI Mamasan
Aoyama Tailors

As you’d expect with a chat bot, AI Mamasan Yoshiko will greet you and ask what’s on your mind. She gives you a lengthy list of common concerns, which you can then narrow down to more specific stress sources. More content similar to this here.

Madrid walking tour

Luxury hotel brand Mandarin Oriental produced a guided tour of the golden art triangle of Madrid. The Mandarin Oriental Ritz is situated across the road from the Prado Museum. The tour is on the VoiceMap app that provides an audio track based on the phone’s GPS location.

Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid

Easternkicks review of Drifting

Probably one of the best film reviews I have read in a good while about the Hong Kong film Drifting that does a good job of contextualising the film and its environment of Sham Shui Po and the district of the same name. It made me hanker after the early Sunday morning walks that I used to take through the neighbourhood (usually because I got lost) before wandering through the secondhand electronics market. Take five minutes to go and read it now.

Ghibli Museum

If you’re fan of Studio Ghibli animated films then you’ll have heard of the Ghibli Museum. Japanese businesses have been hit hard and continue to be under financial stress. The Ghibli Museum is no exception and is looking for donations from Japanese people via the the hometown tax credit.

Ghibli Museum news
via Twitter account of the Mitaki City local government where the Ghibli Museum is based.

The idea of the hometown tax (ふるさと納税) needs a bit of an explanation. Some aspects of it are not dissimilar to the UK tax system where you can get a tax credit on your charitable donations, that is claimed by the charity from the government. Current prime minister, Yoshihide Suga was a government minister at the time, introduced the hometown tax in 2007. Taxpayers who contribute more than 2000 yen can have their income tax and residence tax reduced. The amount deducted is the taxpayer’s entire contribution minus 2000 yen and set amount. To receive the subtraction, the taxpayer files a final tax return.