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cg asobi Map of Japan from graphicmaps.com

We visited several Japanese families for whom computers are popular. Our visits, composited here into one hypothetical example, provide an anecdotal sample of computer use and family life in contemporary Japan for those viewers who may be interested.

Ok, kids, lets make a logo first. What shall we call our presentation? CG? Ok that sounds good. What else? Kids! Ok great we'll call it the CG kids. Whaddya think? Anything else? Hey, look there on the television. It says, asobi. That means playing doesn't it? Let's add that, too. Let's use Xara X because we can wrap the words around in a circle and make it 3D. I don't know how to use your application anyway. Hey lets' use kanji. That way nobody in America can read it, ok? First we make a circle. Then we make the text. Then we select both at the same time and select fit text to object. That was easy, wasn't it? Let's save that file as a .xar. We'll use it to make 3D text in Xara 3D.

Xara X screen

Xara 3D screen

See? That's what it looks like in 3D. Will it move? Can your friends see it? Sure. Let's export a gif animation. Put your fingers on the Shift and the Ctrl at the same time and then push the x. No, you have to use both hands. Yeah, that's it.

Here's the anime in a browser just like your friends will see.

cgasobi anime

After that we just let them do whatever and just watched, helping out now and then.

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The actual mother of one family we visited works as a nurse. She has limited interest in computer nonsense. She has no time for tinkering around with computer images. She does use email, on her wireless, keitai-denwa, telephone though.
The kids like to make interesting things to show their friends at school. They enjoy computer games as well.
The actual father of the family is primarily a design draftsman. He likes mechanical things and in particular he likes cars. Before being a draftsman he had been a race car driver. He augments the family income as a glass artist. To that extent that they can be described as TITK, triple income three kids. The story about the various vocations and avocations of the mother and the father would be interesting in itself, but let us not be distracted. He does contract design work for a large motor car company. He got his first computer about six or eight years ago. Until that time he had been utilizing the standard drafting equipment to produce his drawings by hand. He had been chosen as one of a select number of excellent designers to continue after the company restructured. He had been informed at that time that in order to continue to recieve contracts for his design drafting he would have to convert to computerized design. He was required to purchase a particular type of computer system and components which would be compatible with the systems in use by the large motor car company. They provided a loan and training. As a result he was able to make the changeover to CAD or computer aided design very smoothly indeed.

He knew zero about computers when he first started. The Unix computer system was not cheap. The cost was about $70,000 dollars. It is a real powerhouse CAD workstation. The printer was huge. Can you imagine being told that to continue your employment you would have to spend that kind of money for a computer about which you knew nothing at all? This fellow is always very optimistic. He said, "I'm interested in computers, let's go for it." Gambarimasho!

The family has purchased three additional computers since that time. The children use the older computers for school work. The family has a free family website to tinker with. They communicate with friends and relatives by computer. They also use computers for games and for creating various forms of computer imaging, CG. We took our computer to their house to see what kind of fun we could have together exchanging ideas about computer CG. Old dad was moderately interested at first but after a beer or two he nodded off and fell fast asleep. Zzzzz.

The kids showed us some family photography which they had posted to the web and had also exchanged with friends and relatives. They have had some experience working with graphics applications such as PhotoShop which they also use in school. They have several applications in Japanese for making asobi CG. They were quite familiar with basic web formats such as gif, gif animation, jpg, bmp, avi, mov and wav. But they weren't quite sure about Xara3D or XaraX or Flash or vector graphics.

We made a few things and they showed lots of photos they had taken with a digital camera.

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Star Wars is popular with kids. We'd rather see Star Explorations but, the media social engineers must have other priorities.

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