animal human translation animal psychology bowlingual dog translator dogs japan meow lingual meowlingual

Bowlingual Dog Translator

I have owned a variety of dogs since I was five years old, and some seemed to be talking to me. My standard poodle, Lady, was the smartest, but she understood what I told her, but was not very expressively communicative. Buster, my most recent pet, a Shih Tsu, who sadly left me almost two years ago at 17 years of age, seemed to have the most to say, but I didn’t understand him.

Gayle Ehlman has described how to interpret your pets growls and body language but Takara Tomy, a Japanese toymaker, has made a device that can translate what a dog “says” into human language and emotions in real time. Go to their website and read “how they developed with an acoustics research laboratory and a veterinarian, the Bowlingual” which works wirelessly (your dog must wear a wireless mic around the neck). Let the device catch noises made by your dog (transmission range: 10m) and it will analyze the “animal language” with a special algorithm before telling you on the LCD screen what was being “said. (Cat lovers should know that Takara Tomy has also released the Meowlingual Cat Translator.)

Since Buster was always with us, whether in the bath room or bedroom, I might insist that he sign a non disclosure agreement before fitting him with the Bowlingual. However, the Bowlingual device is probably more of a novelty than an accurate translator and reviews of the device showed that it didn’t work too well….at least with non-Japanese speaking dogs. It does seems to work OK with dogs and British men in Japan. The Bowlingual device is difficult to find in retail stores int he U.S., but there seem to be a lot of units for sale on Ebay.

2-D Love anxiety disorders avoidant personality japan social anxiety Taijin Kyofusho

2-D Love – Related to Taijin Kyofusho, & Hikikomori?

Another possible culture-bound syndrome from my favorite place! 2-D Love refers to people who obsessively fall in love with objects imbued with anime cartoon images. In the case of this article the love object is a pillow with an anime women character printed on it. My feeling is that this may be a specialized case of Taijin Kyofusho, a social anxiety disorder that often results in avoidance of others. While it is my belief that this syndrome is not limited to Japan but is found anywhere in the world where slacker adults move into their parent’s basement, the Japanese version is colored in unique ways. One of these ways is an obession with anime – the so-called Otaku culture. If this obession leads to interaction with real human beings then it is likely healthy, but if it becomes a defensive excuse to become isolated from other people then it may be a form of Taijin Kyofusho.

New York Times Article on 2-D Love

Is Taijin Kyofusho a Culture Bound Syndrome?

Both Taijin Kyofusho and 2-D Love may be related to another culture-bound syndrom called Hikikomori. In this disorder teenage boys refuse to engage in any way with the outside world, essentially becoming hermits in their parents home. These boys may stay inside for years at a time. The onset of Hikikimori behavior is typically related to a negative incident related to school – bullying, bad grades, or a failed attempt at romance.

BBC News article on Hikikomori

artificial intelligence japan robots

Robots Among Us!

The Perfect girlfriend….?

This may be bizarre now, but is likely the wave of the future. I hadn’t realized how far along robots had come. Of course the intensive research and development for robots comes from my favorite country – Japan!

Link 1

Link 2

This example comes from Le Trung in Canada – pretty impressive for a guy working alone….

Link 2

I think these robots are amazing. When these things get a little better I can imagine the huge societal upheaval they will cause. Imagine all the mindless jobs the robots could do. Will this make the world a better place or just put people out of work?

Here is a clip for my friend Rainer….