Futurist Educator

30 October 2007

Does Your Brain Play Tricks On You?

Science tells us that some counterintuitive things are all too real. There are things in this world that happen that just don’t seem to make sense – you’d think that the reverse or opposite result would be what you should get. But they do happen and they do work. Take the bumblebee as an example. Scientists and engineers determined that it was impossible for the bumblebee to fly based on the knowledge that they had at the time. Obviously they were wrong about that one. Good thing, too, or we’d have no honey.

Human vision is another funny thing. According to everything we know about light and lenses, light will enter our eye through the lens, which inverts the ray so that an upside-down image appears on our retina. Our brains work in such a way that these upside-down images look right side up.

Ponder this for a moment: the lenses in our eyes naturally create an inverted or upside down image. Yet somehow, our brain compensates for this.

Up and down are relative, after all. So are left, right, north, south, east, and west. Is it possible that our brains are fooling us into something comfortable because we can’t take the truth, or function otherwise? For example, at the moment I am sitting on my couch and typing in this article into my computer. But what if I’m really upside down? How do I handle that when everything else in my life supports the idea that I am actually right side up? Is this the only way that my mind can
cope with this bizarre image?

I don’t really believe my brain - and that “down” is really “up”. I’m willing to believe that my brain is showing me what is real despite how the light hits my optic nerve. But can I really say for sure that the opposite isn’t true?

Interestingly enough, scientists who have conducted vision experiments discovered something interesting about this reverse image processing. By providing subjects with special glasses that eliminate the image inversion, something interesting happens over a couple of days: your brain retrains itself to perceive the world as you did before, so everything seems normal again. Despite the oddity of this phenomenon, it does seem to support the “inverted image” concept.

The important thing to take from this example is that our brains have mechanisms to correct or interpret what we see into a familiar form. However, the example of the bumblebee suggests that we should be cautious of imperfect knowledge when we try to interpret things where scientific theory lead to the opposite, or inverted conclusion that empirical study would show. Sometimes our “knowledge” leads us to conclusions that seem rational, but they defy the evidence that lies before us by deducing the opposite, or inversion of the reality that we can see.

Sometimes it’s a good exercise to take the assumptions we make in our lives, turn them upside down, and see what happens. Perhaps we’ll only reprove our assumptions 99% of the time. But imagine what treasures we might find if we challenge our assumptions and find them wrong. More importantly, think of the disasters that might be prevented by obtaining an accurate point of view before problems strike.

This article was written by Mark Dykeman from The Uncanny Broadcasting Brain. Mark broadcasts live from his brain several times a week where you can "catch the brainwave" and join his thoughts and ideas. Thumbnail image credit. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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29 October 2007

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

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28 October 2007

Ataturk and The Republic of Turkey

Today, Republic Day is celebrated throughout Turkey. On October 29, 1923, the Turkish constitution was amended and Turkey became a republic. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, capitalized on his reputation as an efficient military leader and spent his following years instituting wide-ranging and progressive political, economic, and social reforms, transforming Turkish society from perceiving itself as Muslim subjects of a vast Empire into citizens of a modern, democratic, and secular nation-state.

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the hands of the Allies, and the subsequent plans for its partition, Mustafa Kemal led the Turkish national movement in what would become the Turkish War of Independence. A basic principle for Kemal was the complete independence of the country, for him the total independence of the country was not negotiable, as he had fought numerous wars in several fronts until then just to achieve this goal. However, he was well aware that the independence of a country could not be maintained solely by the forces of arms. He once explained his view of the independence that:

"…by complete independence, we mean of course complete economic, financial, juridical, military, cultural independence and freedom in all matters. Being deprived of independence in any of these is equivalent to the nation and country being deprived of all its independence."

Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Entente powers. His successful military campaigns led to the liberation of the country and to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. This formally declared the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

Mustafa Kemal then embarked on a major programme of reforms in the political, economic and cultural aspects of life in Turkey, with the perspectives defined in the Kemalist ideology, which sought to create a modern, democratic and secular nation-state, guided by educational and scientific progress based on the principles of positivist and rationalist enlightenment.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk worked hard to establish his vision, "peace at home, peace in the world", up until his death in 1938 - which is why we miss him ever more today. The following video is my tribute to Atatürk. It's a collection of some of the rare video clips from his time, accompanied with music by Sema - a song called 'Hasret' (meaning 'Longing' in Turkish).


If you are interested, you might want to download the Atatürk wallpaper I made as well.

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26 October 2007

2000 Year Old Terraces Carved By Hand

The Banaue Rice terraces found in the mountains of Philippines is dubbed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" with a reason. More than 2000 years ago, these terraces were made by an ethnic group named Ifugaos without the aid of machinery to provide levels like stepping stones to the sky, some reaching an altitude of 1500m (5000 feet), where the natives plant rice. What's even more impressive is that the terraces cover 10,360 square km (about 4000 square miles) of mountainside. All done using bare hands!

Indigenous TribeStill being used today, the stages of rice feilds cultivated in the mountain side are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. Streams and springs are channeled into canals that run downhill and into the rice terraces. These manifest the engineering skill and ingenuity of the sturdy Ifugaos. In 1995, the terraces were declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. The website gives the following description for the terraces:

"For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountains. The fruit of knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, and the expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they have helped to create a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment."

Along with the incredible history and its natural beauty, the presence of many hiking trails in the area makes the Banaue Rice terraces one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Philippines. One cannot but ponder how the Ifugaos made it all using just their bare hands.


Above: Huge Panoramic Image of the Banaue Terraces


























This article was written by Blue Dreamer from Blue Dreamer's Paradise. Images collected by Ilker Yoldas via 1, 2, 3. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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25 October 2007

Sharing Intense Debate Invites

About a month ago, we announced the new comment system on our blog. We broke the thread on that page while testing it out (unless you have a monster resolution on your screen) but the plugin works great on the posts after that. Since Intense Debate is currently in beta, users can only install the plugin on their blogs with invites. However, we have good news. The Intense Debate team gave us 5 invites to share with you!

So, if you are absolutely 100% certain you will use it on your blog, shoot us an email: pickme@thethinkingblog.com

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23 October 2007

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words - Post 12


"Pictures Worth A Thousand Words" series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

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22 October 2007

STUDY: How To Be More Creative

Think CreativeWhile education traditionally has focused on literacy and maths, the ability to think creatively - in this case, generate ideas - has been forgotten and neglected. Creativity is a vague term, and is commonly regarded a gift or a talent that can not be learnt. Creative professionals rely on the ability to create something out of nothing. People use a variety of tactics in order to produce good ideas, but few of these are rooted in science and an understanding of how the brain functions. The problem might be that we are unaware that such ideas and techniques exist. It might also be based on misconceptions about what creativity is.

The research of Dr. Edward de Bono is of significant value to everybody working in an environment where creativity is important. His work shows how one can learn to use the brain more efficiently and - ultimately - become more able to produce a higher number of ideas. This article briefly explains de Bono's theories about the brain as a system, and will also present the creative tool PO as a way to beat that system - and be more creative.

A vital concept to understand, and the foundation of his work, is the theory of the brain as a self-organizing information system. When the brain receives information, it organizes itself based on experiences from the past that have already left their marks. Edward de Bono presents the following analogy:

A spoonful of ink is poured onto a towel spread out flat. The ink is absorbed and leaves a permanent stain. The stain can be referenced to by coordinates taken along the edges of the towel. A spoonful of hot ink is poured onto a bowl of jelly. The ink melts the jelly slowly, but cools down quickly. A depression has been made in the surface of the jelly. The ink stains represent information input. When several spoonfuls are poured onto the towel, more permanent stains are made. They never change; it becomes a record of everything that has happened to the towel. When several spoonfuls are poured onto the jelly, the holes will connect and the ink will flow into the existing depressions and make them deeper. The jelly is self-organizing; the towel is not.

The patterns generated by the brain are asymmetric; we go along the deepest patterns without noticing the side track. If we - randomly or by using techniques deliberately - get over to the alternative track, "the route becomes obvious in hindsight. This is the basis of both humor and creativity." When the solution becomes logical in hindsight, we believe that the solution could have been found logically from the start; this is a belief that makes us focus more on logic rather than creativity. In a passive, self-organizing system like the brain, an idea that is logical in hindsight is not necessarily accessible by logic in foresight.

PO is the fundamental tool of the creative system. It is a word created by Dr. de Bono for this purpose. Its need arises from "the deficiencies of the special memory-surface". He argues that "the use of PO is a skill that can be learnt and practiced just as you learn to drive, cook, surf or play golf". Its function is purely creative, just like the function of yes/no is judgemental. PO is a tool that acts to break down patterns and conquer dogmatism. It introduces discontinuity, and helps you move sideways across patterns instead of getting trapped by them and being led in their tracks. To use PO as a specific thinking tool, there are three basic uses:

Visual ExplanationPO1 - The Intermediate Impossible
This process can be said to be an extremely powerful variant of the word suppose. It is built upon the concept that wrong and/or impossible ideas can be used as gateways or stepping stones to ideas that are not wrong. It is a way to jump over the barrier of judgement, and continue in a seemingly wrong direction. This tool is often used as provocative statements. From a graphic design point of view, an example might be "PO this copy should not be readable". The objective is to explore unfamiliar landscape, and see where the provocation is leading. Results of this PO could be to have the text presented in the Braille system, a feature for audio playback of the same text, communicating the same message purely pictorial, or special glasses that make the copy readable.

PO2 - Random Juxtaposition
This requires a completely random word, and is a technique to form ideas between two concepts that have no previous connection in your memory bank. This technique provides two unrelated starting points, and your brain will try to find a path to connect the two concepts - a process that will force you to explore new thoughts and ideas. "The subject was cigarette. The random word was traffic light. From that quickly came the suggestion of putting a red band around cigarettes so that the smoker had a decision zone. If he or she stopped at the red band, then the smoker was gaining control over his or her smoking habit."

PO3 - Challenge for Change
The third use of PO is simply a judgement by-pass technique. It is an invitation to generate alternative solutions and fresh thinking, even if an adequate and fitting solution already is found. It is a formal way of saying "Why?", "Why this concept?", without getting a defense of the initial idea as an answer. It is an attempt to fight complacency and arrogance, by putting an existing idea to one side and keep on searching for new solutions. It sums up the following statement: "That is one way of looking at things and it is perfectly valid, but it does not exclude other ways, so let us try to find some".

A major point that de Bono advocates, is to suspend judgement throughout the entire creative phase. Critical thinking and creative thinking are two incompatible processes. Another author in the field, Dr Michael LeBoeuf, agrees, and introduces the following analogy: "To use your judgement and imagination simultaneously is like stepping on the brakes and the accelerator of your car at same time". One must allow invalid statements, untruths and steps in seemingly wrong directions, in order to create a mental environment for creative thinking. This is a vital principle that needs to be understood and practiced. High-paced, effective idea generation without any room for critical thinking will result in a much higher number of ideas, which then can be judged critically and logically in the selective phase. A thought that presents itself as a bad idea at the time, might lead you onto something else - something that you would not have seen if you had abandoned the initial thought. This is a significant part of lateral thinking, and it is fundamentally different from vertical thinking. "The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar there is to new ideas".

Katie Konrath, who recently finished a Master's in Creativity and Innovation at the University of Malta, is a certified lateral thinking instructor. She explains that the more ridiculous the PO is, the better the creative output will be. The goal is to make your brain so "disturbed by the apparent lack of connection between your creative challenge and the PO statement that [it] will plumb its depths for any connection possible". She, too, mentions the dangers of judgment. If you get selective in the generative phase, your creativity will be drastically limited.

This research provides an understanding of how the brain functions as a system. That understanding can be used to overcome the natural barriers that restrict your creative sessions, and thereby improve your creative capacity. There are several misconceptions about creativity, and de Bono addresses them all in a way that is simple enough for youngsters to use and simple enough to make academics angry. You can download the full article about this study here [PDF]. For further reading, the books Lateral Thinking and PO: Beyond Yes and No are excellent starting points.

This article was written by Asgeir Hoem from Journale. It a site updated with articles on design, typography, creativity and cool randomness. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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Hip Hop Music For Deaf People

By deaf rappers. Now ain't that something. When people have the will, they can do anything - against all odds. Finnish deaf rapper Signmark has released an internationally unique sign language hip hop album and others soon follow suit. According to Viceland, "Deaf people feel music. They can feel vibrations from the beats and the bass. But for deaf kids to want to get up and dance, it has to be LOUD."

Check out this truly inspirational video:


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20 October 2007

Blog Tip: Do NOT Put Adsense on Your Blog

Make Money AdsenseSeriously. Just because a handful of people made money from placing Adsense on their blogs years ago doesn't mean you can too. Times have changed and many people regard Adsense as something spammers use to scrape money from their splogs - and certainly you wouldn't want to be regarded as one of them despite the big difference in post quality. If there was one thing I wished I had known 6 months ago before I placed Adsense on my blog, it would be this one.

There were 1,552,590 visitors (or more accurately, page impressions) on this blog ever since I placed Adsense and only 388 of those visitors decided to click. Today my earnings from Adsense stands at $93.40 and my that $100 mark to get the first check seems so far away. That is the reason why, when I read some really interesting posts on other blogs, I click on the Adsense before I exit the site - hoping it will be of some help for the author to pay the bills.

Perhaps not everyone experience the same thing but the damage Adsense ads made to my reputation is far greater than the reward - when I get it. Now when I look back I understood that is wasn't worth it and I will remove Adsense from my blog when it hits $100. Taking private advertisements targeted towards readers' interests is much more relevant for the advertiser and does a lot more help in terms of covering the costs of the blog.

Finally, I would like to thank those who take the time to visit the blog and click on things. You might not realize it but it is one way of helping the authors for the free content published here everyday. Thank you!

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18 October 2007

One Crazy Person Is All It Takes To Change the World



Video via Apple Gazette

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17 October 2007

Jamais Vu - The Reality You Have Never Seen Before

In our crazier moments, many of us doubt that the world is real. Have you ever had that feeling? Have you ever been going along your daily routine and then suddenly you stop, look around and wonder how the heck you got there? You might wonder whose life you’ve been walking around in. It’s like the opposite of déjà vu – you feel like you’re somewhere that you’ve never been before.

Psychologists call this phenomenon jamais vu (literally translated from French as “never seen”, when the familiar seems new or strange). In a moment like this you’re like the narrator of the Talking Heads song “Once In a Lifetime”, thinking things like “This is not my beautiful house!”

While this hasn’t happened to me in recent memory, at times I will suddenly stop, look around, and think “What am I doing here? This is so bizarre!” I feel like I’ve suddenly been dropped inside someone else’s head. Fortunately this has always been a fleeting sensation.

However, another time that I experience jamais vu, or something similar, is when I think about eyesight. If you’ve ever seen the movie Being John Malkovich, you’ll remember that some of the main characters found a secret room that allowed them to temporarily enter Malkovich’s mind and experience his thoughts, feelings, and other sensations. The camera’s point-of-view would change so that it seemed that we were looking through Malkovich’s eyes and seeing what he would see. That was the
first time that I had watched a movie that came close to providing the sensation of using my eyes to see things in my environment.

Science tells us that our eyes receive sensory data and translate it into vision. This allows us to perceive the objects around us, including ourselves, in the form of images. On one hand, vision appears to be a purely mechanical or biological process. However, everything that we experience is the result of the interpretation of that data, which is a major factor in helping to structure a sense of identity and personality over time. So, from a certain perspective, the Uncanny Broadcasting Brain, as I sometimes think of myself, is the product of all of these processes. My senses are translating data so that I can make sense of the world around me. If I am ultimately defined by what I experience, then this particular result of ongoing chemical reactions (myself, for those who I may be confusing with this abstract line of thought) is a pretty interesting, but oddly self-aware physical process.

I don’t know about you, but I find this idea a bit hard to accept. To me, it implies consciousness is pretty darned mechanical. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Does this “consciousness” make me more special and interesting than, say, oxidation, radioactive decay, or combustion?

Maybe I’m vain or self-conscious (pretty gifted for a chemical reaction, no?), but I’d like to think that I am more than that. I’d like to think that I am an entity that is more than the sum of my component atoms, just like every other person in this world. I would like to think that consciousness is something more substantial than a bunch of electrical patterns and chemical reactions. Is that how we really think of ourselves, as something akin to programs and other data in computer
memory? Or do we think of our consciousness as a kind of entity living behind our eyes and between our ears?

I used to worry that I was experiencing a delusion during those moments when I suddenly had that feeling of jamais vu. But watching Being John Malkovich, and seeing the world through another person’s eyes (although simulated by camera angles) helped me to discredit that idea. It helped to convince me that other people experience the world in the same way using their own eyes and, in a silly but comforting way, reassured me that everyone else experiences the world like I do.

I still don’t know if “I” am just an electrical pattern. I’ll probably never know for certain. For now, I will cling to my belief, even if a sentient chemical reaction does make more sense after all.

This article was written by Mark Dykeman from The Uncanny Broadcasting Brain. Mark broadcasts live from his brain several times a week where you can "catch the brainwave" and join his thoughts and ideas. Thumbnail image credit. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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16 October 2007

Social Network Supports Topless Women

Long time TTB readers already know our support for topless women (for those with a filthy mind - no, not necessarily sexy women). Now there is a brand new social network called Cre8buzz that not only support women's right to be topless, but also allow them to post photos. Well, almost. Their official position on the matter is about photos of mothers breastfeeding and that is what matters most. In any case, you can get your invite from Mashable and check my profile there.

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15 October 2007

"If There Is A Will, There Is A Way"

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10 October 2007

How Nice To See Stolen Work on Other Sites

What makes it even more interesting is when you find about it coincidentally. While searching for a bus company to get a ticket to Istanbul (will be visiting friends for the Candy Festival), I noticed the little e-Card they let people send to each other. It is basically the Atatürk wallpaper I created last year - you can even see my website address watermark at the bottom left corner. Moral of the story: always place watermarks in stuff you create!





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09 October 2007

7 Tips to Deal with TMI (Too Much Information)

Over 1,000,000 new books published every year. More than 100,000,000 scientific papers released. Billions of websites at your googletips. It is often said that Leonardo da Vinci was one of the last persons who was aware of all the main knowledge available in his time. Since then, the amount of data, information and knowledge has exploded exponentially, stretching the capacity of our brains. Which, remember, given the slow speed at which evolution happens, may be optimized for the time when we were still hunters-gatherers.

We sometimes complain we cannot process all this information. Now, let me ask, should we even try?

Quick answer: No. Don't engage in a losing proposition. Instead, follow these simple tips that will help you manage the flow of information better.

1. Set very Clear Goals you want to achieve this week. Maybe 3 -5. Write them down, and review every day. Why is this important? Because by writing those clear goals you are developing you own lens through which to filter information, and prioritize the information you really care about. You can set up your own agenda, and not be at the mercy of the TV anchor who decides, on your behalf, what information you need. You don't need to know, you really don't need to know (unless you work in People), what is going on with Paris Hilton this week.

2. Review those goals at the end of the week. Did you achieve them? Think what you could have done differently, better. The goal here is to increase your motivation and ability to avoid distractions, and to ensure a learning loop. You can "evolve your brain" in your lifetime by making sure you learn a bit every day, every week, and accumulate abilities over time.

3. Prioritize: management consulting firms such as McKinsey train their staff in the so-called 80/20 rule: 80% of effects are caused by 20% of causes-so focus on the 20%. In a company, 80% revenues may come from 20% of the clients. Get the best information on those; don't spend so much on the 80% who only account for 20%. 80% of people will vote for you if you focus on the right 20% of the causes.

4. Use a scientific mindset. Scientists must shift through tons of data in very efficient ways. How do they do it? By first defining a hypothesis and then looking for information that either corroborates or refutes that hypothesis. For example, an untrained person could spend months in "boiling the ocean" and trying to read as much as possible, in a very unstructured way, about how stress affects our brain. A trained scientist would first define specific hypotheses or preliminary assumptions, such as "Stress reduces the brain's ability to generate new neurons" or "We can learn how to manage stress", and look specifically for data that corroborates or refutes those sentences. Which will probably happen faster, and enable him or her to refine the hypotheses further, based on accumulated knowledge, in a virtuous learning cycle.

5. Link the new information to what you already know. You cannot process, or remember, millions of fragmented, random facts. Try to relate the new information to previous one. Drawing concept maps can be extremely powerful ways to build knowledge over time-the opposite of being lost in a sea of random tidbits. Here is an example and a guide on how to create a concept map:


6. Make sure to keep stress and anxiety under control. Why is this important? Because stress can narrow your focus of attention too much and make you miss the big picture. Why is this so? Well, imagine you are a zebra about to be attacked by a lion. Your only priority now is to run as fast as possible and try to survive. It is not the time for complex thinking, for learning new skills. In fact, most of the blood flow that usualy goes to the brain gets diverted and gets sent to the zebra's main muscles, to run faster. And the same happens with humans, when we see a real or imaginary "lion": we can not think clearly. For example, try this experiment: Attention and working memory.

7. Don't train your brain to become a visual, unreflective, passive recipient of information. If you are the average American, stop watching TV 5 hours a day. You may have heard the expression "Cells that fire together wire together." Our brains are composed of billions of neurons, each of which can have thousand of connections to other neurons. Any thing you do in life is going to activate a specific constellation of neurons. Visualize one million neurons firing at the same time when you watch a TV program. Now, the more TV you watch, the more those neurons will fire together, and therefore the more they will wire together (meaning that the connections between them become, literally, stronger), which then creates automatic-like behaviors. You are making yourself more passive, unreflective, person, the more TV you watch. Exactly the opposite of what you need to prioritize and process the growing amount of information we have available these days.

This article was written by Alvaro Fernandez from SharpBrains. Alvaro is the main writer at SharpBrains brain fitness and exercise website. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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08 October 2007

Excellent Example of Viral Marketing from Toyota

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07 October 2007

Latest Japanese Trend: Weird Themed Cafes

Japan's vibrant, fast-moving culture delivers daily doses of the weird, wild and wonderful! Take, for example, theme cafes. First popularized by nerdy "otaku" geeks and then embraced by the public at large, the theme cafe phenomenon shows no sign of running out of steam. Just the opposite - it seems new theme cafes pop up every week, each one seeking to be just a little weirder than what's come before!

While we have theme restaurants in the west like Medieval Times where the audience gets into the swing of things, Japan's theme cafes don't usually involve cosplay by the patrons. It's the staff who provide the mood and the atmosphere, creating a soothing world where customers can feel right at home with their particular obsession.

The first Maid Cafes that appeared around 1998 deserve credit for jump-starting the boom in Japanese theme cafes. Simply stated, your average maid cafe appears normal from the outside, yet customers are greeted by subservient young women dressed in frilly French maid outfits.









The look is just part of the appeal. So-called "otaku" generally lack social skills and just getting out of the house and having to deal with fellow humans in daily social interaction can be extremely stressful for them. By acting as maids, the staff at a maid cafe removes any unpleasant social obligations an otaku might have to deal with. Instead, he (or occasionally, she) is coddled, cuddled even, while having needs from hunger to ear cleaning looked after by non-judgmental, non-competitive "real life action figures".









The success of the maid cafes, especially in Tokyo's Akihabara district (and also spreading elsewhere in the World) where geeks go gadget shopping, has led to other ventures that look more to the general public for their clientele while keeping an ear tuned to the otaku underground aesthetic. Examples include:

- Vampire Cafe,
















- Prison Cafe,








- Ninja Cafe,




- Eyeglasses Cafe,





- Scientist Lab Coat Cafe.



There's also Patisserie Swallowtail, a "butler cafe" in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district that caters to female otaku. A butler cafe is the role-reversing alternative of the maid cafe: service is by immaculately dressed "butlers", all English-like with "Welcome home, Madam" and the like!




Perhaps the most unusual Japanese theme cafe is the Christon Cafe, a chain (yes, they seem to be catching on!) of church-themed eateries that serve much more than wine and communion wafers! To quote one review from The Blingdom of God, "The Christon Cafe in Tokyo's bustling Shibuya district is reached by a dungeon-like brick stairwell, lit by dripping red candles, which leads to a dining area decorated with giant crucifixes, gargoyles and images of a bloodied Christ weeping on the cross. The menu includes such fare as the "Small Devil" cocktail flavored with strawberry cream and cassis, and "God-made Hamburger" (meatballs with cheese and rice).





Where do we go from here? If current trends are any guide, the maid cafe phenomenon is spreading out, not fading away. Some cafes, like the Little PSX Maid Darts & Bar, make things even more enticing for otaku by combining maids, food and games like the PS3 or Wii. Maid to order? So it would seem!




This article was written by Steve Levenstein from InventorSpot. Steve writes about weird and wonderful Japanese innovations on a regular basis and you can catch up on current & previous examples at his blog. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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