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Fransgaard
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Great article. Want to visit "Gindaka" next time i go to Tokyo. (Found this article by Googling for that Suntory mug btw)
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"...hype only raises the price of the real estate and pushes out independent businesses. Over the last few years Harajuku has been invaded by international brands like H&M and Forever 21..." I found your blog by pure coincidence but this article stuck a cord with me on an international level... unfortunately. The scenario you describe with big brands trying to capitalise on local fashion/culture fame is happening right here in Camden Town in London as well, where big brands and rising real estate prices are pushing out local traders out and by doing so watering down the foundation. Funnily enough the only new independent stalls appearing are all, if not Harajuku-inspired, then at least Tokyo-inspired.
I am not saying FourSquare won't have anything to offer in the future, but there's been to much talk about what FourSquare will be/might do, but not much of it has become reality and no hints as to whether any will. Essentially what you are describing is the FourSquare is a social game and a location-based game. As a social game I think the value, the physic return is too weak. Try and compare it with the engagement of FarmVille, more action requiring less time... You could argue FourSquare is a social game based in reality with real value but again I'd say it looses out to other real-life social games such as Nectar points. As a location-based game I think it looses out to the fantastic phenomenon that is Geo-caching. I don't geo-cache myself, but I have been on some "hunts" with a friend and it is amazing the hidden world it reveals in places I have been many many times before. At the end of the day my article is less about FourSquare and more about a trend I see coming with people becoming more aware and precious about how they spend their time online and it will become harder and harder for new networks to enter the market... Let's be honest; do any of us really believe in a Facebook killer?
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Dec 18, 2010