Pokemon Go! is here...keep your head up!

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be another hot and humid day here in Hiroshima. And there's no relief in sight...highs for the foreseeable future are all between 31C and 33C with overnight lows of around 25C...I'm not sure if it's even possible to use the word 'low' to describe those temperatures. It's 5:30 in the morning and I'm already sweating...

I guess you all have heard about 'Pokémon Go!'. It was released in Japan yesterday...don't ask me what it is, because I have no idea! Ha ha! 

Apparently, players search for digital creatures that pop up on smartphone screens as they move through real-world locations. They then collect the items or characters and use those items to play the game somehow. McDonald’s is getting in on the act too, they have said that about 400 of their 2,900 restaurants in the country are designated as “gyms” where players can battle on their smartphones. The other 2,500 are “Pokestops,” where players can get “Poke Balls” and other items they need to play the game.

While one benefit of the game is that it gets people outside, a downside is that while playing, they aren't aware of their surroundings.

Japan's government-run National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity has issued a flier with these nine public safety tips to keep overly enthusiastic players from getting into trouble. The smartphone game was released in Japan on Friday:

PROTECT PERSONAL INFORMATION

The government says when registering, a player should use a nickname that a third party cannot use to identify the player. It also advises against posting photos taken near one's home on social media, as the location could be ascertained.

BEWARE OF FAKE APPS

The government warns there are possibilities that there are apps that contain viruses, and urges users to download the game's app from legitimate distribution channels.

DOWNLOAD WEATHER APPS

"Pokemon Go" users who play outside need to be mindful of the weather. Download apps that issue severe weather warnings. A cartoon on the government flier shows a person dragging away a preoccupied player as a tsunami approaches, shouting, "Stop playing and run!"

BEWARE OF HEATSTROKE

Players of the game may go on hunting on a sunny day. In that case, the government advises players to be aware of heatstroke, taking a rest in the shade frequently and consuming drinks that contain salt. Drinking water only is not sufficient.

CARRY AN EXTRA BATTERY

Games that use GPS eat up battery life, so carry extra batteries or chargers.

HAVE AN ADDITIONAL METHOD OF CONTACT

In case your smartphone's battery dies, carry a phone card so you can use a public phone. For kids playing alone, parents should take a head-to-toe picture of them in the clothes they are wearing, in case they go missing.

DO NOT ENTER DANGEROUS AREAS

There are reports in other countries of people getting into trouble while playing the game, including being hit by a car, falling into a pond, getting robbed and getting bitten by a snake. The government also warns players to be careful overseas -- its flier features a cartoon of two pistol-wielding men in cowboy gear to emphasize the point.

BEWARE OF PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY WANT TO MEET

The government warns against meeting strangers. Bring an adult if players absolutely have to meet a person and avoid playing the game in a place where no one is around.

DO NOT USE SMARTPHONES WHILE WALKING

There are many accidents related to texting while walking. The game has a feature that a phone vibrates when a character appears near players. If it does, stop and check out the surroundings before looking at a smartphone.

Play safe, and don't ask me about the game, because you won't find me downloading it...the only time you'll hear me talking about it, is when I'm complaining about pedestrians getting in my way when I'm riding to and from work...ha ha!

Have a great day!


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