Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Nov 25, 2017

Red Light, Blue Light

Some languages refer to colors differently. For instance, Russian and Japanese, have different words for light blue and dark blue, treating them as two distinct colors. Some languages lump colors English speakers see as distinct, together, using the same word for green and blue. Japanese is one of those languages. While there are now separate terms for blue and green, in Old Japanese, the word ao was used for both colors.
In modern Japanese, ao refers to blue, while the word midori means green. Officially, the “go” color in traffic lights is called ao, even though traffic lights used to be green. This posed a linguistic, the lights are ao in official literature, but they are  really midori.

Since 1973, the Japanese government, in its infinite bureaucratic wisdom has decreed that traffic lights should be green, but that they be the bluest shade of green. They can still qualify as ao, but they are also green enough to mean go to foreigners.

Aug 19, 2016

WWII is Not Over

There are a string of volcanic islands in the Pacific, known as the Kurils. A dispute between Russia and Japan, has prevented the two nations from signing a peace treaty to formally end World War II.

The islands are equidistant between the two countries and are rich in natural resources, including potentially large oil and natural gas reserves. Known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the South Kurils, four of these islands are at the center of a dispute over ownership that continues. Many potential solutions to the conflict have been proposed, but talks between the countries have led to a stalemate and lack of war ending treaty.

Jan 29, 2016

Robot Progression

According to a research study by Tractica, annual shipments of consumer robots - a category that includes robotic vacuums, lawn mowers, and pool cleaners as well as social robots - will increase from 6.6 million units in 2015 to 31.2 million units worldwide by 2020 with a cumulative total of nearly 100 million consumer robots shipped during that period.

The fastest growth will occur in robotic personal assistants, a category that is nascent today. According to the report, "the next 5 years will set the stage for how these robots could fundamentally transform our homes and daily lives."

China, Japan, and South Korea are responsible for 40% of all new robot installations. China has more than 25% of all annual installations. The world market for robots grew 17% during 2015 and has had steady growth since 2009. Indications are that this growth rate will continue.

It used to be that the largest market for robotics was the United States. By 2014 China took over as the single largest market. During the past two years it had 50% annual growth in terms of new robot installations. China still has much below average installations of robots per capita. The maturity of a market is typically compared by number of robots installed per 10,000 workers in the manufacturing industry. Mature industries, such as automotive, will typically have 1 robot for every 10 workers.

South Korea has the most robots for manufacturing with 478 robots per 10,000 workers. Japan is second with 314 per 10,000 workers. Germany is at 292, USA is at 164. The world average is 87. China is currently at 36. Even with twice as many robots sold, China would still be below average in its use of robots.

Jul 4, 2014

PL Peace Tower, Japan

July 6 fireworks - a tribute to all the fallen souls of war. This six hundred foot tower is located at the Church of Perfect Liberty headquarters in Tondabayashi, Japan. The tower stands as a monument to all the perished souls of war throughout all time. Within the tower is a shrine in which all known names of the lives claimed in human conflict have been recorded on microfilm and stored in a golden container.

The structure was built in 1970. Once a year, the Church of Perfect Liberty headquarters is the site of one of the world's largest fireworks shows. Every July 6th, the members celebrate the passing of their first founder with what they call the "PL Art of Fireworks." Unlike most fireworks shows, which fire around 5,000 shells, the PL show consists of around 25,000 shells fired. During the finale about 7,000 shells are shot off in unison, almost completely lighting nearly night sky.

Jun 20, 2014

Socks and Puppets

Socks have been around as a form of footwear for thousands of years. They initially started as matted animal hair shaped to fit inside a shoe or around the foot and ankle. The ancient Greeks were known to have used this technique as far back as 750 BC. The Romans innovated with thick fabrics that were wrapped around the legs to form a shaped sock.

Knitting was invented in Egypt during the 12th century AD by nomadic sheep herders who would create fabric through the simple use of knotting wool yarn using straight twigs. The technique had advantages over traditional weaving and allowed any shepherd and his wife to produce a more valuable product instead of just selling their wool. The practice quickly spread from Egypt throughout the Middle East and into Europe. Muslim knitters in Spain started developing a variety of knitting stitches that allowed them to create shaped fabrics, the sock being one of the first knitted items of clothing to be produced.

In 1589, William Lee of Calverton in England invented the first knitting machine which overnight transformed knitted garments into something almost everyone could afford. Knitting is credited with transforming the textile industry and became the precursor to the industrial age.

In China and Japan during the first millennium BC puppets were being intricately carved from wood. Puppets were being used in India by the 11th century as devices to give morality stories a visual impact that words couldn't convey. Puppets have been used to represent good, evil, jealousy, and greed without running the risk of identifying individuals who might exact revenge against the storyteller. In ancient India puppets were constructed from carved sticks, and were often elaborately decorated. Sock puppets were likely invented when knitted socks became more widely in use.

As the puritan movement in England gained momentum, traditional puppetry was banned along with all other forms of theater. During these years in England and France, radicals would organize secret theater shows and used puppets, as they were easier to transport and conceal than sets, costumes, and large bands of actors. Socks and very basic stages made of suspended fabric hung behind a table became a popular way of getting around the ban. It was about this time that the puppet character Punch was created.

After the return of the monarchy and the end of puritan times Punch and Judy, puppets became more commonly associated with glove or hand puppets. Children used discarded socks that could be decorated to mimic a hand puppet.

Recently the term sock puppet is also used to describe a fictitious identity used online to promote a particular point of view or defend a person who is seen as controversial.

Feb 15, 2014

Bang for Your Buck

'Bang for your buck' means 'value for the money spent' or 'excitement for the money spent' and is based on the slang meaning of bang (excitement ) and buck (money).

Finland had one of the highest-ranked education system for many years, but came in #2 in 2013, behind to Japan. The UK #3 in 2013; Canada #7; Estonia #17 and the United States #18, out of 200 countries considered.

Japan spends an average of $10,596 per student and Finland $10,157. The US spends $15,172 per student, the highest of any country and 2.5 times more per student than #17 ranked Estonia. The US does not appear to be getting a bang for its bucks.

Aug 30, 2013


It is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area in the world. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family.

Tokyo is often thought of as a city, but is commonly referred to as a metropolitan prefecture. The prefecture is part of the world's most populous metropolitan area with over 35 million people and the world's largest urban agglomeration economy. Canada has a fewer people than the Tokyo island metropolitan area.

Aug 6, 2013

Waterfall Art

These have been around for a few years, but always a treat to watch. The one in the link is located in the South Gate Building of the Osaka Station City in Japan. Four minute video, but you will get the idea during the first few minutes.

As the video shows a digital time readout, scrolling patterns including floral motifs, text, and interesting water patterns. The printer emits illuminated water droplets in controlled patterns to reproduce images that are stored on a PC.

Apr 13, 2013

Renminbi and Sterling

Now that Australia joins a host of nations that are bypassing the US Dollar as the world's "reserve currency" and trading currency directly with China, I thought it might be good to discuss confusion about the name of the Chinese currency.

Renminbi is the name of China’s currency, but yuan is the denomination of bills. It is equivalent to Britain’s currency, which is sterling with its pound as denomination of bills. The number of renminbi per dollar or sterling per dollar is incorrect. Renminbi and Sterling are the currency, but not a unit of the currency.  Prices and exchanges are measured in yuan and pounds, not Renminbi or Sterling.

The primary unit of renminbi is the yuan. One yuan is subdivided into 10 jiao , which is subdivided into 10 fen. Renminbi banknotes are available in denominations from 1 jiao to 100 yuan and coins have denominations from 1 fen to 1 yuan.

During the past two years - China and Japan economies bypass dollar and engage in direct currency trade, China and Russia drop dollar for direct trade, China and Iran bypass dollar, India and Japan bypass dollar, Iran and Russia replace dollar with rial and ruble in trade, India and Iran transact directly in rupees, Brazil bypasses dollar for direct China currency, Australia and China bypass dollar for direct currency trade.

Jan 4, 2013

Life Span vs. Life Expectancy

There are two kinds of life span. One is maximum life span, the greatest age reached by any member of a species. In humans this is currently about 120 years. (The oldest confirmed recorded age for any human is 122 years). The other is average life span, the average age reached by members of a population.

Life expectancy is the number of remaining years an individual can expect to live, based on his or her current age and average life spans. Life expectancy generally quoted is the ''at birth'' number which is an average that includes all the babies that die before their first year of life as well as people that die from disease, war, etc. For example, the Life Expectancy table at the University of Texas shows ''at birth'' the life expectancy was 25, but at the age of 5 it jumped to 48. So life expectancy changes with your age.

Mozambique has the lowest life expectancy for its population at 39.2. Japan is the highest at 82.7 and the US is 38th at 78.2 years.

Dec 29, 2012

Strange Christmas Traditions

Had to finish the year with a few strange Christmas traditions from around the world.

On Christmas in Caracas they skate to mass on roller skates. Firecrackers pop to wake the citizens, who put on their skates for the pre-dawn trip to mass. Streets are closed in the mornings to allow the skating churchgoers to pass.

In Catalonia, the traditional nativity scene has an extra figure. El Caganer can be found somewhere on the periphery of the scene, crouched in the squatting position of a bowel movement. It is believed “The Defecator” in the nativity scene will fertilize the coming year with a good harvest of wealth and prosperity. The statue can be a monk, a shepherd, a popular sports star, or celebrity, but he is always wearing his signature red Catalan hat as he squats above a pile.

In Italy, the gift-bringer is a kind but hideous witch named La Befana. She missed seeing the Christ-child, because she was busy when the wise men told her to come. La Befana comes late, several days after Christmas Day, but leaves gifts at each house in case the holy infant is there.

In Ireland it is traditional to leave out mince pie and Guinness as snacks for Santa.

Norwegians legend says witches and evil spirits come out on Christmas Eve to steal brooms and ride around causing mischief.

In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are adorned with silver and gold spider webs. This tradition came from the story of a poor woman without means to decorate for the holiday. As she slept, spiders spun webs of pure gold and silver to beautify her tree and bring her wealth.

Sep 12, 2012

Myth: Earth is Close to Overpopulation

This is a myth has been around since the 18th century, but the world is a really big place with plenty of space.

Let's look at how much land it really takes to hold 6 billion people. To give you an idea, consider the small nation of Japan, which has about 143,000 square miles of land. One square mile has 27.9 million square feet. Japan has a total of about 4 trillion square feet, enough to give each person on earth 670 square feet. If we housed people in families of four in simple two-level buildings (8 people per building, one family of four per level), each building could be on a lot of over 5300 square feet.

Using the American average of 8,000 square feet to house four people, the entire population of the planet would fit into a space the size of Texas and Nevada combined or less than the state of Alaska. That leaves a bunch of unused space for growing crops, sailing, and going on vacations.

Jan 27, 2012

How Many People Can Fit on Earth

Many more people can be accommodated on our planet than headlines would have us believe. For starters, there are now six billion people on earth.

The island of Japan has about 143,000 square miles of area. One square mile has 27.9 million square feet. Japan has a total of about 4 trillion square feet, enough to give each person of the earth 670 square feet.

For comparison, if we used the American average of 8,000 square feet to four people, the entire population of the planet would fit into a space as the size of Texas and Nevada combined. That would leave the rest of the world's land for food production, entertainment, and vacations. These calculations do not include the oceans.

Nov 26, 2011

Vending Machines

Did you know the first vending machines were invented in the first century in the city of Alexandria. The only goody sold was holy water. When a coin was dropped into a slot, its weight would pull a cork out of a spigot and the machine would dispense a trickle of holy water.

During the early 1880s, the first commercial coin-operated vending machines were introduced in London, England and dispensed post cards. An English publisher and bookshop owner invented a vending machine for selling books.

In 1888, the Thomas Adams Gum Company introduced the first vending machines to the United States and installed them on the elevated subway platforms in New York City. Naturally they sold Tutti-Fruiti gum. Round candy coated gumballs and gumball vending machines were introduced in 1907.

Polyvend introduced the first glass front snack machines in 1972 and the first frozen food vending machines are introduced in 1987. Coffee machines didn't appear until 1991.

Today vending machines sell everything from live bait to hot and cold full meals, including one that actually mixes ingredients and bakes a pizza while you wait. Australians love the machines that make fresh french fries while you watch. Mmmm!

Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people.

Dec 7, 2010

Decembers Past

In 1942, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered liquidation of the Works Progress Administration, created during the Great Depression to provide work for the unemployed. Seems to me that worked better than unemployment checks.

In 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

In 1768, Encyclopedia Britannica was first published.

In 1954, the first Burger King fast-food restaurant opened in Miami.

In 1975, the US Senate authorized a $2.3 billion emergency loan to save New York City from bankruptcy.

In 2009, the US unemployment rate fell to 10 percent in November, down from its peak of 10.2 percent in October. Analysts called the jobs report the strongest since the recession began two years earlier.

In 2010, the US unemployment rate went up to 9.8% in November, from 9.6% in October.

In 1929, the Ford Motor Co. raised the pay of its employees from $5 to $7 a day despite the collapse of the US stock market.

In 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant at Cape Town, South Africa.

Sep 3, 2010

Exercise Underwear

True - The Japanese have come up with T-shirts and boxers that are supposed to help you lose weight. Uniqlo is marketing a new line of products that claim to help wearers burn more calories from just suiting up. 

Called the ‘Easy Exe’ series, after a phonetic shortening of the word “exercise” in Japanese. The design of plastic dots and lines that traces the gluteus maximus and lower back is said to encourage better posture, which will lead to a more efficient way of walking, according to Uniqlo. Both the boxers and T-shirts cost 1,500 yen ($17). The products are currently available online and in select outlets around Japan. If you buy these, I have this bridge. . .

Aug 6, 2010

Billboards Read You

In Tokyo, Japan, there are digital advertising billboards being trialled. They are fitted with cameras that read the gender and age group of people looking at them to tailor specific commercial messages.

A consortium of 11 railway companies launched the one-year pilot project in June and has set up 27 of the high-tech advertising displays in subway commuter stations around Tokyo.

The camera can distinguish a person’s sex and approximate age if the person walks in front of the display looks at the screen for a second. If data for different locations is analyzed, companies can provide interactive advertisements "which meet the interest of people who use the station at a certain time," the project said in a statement. Scary when pictures you are looking at look back at you.