Posts tagged with ‘Japan’

Just a Group of Snow Monkeys Enjoying a Japanese Hot Spring

Via Slate:

The relaxing sensation of soaking in an onsen—or Japanese hot spring—is so popular that even the country’s monkeys take part in the tradition. At Jigokudani (Hell’s Valley) Park just outside Nagano, snow monkeys soak in the hot springs on winter days and return to the forest at night.

Images: Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani Park, via Slate and Atlas Obscura. Select to embiggen.

The Average Male Body
Artist Nickolay Lamm designed avatars depicting average male body types in the U.S., the Netherlands, Japan, and France. He compared the body types of other countries to the average American male’s body. Lamm based the avatars on BMI, height, and waist measurements.
The results?
Via My Deals:

USA29 BMI176.4 cm height99.4 cm waist



Japan    
23.7 BMI
171.4 cm height82.9 cm waist  
Netherlands25.2 BMI 
183.3 cm height 91 cm waist   
France    25.55 BMI174.4 cm height 92.3 cm waist  


Image: My Deals

The Average Male Body

Artist Nickolay Lamm designed avatars depicting average male body types in the U.S., the Netherlands, Japan, and France. He compared the body types of other countries to the average American male’s body. Lamm based the avatars on BMI, height, and waist measurements.

The results?

Via My Deals:

USA

29 BMI
176.4 cm height
99.4 cm waist

Japan    


23.7 BMI

171.4 cm height
82.9 cm waist 

 

Netherlands

25.2 BMI 

183.3 cm height 
91 cm waist  

 

France    

25.55 BMI
174.4 cm height 
92.3 cm waist  

Image: My Deals

Japan Adores Twitter, Remains Wary of Facebook
We’re well aware that not all social networks are created equal (when was the last time you logged onto your Myspace account?), but it’s also true that different cultural environments also render some social networks more fit than others. 
Case in point: last month, Japanese Twitter users logged the most-tweeted moment of all time, tweeting a groundbreaking 143,199 tweets in one second upon the airing of the Miyazaki film Castle in the Sky. This was far from a fluke — Twitter has long been popular in Japan.
Facebook, on the other hand, has fought an uphill battle to gain traction among Japanese users— a difference that speaks to the cultural fit of each platform in the country.
Via FastCo.Labs:

Twitter lets users self-efface, some have suggested, while Facebook is about the humblebrag—a major offense in traditional Japanese culture. When Japanese social networkers can enthuse about things that interest them—anime, games, music—without drawing attention to themselves, they seem glad to engage the broader world. But they are often uncomfortable being forced to broadcast their name and face. Homegrown Asian cyber social spaces have known this for years; Western ones might do well to understand.

Read the rest here, including the linguistic characteristics of Japanese that benefit Twitter, an analysis of how Japanese users tweet, and what this all means for platforms hoping to gain ground around the world. (TL;DR: Not all cultures are as narcissistic as ours, and social networks should take note.) 
Image: Kengo via Flickr

Japan Adores Twitter, Remains Wary of Facebook

We’re well aware that not all social networks are created equal (when was the last time you logged onto your Myspace account?), but it’s also true that different cultural environments also render some social networks more fit than others. 

Case in point: last month, Japanese Twitter users logged the most-tweeted moment of all time, tweeting a groundbreaking 143,199 tweets in one second upon the airing of the Miyazaki film Castle in the Sky. This was far from a fluke — Twitter has long been popular in Japan.

Facebook, on the other hand, has fought an uphill battle to gain traction among Japanese users— a difference that speaks to the cultural fit of each platform in the country.

Via FastCo.Labs:

Twitter lets users self-efface, some have suggested, while Facebook is about the humblebrag—a major offense in traditional Japanese culture. When Japanese social networkers can enthuse about things that interest them—anime, games, music—without drawing attention to themselves, they seem glad to engage the broader world. But they are often uncomfortable being forced to broadcast their name and face. Homegrown Asian cyber social spaces have known this for years; Western ones might do well to understand.

Read the rest here, including the linguistic characteristics of Japanese that benefit Twitter, an analysis of how Japanese users tweet, and what this all means for platforms hoping to gain ground around the world. (TL;DR: Not all cultures are as narcissistic as ours, and social networks should take note.) 

Image: Kengo via Flickr

Some Japanese Animal Donuts to Take You Into the Weekend
The perfect snack for any newsroom.
Want more? Visit Kotaku.

Some Japanese Animal Donuts to Take You Into the Weekend

The perfect snack for any newsroom.

Want more? Visit Kotaku.

This Day in History
Today marks the 68th anniversary of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Some interesting historical media available online:
How the New York Times reported it at the time.
How The BBC reported it at the time.
The Prelinger Archive of videos on Hiroshima and the building of the bomb leading up to it.
A silent 1946 film from the US National Archives.
A National Geographic documentary.
Image: A man looks over the expanse of ruins left by the explosion of the atomic bomb on in Hiroshima, Japan. Via Boston.com. Select to embiggen.

This Day in History

Today marks the 68th anniversary of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Some interesting historical media available online:

Image: A man looks over the expanse of ruins left by the explosion of the atomic bomb on in Hiroshima, Japan. Via Boston.com. Select to embiggen.

How polluted is the ocean near Daiichi Japan? — rogerwhart
Timely of you to ask.
From today’s New York Times.

Two years after a triple meltdown that grew into the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is faced with a new crisis: a flood of highly radioactive wastewater that workers are struggling to contain.
Groundwater is pouring into the plant’s ravaged reactor buildings at a rate of almost 75 gallons a minute. It becomes highly contaminated there, before being pumped out to keep from swamping a critical cooling system. A small army of workers has struggled to contain the continuous flow of radioactive wastewater, relying on hulking gray and silver storage tanks sprawling over 42 acres of parking lots and lawns. The tanks hold the equivalent of 112 Olympic-size pools.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s discovery of leaks in water storage pits at the wrecked Fukushima atomic station raises the risk the utility will be forced to dump radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean…
…While the company has since built a makeshift sealed cooling system, underground water is breaching basement walls at a rate of about 400 tons a day and becoming contaminated, according to Tepco’s estimate.

The company has two options, reports Bloomberg. One is to build above ground storage facilities but with 400 tons of contaminated water pouring in a day, it can only build so much. The second option, which Bloomberg says the company is hesitant to do but isn’t ruling out, is to dump the water into the ocean.
Back in November, Nature had this to say:

The Fukushima disaster caused by far the largest discharge of radioactivity into the ocean ever seen. A new model presented by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts estimates that 16.2 petabecquerels (1015 becquerels) of radioactive caesium leaked from the plant — roughly the same amount that went into the atmosphere.
Most of that radioactivity dispersed across the Pacific Ocean, where it became diluted to extremely low levels. But in the region of the ocean near the plant, levels of caesium-137 have remained fixed at around 1,000 becquerels, a relatively high level compared to the natural background. Similarly, levels of radioactive caesium in bottom-dwelling fish remain pretty much unchanged more than 18 months after the accident…
…a fresh analysis by oceanographer Jota Kanda at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology suggests that not one source, but three, are responsible. First, radioactivity from the land is being washed by rainfall into rivers, which carry it to the sea. Second, the plant itself is leaking around 0.3 terabecquerels (1012 becquerels) per month, he estimates.
But Kanda thinks that the third source, marine sediment, is the main cause of the contamination. Around 95 terabecquerels of radioactive caesium has found its way to the sandy ocean floor near the plant.

Becquerels? That would be a unit of radioactivity. To get at the science of all this, we suggest you ask this guy. — Michael
Have a question? Ask away.
Image: Satellite view of Daiichi, Japan (indicated by the red pin), via Google Maps.

How polluted is the ocean near Daiichi Japan?rogerwhart

Timely of you to ask.

From today’s New York Times.

Two years after a triple meltdown that grew into the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is faced with a new crisis: a flood of highly radioactive wastewater that workers are struggling to contain.

Groundwater is pouring into the plant’s ravaged reactor buildings at a rate of almost 75 gallons a minute. It becomes highly contaminated there, before being pumped out to keep from swamping a critical cooling system. A small army of workers has struggled to contain the continuous flow of radioactive wastewater, relying on hulking gray and silver storage tanks sprawling over 42 acres of parking lots and lawns. The tanks hold the equivalent of 112 Olympic-size pools.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s discovery of leaks in water storage pits at the wrecked Fukushima atomic station raises the risk the utility will be forced to dump radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean…

…While the company has since built a makeshift sealed cooling system, underground water is breaching basement walls at a rate of about 400 tons a day and becoming contaminated, according to Tepco’s estimate.

The company has two options, reports Bloomberg. One is to build above ground storage facilities but with 400 tons of contaminated water pouring in a day, it can only build so much. The second option, which Bloomberg says the company is hesitant to do but isn’t ruling out, is to dump the water into the ocean.

Back in November, Nature had this to say:

The Fukushima disaster caused by far the largest discharge of radioactivity into the ocean ever seen. A new model presented by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts estimates that 16.2 petabecquerels (1015 becquerels) of radioactive caesium leaked from the plant — roughly the same amount that went into the atmosphere.

Most of that radioactivity dispersed across the Pacific Ocean, where it became diluted to extremely low levels. But in the region of the ocean near the plant, levels of caesium-137 have remained fixed at around 1,000 becquerels, a relatively high level compared to the natural background. Similarly, levels of radioactive caesium in bottom-dwelling fish remain pretty much unchanged more than 18 months after the accident…

…a fresh analysis by oceanographer Jota Kanda at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology suggests that not one source, but three, are responsible. First, radioactivity from the land is being washed by rainfall into rivers, which carry it to the sea. Second, the plant itself is leaking around 0.3 terabecquerels (1012 becquerels) per month, he estimates.

But Kanda thinks that the third source, marine sediment, is the main cause of the contamination. Around 95 terabecquerels of radioactive caesium has found its way to the sandy ocean floor near the plant.

Becquerels? That would be a unit of radioactivity. To get at the science of all this, we suggest you ask this guy. — Michael

Have a question? Ask away.

Image: Satellite view of Daiichi, Japan (indicated by the red pin), via Google Maps.

Google Street View Captures Fukushima Ghost Town
Via The New York Times:

The eerily empty streets of Namie, a town deep in the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, are featured in the latest images captured by Google for its Street View mapping project.
The scene is wrenching: houses flattened by the earthquake and now abandoned for fear of radiation; rows of empty shutters on a boulevard that once hosted Namie’s annual autumn festival; ships and debris that still dot a landscape laid bare by the 50-foot waves that destroyed its coastline more than two years ago.
Namie’s 21,000 residents are still in government-mandated exile, scattered throughout Fukushima and across Japan. They are allowed brief visits no more than once a month to check on their homes.

Over at Lat Long, the Google Maps blog, Tamotsu Baba, the town’s mayor, writes:

Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation.
Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebearers, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children. It has become our generation’s duty to make sure future generations understand the city’s history and culture—maybe even those who will not remember the Fukushima nuclear accident. We want this Street View imagery to become a permanent record of what happened to Namie-machi in the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.

Image: Screenshot, Google Street View from Namie-machi, Fukushima, Japan.

Google Street View Captures Fukushima Ghost Town

Via The New York Times:

The eerily empty streets of Namie, a town deep in the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, are featured in the latest images captured by Google for its Street View mapping project.

The scene is wrenching: houses flattened by the earthquake and now abandoned for fear of radiation; rows of empty shutters on a boulevard that once hosted Namie’s annual autumn festival; ships and debris that still dot a landscape laid bare by the 50-foot waves that destroyed its coastline more than two years ago.

Namie’s 21,000 residents are still in government-mandated exile, scattered throughout Fukushima and across Japan. They are allowed brief visits no more than once a month to check on their homes.

Over at Lat Long, the Google Maps blog, Tamotsu Baba, the town’s mayor, writes:

Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation.

Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebearers, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children. It has become our generation’s duty to make sure future generations understand the city’s history and culture—maybe even those who will not remember the Fukushima nuclear accident. We want this Street View imagery to become a permanent record of what happened to Namie-machi in the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.

Image: Screenshot, Google Street View from Namie-machi, Fukushima, Japan.

theeconomist:

Less than an hour after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the country’s phone system was at capacity and Japanese citizens were unable to contact their loved ones or emergency hotlines. What did the Japanese do? They turned to Twitter. Dick Costolo, chief executive of Twitter, discusses how Twitter saved lives that day, in this video from The Economist’s Ideas Economy events series.

It is as if someone sat at a desk and wrote a novel about a research idea.

The Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists in a report on Japanese anesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii who fabricated 172 papers over the past 19 years. Science Insider, A New Record for Retractions?

Via Science Insider:

Among other problems, the panel, set up by the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists, could find no records of patients and no evidence medication was ever administered…

…The panel focused on 212 of 249 known Fujii papers. It tried to review the raw data, laboratory notebooks, and records on the patients or animal subjects involved. Committee members also interviewed relevant people.

Among the 172 papers judged bogus, the report claims that 126 studies of randomized, double-blind, controlled trials “were totally fabricated.” The committee identified only three valid papers. For another 37 papers, the panel could not conclusively determine if there had been fabrication.

FJP: Wow.

Would You Like a Side of Testicle with That →

We started the day with a freaky fish, we end with a freaky meal.

Via CalorieLab (click through not recommended for the squeamish):

On Sunday, April 13, Tokyo illustrator Mao Sugiyama (who goes by the nickname “HC”), publicly seasoned and braised his own genitals on a portable gas cartridge burner, and then served them to five eager diners who each paid about $250 for the meal (a sixth was a no-show). The genitals had been returned to the asexual Sugiyama, frozen and double-bagged in plastic, following elective genital removal surgery on his 22nd birthday in early April.

After initially considering eating them himself, Sugiyama offered the meal on Twitter in mid-April to the first person willing to pay 100,000 yen (about $1,250). But after the notoriety that his tweet caused, he organized a public banquet, dubbed “Ham Cybele – Century Banquet,” at the “Asagaya Loft A” event space in the Suginami Ward of Tokyo. “Century” in Japanese is a homophone for the Japanese word for “genitals”; “Ham Cybele” refers to the Anatolian mother goddess, prefixed with an appropriate word for tough meat to create a phrase whose initials match Sugiyama’s artist name of HC…

…The five genital eaters comprised a 32-year-old male manga artist (there for “research”), a 30-year-old white-collar couple (who were “curious”), an attractive 22-year-old woman (who wondered how it would feel), and 29-year-old event planner Shigenobu Matsuzawa, who tweeted before the event, “It’s a once in a lifetime chance, so I decided on the spur of the moment to do it.”

We’re eating vegetarian this evening.

Photographs from Fukushima
Last week we wrote about Japan’s Memory Salvage Project, a beautiful volunteer initiative that seeks to restore some of the 750,000 found photographs collected in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.
If you’re in New York next month, Aperture is exhibiting some of the images as part of a show that started in Japan and then moved to Los Angeles.
In an interview with the New Yorker, project lead Munemasa Takahashi explains:

After the disaster occurred, the first thing the people who lost their loved ones and houses came to look for was their photographs. Only humans take moments to look back at their pasts, and I believe photographs play a big part in that. This exhibit makes us think of what we have lost, and what we still have to remember about our past.

The photographs will be on display at the Aperture Foundation from April 2 through April 27.

Photographs from Fukushima

Last week we wrote about Japan’s Memory Salvage Project, a beautiful volunteer initiative that seeks to restore some of the 750,000 found photographs collected in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.

If you’re in New York next month, Aperture is exhibiting some of the images as part of a show that started in Japan and then moved to Los Angeles.

In an interview with the New Yorker, project lead Munemasa Takahashi explains:

After the disaster occurred, the first thing the people who lost their loved ones and houses came to look for was their photographs. Only humans take moments to look back at their pasts, and I believe photographs play a big part in that. This exhibit makes us think of what we have lost, and what we still have to remember about our past.

The photographs will be on display at the Aperture Foundation from April 2 through April 27.

The Memory Salvage Project

When Japanese defense forces cleared debris from the 2011 tsunami, they came across 750,000 photographs that they collected and saved.

Now a group of volunteers called the Memory Salvage Project is cleaning and restoring each photo, one by one.

Images: Stills from a video by the Discovery Channel. Click through to watch.

Select an image to embiggen.

Want Someone to Shut Up? There's a (Non-Lethal) Gun for That →

Japanese researchers have created a non-lethal gun that silences people up to 100 feet away.

Via Extreme Tech:

The gun has two purposes, according to the researchers: At its most basic, this gun could be used in libraries and other quiet spaces to stop people from speaking — but its second application is a lot more chilling.

The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation. The paper reads: “We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking. However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately interrupt other people when it is their turn in order to establish their presence rather than achieve more fruitful discussions. Furthermore, some people tend to jeer at speakers to invalidate their speech.” In other words, this speech-jamming gun was built to enforce “proper” conversations.

The gun works by using a directional mic to capture the offending voice and then rebroadcasting the audio back to them with directional speakers. The reported effect is similar to talking on the phone when there’s an echo. As we hear the delayed feedback our brains get jammed.

This Day in History: Executive Order 9066 & Japanese Internment Camps

On February 19, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 allowing the US military to create domestic exclusion zones and remove people from them.

"Within days," the Los Angeles Times reminds us, "the military began removing all Japanese Americans and Japanese from the West Coast.

"Within months, about 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans – almost two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens –were moved to internment camps scattered through eastern California, Arizona and other Western States."

The LA Times Framework blog has a great slideshow of the images they published at that time.

Images: Lead image is a sign notifying people of Japanese descent to report for relocation, via Wikipedia. Photos via the LA Times Framework blog.