Sunday, August 02, 2009

July Blog Updates

Tokyo is bigger than you think, Shisaku pointed out, before the July elections...

...would make pretty good country, if independent. With its 12,688,000 inhabitants (10,000,000 of whom are eligible to vote on Sunday) it would be the 67th largest country by population, in between Mali and in Zimbabwe. By GDP, on an exchange rate basis, it would rank among the world’s top 25 economies, on a par with Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden. In terms of headquarters of Fortune Global 500 companies, it would rank second, behind only the United States.

Meanwhile, Mari of Watashi to Tokyo fame, my all-time favourite blog, wrote about Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and noted, "You can find an English subtitled versions on YouTube, please enjoy." Is it just me, or have there been really few earthquakes recently? Four scary (anime) episodes of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 were shown late Thursday nights (just before midnight) on Fuji TV during July.

It's not always easy to live in this great city: "Mainichi, mainichi ya na koto bakkari... Watashi no jinsei, kono saki nani ka ii koto aru kana?" which I would translate as, "Every day, every day, just terrible things happening... In my life, will anything good ever happen?" These are the words that the main character types on her mobile phone just seconds before the 8.0 earthquake strikes... Indeed, when I searched on Youtube I found lots of fan videos with subtitles. If you have ever been to Odaiba, or just like Tokyo, do have a look.

Official website here, details from wikipedia

Chris has been writing several deeply insightful entries about sustainability over at In search of the real thing, he spoke to Yoshiki Hayashi of the NPO "Uzu"...

...a healthy, lean, tanned man who seemed to personify to me the image of the traditional Japanese farmer seen in the earliest photographs of Japan from the 19th century, despite the modern artistic cut of his hand made indigo blue work clothes. He described the loose collective gathered here as “Rainbow Village”, fulfilling a role to bridge the gap between sustainable Japanese traditions and the future sustainable Japanese society he envisions. He had much to say on living sustainably, pointing out that in order to invoke change in society, changing one’s own life and getting back in tune with the earth through farming was far more effective than any more revolutionary methods could be.

But the line that hit home most of all was that “life is sustainable when you are having fun”. In Japanese, it was “tanoshii koto ga jizoku kanou”, or literally “fun things are sustainable”. Certainly not everything fun is sustainable, but it is far more difficult to sustain an activity if it isn’t. The root of the Japanese word tanoshii, or “fun”, is the Chinese character for both “happy” and “music”. In addition to the “fun” meaning, the same character is used alone to mean, essentially, “easy”, as in “take it easy”.

James at Japan Probe (who is great at finding Youtube videos about current events) posted about the General Election 2009 to be held on August 30. But?

Sadly, the actual coverage is nowhere near as exciting as the intro would suggest.

Adamu over at the Mutant Frog fisked a rather silly article by Lisa Katayama - her first ever article for New York Times. He noted several errors and that "at one point she cites some government statistics to bolster her claim that there is indeed a thriving subculture of men who literally think a pillow is their girlfriend."

According to many who study the phenomenon, the rise of 2-D love can be attributed in part to the difficulty many young Japanese have in navigating modern romantic life. According to a government survey, more than a quarter of men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins; 50 percent of men and women in Japan do not have friends of the opposite sex.

Wrong, but the fact checkers at NYT didn't notice (or didn't care) and Lisa K was too busy to respond. Don't American newspaper readers deserve better? No wonder print media is in trouble.

Food, of course, is always dear to this Swedish blogger's heart. Kyoto Foodie deserves special mention for his post on how to season a Japanese donabe.

Rice cooked in a gohan nabe is noticeably tastier than in an electric rice cooker. Of course electric rice cookers are the norm in modern Japan. But there is a lot interest in gohan nabe recently, especially among the younger generation. The gohan nabe is different from a regular donabe in that it has an inner and outer lid. Any donabe needs to be seasoned before its first use.

1 comment:

Pandabonium said...

Interesting collection of items. The gohan nabe sounds interesting. I make rice in my pressure cooker, which saves energy, and I've been pleased with the results.