2018年12月17日 星期一

My visit to Tokyo 2018 (7)

Pamphlet of the National Museum of
Nature and Science
The location map of the National
Museum of Nature and Science

The National Museum of Nature and Science is inside the Ueno Park. Beside this science museum, there are several other museums in the vicinity.

You have to pay a small amount of entrance fee for visiting the National Museum of Nature and Science (expect for senior citizen or tourists aged over 65). I enjoyed the many exhibits inside the National Museum, in particular the exhibits about human evolution. I liked “Lucy” which was presented in casts of the original fossil assembly, and also its recreated model with muscle and skin positioned next to cast fossil assembly. 

“Lucy” was discovered in 1974 in Africa, near the village Hadar in the Awash Valley of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia. The “Lucy” specimen was an early australopithecine, dated to be about 3.2 million years ago. Its skeleton showed a small skull akin to that of non-hominin apes, it had evidence of a walking-gait that was bipedal and upright, like that of humans (and other hominins). The original fossils were kept in Ethiopia.

Museum description of "Lucy"

2018年12月15日 星期六

China lifted food import restriction on rice from Niigata

Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following
中国食品輸入規制 新潟米解除へ
1129日 1014







Concerning the import restriction imposed by China on food produced in Japan  enforced after the Tokyo Electric Power Daiichi Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, it was found out that China had resumed the policy that strengthened the importation of rice produced in Niigata-ken, and the Japanese Government was informed accordingly.

It was supposed that after an accident in Daiichi Fukushima nuclear power plant, for fear of pollution by radioactive materials, the Chinese government had suspended the importation of all marine and agricultural products from Fukushima, Miyagi and Tokyo etc. 10 prefectures, together with the feed for the cattle etc.

About this, for the Japanese Government, because only the food which safety had been secured would be allowed to circulate, there was no need for worries, thus it asked for the cancellation of the restriction. Abe Prime Minister at last month's Japanese-Chinese summit, toward Chairman Xi Jinping, asked for a forward-looking positive response; the Chinese side expressed that "consideration would be actively taken to ease it based on scientific evaluation."

Under such circumstances, talks among people related to the government showed that among the 10 prefectures/capital with import restriction, China had strengthened the policy which resumed the importation of the rice produced in Niigata-ken and had notified the Japanese side.

For the Japanese Government, it would continue to encourage China to start work to ease the remaining restrictions as early as possible.

        Its seems that the Sino-Japanese relation is improving.

2018年12月12日 星期三

My visit to Tokyo 2018 (6)

          On the 21st, I visited the Ueno Park. The Tokyo Travel Guide introduces the park in the following manner:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

This park is conveniently located next to three train stations: the Ueno Station (the Metro Line), the JR Yamanote Line station, and the Keisei Line station. At the south entrance of the park there is a small restaurant where one buy food and drinks. Immediately outside this restaurant is an open space with tables and chairs where one can freely sit to enjoy the sunshine and the park’s green environment.  The zoo is at the western side of the park while several museums and art galleries are located at the eastern part of the park. 

Lotus is grown in the Shinobazu pond (located at the south of the zoo) and carp fish up to two feet long can be seen swimming under the lotus leaves. In the zoo one can see the panda after paying an entrance fee. For me the attraction of the Park is the different art galleries and museums nearby, for example the National Museum of Nature and Science (国立科学博物館), the National Western Arts Gallery (国立西洋美術館), the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (東京文化会館), the Ueno Royal Museum(上野の森美術館), the Tokyo Metropolitan Arts Museum(東京都美術館), and the Tokyo National Museum (東京国立博物館) etc.

The lotus pond

2018年12月8日 星期六

Micro plastics: Detected in 90 percent of the rivers investigated

Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following:
マイクロプラスチック 調査した河川の9割で検出
20181125 445







About the small plastic trash, the "micro plastics" which was worried to have influenced the ecosystem, a study group from the Tokyo University of Science and Ehime University checked 29 rivers in the whole country, and they were found in 26 rivers and representing 90 percent of the total. The researchers who did the investigation pointed out that measures to reduce trash on land needed reinforcement.

"Micro plastics" were plastic trash with a size less than 5 millimeters. A study group from Tokyo University of Science and Ehime University examined whether "micro plastics" existed in water at 36 spots in 29 rivers in the whole country from August 2015 to May of this year.

As a result, it was said that at Obori river in Chiba-ken and Tsurumi River in Kanagawa-ken "micro plastics" were found at 31 spots in 26 rivers, equaling to 90 percent. According to the study group, most of them were fragments of materials used in disposal shopping bag and styrene foam. It was said that in the upstream region, the more densely populated the spot, the more tendency of finding "micro plastics".

About "micro plastics”, through investigating them in the country, we knew that they were widely distributed over the sea area around Japan.

Tomoya Kataoka the assistant professor of Tokyo Science University department of science and engineering which did the investigation said " up to now it is assumed that plastic produces would become smaller after going out into the sea, but now it is found out that fragmentation also developed on land. Measures to reduce trash on land need reinforcement."

So, “micro plastics” is becoming an issue in environmental protection.

2018年12月5日 星期三

My visit to Tokyo 2018 (5)

The Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple is near the Tsukiji Outer Market. This Buddhist temple is regarded by the Japanese as an important cultural property and the Tokyo Travel Guide has the following to say:

There are over one hundred seats inside the main hall of the temple and tourists are free to enter to sit down and watch the regular ritual proceeding. The architectural design of the temple is impressive. Outside the temple but within its parameter (which is quite big), there are several statues that have important relationship to the history of the temple.

2018年12月4日 星期二

A US university that a Chinese researcher once enrolled had started investigation: a baby with genome editing

Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following:
ゲノム編集で赤ちゃん 中国の研究者が在籍した米大学が調査
20181130 942








Chinese researchers, after noting a researcher insisted that a baby had code-word rewritten through "genome editing" was born, had begun to investigate the American university which this researcher had once enrolled in order to find out whether the professor who taught this researcher was involved.

Associate professor He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology was insisting that towards a fertilized egg of a couple with the father infected by AIDS virus, he had rewritten the code-word using genome editing so that it would not be infected by AIDS virus,  and that a twin was born.

About this on the 29th , in responded to a NHK coverage, the Rice University in Southern State of Texas which was enrolled by associate professor He JianKui in a Doctoral course until 2010, had made it clear that it began to investigate whether or not the teaching professor of biotechnology in the university was involved.

This professor was the former teacher of associate professor Gu when the latter acquired a doctorate at Rice University; they also had joint papers.

Furthermore, the AP News reported that about the plan of using genome editing in a fertilized egg in China, this professor had witnessed the moment when the consent of the participating couple was given.

For the Rice University, nothing had come to its attention as a university; but no matter where the editing was performed, it was assumed to have violated the guidelines of scientific research and ethical standards, and a detailed investigation was supposed to examine whether the professor was related.

              It is shocking to know that this researcher has violated the guidelines of scientific research and ethical standards.

2018年12月2日 星期日

My visit to Tokyo 2018 (4)

Tsukiji Outer Market, Tokyo

On the 20th I visited the Tsukiji Outer market, it was next to the main market where bidding by wholesalers for all kinds of seafood were held everyday. It was at the outer market that tourists gathered. The Tokyo Tourist guide book has the following to say about the Tsukiji Outer Market:

At the outer market, there were a lot of small stalls selling all kinds of seafood, from crab to shrimp, from eel to tuna. I found the that the outer market was consisting of many temporary stores. Apart from selling fresh seafood, some were small stalls selling cooked food such as Ra-men and sashimi. A lot of tourists came it everyday. 

If you want to know the cultural and social importance of the Tsukiji market, please read Theodore Bestor’s book entitled “Tsukiji: The Fish market at the Center of the World” of 2004 by Berkeley: University of California Press. This book is about Japanese markets, it explores the current of collusion, favoritism, and efficiency in the markets. Also, it touches on the relationship between trade cartel and government bureaucracies, and patterns of insider trading.

According to Bestor, his book is an ethnography of trade and economic institutions as they are embedded in and shaped by the cultural and social currents of Japanese life. Also, he suggests that Tsukiji represented the national cultural identity that cloaked cuisine; it was also an international market connecting global fishing industries.