2018年11月30日 星期五

My visit to Tokyo in 2018 (3)

Location of Telecom Square in Narita Airport

For me it is important to have access to the Internet and phone service while visiting foreign lands. The Internet enables me to check e-mails etc. and to read maps handily. The phone enables me to reach for urgent assistance in case of an emergency such as an accident while traveling alone.

When I arrived at the Terminal Two of the Narita airport, I immediately went to its basement to buy a SIM card. There were many phone card shops, but I bought the prepaid data SIM card from the Telecom Square. The SIM card was for Data and voice. I chose this company because the price seemed reasonable and that not many companies offered data and voice prepaid SIM cards. This company had seven airport counters at Japan’s 7 main international airport. Once you were outside the airport, it should be difficult to find a similar SIM card.

The lady of this shop had provided me a good service because she helped me to insert the card into my phone at my request, and tested the result for me before leaving.

2018年11月28日 星期三

My visit to Tokyo in 2018 (2)

There were several ways to travel from the Narita Airport (成田空港) to Tokyo downtown (首都圏 the metropolitan area). I chose the railway line, the so-called Keisei Express Railway(京成高速鉄道). It took slightly over 40 minutes to travel from the Narita Airport to Ueno (上野)Station in Tokyo downtown. Ueno Station was a big station for interchange. After getting off from the Keisei Express Railway in Ueno, one could change line and go to all parts of Tokyo downtown and beyond by using the JR lines. The JR line inside Tokyo downtown was called the JR Yamanote Line(山手線). It was a circular line, traveling in one big circle inside the metropolitan area among all big districts for example Ueno, Akihabara(秋葉原), Ikebukuro(池袋), Nippori (日暮里) and many others. Apart from the JR Yamanote Line, there was the Tokyo Metro lines and the Toei Subway, they were useful for traveling around the Metropolitan Area. To put it simply, one can travel to almost all major districts in Tokyo downtown by merely going into a JR Yamanote line station, or a Tokyo Metro line station, or the Toei subway because all lines were inter-connected at certain stations, either about the ground or below.

Metro Lines and Toei Lines Map

JR Lines map

To make my travelling easier, I purchased two kinds of pre-paid IC cards, respectively they were the Suica Card and the Pasmo Card. They were accepted at all stations (the Yamanote line, the Metro lines and the Toei Subway) which could automatically debit the right amount of traveling fee for a trip using their lines.  I bought these two cards at the basement of Terminal Two of the Narita airport when I arrived there, before going into the Tokyo downtown. Apart from traveling, these two cards were accepted for payments in some retailer shops and supermarkets.

2018年11月27日 星期二

My visit to Tokyo in 2018 (1)

My air ticket to Tokyo

Through Airbnb I rented an apartment in this building
Airbnb advertisement


Last month I visited Tokyo for about 20 days, from mid-October to early November. I chose to live in a min-paku (民泊=みんぱく) for two reasons. First, it was cheaper than living in a hotel; second there was a kitchen and a washing machine inside, both were important for an overseas stay of over 20 days. My apartment had two beds and it costed me less than HK$12,000 in total. I booked the min-paku through the Airbnb. The online booking was simple and easy. One point to note was that you should pick the one with a proper licence. A new accommodation law was enforced recently in Tokyo so they all min-paku had to register with the authorities. After booking the accommodation, I book the air ticket on line. I picked the Hongkong Express because it was one of the the cheapest, the air ticket was about HK$2600 round trip with one luggage weighted up to 20 kg, and one hand held up to 7 kg (I flied from Hong Kong to Tokyo Narita airport).

This was my first time to fly with a low-cost jet. One thing to note about low-cost jet was that you were not allowed to eat or drink your own stuff in the plane except those which were provided by plane en route.

I had a good impression on Hongkong Express because it opened its airport checking-in counters early and that the staff were efficient in handling the passengers. I did not see a long queue of passengers waiting to get the boarding tickets.

2018年11月25日 星期日

"Antibacterial medicine" did not work for cold - half of the people made mistakes

Recently the NHK News on line reported that following:
かぜに「抗菌薬」は効きません 半数が誤認
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About visiting a medical agency due to suffering a cold, a survey result gathered showed that antibacterial medicine which was in fact ineffective for that had been thought about by 30% of the people and wanted it to be prescribed.

Regarding the situation that, due to improper use of antibacterial medicine, medicine was not effective and led to an increase in "resistant bacteria", a specialist said that "it is necessary to spread the correct knowledge".

While it was known that antibacterial medicine was only effective in bacteria and was not effective against virus sickness such as cold and flu, still there were cases that it was prescribed for a cold. It was pointed out that this was related to an increase of resistant bacteria that made the medicine ineffective.

The National Center for Global Health and Medicine did a questionnaire survey on antibacterial medicine on 721 ordinary men and women aged from teens to sixties in the whole country through the Internet.

In the survey, when people were asked "What kind of sickness was antibacterial medicine useful for?”, 49.9 % said the “cold" while 49.2% answered "the flu”; it was found out that nearly half of people had made a mistake in their understanding. Furthermore, when asked about "the medicine you want to be prescribed when seeing a doctor because of a cold", 30.1 % of the people answered "antibacterial medicine".

Doctor Gu Yoshiaki of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine which conducted the survey said that "facing the strong hope of a patient, there are situations that a doctor can't sometimes help but prescribe; it's necessary to spread what is right for the general public."

              So, to educate members of the public is important in doing away in-correction understanding.

2018年11月22日 星期四

To charge bags given out at the cash register – a plan was accepted by the Ministry of Environment sub-committee

Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following:
レジ袋有料化などの案 環境省小委員会で了承
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A plan on "the strategy on plastic resources re-circulation" which had incorporated a policy that required charging the bags issued by the cashier in retail stores in order to reduce plastic trash was accepted by a sub-committee of the Ministry of the Environment. Soon the Ministry of Environment would decide on collecting opinion widely in the country.

In order to promote the reduction and recycling of plastic trash which had caused worries in marine pollution, the government was advancing a decision regarding "the strategy on plastic resources re-circulation".

A plan on the strategy, which was discussed on the 13th by a sub-committee of the Ministry of Environment that was made up of researchers and people in charge of industrial groups was accepted.

Inside the plan, it was supposed to suppress the disposal of containers such as plastic bottles and lunch boxes by 25% in 2030, based on actual record so far.

Also, in concrete plans, it incorporated the requirement of charging bags provided at the cash register in retail stores, and to advance a substitution for used and disposed plastic with renewable resources.

At the meeting held on the 13th, opinions had come out that there should be a system applicable to the whole country in uniformity so that any sense of unfairness among stores could be done away when the committee members requested the imposition of bag charge at the cash register.

Soon the Ministry of Environment would try to collect opinion widely from the country about a plan on strategy. On top of that the government would settle on a strategy by the time when the G20 Summit, the summit meeting of key world leaders, held in Osaka in June next year.

              Compared with Canada and Hong Kong,  it seems that Japan is slow in acting to reduce the use of plastic bags when people shopped in supermarkets etc. To bring your own bag when shopping in the market is already a common practice in many countries.

2018年11月18日 星期日

Taiwan: to stop importing pork from Japan due to swine fever

Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following:
豚コレラで日本からの豚肉輸入停止 台湾
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The Taiwanese authority after noting on the 16th that the pork in Gifu-shi was confirmed to have been infected by swine fever, an infectious disease of pig and wild boar, announced the suspension of importing pork from Japan.

The Taiwanese authority after noting the confirmation on the 16th that 2 pigs were infected with swine fever in Gifu-shi, and in order to prevent swine fever virus being brought in from Japan, announced on the 17th that the importation from Japan of live pig, pork and products related to that were to be suspended.

Taiwan was importing approximately 40 tons of pork from Japan each year and for the time being it was supposed that measures would be taken to stop it .

Taiwan also suspended importing pork from China where infection of swine fever was reported, and had strengthened its precaution.

              It seems that swine fever is slowly spreading in Asia, as predicted by the UN a few weeks ago.

2018年11月16日 星期五

Tokyo-to : MRI brain checking would be required for all drivers of metropolitan bus

Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following:
都営バスの全運転手に脳のMRI検査義務づけ 東京都
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Due to sickness and worsening of physical condition etc., cases in which bus drivers lost conscious while driving a bus happened in succession in all regions of the country; Tokyo-to was going to require a cerebral check using MRI targeting for all drivers of metropolitan bus.

Tokyo-to targeted its some 2000 drivers who worked at the metropolitan bus to be required to receive "cerebral MRI medical checkup" using MRI once every three 3 years starting from this fiscal year.

The checking aimed at finding out the presence of cerebral infarction and cerebral hemorrhage. When abnormality was found in a driver, he would receive doctor's checking for closer examination. On top of that it was said that consideration would be made to relocate the driver to desk work.

Because there were cases that drivers fainted away due to worsening of sickness and physical condition while driving a bus at every region of the country, the Tokyo Metropolis would pay all expenses for the cost of "cerebral MRI medical checkup” which was supposed to cost about 20,000 yen per person. According to Tokyo Metropolis, it was said that the development rate of the subarachnoid hemorrhage was high among people 50-year-old or more, which was representing nearly 60 % of all drivers of the metropolitan bus, and such people had a priority to receive an examination.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, it was unusual for an autonomous body which managed bus service to require a cerebral checkup using MRI on all its drivers nationwide.

So, it is good new for passengers in Japan as far as road safety is concerned. I think it is a good practice that bus companies in  other parts of the world should consider following.

2018年11月13日 星期二

Trump’s top official - "an agreement with China on trade is difficult"

Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following:
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A top official of the American's Trump administration, regarding the deep confrontation in trade with China, criticized that China did not keep its promise on the South China Sea and on the cyber attack; he admitted that it was not easy to conclude a satisfactory trade agreement with China.

On the 9th Navarro, the president’s assistant on trade policy who was known as an anti-Chinese hard-liner inside the Trump’s administration gave a talk in Washington city.

In the talk Navarro the assistant accused China in breaking its promise made to the former Obama administration that Chinese government would not militarize the South China Sea and would not steal the secret of enterprises by cyber-attacks; he accused that China had completely broken these.

On top of that, about making an agreement with China on trade which was in serious conflicts, he stated that "The biggest problem is trust. It's different from negotiations with Japan and Europe." He admitted that to reach a satisfactory negotiation with China on trade would not be easy.

Navarro the assistant had suggested that while on top making adjustments so as to advance towards reaching a China-U.S. summit meeting during the key 20-country summit meeting = G20 Summit scheduled to be held in Argentina at the end of this month, he insisted that the people related to Goldman Sachs and Wall Street had discussed with the Chinese government, and that they were pressurizing president Trump to reach an agreement to stop the trade friction.

Also, he said "in dealing with China the help of the American billionaires was not necessary. The ability of Trump’s political power to negotiate would only be weakened".  While not spelling out the names, he criticized those forces that asked for reaching an agreement with China.

              During a political confrontation between two countries, it seems that the side having a dictatorial political structure would have an advantage over the side that has a democratic political system. The former society often follows the decision of one person. The latter often treasures the discussion process among the people before reaching a decision, although it could take a lot of time and effort.

2018年11月8日 星期四

The spacecraft “Kounotori” recovery capsule loaded with goods to be brought back was heading towards earth

Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following:
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The space transport ship 'Kounotori' loaded with the Japan's first recovery capsule that would  bring back goods to the earth was separated from the International Space Station at dawn on the 8th as scheduled and it would go back to earth. The recovery capsule would rush into the atmosphere on the 11th this month; it was expected to be collected at the Pacific Ocean and its success or failure had drawn attention.

In September this year the number 7 machine of Japanese space transport ship ' Kounotori' which delivered astronaut's food to International Space Station in addition to bringing Japan's first recovery capsule that would be used to send goods back to the earth.

Astronaut from Europe and the United States put the protein for medical studies, which was made by an experiment using the weightlessness in the space station to turn them crystallize, back into the recovery capsule carefully; and the work to install it into the tip of  "Kounotori" number 7 machine was carried out.

Then at 1:50am on the 8th Japan time "Kounotori", scheduled to bound for the earth, was let loose.

The recovery capsule which was developed by JAXA= Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and others had a near cone shape at the bottom with a diameter about 80 centimeters; it was made in order to endure approximately 2000 degrees heat.

On the 11th this month “Kounotori” would be separate from the capsule and it was expected to rush into atmosphere making a splashdown at Minami Torishima neighboring seas in Ogasawara-shoto, and after that the recovery capsule would be collected by ship.

"Kounotori” itself was designed to carry the waste generated by a space station and burnt them out at the atmosphere.

At present, only the United States and Russia had the technology of recovery capsule which brought back goods to the earth from International Space Station; but because it could also be applied to future manned exploration, the success or failure of Japan's first recovery capsule had drawn attention.

     So, Japan is participating actively in the International Space Station projects.