2019年2月25日 星期一

My visit to Tokyo 2018 (17)

Waseda Metro Station

On the 31st I visited the Waseda University by Metro in the morning.  From the station I needed to walk for about five minutes before reaching the university. On campus one could see two big statutes. One was the principle of the university 大隈英麿(Hidemaro Ōkumawho was standing,  he was the principal of the university from 1882–1886. The other was 高田早苗(Sanae Takata who was sitting, he was the de facto presidents from 1907 to 1915

Hidemaru Okuma
Sanae Takata

When I looked for the direction of cafeteria I tried to seek help by stopping a female student who was walking by. After telling her my intention, she was so kind as to lead me to the cafeteria. She came from mainland China and could speak very good Japanese as well as English. Through our conversation in Mandarin, English and Japanese, I knew that she was from a middle-class family in Beijing of China. She was smart and articulate and had picked up the local Japanese manner well as indicated by her deep bowing when we said good-bye.
Waseda helps student to get jobs
About the job opportunity of Waseda graduates in applying for government jobs, a NHK news report dated 25.6.2012 attached below could give us a hint. It was translated into English by me, please see my blog dated 3rd July 2012.
総合職試験の応募者は、11年度実施の1種試験と比べ13%減(3686人減)となった。合格者のうち採用予定者数は517人で、同8%減(45人減)となる。 20126251650 読売新聞)
In essence, in the 2012 civil servant recruitment, Waseda graduates ranked third in passing the examination.
The cafeteria
The cafeteria was relatively big with windows at one side. Some tables were designated as speed seat so that users should not use the tables for too long during the lunch rush hours (for example to use the table for studying while eating). I enjoyed my lunch which included a rice dish and a bowl of miso-soup. The soup here was not as good taste as the one I enjoyed in Tokyo University’s cafeteria.
Immediately outside the south entry of the university was a street full of small restaurants and food shops. There was also a second-hand book store. Further down the road I found a Hong Kong style restaurant. The name of the restaurant in Chinese was 香港華記米線, literally it means Hong Kong Wah Kee Rice Noodle. What attracted by attention was the egg-tarts on display at the counter.
South Gate of Waseda University
Hong Kong Wah Kee Rice Noodle

2019年2月22日 星期五

To develop new methods that improve 'genome editing' accuracy - USA

Recently the NHK News On-line reported the following:
「ゲノム編集」の精度を向上 新たな手法開発 アメリカ
201925 531







An American research group that developed the "genome editing" technology that could easily rewrite genetic information with high precision had announced that a more accurate method was developed. Further advance on research regarding its applications on treatment of diseases etc. had attracted attention.

About "Genome editing" that manipulated genetic information which was a new technology known as  "CRISPR Cas9" announced in 2012 by Professor Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, now it became easier than before to rewrite genetic information of the targeted part with higher precision; research that applied it to the treatment of diseases and breeding of animals and plants was accelerating worldwide.

According to a paper published in the UK science magazine "Nature" on 4th,  it was said that Professor Doudna and her colleagues, from bacteria that were unlikely to cause disease, and by using enzymes smaller than before, a method that could manipulate genetic information more accurately was developed.

The group named this new method "CRISPR · CasX", also it was confirmed that this method could actually manipulate genetic information on human cells.

Although this "genome editing" was said to be able to manipulate genetic information at a level from several tens of thousands to several hundred thousand times more precise than the genetic recombination technology used so far, as it was not possible to avoid the possibility of rewriting the parts that were not targeted at, technological improvements were continuing. Because of the present success, attention had been drawn on further progress in the research for its application in areas such as the treatment of disease.

              It is nice to know that there is a great progress in the study of "genome editing". I hope it can help advancing the treatment of disease eventually.

2019年2月19日 星期二

China Wants to Build the First Power Station in Space

Recently Yahoo News carried a news report on China’s project in building the first power station in space. I find this report worth noting as it has summarized China’s space projects so far. It is attached below for sharing.

Yahoo Finance
Bloomberg  Bloomberg News,Bloomberg Mon, Feb 18 3:50 PM GMT+8
China Wants to Build the First Power Station in Space
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for our new China newsletter, a weekly dispatch on where China stands now and where it's going next.
China’s space ambitions are shifting into a higher orbit.
Following its successful and world-beating trip to the far side of the moon, China is preparing to build a solar power station in space, as the world’s No. 2 economy strives to burnish its superpower credentials. With an $8 billion annual budget for its space program, second only to the U.S., China is seeking to compete with its rival for economic, military and technological dominance.
Scientists have already started construction of an experimental base in the western Chinese city Chongqing. Initially, they plan to develop a smaller power station in the stratosphere between 2021 and 2025, a 1 megawatt-level solar facility in space by 2030, and eventually larger generators, according to the state-backed Science and Technology Daily.

Here’s what China’s been doing in space:

Moon Exploration
The nation’s space scientists successfully landed a lunar probe on the far side of the moon on Jan. 3, capping a series of missions and giving a boost to China’s ambitions. Landing on the unexplored region will enable Chang’e-4, the rover named after the mythical Moon Goddess, to better study the moon because of the lack of electromagnetic interference from Earth. The vehicle is equipped with a low-frequency radio spectrometer to help scientists understand “how the earliest stars were ignited and how our cosmos emerged from darkness after the Big Bang,” according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Green Shoots
Reminiscent of the 2015 science fiction film “The Martian” starring Matt Damon, China’s lunar mission is also testing if the barren moon can support life. Pictures sent back from Chang’e-4 last month showed the first green leaf from cotton seeds nine days after the experiment was initiated, according to Chongqing University, which led the biological project. The test load on the mission carried cotton, canola, potato, yeast and fruit fly.

More Missions
China has more such missions in the pipeline. Four more versions of the Chang’e probe are in the offing, with at least two of them planned for a landing on the moon’s south pole, according to Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of the China National Space Administration. The agency will also explore setting up a research base on the moon. A Mars probe is likely by the end of this decade.

Space Station
China aims to build its own space station around 2022. Dubbed Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, it will have a core module and two other modules for experiments, altogether weighing 66 tonnes and able to carry three people, with a designed life cycle of at least 10 years. The facility would be used for scientific research in a dozen areas including biology, physics and material sciences.

Private Rockets
President Xi Jinping has loosened the government’s monopoly on space launches, fueling the formation of small domestic companies with dreams of challenging companies such as Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. The startups are receiving funding from China-based venture capitalists and private equity investors and can also rely on the expertise of rocket scientists from China’s space program.

GPS Challenger
Taking its rivalry with the U.S. to the heavens, China is spending at least $9 billion to build a navigation system and cut its dependence on the American-owned GPS -- whose satellites beam location data used by smartphones, car navigation systems, the microchip in your dog’s neck and guided missiles. And, all those satellites are controlled by the U.S. Air Force, making the Chinese government uncomfortable. So, it has developed an alternative called the Beidou Navigation System, which eventually will provide positioning accuracies of 1 meter (3 feet) or less with use of a ground support system.

Space Junk
The Asian power is developing sophisticated space capabilities such as “satellite inspection and repair” and clearing up orbiting junk -- “at least some of which could also function” as weapons against U.S. satellites, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said this month. China’s Foreign Ministry has said the U.S. allegations were “groundless.”

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Dong Lyu in Beijing at dlyu3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at anandk@bloomberg.net, Sam Nagarajan

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

My comments
It seems that China, as a way to fulfill its dream to become a big nation, is putting a lot of resources on space exploration. I am wondering whether some of such resources could better be used to improve the quality of its people's daily life.

2019年2月15日 星期五

The discovery of giant oarfish at the coast of Japan continued - there were also fears that it was "precursory of the earthquake"

Recently the CNN.co.jap Online reported the following:
日本沿岸でリュウグウノツカイの発見相次ぐ 「地震の前兆」と恐れる声も
2019.02.03 Sun posted at 13:13 JST

 (CNN) 日本沿岸で最近、珍しい深海魚リュウグウノツカイが相次いで見つかった。この魚は「地震の前兆」という言い伝えもあり、インターネット上で心配の声も上がっているが、科学的な関連性は確認されていない。







(CNN) Recently, a rare deep-sea fish, giant oarfish, one after another was found at the coast of Japan. There was also a legend that this fish was a "precursor of an earthquake", and in the Internet the voice of worry had also been raised, but scientific relevance had not been confirmed.

On the first [February] in Toyama bay, two giant oarfish were found on a stationary net. Since last autumn in Toyama prefecture off the cost of Imizu, already a 4-meter-long giant oarfish was found hooked inside a stationary net. At the coast of Uozu city, one giant oarfish of 3.2 meters in length was washed ashore. ​A total of 5 numbers had already been confirmed.

Giant oarfish was characterized by a silver body and a red fin, and it lived in deep water at a depth of 200-1000 meters. There was also a legend that it was the precursors of earthquake, but scientific relevance had not been confirmed.

Kazuya Nishima, a keeper at the Uozu Aquarium told CNN that "there is no scientific backing in the theory that giant oarfish appears before and after a major earthquake, but we cannot deny 100% such a possibility". It was said that influences of global warming and unknown factors might be reasons for its discoveries in succession.

Before the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in March 2011, it had been reported that more than dozens had been washed ashore over the coast of Japan in a year. Mr. Nishima pointed out that ocean current changes due to a slight crustal deformation that occurred at the seabed before the earthquake might cause the giant oarfish to float near the sea surface.

According to Director Osamu Inamura when krill, a feed of giant oarfish, rose to the surface of the sea, giant oarfish would move and follow them and appeared at the coastal area.

        I am interested to know why krill rose to the sea surface suddenly. News about deep-sea fish being caught was often reported in Japan, for example please see my blog dated 18.6.2014.

2019年2月14日 星期四

My visit to Tokyo 2018 (16)

On the 30th I visited Shinjuku (新宿) by Metro. According to the Tokyo Travel Guide Shinjuku metro station is surrounded by many electronic stores thay offer lots of choices in buying electronic equipment including personal computers.
Shinjuku shopping district
There are also a lot of traditional shops and department stores such as the Isetan (伊勢丹)  which is located at the east exit. At the underground, the Metro is connected to many food stores that offers different variety of food items such as Japanese and western sweets, prepared dishes lunches boxes etc. At the underground, one can walk from the metro station to the Isetan Department Store easily.
Isetan Department Store
The Isetan department store is accommodated in a building of its own with different sales focus on each floor. In the basement of the Isetan building is the food section. In this food section, beside fresh vegetable and dry food, customers can buy seafood, and some of them are swimming inside a transparent water tank. On the ground level of Isetan there is a huge area that promotes cosmetic and health care products. The building’s top floor is a restaurant area and a food corner. There are different types of restaurants, including western style, Chinese style and Japanese style. The building roof is a sitting area which customers can sit down to enjoy their take-away food.
At the west exist of the Shinjuku metro there is a twin-tower government building (東京都庁舎). This government building attracts tourists for two reasons: on the ground floor of the number one building there is the Tokyo Metropolitan traveling information center (東京都觀光情報センター). Tourists will find it very useful as there are a lot of information sheet and booklets for tourists to read and take away. On its 45th floor there is the north and south observation deck (北展望室.南展望室). 
Government building information
The Government Twin-tower building

A view from the 45th floor
The observation deck is 202 meters above ground level. It is open to the public to enjoy a panoramic view of the city free. If the weather is good one can look to the west to see Mount. Fuji at a distance. On this floor there are also souvenir shops and a restaurant. This observation deck is popular and always there is a queue waiting for the elevator to bring tourists up to the deck. A simple security check is done on tourists before they are allowed to enter the elevator.
Tourists line up for security check and the elevator
The restaurant on the 45th floor

2019年2月13日 星期三

US aircraft carrier "Hornet" of the Pacific War - Discovered in the deep sea of the South Pacific

Recently the NHK News On-line reported the following:
2019213 755











In 1942 during the Pacific War, the American army bombed mainland Japan for the first time, the aircraft carrier Hornet which launched these bombers was found in the deep sea of ​​the South Pacific at a depth of approximately 5400 meters.

The discovery of this US Navy aircraft carrier Hornet was done by a research team that continued to investigate vessels sunk in the war and funded by the foundation of Paul Allen, who was a co-founder of Microsoft as a leading IT company and died in last October.

"Hornet" was in the deep-sea east of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific at a depth of about 5400 meters.

In addition to the hull, the images taken by an unmanned submarine showed the remnants of fighter planes, the vehicle used to move aircraft, and a high angle cannon.

"Hornet" was completed in October 1941, just before the Pacific War began; in April the following year, it approached the Japanese archipelago and launched 16 B25 bombers. It was known as the first air raid on mainland Japan.

This air raid was called "Doolittle Raid", it caused the death of more than 80 people and had a huge impact on the Japanese society.

After that, "Hornet" joined the Battle of Midway, and was deployed in the battle of Solomon Islands. Finally, in October 1942 it was unable to navigate due to Japanese aircraft attacks in the South Pacific and was sunk by torpedoes fired from a destroyer.

"Hornet" was also the last regular aircraft carrier sunk by the Japanese army during the Pacific War.

Rob Kraft the director of the research team said, " by mourning soldiers who have lost their lives in war, and also by preserving their history and revealing unknown facts, we want people to learn from the past".

     It is a meaningful discovery that could help people learn more from history.

2019年2月11日 星期一

Broadcasting in major JR stations – to use four languages in principle​​... Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean

Recently the Yomiuri Shimbun On-line reported the following:
20190126 2257





On the 26th the Chief Cabinet Secretary Kan, centering around the guideline on strengthening counter disaster measures revealed that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism would at the start of the week made requests on JR companies mainly to request local broadcasting in main stations to make broadcasting in 4 languages. He spoke to reporters in Osaka city where he was visiting.

The purpose of the guideline was to smoothly provide travel information to foreigners such as on bullet trains at the time of a disaster. In addition to Japanese, it requested the local broadcasting be made in English, Chinese and Korean. It also included the updating of operation information in the homepage every 30 minutes.

In the case of Typhoon No. 21 last September, foreign passengers were being isolated at Kansai Airport etc. due to a lack of information transmission and thus pointing out the need to strengthen response within the government.

Before this Mr. Kan visited JR Tokyo station and the Shin Osaka station etc., he told reporters that "Public information to foreigners was insufficient and would like to see JR companies to implement improvement measures as soon as possible."

         Surely the new measures will help tourist in traveling at the time of a disaster.

2019年2月10日 星期日

The Justice Minister to strengthen counter-measures - "Residence card" counterfeiting was at the highest pace

Recently the NHK News On-line reported the following:
「在留カード」偽造 過去最高超えるペース「対策強化」法相
2019129 1236






 Because there was an increasing number of arrested cases on counterfeiting "resident cards" which were issued to foreigners who had residence status, Yamashita the Minister of Justice showed the idea of taking up countermeasures to prevent counterfeiting.

The number of cases of police arrested in the first half of last year on the possession and giving out of counterfeited "residence card" was 291, at a pace that exceeded the highest past record.

At a press conference Yamashita said, " it is true that cards that could not be confirmed to be a counterfeit at a glance are circulating, so I am adding holograms that could distinguish whether it is a counterfeit or not; I would like to make known this".

Besides, he stated that "Because there is also an expansion in accepting foreign talented people, I would like to take counter-measures against counterfeit cards in cooperation with related organizations” and was showing his thought to take up countermeasures to prevent counterfeiting.

     I hope that the counter-measures could stamp out the counterfeit cards.

2019年2月8日 星期五

My visit to Tokyo 2018 (15)

A campus map

Tokyo University entrance
On the 29th I visited the Tokyo University.  In that morning when I was looking for the university after alighting from the Metro, I met a male student of the University and asked him where the campus was. He was so kind as to lead me the cafeteria before resuming his route of going to his class. On the way to the cafeteria I talk with him in English and Japanese in order to try to know more about his school life and his field of study. He was proud of being a student of the top university in Japan.
Rice and beef with curry sauce
We said good-bye after arriving at the cafeteria. Before walking around the campus, I ate my lunch there. My order was beef with curry sauce rice and a bowl of miso soup. The curry sauce was darker in brown color as compared to the yellow curry sauce seen in the Malaysian style restaurants in Hong Kong. I loved the miso soup of this university. The taste was much stronger than those I tried in the Yoshinoya (吉野家 ) in Japan.
A bright cafeteria
A memorial statute inside the campus
Because this cafeteria was in the shape of a high ceiling hall, a mezzanine floor was added to generate more sitting space. This design was good as the lighting would not be totally blocked.  This cafeteria was clean, new, spacious, bright and with a high ceiling; one could sit comfortably to enjoy the meal.  The meals here were cheap probably since it was a subsidized cafeteria. One thing to note was that during the noon rush hours the cafeteria was only open to the students and staff. After eating the lunch, I toured around the campus.

2019年2月4日 星期一

Canada's deep reliance on China - making a decision was difficult due to 'retaliation'

Recently the Yomiuri Shimbun On-line reported the following:
20190124 0807




20190124 0807 Copyright © The Yomiuri Shimbun


 [New York: Hashimoto Junya] On the handing over of Mdm. Mèng Wǎnzhōu, the Canadian government did it based on the treaty of criminal deliveries with the United States while at the same time trying to uphold a position of not to intervene it with political intentions. Exposed to the pressure of China and having regard for its security concerns, how to respond to play down the development of Huawei was a touchstone.

Canada's Foreign Minister Freeland said on Wednesday in a media interview that “Mdm. Meng's detention is solely against the criminal justice, she strongly opposed to the idea of ​​making it into a political problem." The Canadian government on top of seeking the release of two Canadian men detained by the Chinese authorities in December last year, also criticized the death sentence passed on a Canadian in a Chinese court as "arbitrary" (Prime Minister Trudeau).

Canada was currently considering whether to exclude Huawei from its next generation "5 G" communication standard. If it decided to eliminate, this footstep would be  in consistent with its allies, and yet there was a high possibility that it would get further retaliation from China.

Chinese accounted for 33% of all foreign students in Canadian universities, and the economic influence including families amounted to 5 billion dollars a year (about 550 billion yen). China was also the second largest trading partner after the United States. As reliance on China was deepening, Canada was under pressure to make a difficult decision.

      I hope Canada could resolve this difficult situation soon.

2019年2月2日 星期六

Huawei affiliated companies - gave out bonus to get information from other companies?

Recently the NHK News On-line reported the following:
ファーウェイ関連会社 他社情報入手にボーナス支給か
2019129 1220







The American judicial authorities indicted China's telecommunication equipment giant Huawei as a corporation together with the vice Chairman of Huawei and others for fraud and crimes in stealing trade secrets. The judicial authorities were trying to elucidate the actual situation by supposing that Huawei was systematically trying to steal trade secrets, such as providing special bonuses to information stolen from other companies.

On 28th, the US Department of Justice prosecuted Meng Wǎnzhōu the Vice Chairman of Huawei together with Huawei as a corporation for fraud charges, furthermore it announced that they charged two affiliated companies with a crime of stealing trade secrets from other companies.

According to the indictment, it was said that these two affiliated companies of Huawei took photographs of robots used for testing smartphones developed by T – Mobile, a major mobile phone company in the US without permission and took away parts without permission from the laboratory.

In addition, inside the affiliates, in order to get employees to compete in obtaining confidential information from other competing competitors. It was point out that every month special bonuses were paid to employees who succeeded in stealing the most valuable information.

Director Wray of the FBI = the Federal Bureau of Investigation commented that "Huawei intentionally tried to steal intellectual property of American companies"; American judicial authorities supposed that Huawei stole corporate secrets systematically; and was in the process of  trying to elucidate the actual situation.

      I am interested to know how Huawei will defend itself in the American courts.

2019年2月1日 星期五

My visit to Tokyo 2018 (14)

On the 27th I went to Shibuya (渋谷) by Metro, and from there I walked to Meiji Jingu ( 明治神宮) and the Yoyogi Park  ( 代代木公園 ). Shibuya can be reached by different train lines such as the Tokyo Line, the Den-toshi Line, the Fukutoshin Line and the Hanzomon Line. It is a district famous at least for the statute of a dog the Hachikou ( ハチ公 ) and the five-zebra crossing.

Tokyo Travel Guide

The Tokyo Travel Guide says that Shibuya has one of Tokyo’s most famous tourist attractions and believes that it has one of the busiest intersection in the world. People crossed this intersection from the sidewalks of all directions.
Next to this 5-zebra crossing is a statue of a dog erected in memory of its faithfulness as the dog had waited for its owner’s home coming for many years without knowing that its owner had died. During my visit I saw people lining up to take a photo with this statute. According to the NHK news report made on 23.6.2012, "Hachikou" the dog died on March 8, 1935. NHK also said that on that day Hachikou was found staying in the cold near a bridge of the Shibuya river, and it was carried into the train station. At that time, the dog was 11 years old. For many years, the story had that this dog came to the station trying to welcome its owner who had passed away and this story was reported by the newspaper regularly, and this phenomenon became famous. The train passengers and station employees also found this dog cute and it was said that the baggage storage area of the station had become a popular resting spot for travelers. Since that time Hachikou was being widely loved and regarded as a "faithful dog". The story of Hachikou was in the news also in June 2012, please see my blog dated 23.6.2012.
From Shibuya Metro station I walked to the Meiji Jingu. The Tokyo Travel Guide says that the souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken were enshrined in this Shinto shine. The shrine was built in 1920 and the forest surrounding it was created thanks to the donation of 100,000 trees by the Japanese.
The Meiji Jingu
At the time of my visit, a marriage wedding was being held and many tourists stopped their sight seeing routines to watch as this small wedding procession passed by.

A wedding procession 

From Meiji Jingu I walked to the Yoyogi park.
A location map of Yoyogi Park
The Yoyogi Park was inside the Meiji Jingu. In Yoyogi Park I saw people came here to relax, to play outdoor ball game etc. and to bike. Some people also took along their pet dogs to enjoy the green environment. I also saw a band getting ready to perform music for the park visitors.