5 years on from the tsunami
On March 11th 2016, it was exactly five years since the earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's northern coast. To mark this anniversary, this March at Inside Japan Tours is all about Tohoku: looking back on its troubles, celebrating its charms, and taking stock of how far the region has come in the past five years.
To read all about this beautiful region, including first-hand accounts of the disaster and recovery, visit our dedicated tsunami page:
The Japan Tsunami 5 Years On
Friday, 2nd December 2016
In General Japan News,
Japanese scientists become first in Asia to name element
Japan already has many accolades to its name, but recently it has added to these by being the first Asian country to name a chemical element. The substance - nihonium - was synthesised for the first time ever by a team of scientists from Japan's Riken research institute in 2004, giving the researchers permission to name it.
This was formally endorsed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) on Monday (28th November), along with three other elements: moscovium, tennessine and oganesson. These were named by teams from the US and Russia.
Nihonium - named after the Japanese word for Japan, as covered here - has an atomic number of 113, which means its nucleus contains 113 protons. It does not occur naturally, as it is highly radioactive and decays extremely quickly.
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Thursday, 1st December 2016
In General Japan News, Japan Entertainment News,
Japanese Murakami fans poised for February release of new novel
Fans of the internationally renowned novelist, Haruki Murakami, have been given some exciting news, with the release date for his next book announced.
The newest novel will be on sale in Japan in February, according to Shinchosha Publishing C, which prints the books.
Other than this, information on the release, including an exact date, what the theme of the novel and its title will be, is still scarce.
The announcement was made on the publisher’s website yesterday (November 30th) with a picture of two blank books and the words: “Haruki Murakami’s new novel coming soon in February 2017.”
Murakami himself has given little away, although he did describe the upcoming work as a very strange story when he recently spoke at an event in Denmark.
The writer was visiting the country to receive the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award, which shows his wide-reaching appeal outside of his homeland.
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Tuesday, 29th November 2016
In General Japan News, Japan Entertainment News, Business In Japan,
Japan to build world's fastest supercomputer by end of 2017
A project has begun in Japan that aims to build the fastest supercomputer the world has ever seen by the end of next year (2017).
The AI Bridging Cloud (AIBC) computer will cost 19.5 billion yen (£140 million) to create and run at a speed of 130 petaflops.
If this ambition comes to fruition, it will overtake the Sunway TaihuLight, which is the pride and joy of China and currently holds the title of world’s fastest.
The new computer is to be used to analyse huge datasets and therefore advance the capabilities of research in the country.
Possible applications include enhancing findings in the medical field, improving the software for driverless cars and driving robot technology forward.
The unit for measuring the speed of such machines, the petaflop, equates to one thousand trillion operations per second.
A flop, which stands for floating point operation, is like a step in a calculation. The Sunway TaihuLight has a theoretical capacity of 125 petaflops, but only hits 93 on a regular basis.
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Monday, 28th November 2016
In General Japan News, Japan Entertainment News, Business In Japan, General Japan News,
Reindeer to deliver pizza in Japan this festive season
Everybody knows that reindeer help to bring presents during the festive period, but in Japan, they are being trained to deliver much more.
The Domino’s pizza chain is training the species to take orders to customers throughout December and offer some Christmas cheer.
Despite the obvious marketing potential for Domino’s Japan, the move also has practical benefits, as reindeer are better at travelling through snowy conditions than motorbikes.
Winters can be incredibly cold and treacherous in parts of Japan, which led Domino’s to issue a statement saying: "Because it's possible that [snowfall could] hinder the delivery, Domino's Japan will promote the pizza delivery by reindeer."
Customers awaiting their pizza will be able to see the reindeer’s progress via the company’s GPS Driver Tracker, which relays the activity of delivery personnel in real time.
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Snow has fallen in Tokyo some 40 days earlier than the average for the Japanese city, bringing some infrastructure to a standstill and affecting a surge in energy use.
The new museum is located in the area of Tokyo where the artist lived two centuries ago.
Smaller than expected waves hit the coastline of Fukushima Prefecture in the wake of the tremor.
Picking up some duty free will soon be possible at arrivals in a number of Japanese international airports.
The Japanese prime minister has secured an early meeting with the president-elect to ensure its priorities are not forgotten.