2012年12月31日 星期一

Hitachi Company , Hitachi City

Revival of Hitachi the Company Is a Detriment to Hitachi the City

HITACHI, Japan — The biggest annual loss on record by a Japanese manufacturer jolted executives into action at the Hitachi Corporation, the century-old electronics and engineering behemoth that takes its name from this wind-swept industrial city on the Pacific Coast.
Since its 787 billion yen, or $9.2 billion, loss in 2009, Hitachi has staged an impressive turnaround, booking a record 347 billion yen ($4 billion) in net profit in the year through March 2012, while rivals like Sony, Sharp and Panasonic continue to struggle.
But in Hitachi, a city of 190,000 and the company’s longtime production hub, there is little celebrating. Instead, the deserted streets and shuttered workshops speak of the heavy toll levied by the aggressive streamlining, cost-cutting and offshoring that has underpinned Hitachi’s recovery.
The divergent fortunes of Hitachi and its home city highlight an uncomfortable reality: The bold steps that could revive Japan’s ailing electronics giants are unlikely to bring back the jobs, opportunities and growth that the country desperately needs to revive its economy.
The way forward for Japan’s embattled electronics sector, for now, is a globalization strategy that shifts production and procurement from high-cost Japan to more competitive locations overseas. As Japan’s manufacturing giants become truly global, a country that has so depended on its manufacturers for growth must look to other sources of jobs and opportunity, like its nascent entrepreneurs — a transformation far more easily said than done.
“Closing plants in Japan is a big deal, and we don’t take cutbacks lightly,” Hiroaki Nakanishi, Hitachi’s president and chief executive, said in a year-end interview in Tokyo. “But to return to growth, we have to cut loose what doesn’t bring profit. We have to be decisive.”
Japan is still grappling with the fallout from a decade-long, seemingly unstoppable decline of its electronics sector, once a driver of growth and a bedrock of its economy. Japan’s two biggest electronics companies, Hitachi and Panasonic, each have more in sales than the country’s entire agricultural sector, and other big electronics firms come close.
But for more than a decade, these technology companies have experienced little growth. Annual sales growth over the last 15 years at Japan’s top eight tech companies averages around zero, according to Eurotechnology Japan, a research and consulting company in Tokyo.
To blame are plunging prices across the board for their products, brought about by intense competition from rivals in South Korea and Taiwan as electronics increasingly become widely interchangeable. Overstretched and unfocused, Japan’s tech giants also ceded much of their cutting edge to more innovative companies like Apple. Japan’s failure to keep up with a shift in the industry to software and services has compounded those woes.
Above all, the high costs of operating in Japan, made worse by a strong yen, weighs heavily on exporters’ finances. In the year through March 2012, Panasonic, Sony and Sharp lost a combined $19 billion — more than the gross domestic product of Jamaica.
Still, even among its peers, Hitachi stood out for the depth of its losses. After a decade of little or negative growth, Hitachi fell first and hardest, booking its big loss at the height of the global financial crisis because of large write-downs and losses in its electronics businesses.
Hitachi’s appraisal of its operations since then, and its willingness to wield the ax to money-losing businesses, has surprised even the most dismissive of analysts.
Hitachi once had almost 400,000 employees at a thousand often overlapping and competing groups, making products as diverse as televisions, hard disk drives, chips, heated toilet seats, elevators and nuclear reactors. Under the leadership of Mr. Nakanishi, who took the helm in 2010, the company has substantially shrunk or sold money-losing businesses, including those making chips, flat-panel TVs, liquid crystal displays, mobile handsets and personal computers.
The streamlining was unsparing. Hitachi turned around its unit making hard disk drives, only to sell it to an American company last year after deeming the business still too volatile. Hitachi has now pared its sprawling empire to 939 companies, and Mr. Nakanishi says he is far from done.
That has meant dwindling job opportunities at Hitachi and in Japan. Since 2008, the number of workers at Hitachi has fallen 17 percent to 323,500 — and a third of those workers are now overseas. As Hitachi outsources more parts and materials, a whole matrix of suppliers is fading at home.
The pain is felt here in Hitachi city. It was once a bustling industrial hub, but the number of manufacturing jobs has fallen by almost 20 percent over the last decade, mirroring a similar drop in the city’s population.
Hitachi’s only department store closed in late 2008. The city lost all its movie theaters. Its drinking district, Saiwaicho — which translates to happy town — was largely deserted one recent weeknight. A tall Christmas tree — sponsored by Hitachi, according to its plaque — stood alone in an empty square.
Now locals are worrying about the planned merger, announced last month, of Hitachi’s thermal power business with that of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which could lead to more job losses at a turbine plant. Recent promises from the newly installed prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to weaken the yen have been met here with sighs that such policies are too little, too late.
“Hitachi might have recovered, but what are the rewards for the city, or for the country?” asked Toyohiko Baba, an engineer in information technology for 40 years at Hitachi who heads a companywide employees’ council that seeks to promote workers’ rights. “What is the point of Hitachi’s revival?”
Makiko Inoue contributed research from Tokyo.


Hoang Dinh Nam/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
學生們參觀一座越南核電站的模型,該電站由日立和通用電氣(General Electric)聯合設計。

日本日立市——破紀錄的年度虧損記錄震動了日立公司(Hitachi Corporation)的管理層,迫使公司的高管們採取行動。這家擁有百年歷史的電子工程巨頭,名字就取自太平洋海岸大風肆虐的工業城市日立市。
自從2009年虧損了7870億日元(約合578.3億元人民幣)之後,日立一度扭轉了局面,令人刮目相看,到2012年3月,實現了創紀錄的 3470億日元(40億美元)年凈利潤。此時,其競爭對手索尼(Sony)、夏普(Sharp)和松下(Panasonic)還在苦苦掙扎。

此刻,能為身陷困境的日本電子行業解圍的途徑就是一個全球化的戰略布局,即把生產和採購流程從高成本的日本轉移到海外更具競爭力的地區。隨着日本製 造業巨頭的全球化,這個曾經如此依賴製造業推動經濟增長的國家必須尋找其他的就業資源和機會,就像這個國家新生代的企業家一樣;實現這個轉變說起來容易, 做起來要難得多。
日立公司總裁兼首席執行官中西宏明(Hiroaki Nakanishi)在東京接受年末採訪時說,“關閉工廠在日本是一件大事,我們不會輕率地裁員。可是,為了重新實現增長,我們必須擺脫不能獲利的業務。我們必須要堅決果斷。”
然而,過去十多年裡,技術公司的增長微乎其微。根據東京的日本歐洲科技諮詢公司(Eurotechnology Japan)的數據,過去15年里,日本排名前八位的技術公司的年度平均銷售漲幅幾近於零。
隨着電子產品越來越多樣化,韓國和台灣後來居上,對日本構成了競爭,迫使電子產品價格整體下降,所以出現了這樣的局面。日本的技術巨頭布局過散、缺 乏重點,這也讓他們把優勢讓給了更具創新性的公司,如蘋果(Apple)。日本企業未能緊跟行業潮流,把重點轉向軟件和服務領域,更加重了上述危機。
日立旗下的1000多個團隊往往有業務重複,互為競爭,其僱員人數達到了40萬,生產產品覆蓋了電視機、硬盤驅動器、芯片、電加熱馬桶座圈、電梯和 核反應堆等多個種類。在於2010年執掌公司的中西宏明的領導下,公司大舉收縮或變賣了虧損的業務,包括那些生產芯片、平板電視機、液晶顯示器、手機和家 用電腦的部門。
現在,當地人對計劃好的併購感到擔憂。上個月,日立宣布將旗下的火力發電業務與三菱重工(Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)合并,這可能會導致日立的渦輪機廠削減更多就業崗位。日本新任首相安倍晉三(Shinzo Abe)最近承諾將使日元貶值。日立市人嘆氣,說這樣的政策來得太遲,不過是杯水車薪。
在日立公司工作了40年的信息技術工程師馬場豐彥(Toyohiko Baba)問道,“日立也許能復蘇,然而這對日立市,對國家有何好處?”馬場豐彥是一家企業員工委員會的負責人,該委員會力圖提升工人的權利,他說,“日立復興的意義在哪裡?”
Makiko Inoue自東京對本文有研究貢獻。


日本寺院缺住持 挖角屆退上班族
日本臨濟宗妙心寺派徵求退休上班族遁入佛門,以擴充住持儲備人才。圖為妙心寺派修行僧。 (取自網路)
經濟不景氣 住持人才難尋

2012年12月30日 星期日


Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012

News photo
Angry neighbors: Chinese demonstrators set fire to a Japanese national flag during a protest over the issue surrounding the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province on Sept.16, 2012. AFP-JIJI

As the new year approaches, Japan still reels from 2011

What a sad, sad country this is. What sad shape it's in, as this Year of the Dragon draws to a close. Economically, politically socially, individually, it is merely scraping by, surviving rather than living.
Last Jan. 1 a Japan Times editorial commented, "It is impossible for people in Japan to put 2011 behind them." That remains true 12 months later.
This year was spared upheaval on the scale of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns that will forever define 2011. Symbolic of 2012 is the collapse on Dec. 2 of ceiling panels in the Sasago Tunnel in Yamanashi Prefecture, which killed nine and reflected gradual crumbling rather than explosive cataclysm. A subsequent frenzy of belated infrastructure inspections turned up a plethora of defects pointing to similar accidents waiting to happen. West Nippon Expressway Co. and Metropolitan Expressway Co. both began removing concrete panels from tunnels they operate. If not for Sasago, of course, they would not have.
Each in its own way, last year's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant meltdowns and this year's tunnel collapse indicate the shoddy foundations on which the postwar "Japanese miracle," long since extinct, was built. In July, the nation got a sharp dressing-down. It came from University of Tokyo professor emeritus Kiyoshi Kurokawa, chairman of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.
"What must be admitted, very painfully, is that this was a disaster 'Made in Japan,' " Kurokawa declared. "Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience, our reluctance to question authority, our devotion to 'sticking to the program,' our groupism, our insularity."
The catastrophe, he said, was "the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Co., Fukushima No. 1's operator)."
If Fukushima brought anything good in its wake, it was the potential for national self-examination and reawakening. Kurokawa's philippic was one sign of it. Another was the massive demonstrations that occurred throughout the year, primarily against nuclear power but also expressive of a more general frustration. A mass rally at Tokyo's Yoyogi Park in July drew 170,000 participants; weekly protests outside the prime minister's residence have been tens of thousands strong. It has been decades since the Japanese people demonstrated on this scale. By the end of August, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda could ignore the protesters no longer. His meeting with their representatives, however, was no meeting of minds. The protesters' parting shot was, "We the people do not believe you."
By then Noda was on his way out. Earlier that month, in response to relentless pressure from the opposition-leading Liberal Democratic Party, he had promised to dissolve the Diet's Lower House "soon." He held out until Nov. 14, then called an election for Dec. 16. The results are fresh in our memories. Contradictions are not in themselves astonishing, but the LDP's triumphant return to power under Shinzo Abe poses more than a few riddles. A nation seeking release from its own past suddenly invited it back. The LDP, in power almost uninterruptedly from 1955 until 2009, presided over the postwar "miracle" but was a spent force, intellectually if not politically, by the sputtering 1990s, unable to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Abe himself served a brief term as prime minister in 2006-7. He wrote recently in the monthly magazine Bungei Shunju, "I am a person who has experienced failure as a politician, and it is because I am such a person that I am ready to give everything for Japan."
That's what voters wanted, apparently, and it's what they got, although how they square their peaceable habits with his bellicosity, or their vociferous nuclear phobia with the LDP's rejection of ousted Prime Minister Noda's pledge to phase out nuclear power by 2040, are not the least of the election's puzzles.
Everyone knew as 2012 dawned that it would be an election year, though Noda could technically have waited until next summer. Public disgust seethed and simmered. In February an Asahi Shimbun poll showed support for the governing Democratic Party of Japan to be all of 19 percent; the LDP trailed at 12 percent. Was there nowhere else to turn?
Hope coalesced around a rising charismatic young politician named Toru Hashimoto. He'd been Osaka Prefecture's governor and was now Osaka City's mayor, but he seemed made for bigger things. Bold, brash, mincing no words, he spoke of the need to "reset" Japan. He packaged his many novel ideas under the rubric ishin (restoration), a reference to the nation-transforming Meiji Restoration of 1868.
His Osaka Ishin no Kai (literally Osaka Restoration Society) grew into the Nippon Ishin no To (Japan Restoration Party). Would it have done better had it not merged, papering over ideological gaps, with a hastily-formed mini-party led by ultranationalist former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara? It didn't do badly in any case, coming in a respectable third, only two seats behind the routed DPJ, but as a much-vaunted "third force" bent on upending the political status quo, it was humbled by the Abe juggernaut.
Can Japan be "reset"? Hashimoto's plans for doing so include abolishing the Diet's Upper House, giving local governments more power and having the prime minister elected directly instead of, as now, appointed by the leading party. The unsteady response to and slow recovery from last year's catastrophe bode ill, barring some sort of reset, for future catastrophes deemed likely. In August the government's Central Disaster Prevention Council said a massive earthquake in the Nankai Trough, extending south of Honshu, could kill 323,000 people in 30 prefectures. The Tokyo metropolitan government around the same time projected 9,700 deaths should a magnitude 7.3 earthquake strike directly beneath the capital.
Nature's belligerence is grim enough. Add to it a growing truculence among increasingly powerful neighbors, and a national sense of being beset becomes comprehensible, though not constructive. In mid-August seven activists from Hong Kong landed on one of the Senkaku Islands claimed held by Japan, but also claimed by China (the Chinese call them Diaoyu). Five were arrested and deported. Days later, a dozen Japanese nationalists of the rightwing group Gambare Nippon swam ashore from a 20-boat flotilla and raised the Hinomaru flag. That was the prologue. The main drama unfolded through early fall — the central government under Noda outbidding the Tokyo government under Ishihara and purchasing three of the islands from their private owner; Chinese demonstrators rising en masse in fury, trashing Japanese businesses in China while the Chinese government, usually quick enough to stamp out popular outbursts, suddenly, if temporarily, turned permissive. Among the rallying cries of the rampaging demonstrators was, "Down with little Japan!"
Little Japan indeed. A happy country's happiest people are its youth, but Japanese young people — dwindling numerically, struggling to gain a foothold in a shrinking economy, uncertain of the future to the point that many among them have given up hope of marrying and having children — have little to celebrate.
Who are Japan's happiest citizens? Men in their 80s, said a survey released in August by the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute. Its unhappiest are men in their 40s — the prime of life. To paraphrase the year's top buzzword, the motto of comedian Sugi-chan: Wild, eh?

ZEN GARDENS: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan's Leading Garden Designe

ツイートする Facebook にシェア 


ツイートする Facebook にシェア 

Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012

Landscaping the doors of perception in Japan

ZEN GARDENS: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan's Leading Garden Designer, by Mira Locher. Tuttle Publishing, 2012, 224 pp., $39.95 (hardcover)
Although the term zen-tei (Zen garden) exists in Japanese, its usage is a largely Western one, first coined by the American garden scholar Lorraine Kuck in the 1930s. In the work of designer Shunmyo Masuno, a fully ordained Buddhist priest, we encounter landscapes that endorse Daisetz T. Suzuki's view that the stone garden embodies "the spirit of Zen."
News photo
Masuno, who practices meditation as a first step toward design, may conceivably, be the last of Japan's ishitate-so, or "stone-setting priests," a body of semiprofessionals once tasked with assembling gardens, although his responsibilities for creating design and overseeing the construction of his ideas far exceed the brief of those humble ecclesiastical gardeners.
Things are never quite what they seem in the Zen garden. Emptiness might best be described as empowered space, an energized vacuum; what the writer Donald Richie referred to as the "nourishing void." Masuno emphasizes the need to familiarize himself with the project site, to "listen" to the request of stones and to sensitize himself to the forces flowing through the landscape.
In his work, compositions are never imposed on space, the sites to some degree dictating design and stone placement. Design of this transcendent quality is rare, issuing from a combination of kankaku (sensitivity) and kunren (practice and discipline). When the two are fused, as they manifestly are in Masuno's work, spatial design ascends to the level of art.
Masuno's work bears some comparison with the gardens of iconoclastic landscape designer Shigemori Mirei, whose highly original concepts and use of materials split the garden establishment into detractors and devotees. Like Mirei, Masuno is a traditionalist with a modernist vision, possessed of an extraordinary wellspring of ideas and design approaches that are evident in the diversity of his projects and the pliability required to adjust to each commission. The book accordingly showcases designs for temples, a retreat house, science research center, prefectural library, private residence, golf club, hotel, crematorium and more.
Like finely crafted musical instruments, gardens can improve immeasurably with age. The risks, of course, of creating gardens for commercial entities rather than time immemorial temples or villas protected by their Important Cultural Property rankings, is that they are subject to market fluctuations that can force radical land transformation.
Mira Locher's concisely organized text and painstaking research into her subject steers the layman through a potentially Byzantine web of principals and design concepts. Given the close relationship between Japanese gardens and structural forms, Locher, a practicing architect of high repute, is well placed to comment on the subject of landscape design.
Unlike ancient gardens, with their embedded meanings, contemporary designers are generally quite comfortable spelling out the meaning of their work. Thus, we know unequivocally that Masuno's ryumonbaku ("dragon's gate waterfall") at Gion-ji Temple, represents the idea of Zen training toward enlightenment, or that the name of its courtyard garden invokes the theme of water, analogous to knowledge and teachings trickling down through the ages. Locher doesn't give away too much, however, leaving enough concealed to stimulate reader inquiry.
This finely illustrated and written work reminds us that the Japanese garden is an organic form that is constantly evolving. So much so that the garden writer Yang Hongxun has opined, "China could make use of many of these Japanese standards to modernize her own garden construction, which has fallen behind in recent times."
The book includes a number of landscapes created for foreign clients. Examining these overseas creations, we realize that with careful consideration to climate and plant environments, the Japanese garden is a truly transcultural art.
Stephen Mansfield is a British photojournalist based in Japan and the author of several books on Japanese and Asian subjects.

2012年12月29日 星期六

If the Japanese Diet Included Deer, It Might Keep Wolves From the Door

If the Japanese Diet Included Deer, It Might Keep Wolves From the Door
As the Ruminants Run Rampant, Nation Considers Introducing Predators, Venison Lunches

Rural Japan is being over-run by deer that are damaging crops and timber groves. But there's another problem, too: a shortage of deer hunters. WSJ's Chester Dawson reports from Bungo-Ono. (Photo: Corbis)
BUNGO-ONO, Japan—For Yusuke Hashimoto, mayor of this small hamlet in southwestern Japan, desperate times call for desperate measures. The town is one of the country's top producers of shiitake mushrooms, but they are also popular with local deer. And that's the rub.
"Deer are encroaching on farmers' ability to make a living," said Mr. Hashimoto, who has become part of a growing movement to reinstate four-legged carnivores to control the herd.
Japan's last native canine—the extinct Canis lupus hodophilax—was killed off in 1905 as national policy.
Bringing out a stack of books about wolf folklore, Mr. Hashimoto explained reintroducing wolves began to appeal to him when he read material published by the Japan Wolf Association, a grass-roots lobbying group.

Enlarge Image Chester Dawson/The Wall Street Journal
Iichiro Kodama, a local deer hunter, slings a 12-gauge shotgun over his shoulder in the woods of Oita prefecture in southwestern Japan.

"As wild as it sounds, the more I read about them the less ludicrous it seemed," he said.
Japan isn't the only country with deer issues. Suburbs across the U.S. battle deer foraging in gardens, spreading Lyme disease and causing traffic accidents. But the roots of Japan's deer problem—and some of the proposed solutions—are unusual.

Japan's deer crisis is aggravated by extreme demographic trends: intense urbanization and depopulation of rural areas, record low birthrates and the world's most rapidly aging society. Plus, there's a cultural legacy: Venison isn't a staple of Japanese cuisine, and gun ownership is subject to strict regulation.

Now, too few hunters prowl through rural Japan's thick bamboo and cedar groves, and deer account for an estimated $33 million in annual crop loss, triple the total a decade ago, according to Japan's environment ministry.

So Japanese national and local authorities are laying more traps, and ring-fencing vulnerable rice paddies and timber groves. They're also trying to make hunting fashionable for young urbanites and introducing venison to school lunches.

Wolf advocates submitted a petition with 94,468 signatures to the Environment Ministry in April. It urged the ministry to import and release Tibetan wolves, which are regarded as genetically close to the wolves once roaming Japan.

At the head of the pack is the Japan Wolf Association, set up in 1993 to re-establish wolf habitats here. "Without any mistake, we'll be successful in this," said JWA chairman Naoki Maruyama, a professor emeritus at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and the author of several books.

In Parliament, the pro-wolf movement has brought together more than a dozen national lawmakers of different parties, including a former environment minister, who set up a Wolf Reintroduction Study Group.

Getty Images)
Japanese deer
"We need to consider reinserting wolves to local ecosystems," says caucus founder Tsurunen Marutei, a member of Japan's upper house of Parliament. The naturalized Japanese citizen was born and raised in Finland, where wolves are a protected species.
Environmental authorities in Japan see a wolf in sheep's clothing: a solution with fangs worse than the problem it attempts to solve. "Setting wolves loose is a nonstarter," said Toru Nagano, an official in the environment ministry's wild animal protection department. "They'd be more of a threat to livestock, dogs or humans than wild deer are," he said.
Instead, Japan's government is trying to lure more city slickers into the woods armed with shotguns and rifles. This year, the environment ministry began sponsoring "Joy of Hunting" forums across the country, where hunters discuss the hobby and show off their hardware.
Publicity for the forums—promoted via Facebook FB -0.53% and printed posters—feature a hunter wearing a ponytail and brandishing a pump-action shotgun. "We want to make hunting seem more approachable to youth and women," said Mr. Nagano.
Traditionally, Japan's deer herd has been kept at bay by local hunting associations comprising farmers mostly, but their average age is now 65 years. The total number of licensed Japanese hunters and trappers has fallen to an all-time low of 186,000—down sharply from a peak of 531,000 in 1970.
No one knows how many deer are roaming the Japanese underbrush since the government doesn't formally keep tabs, but experts say they likely number in the millions—up from the 500,000 or so thought to exist just two decades ago.
The spike in Japanese, or sika, deer looms large in rural areas that retain significant political power, even as their human populations shrink. Many local governments like Bungo-Ono offer hunters bounties of up to ¥10,000 (about $128) per head for any deer bagged and tagged. Most prefectures in Japan have effectively waived the notion of a hunting season, granting special permits to allow kills year-round.

Enlarge Image

Sika Deer
That can dull the thrill of the hunt. "We can bag up to 18 deer in a single day. They're just everywhere," laments Yoichi Kodama, the 60-year-old head of a local hunting group, who says that after shooting thousands he finds traps more sporting.
Some policy makers think hunters might get more excited if there were more appetite for their kill. Hence, stepped-up efforts to promote venison consumption. Groups like the Japan Gibier (Wild Game) Promotion Association have gone nationwide to broaden Japanese palates everywhere from school cafeterias to trendy cafes. Last month, it held an event designed to drum up publicity in Tokyo's Akihabara district. Waitresses served traditional bento box lunches with a twist: The main entrees featured deep-fried nuggets of wild boar, venison meatloaf and black crow meatballs.
And yet, at a recent street fair in central Tokyo, few young Japanese seemed ready to wolf down curried rice with chunks of venison served by one food stall sponsored by the agriculture ministry. "Deer are too cute to eat. Besides, it probably tastes gamy," said Tetsuomi Takeuchi, a 33-year-old financial planner.
Wolves are less fussy about their diets.
Wolf advocate Mr. Murayama plays down fears wolves would attack human beings, noting that historically Japanese farmers worshiped wolf deities in appreciation of their worldly embodiment's appetite for crop-destroying deer.
The cult of the wolf deity remains popular at dozens of shrines throughout Japan. Wolves have even become stars in the country's thriving anime cartoon subculture.
This past summer, one of the highest-grossing Japanese movies was an animated feature film called "The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki." It tells the story of two bushy-tailed offspring of a human character and her werewolf lover—described as the only living descendant of the Japanese wolf.
—Karin Ito contributed to this article.
  Write to Chester Dawson at chester.dawson@wsj.com
A version of this article appeared December 29, 2012, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: If the Japanese Diet Included Deer, It Might Keep Wolves From the Door.


Matsui, Star in Two Continents, Is Retiring
New York Times
Like the United States, Japan has its own baseball royalty, and the princes are high school players drafted by the Yomiuri Giants. Being chosen by the hallowed Giants — Japan's equivalent of the Yankees, the Lakers and the Cowboys combined — does not ...
See all stories on this topic »

New York Times
Japan's Worse-Than-Forecast Output Bolsters Abe's Stimulus Case
Japan's industrial output tumbled more than forecast to the lowest level since the aftermath of the record 2011 earthquake, bolstering the case for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to unleash large-scale stimulus. The 1.7 percent drop in November from October ...
See all stories on this topic »

Japan Hints It May Revise an Apology on Sex Slaves
New York Times
TOKYO — A top official hinted Thursday that Japan's newly installed conservative government might seek to revise a nearly two-decade-old official apology to women forced into sexual slavery during World War II, a move that would most likely outrage ...
See all stories on this topic »

New York Times
Nowhere to Use Japan's Growing Plutonium Stockpile
ABC News
How is an atomic-powered island nation riddled with fault lines supposed to handle its nuclear waste? Part of the answer was supposed to come from this windswept village along Japan's northern coast. By hosting a high-tech facility that would convert ...
See all stories on this topic »

ABC News
Will Japan Unapologize to 'Comfort Women'?
New York Times (blog)
The New York Times's Tokyo bureau chief, Martin Fackler, writes that Japan's new (and former) prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and his conservative government may revise Japan's 1993 apology for forcing thousands of women to be sex slaves in the service of ...
See all stories on this topic »

New York Times (blog)
Insight: Under siege, Japan central bank wakes up to political reality
TOKYO (Reuters) - Within a day of Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party sweeping to power in elections this month, elite bureaucrats in Japan's central bank rushed to ready what amounted to a surrender offer. Abe had run his campaign with a relentless ...
See all stories on this topic »
US Marine arrested on Okinawa, Japan, where anger is growing against alleged ...
Washington Post
TOKYO — A U.S. Marine was arrested Friday on trespassing charges in Japan's southwestern island of Okinawa, where public outrage is growing against the American military following a rape allegedly by servicemen. Anibal Antonio Barraza-Ortiz, 27, ...
See all stories on this topic »

Washington Post
Japan Data Show Economy Still Weak
Wall Street Journal
TOKYO—Japanese industrial production fell more than expected in November, government data showed Friday, while other data were mixed, likely fueling more calls for monetary easing and government stimulus as Japan's export-led economy continues to ...
See all stories on this topic »

Wall Street Journal
China Says Japan Must Reflect on History After Sex Slave Comment
China's ruling Communist Party, in its official newspaper, called on Japan to not “play tricks” with history after comments by a Japanese official cast doubt on whether newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would uphold a 1993 apology to women forced ...
See all stories on this topic »
Japan's Call for Weaker Yen Spurs Talk of Copycat Moves
Wall Street Journal
Unusual explicitness from Japan's new leaders has helped convince the market they are serious about weakening the yen to revive the nation's embattled exporters, but such moves threaten to complicate Tokyo's relations with the U.S. and other major ...
See all stories on this topic »

2012年12月26日 星期三

“Operation Tomadachi,” / Mr. Abe Takes Over

Japan's New Premier Takes Over
Wall Street Journal
Mr. Abe and his ministers are expected to follow that up with increased pressure on Japan's central bank to pump money into the economy, and by reviving a once-powerful policy-setting body headed by the prime minister to make sure the measures taken ...
See all stories on this topic »

Wall Street Journal
US Navy sailors sue Japan for lying about Fukushima radiation
Crewmembers from the USS Ronald Reagan filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in San Diego, California this week in an attempt to hold Japan accountable for any long-term damage they'll caused during “Operation Tomadachi,” the spring 2011 relief effort that ...
See all stories on this topic »

Tomodachi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomodachi - Cached
Tomodachi (友達; ともだち; or トモダチ) is a Japanese word meaning "friend(s)". It can also refer to: Operation Tomodachi is an assistance operation to support ...

2012年12月25日 星期二

Fish cake "sasakama" company rebounds


Sasa-kamaboko Sasa-kamaboko is a processed fish loaf made from pureed white fish (e.g. flounder), which is baked into bamboo leaf (sasa) shaped loaves. This delicacy will tease your appetite with its delicious fish taste and pleasant aroma.

tì   ㄊㄧˋ 竹葉
 ◎ 同“”(日本汉字)。

small bamboo leaf

Keiji Sasaki, founder of Sasakei Co. in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, and his wife, Atsu, make local specialty "sasakama" by hand. (Shintaro Hirama)
Keiji Sasaki, founder of Sasakei Co. in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, and his wife, Atsu, make local specialty "sasakama" by hand. (Shintaro Hirama)
  • Keiji Sasaki, founder of Sasakei Co. in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, and his wife, Atsu, make local specialty "sasakama" by hand. (Shintaro Hirama)

Fish cake company rebounds from tsunami the old-fashioned way

December 25, 2012
NATORI, Miyagi Prefecture--When disaster-hit Sasakei Co. reopened a factory in September, its president ordered employees not to switch entirely to the long-awaited machines to produce the company’s popular local specialty.
The backward-looking decision has already paid dividends for the company, the maker of “sasa kamaboko” bamboo leaf-shaped fish cakes, and its chief, Keisuke Sasaki, who nearly abandoned all hope after losing three factories in the tsunami last year.
The company continues to make the specialty, also called “sasakama,” the old-fashioned way—by hand.
“It’s a place where tradition had almost been forgotten,” Sasaki said.
After the March 11 tsunami swept away Sasakei’s main store building in Natori’s Yuriage district, the 61-year-old president said he thought about closing the company. However, loyal customers urged him to stay in business, and he decided to persevere.
But he was at a loss on how to produce sasakama without the machines.
That’s when his father, Keiji Sasaki, the company’s founder, and his mother, Atsu, re-entered the picture.
Keiji, 90, and Atsu, 84, who had retired from the front line about 10 years ago, knew how to make filleted fish into paste by hand.
The couple brought a grindstone to an inland store that had escaped damage from the waves and tried to teach the traditional method of making sasakama to the young employees. A succession of failures followed, including shrinkage of the product. The young workers often burned their hands in the grilling process.
It took a month until they finally got the hang of it.
Old-fashioned sasakama’s reputation for a “soft and mild sweetness” and a “nostalgic taste” soon attracted new customers.
Sasakei was founded in 1966 in the Yuriage district, which was devastated by last year’s tsunami. The new factory, remodeled in July 2011, was built at the inland outlet.
On a busy day in December for the year-end gift-giving season, Keiji and Atsu were patiently pounding the soft and spongy cod fish paste by hand before fixing it into the shape of a bamboo leaf.
The couple and the young employees now produce 3,000 to 4,000 pieces of sasakama a day.
“(Hand-made sasa-kamaboko) has an original taste,” Keisuke Sasaki said. “I want to keep the technique my father passed on alive.”

山田洋次/ 日本麥當勞免等候/“新成人”免費贈送“巨無霸”漢堡



       “山田洋次博物館”在12月15日東京葛飾區觀光文化中心內開始對外公開,博物館展示了今年81歲的山田洋次導演長達半個世紀的電影創作生涯,山田洋次以 導演《寅次郎的故事》、《黃昏的清兵衛》等電影而廣為人知。該文化中心內還設有“葛飾柴又寅次郎記念館”。

     博物館按時代變遷展示了山田導演各個時期的作品,從1961年的處女作《二樓的房客》到明年1月將上映的《東京家族》。裏面擺放著山田導演作品的膠片和放 映機,還設有可觀賞所有作品預告內容的展區。在介紹電影《幸福的黃手帕》的一角,還同時展出了在東日本大地震中受災的岩手縣陸前高田市飄揚的黃手帕的照 片。此外,展示《寅次郎的故事》系列電影的寅次郎記念館也進行了部分改裝。在電影中使用的糰子店“車屋”旁邊,新建了“章魚社長”的印刷廠。




        日本麥當勞將在2013年1月4日至31日期間,在全日本開展一項60秒之內上齊所有菜品的活動。付完錢後用沙漏計時,如果超過了60 秒,便會贈送漢堡類商品的免費兌換券。每次點餐都是計時對象,除超大漢堡“至尊無霸”等部分商品外都可兌換。活動時間為每天上午11點到下午2點。


海外版の街コン"Machicon"、台湾・台北市で開催! 台湾人や現地日本人と交流

海外版の街コン"Machicon"、台湾・台北市で開催! 台湾人や現地日本人と交流


「Machicon World Tour Vol.2 in Taipei」公式サイトのスクリーンショット
AI AGENTは2013年1月20日、台湾・台北市内で地域活性化イベント「Machicon World Tour Vol.2 in Taipei」を開催をする。


同社は10月に、海外では史上初となる地域活性化イベント「街コン」を台北市で開催。国家情勢の問題より、当初予定していたリリース情報を制限した 中での開催にも関わらず、100名以上の参加者(日本からのツアー渡航者、台湾国内の日本人、現地の台湾人)が来場したという。
通常、街コンは「街+合コン」だが、海外版Machiconは「Machi(街)+Con(Contact/触れ合う/接触する)」とし、街と向き 合い、より地域との関係性を重視。グローバル化が進む現代における国際文化交流と地域活性化を目的とした「Machicon」として、異性の出会いを目的 としない純粋な交流の場として提供をするとしている。
開催日時は、2013年1月20日、開場16時30分、開演17時、終了21時。参加人数は、400名(男性200名、女性200名)。参加条件は、独身の20歳以上2名1組。会場は、台湾・台北市のレストラン、BAR など3~5店舗利用。
ツアーは、出発地が東京・羽田空港。渡航日程は2013年1月19日~21日の2泊3日。旅行代金は、5万8,000円(2泊3日/2名1室利用、 1人あたり)。旅行代金には、往復の渡航費代、ホテル宿泊代、交通費用、「Machicon」参加費、その他雑費が含まれる。別途、空港税、燃油サー チャージ、航空保険料約1万5,000円が必要となる。

2012年12月23日 星期日

村上華岳 Kagaku Murakam

Kagaku Murakam Fudoukoumanotsurugii


村上 華岳(むらかみ かがく、1888年7月3日 - 1939年11月11日)は、大正~昭和期の日本画家



略歴 [編集]


主な作品 [編集]

脚注 [編集]

関連項目 [編集]

外部リンク [編集]