In the most of Japanese houses, you may see this bag. Even they aren't visible, they are somewhere in the house. In my parents house, there were at least three of these in the shed at the back of the house.
This is an "emergency bag" (hijou bukuro/ 非常袋), made of some fire-proof material.
Inside this bag, there are essential goods such as bottles of water, first-aid kit, torch and some food that you can eat without cooking.
These are basic stuff. I remember every year, my father brought these bags out, checked the expire date, then changed to the new bottles or packets.
I quite liked that day as he usually gave me a tin of biscuits that nearly expired or already did a few weeks ago. I was a strange feeling to eat those emergency food in a tube or in sealed packets.
This shows what to stuff in your emergency bag.
It's possible your evacuation takes longer than you expect and have to live in the shelter without any supplies, which it happened to the shelters in Touhoku region.
There are wet tissues and a bottle of shampoo which you can wash your hair without any water. People were complain about unhygienic life style in the shelter, as it took so long to arrive esseintial supplies including water.
There are people who are trying to invent new thing every day. And of course, there are people who are inventing useful emergency goods.
This is one of those called "Super Multi Life Hammer". With the word, "super", this sounds like a must item.
This hammer has 8 functions; 1) torch, 2) hammer for breaking car glass, 3) seat belt cutter, 4) AM/FM radio, 5) signal light that blinks, 6) mobile charger (japanese mobile), 7) manual generator and the last, it also functions with AAA battery.
I guess this is mede as a car goods but it might be useful.
Another product that caught my eye was this. This is a smoke hood invented by SBK.
This company seems like they are specialised in emergency goods and have some curious things, basic but logic. Just like an experiment we used to do at school.
This is a great hood which you can escape from the smoke with your eyes open and can keep breathing.
It can keep the air enough to breathe for 3 minutes if you run and for 5 minutes if you walk. Heat-resistance up to 150 ºC.
It may look a little too comical but must be very useful item to have. Only thing yoou need to be careful about it, you'll get a big head and might have a problem walking through a small space when you escape. You better have a little practice.
So now, have you diceided what to stuff in your emergency bag?
After all these problems of nuclear plant in Japan, a lot of doubt and argument have arisen in the world and some countries have already decided to close down their nuclear plants.
In Tokyo and surrounding prefectures are still on rotating power cut and this is believed to continue until the summer next year.
By Tokyo Bay, where the Tokyo Disney Land is, liquefaction is severe and the people in that area still don't have running water nor electricity. Not only the people in the shelter in Touhoku region but also in Tokyo region are forced to have uncomfortable life. A friend of my mother goes to a hotel near the station to wash her face and teeth in the morning, then goes to a Konbini for the toilet. She lives in a zone just next to my mother but the difference is big.
Now we are a little suspicious about nuclear energy. People are reviewing natural energies such as the wind power generation or solar electiricity generation system.
Yet better, forget about all these power system and use pure natural resources such as water, for instance. Throw away battery and be green. It's time to be eco.
This is an eco water battery alarm clock, Time H20.
Just fill the water into the bottle, the clock starts ticking. We don't need to rush to the supermarket for batteries anymore. Maybe they should invent torch too.
I wanted to know how it's possible that the water can be an energy. So, I've investigated a bit.
What I've found was this. A Japanese company called Genepax has succeeded to develop a new power source, "Water energy system" which generates power just by pouring the water directly.
This system is based on hydrogen fuel cell development but is much cheaper to produce hydrogen and emits less CO2. Genepax has even made an eco car that runs with water instread of petro. Amazing. Imagine using this car in Tohoku region right now. No one will need to queue for a litre of petro nor having problems to deliver supplies to devastated area.
Japan covers its energy supply with thermal power generation (60%) and nuclear power (31%).
But Genepax insists that a glass of water can be the new energy source of the earth. Especially in the situation like Japan now, not depending on any man-made energy could save people more rapidly.
You can see the system of generation with the water in animation. I wasn't a good student in chemistry or physics but I'm sure some of you can understand much better than me.
With 1 litre of water, the car can run for an hour with 80km of velocity. Well, it's not a ferrari but who need that speed in such as small island? Also at the same time we can be nice to the environment.
Reading this articule about Genepax, I thought that Japan's technology isn't that bad as I was a bit disappointed with Japan's robots technology, and I even had a good feeling about this company. So I checked their website. What I've found was… hahaha they have closed down, at least at the moment due to the difficulty of the development. To be nice to the earth seems to cost a lot.
On the 24th of February in 2011, the first full marathon race was held for bipedal walking robots in Osaka, Japan. Four robots participated in the race and took four days to complete 42.195km. The first robots marathon race had been broadcast by a robot car, EV using USTREAM.
This was supposed to be the big presentation of Japanese technology and for that, it was a little too quiet. It would've been nicer if there were some supporters for the robots.
Revival KONAPUN!! Perhaps there were more women in 30's shouted for joy than actual children in Japan. KONAPUN KITCHEN series have just revived after 20 years with the strong desire from many adults who back then were kids and played with it.
One of the image comes up to people's mind about Japan is its advanced technology. With China's recent growth, Japan is no longer the top of Asia and even having difficulty to rely on the brand name "Japan", but still Japan's technology has a good reputation.
Japanese technology team doesn't cut corners even in kids' toys because this skill can develop when they are little. To be honest, as I spent most of the time as a tomboy and played baseball and football with boys more than playing house, I didn't even know about this toy. But this is not just a toy. This is a technological experiment which educates Japanese kids without even knowing it.
But why? What's the secret about frying doughnuts?
According to the producer of this toy, BANDAI, the base of this powder is citric acid and the acid reacts to the dough and fries it. The fundamental ingredient of KONAPUN is alginic acid which is extract of seeweed and is often used for gelatin type facial pack or pasta. This means, all the sweets you make are not edible but are child free products. Also it doen't use any preservatives, so you can't keep them even though they look perfect sweet sample.
This is osushi kitchen, 5,600 yen in Amazon Japan.
With this package you can make, salmon roe (IKURA), tuna, eggs and sea urchin (UNI).
As you drop the salmon roe mixture into KONAPUN water, how curious, it changes into fish eggs. The rice is the same, you just "cook" the rice mixture in the KONAPUN rice cooker for 15 minutes. Look, it has the real rice texture.
Look at these sushi. They are perfect food sample and it's a big shame that you can't keep them. Don't forget to take photos when you make one.
As you can see, Japanese kids are having contact with the technology in daily bases through play and develop their imagination without knowing it.
Those Japanese kids' who are not satisfied with just making them as the recipe says, there are competitions held. Repeat, these are not edible.
Brilliant creativity as little kids. Maybe they are the ones who will take over Japanese technology in the future.
KONAPUN Kitchen series have variety of sweets and food and are available more than 10 series such as cookies, pizza, takoyaki (Japanese octupus balls) etc… as well as doughnuts and sushi. Kitchen series cost 2,000 yen to 5,000 yen but also refill packages are available for 700 yen to 1,000 yen.
Mitsuko Uchida is one of the great classical Japanese pianists who just won the Grammy Award in 2011.
On the night of the 13th of February, four Japanese musicians won at the 53th Grammy Award. This is historical. One of them is the guitarist, Takahiro Matsumoto from Japanese rock group B’z which has been one of the top group in Japan since the late 80’s. He won the grammy by collaborating with a master of guitar, Larry Carlton.
Japanese people love ghost story. Traditionally there are many scary stories called Kaidan even for children such as Bancho Sara Yashiki and Yotsuya Kaidan. Usually they are stories about death, ghost and monsters which origin can dates back to 12th century. Ghost in Japanese is Obake or Yuurei, Obake means transformed figure and Yuurei means the soul of the death.
Bancho Sara Yashiki
By the way, do you know the main difference between Western ghost and Japanese one?
A typical image of Western ghost is headless as you might have seen in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow.
Whereas typical Japanese Yuurei has no legs.
Japanese people some how love horror films. There are many TV programs talk about ghost and psychic phenomenon.
And now, there is a new horror film coming out in Japan which made all Japanese horror fun shudder!! The film is Tomie Unlimited, it will be on screen in May and currently its trailer is showing all over Japan. However it's so terrifying that many of the cinemas have stopped showing it.
If you are not big fan of horror film, skip the video please.
So now, which do you scare more, Western horror or Japanese horror?
Well for me the most makes me terrified is the look of the ghost. One vote for Japanese Yuurei brrr.