Author: ushio

Minority groups and their minor languages in Canada and Japan

You may assume that the Inuit and Ainu languages of Canada and Japan share the same or similar features because those peoples have long lived in cold regions and lived on marine animals or salmon. You are partly right. However, when it comes to details, there are important differences, which you can confirm with an article in The Economist newspaper (November 7, 2015 issue) and Japanese encyclopedias. The most important feature of the Ainu language will be that it is a spoken language. Prominent scholars, including the British missionary John Batchelor (1854-1944), Kyosuke Kindaichi (1882-1971) and Mashiho Chiri (an Ainu, 1909-1961), extracted and wrote down, in the process of their […]

3 museums let you imagine life on earth 65 million years ago

I have a paleontology quiz for you. True or false: No dinosaurs ever chased human beings — to eat them alive or for whatever purpose — except in a science fiction story. Look for the answer and an explanation at the bottom of this story. Of the world’s three largest dinosaur museums, one is located in Canada and the others are in Japan and China. All three facilities share the unique characteristic of being built in inland areas – so they could be close to sites where the extinct animals’ skeletons were discovered. China’s Zigong Dinosaur Museum in Zigong City, Sichuan Province opened in a small corner of a spacious […]

Is this Canadian-Irish film a litmus test for a nation’s liberalness, conservativeness?

Laws and regulations provide clues as to whether a country — or in the cases of Canada and the US, provinces and states — are liberal or conservative. Film is a medium that also serves as a yardstick to help measure a society’s liberal or conservative bent. Take the film Room, for example. It is based on a shocking event. Remember the Austrian man named Josef Fritzl? As German newsweekly Spiegel recounted in May 2008, he had confined his daughter Elisabeth to a single room in the basement of his house in Amstetten, Austria from 1984 to 1993. Elisabeth was repeatedly abused and bore seven children by him. The event […]

Consistency supports Candu reactors outside Canada

“Two Canadian organizations [the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries and the Canada Korea Business Council] are aiming to promote and facilitate increased exchanges between the [South] Korean nuclear power industry and Canadian nuclear suppliers under a newly signed strategic partnership agreement,” World Nuclear News, a London-based online news service, reported on September 4, 2015. The centerpiece of Canada’s nuclear power is the Canadian deuterium uranium (Candu) reactor, a technology born of collaboration between the federal government and the private sector. Thirteen Candu reactors are currently operating in Canada – 12 in Ontario Province and one in New Brunswick – and an equal number are online in other markets: Argentina (one), […]

Hydropower makes Canada energy giant

I have a quiz for you. True or false: Water long having been a familiar means for generating motion, hydropower generation began prior to the Industrial Revolution (including the invention of the steam engine). Answer: False. For an explanation check the end of this story. Canada has been an energy giant for quite some time now. In 2014, its energy self-sufficiency rate (excluding nuclear power) was 162%, according to an International Energy Agency report on the OECD. The rate goes up to 173% if you include nuclear power. Those high figures mean that Canada exports surplus electric power to the United States. Even the energy-rich U.S. was below 100% (it […]

Historical Canada-Nagano ties: Norman family

Legend has it that people in Nagano Prefecture have always had a thirst for knowledge; back in the day, even farmers’ wives read highbrow magazines from publisher Iwanami Shoten while stoking wood fires to heat their bathwater. Nagano was also home to Daniel Norman (1864-1941), a Canadian Methodist missionary, and his wife, Catherine. The couple lived in Nagano from 1902 to 1940. A farmer’s son from Aurora (near Toronto), Daniel was familiar with both theology and agriculture. He introduced the tomato to local Japanese farmers to help them grow cash crops in addition to rice, as well as the bicycle and automobile. His teachings included abstaining from drink. His followers […]

Canadian, Japanese universities pledge gender equality efforts

UN Women, the United Nations’ entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, on June 18 announced “bold commitments to gender equality from 18 partners.” The 18 people included Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and other political leaders as well as heads of educational institutions, such as president and vice-chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur of the University of Waterloo and president Seiichi Matsuo of Nagoya University. The University of Waterloo, in Canada’s Ontario Province, may be best known for maintaining the largest faculty of engineering in the country. Maclean’s magazine has named the university “most innovative” for 23 consecutive years; “best overall” in Canada 18 times; […]

In global tourism, Canada, Japan trying harder among 2nd-tier countries

“China is poised to overtake Britain as Canada’s second-largest source of foreign tourists,” The Globe and Mail newspaper reported on July 1. “The shift is expected to take place around the end of this year, leaving only the United States ahead of China…” The Economist (March 28 issue) reported: “The tourism boom [in Japan] began in earnest last year and has far surpassed anything the government dared hope for. Just over 12 million foreigners, 11 million of them Asian, came to Japan in 2014, up nearly 30% compared with a year earlier … Chinese arrivals have jumped by more than four-fifths since 2013, and 450,000 mainlanders came for the week […]

Why you may opt to replace that old refrigerator

The typical Japanese household appliance salesperson will take pains to emphasize the electricity-saving characteristics of the latest refrigerator or whatever it is the potential customer is mulling over. They may go so far as to reinforce their point by mentioning Japan’s high power and gas prices relative to other developed economies. The Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), the research arm of Japan’s regional electric power companies, maintains a database of energy prices for most major industrialized countries. Of the 10 countries for which CRIEPI publishes price data, Canada is notable for its low prices – a benefit of vast hydropower and abundant natural gas. At nine cents […]

Japan off nuclear power grid for nearly 2 years

Japan’s nuclear power generation was suspended late on September 15, 2013. Figures from the global electric power industry confirm that Japan was unique among 30 countries with nuclear power plants: in 2014, it did not generate a single watt hour of power with its 48 lightwater reactors. In Canada, which has a fleet of 19 nuclear reactors it was business as usual last year. Canada was not alone. Armenia, the Netherlands and Slovenia – each with a single nuclear power reactor – generated some amount of power by nuclear fission. The traditional top three in terms of nuclear power generation used to be the US, France and Japan until the […]

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