Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Pulsations (06.01.12)

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

  • City of Kitakyushu Starts Test of Tidal Power Generation (from JapanFS): Solar power is so last decade. Check out how the city of Kitakyushu is looking to harvest the power of the moon by generating electricity from the tides.
  • Political kabuki in Japan (From Ampontan): Observers who toss around the term “political kabuki” are usually way off base, Ampontan says. However, he explains why the Osaka political maneuvering around the restart of the Oi reactors is indeed a drama worthy of the name.
  • Making sense of dollers (From Tokyo Scum Brigade): Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about dressing up like a giant, silent, perpetually grinning anime doll. Did we say “afraid?” Maybe “terrified” is the word.
  • Are Japanese Moe Otaku Right-Wing? (from Neojapanisme):  Passionate about anime? Check. Teen idols? Check. Right-wing politics? Ch . . . wait, what?  It may be surprising, but those are some of the most common topics on Alfalfa Mosaic, a popular blog and 2ch aggregator. Is this is the start of an otaku political movement?
  • Simplifying Chopstick Etiquette (from Spoon & Tamago): You know that awkward moment when you’re using chopsticks and aren’t quite sure where to place them after a bite? Fear no more, because designers Takeshi Hamana and Yuya Iwagaki plan to teach proper dinner etiquette with their new chopstick packaging. (Disclaimer: Basic origami skills required!)

More than one way to keep your heating bill down

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

King Jim's Urapoka brings the kotatsu experience to your work station

In general, insulation in Japanese homes is poor, so that means during winter heating devices have to be constantly on, driving up heating bills and sapping the power grid. Though this winter is predicted to be warmer than most, many Japanese, aware of energy shortages, will be feeling more than usually chilly as they try to cut down on power consumption.

A traditional method of beating this problem is the kotatsu, a low table that has a heating element underneath and a warm blanket hanging down from all sides; by turning up the heat on legs and feet, the main heating device in the room can be turned down, thus saving energy. Modern methods of keeping nice and toasty without resorting to turning up the room heater are understandably catching on. We’ve compiled a list of the best:

King Jim’s Urapoka: This nifty heating device transforms your desk into a kotatsu. After attaching the heat-sealing flaps to the sides of your desk, simply pop the device under your feet to warm up those frozen toes. 30W, ¥7,329.

Behold the Humanoid Sleeping Bag.

Humanoid Sleeping Bag from Doppelganger Outdoor: Specially selected by Nikkei Trendy as one of the best energy-saving products for winter on the market, if you snuggle up in these caterpillar suits, you probably won’t need to bother switching on the heater at all. It’s possible to unzip hands and feet to free them up for work, though the puffy style probably falls outside the bounds of smart casual business attire. ¥11,550.

Heat Tech underwear, Uniqlo: A survey conducted in October by Nikkei BP’s AIDA showed that over 60 percent of Japanese were intending to wear some from of “underwear”(including short and long t-shirts and short and long shorts) to protect against the cold this winter. Most modern innerwear is designed to have quick drying properties and, of this type, over 50 percent of both men and women favored Uniqlo’s heat tech range. This year sales of heat tech products are up 25 percent from last year, according to Sankei Biz.

Nitom’s Transparent Window Glass Film: Since double-glazing is rare in Japan, many people simply opt to insulate by sticking plastic sheeting directly onto window glass. A newish kind of insulation that sticks onto the window frame, rather than directly onto the glass, thus creating an air pocket, is very popular this year. According to Sankei Business, sales of the stuff during November were triple that of the same period the previous year.

Super cool biz and signs of a setsuden summer

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

For most people in Tokyo, life two months past the March 11 quake and tsunami is back to usual. But it’s not as if nothing at all has happened. In addition to paying keener attention to minor rattles (will it get stronger? was that just the tail end of a much bigger quake elsewhere?) and keeping go-bags at the ready, the signs are small, but they are there. Signs in store windows, from convenience stores to fashion outlets, carry the ubiquitous cheer “Gambarou Nippon.” Company mascots, from Lee Jeans’ Buddy Lee to KFC’s Colonel, are joining in the rallying cry. Waiters at the hip Good Morning Cafe wear subtle red buttons with the same message.

Many are wondering if the coming summer will really bring the promised  electricity cut-backs. Setsuden (energy-saving) measures are at once an attempt to stave off power reductions and a taste of what they would entail. What’s cooler than Cool Biz? Super Cool Biz.  This year’s incarnation of the power-saving and sweat-inducing measures runs two months longer than last year and relaxes the standard business dress code even more. Where last year the most that  a hot-under-the-collar salary man could get away with was ditching the coat and tie, this year he can lose the collar altogether. T-shirts, jeans and Hawaiian shirts will be permitted under the Ministry of Environment’s new guidelines. (Only nice jeans, though. Standards specify “no rips or holes.”)

Continue reading about setsuden measures →

Eco batteries bring new meaning to the term “juiced”

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Anyone who’s had their laptop or cellphone run out of juice at a crucial moment can attest to the limitations that present power storage methods have on technology, but a product from Aqua Power Systems Japan may indicate an amazing new advancement: the water-powered battery.

At their present capability, NoPoPo (No Pollution Power) Eco batteries have enough power to save lives during a disaster since they can run on the smallest amount of fluid (drinkable or bodily), which means that someone lost in the woods or trapped under rubble could recharge their flashlight easily with a few drops of whatever is available.

But don’t start peeing on your laptop just yet: For the time being, NoPoPo batteries have significant limitations — just the double-A form is available and can only run low-powered items like flashlights and toy trains (see video above) but if they find a way to expand capacity, the NoPoPo could revolutionize how – and for how long – we work and communicate on electronic devices.

They may also represent an interesting twist in environmental policy, as the mercury, lead and other hazardous chemicals in today’s used batteries cause considerable harm when burned or left to rot in landfills.

In earthquake-prone places like Japan, however, practicality will sell more units than quixotic concerns. I mean, what’s going to power your Wii and Nintendo DS when the “big one” hits?

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