tora's blog

19 May

The Economy of Solar Eclipse

in Life in Japan

The solar eclipse of 21st May 2012 gave a windfall gain of about ¥16 billion for the economy. According to a rough estitmate by Kansai University economist Katsuhiro Miyamoto, the total value includes about ¥760 million in sales of special viewing glasses and ¥1 billion in spending to observe the full eclipse from hotels. Considering that the event lasts only for a few minutes, it is a big benefit for the economy of Japan. The event is not rare but is first such opportunities to view the event in a perfect time in more than 20 years. 

eclipseThe annular solar eclipse is expected to start around morning 6:30, to peak around 7:34 (in Tokyo) and  can be observed widely in the areas  south of Kyushu, south of Shikoku, south of Kinki, Chubu, and Kanto. The corona and prominence would not be observed and also the stars cannot be seen because the sky is not dark enough like what happens during total solar eclipse. However, it is possible to observe the ring shape of the Sun.  Millions of onlookers watched the eclipse from Okinawa to northern cities of Kanto. In Tokyo, clouds played hide and seek games in several places but most were delighted to watch the rare event. 

07 May

The Tsukuba Tornado

in Life in Japan

A rare tornado tore through the Tsukuba city, about 60 km north of Tokyo, to kill one and injure several around noon on May 6th - the last day of the Golden Week. Many houses were devasted by the passage of the extreme event, which is very rare in time of the year in and around Tokyo. 

An ameture video that captures the dance of this giant weather phenomenon:

20 Apr

The Golden Week

in Life in Japan

 

The Golden Week in Japan (locally known as Ōgon Shūkan or Ōgata Renkyū) is observed between the end of April and begining of May.   A series of four holidays closely spaced together and together with the weekends, the Golden Week becomes Japan’s one of the busiest holiday seasons. Many Japanese take paid vacations on the remaining workdays in the week, some companies even close down completely to give their employees the much required vacation time. Flights, trains and hotels are often sales at significantly higher rates at this time. Many Japanese travel to popular destinations in Asia, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver, as well as cities in Europe and Australia.

16 Apr

Sakura

in Life in Japan

With the  cherry blosoms,  the mechanical life in Japan turns to an enchanting one. The general moods in those beautiful parks become very lively with great foods and wines in such Hanami practices. "Hanami" is the traditional festival in Japan said to have started during the Nara Period (710–794) for picnicking under a blooming cherry or plum tree.  

Usually in Japanese short poems, tanka and haiku, "flowers" meant "sakura." The practice of enjoying foods and drinks (usually Japanese rice wine called Sake)  under the Sakura trees was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court. But by the Edo period, it has spread to the common people as well.