Friday, April 28, 2017

Andersen Park in Chiba

I visited Andersen Park at Funabashi in Chiba Prefecture.

It is located on the west side of Chiba. It takes 30 minutes from Tokyo to reach there.

Japan Chiba Guide: Andersen Park

Andersen Park is featuring Hans Christian Andersen, a famous fairy tale writter. He wrote several novels for kids such as "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid," and "The Ugly Duckling." Disney's "Frozen" recently published is originated from Andersen's "The Snow Queen."

The scene in the park reminded me of European landscape.

In the park, there were many flowers planted in order. So beautiful.

It was a shinny day. I enjoyed the calm and pleasant atmosphere so much.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

# Tohoku de yokatta

Imamura Masahiro, the Reconstruction Minister, was forced to resign due to his politically incorrect comments.

Recently, Imamura declined to answer the questions from a journalist. The journalist expressed criticism of the policy terminating financial aids to people who had spontaneously evacuated from the region of the 3.11 disaster. Imamura seemed annoyed to hear the question of the journalist.

But his hostile attitude ignited public criticism.

Then, he was given an opportunity to have a comment in a conference. Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister, also attended the conference.

According to the media, Imamura said, "“It was good that the disaster occurred in Tohoku." His comment resulted in the fatal blow to his post.

The Japan Times: Disaster victims express outrage over reconstruction minister’s tactless remarks

To be honest, I have not seen the scene of the conference in the media. Therefore, I am not sure in which context his mention was made. If the earthquake and tsunami disaster had occurred in Tokyo, it would have inflicted far more serious damage to Japan. In this sense, Tohoku region has less impact on the governmental function of Japan. Nonetheless, it is obvious that his comment was far from acceptable not only to people in Tohoku but also to any Japanese. Although Imamura had not committed any faults in his policy, his resignation was unavoidable.

By the way, a trend word appeared on Twitter in Japan after this incident. It was "#Tohoku de yokatta" [It was good that it was in Tohoku]. Originally in the politically incorrect words by Imamura, this word was followed by many appraisals to Tohoku regions, such as delicious foods, beautiful scene, and historical buildings. Thus, Twitter users made use of "Tohoku de yokatta" as an original meaning, to encourage citizens in Tohoku. It is a heartwarming episode.

The Japan Times: Twitter users spin turn minister’s Tohoku gaffe into praise for region

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

McDonald's Gran challenge

Recently, McDonald's in Japan has launched a series of new menus as a regular lineup of hamburger.

McDonald's (in Japanese)

These are "Gran Mac," including Gran Clubhouse, Gran Teriyaki, and Gran Bacon Cheese. Each of them composes bigger beef patty than a regular hamburger. The price is around three USD.

McDonald's seems to attempt to raise customer transaction. So far, McDonald's has been recognized as a franchise which provides the most inexpensive hamburgers in Japan. Until some years ago, it offered cheap burgers less than one USD.

But as the trend of deflation has been finished by Abenomics, McDonald's had to change its strategy. Now it is struggling to improve the brand image. Some years ago, it supplied a series of hamburgers with ten USD for one day as a campaign.

My past entry: Quarter Pounder Jewelry, challenge of McDonald's

However, most customers still do not demand McDonald's a good hamburger for raised cost. Consumers who want luxury hamburgers are willing to go to a competing restaurant, such as Fire House, or Kua Aina.

I do not believe McDonald's will change the customer's behavior to want cheap hamburgers. Rather launching a new brand would be better for the Holdings.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

French Presidential vote first round

Yesterday, the first round of Presidential election of France was carried out. The atmosphere was so tense that armed guards stood in front of some polling spaces.

The result was not so far from that prospected. For candidates performed a close battle. Emmanuel Macron, gaining 24% of the vote, as well as Marine Le Pen who got 22%, will proceed to the final vote. Fillon and Mélenchon have dropped out from the competition.

The Conversation: Macron and Le Pen to face off for French presidency – but she won’t be pleased with first round result

This outcome is relieving for many people, especially investors who want the stability of the EU. Among four candidates, Le Pen and Mélenchon are against the EU. If these two candidates had been advantageous, the collapse of the EU would not have been avoidable.

Mélenchon has a far-left ideology. And Fillon is willing to support Macron. It suggests that voters who supported each candidate are expected to vote for Macron at the final. It is highly likely that Macron will get the victory. Having not defeated Macron was disappointing for Le Pen.

However, there is still uncertainty about the result. The previous year, few people predicted Brexit or Donald Trump's triumph. Not a few people with a conservative ideology will vote for Le Pen.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Immigrants and mental health

In France, Marine Le Pen, a far-right politician, is near to grab the ticket to the President. It is a nightmare for most immigrants.

It is well known that immigrants have the higher risk of the onset of psychosis. In spite of my limited experience of consulting with immigrants in Japan, I feel it is correct.

Why immigrants are likely to become psychotic is still under investigation. People who keep a close relationship with their original culture are a smaller risk to onset psychosis. It suggests the importance of cultural identity for protecting a person from psychosis.

On the other hand, the evidence is controversial about the influence of discrimination to an immigrant. People who are ethnically discriminated tend to form a strong bond which is potentially beneficial for human mental health. At the same time, feeling isolated is said to be a risk for causing delusional symptoms.

The Conversation: Immigrants suffer higher rates of psychosis – here’s how to start helping them

Another fact is that immigrants have some handicaps before leaving their native country. If they had been satisfied to their birth place, they would not have been immigrants. Some immigrants are concerned with their own health before immigration. Others have no enough money to maintain their health.

After all, excessive stressors are harmful to human' health, as an absolute rule. When a person is strongly discriminated, he or she tend to become aggressive to overcome the present tough situation. Then, internal cortisol is released to raise the resistance level of the body. Cortisol helps your metabolism with increasing the blood glucose as well as making you tolerant to pain. But, continuous exposure to high cortisol level is quite harmful. Uncontrolled stress brings you imbalance of cortisol level, leading to several kinds of diseases, such as diabetics, chronic pain, and psychotic illnesses.

In my conclusion, the best policy to immigrants' mental health is tolerance, with respect for their own culture and providing an option to integrate them to the host culture. The most serious problem is that some politicians are indifferent to the mental health of immigrants at all.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

French Presidential election is approaching

Today, the first round of French Presidential election will be held.

The perspective of French presidential election became more unclear. In a recent, poll, National Front's Marine Le Pen, Republican Francois Fillon, and Communist-backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Mr. Macron are closely competing.

Telegraph: French presidential election: Poll tracker and odds

On the other hand, Euro rose per dollar recently. It is perhaps because of Donald Trump's unstable comments of North Korean perspective with suggesting the need of weakened USD.

Independent: French election: Euro steady as caution dominates ahead of too-close-to-call vote

François Hollande, the current President of France, abandoned to continue taking his seat because he did not believe he would win the next election. His main intention was not to give the administration to a nationalists party. But whether his decision would be fruitful is quite uncertain.

I cannot prospect the result of the election. The important thing is French people's ideology is now splitting. As a foreigner, I had imagined that most Frenches are rather conservative. Therefore, the fact that Hollande succeeded the seat of Sarkozy was surprising. But now, considerable amount of people are more exclusive than ever before, as well not a few people are critically opposing to it.

As seen in the Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump's victory in the US, many nations are wandering for the better exit. Nobody knows the answer. Regardless of the winner of the election, the situation in France will be more chaotic, I am afraid.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Three seconds rule in online shopping

Online shopping is now a very common behavior for citizens in developed countries. Many shopping websites are competing to get customers.

One of the crucial points is the speed of downloading the site. A study suggests there is a threshold of three seconds. If forced to wait over three seconds, viewers are likely to leave this page.

Amazon has understood this rule at the very early stage of the internet era. Indeed, I have no memory of being annoyed by delayed loading of its homepage.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Amazon's 'secret weapon': understanding how website experience can influence shoppers

In general, the more pictures the web page includes, the more time required for the page to appear. But, it is not the only factor to determine the speed of downloading. Some providers, including Amazon, seem to have optimized the structure for quick loading.

Nowadays, the internet speed has been accelerated by hundreds of times. Nonetheless, we are still enslaved by the curse of the speed.