Friday, March 31, 2017

Sequels in March 2017

March 25, 2017
Scandal around Akie Abe, the Prime Minister's wife

Opposing parties demand a summon of Akie Abe to the Parliament. But ruling Liberal Democratic Party is refusing it. The scandal of Moritomo Gakuen is still burning.

March 14, 2017
Switch and Virtual Boy: Gambling Game Consoles

The launch of Nintendo Switch seems successful. Nintendo sold a total of two million all over the world.

March 11, 2017
President Park Geun-hye dismissed

The Korean prosecutor requested the arrest of ex-President Park, and just yesterday, it was accepted. Now, she is detained with waiting a serious battle in the court.

March 10, 2017
The murder case of Kim Jong-nam

The body of slain Kim Jong-nam will be returned from Malaysia to North Korea, according to the media. At the same time, foreigners detained in each country are expected to be allowed to leave. The relationship of two nations will be improved slightly.

ABC NET: Kim Jong-nam: Malaysia releases body of slain half-brother of Kim Jong-un, diplomatic spat ends

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The UK has committed the article 50 for Brexit

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK officially signed the letter for Brexit.

According to the article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, nations to leave the EU have to inform it two years before the day of the departure. In other words, the EU legislation will be no more applicable to the UK after March 2019.

The BBC: Article 50: UK set to formally trigger Brexit process

Many Britains who do not want the UK to leave the EU had attempted to stop Brexit. Some demanded even the retry of Brexit vote. But their desire resulted in vain.

Since seating the Prime Minister, May has had the role in carrying out Brexit. It was almost impossible to avoid Brexit after the referendum.

In addition, the referendum conducted in last June figured out the split opinions in the UK. Londoners and Scotches are willing to get along with the EU, whereas the majority of rural people are no more dreaming the integration of Europe.

There are several points of view on this issue. But in my opinion, researchers and people working in the region of academia are totally suffering from this decision. Some EU research funds are going to exclude British from the candidates of the receiver. It will become difficult for foreign researchers to remain in the UK after Brexit. I have received some email from King's College London to notify the influence of the decision. It seems workers in KCL are also confusing.

Again, I do not welcome Brexit. At the same time, I do not hope the UK to decline. It would be good if the UK and the EU will construct a mutually productive relationship in the future.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Neurology and psychiatry, a confusing relationship

Can you distinguish neurology from psychiatry? Actually, the difference between them becomes vague.

Recently, neurologists and psychiatrists are working along to discover some neuropsychiatric diseases such as motor neuron disease and schizophrenia. The result suggests a possibility of shared causes of these illnesses.

The Conversation: Freud’s divide between psychiatry and neurology is redundant – here’s why

In a historical view, some diseases previously categorized in psychiatric illnesses has been reclassified into neurological illnesses. For example, epilepsy, now commonly treated by a neurologist, was deemed as a psychotic illness. Even now, some Japanese psychiatrists are eager to deal with epilepsy. As well, neurosyphilis is now known as a form of infection of Treponema pallidum and treated in the division of neurology. But the other day, it was misunderstood as a psychiatric disorder.

Considering these facts, it is said that any diseases whose etiology was clarified are excluded from psychiatric diseases. If the genes responsible for the onset of schizophrenia is completely identified, not psychiatrists but neurologists will be willing to cure it.

Then, what is the core practice of psychiatrists? When the cause of all diseases is clarified, will psychiatry as a subspecialty vanish?

In my opinion, it is acceptable if psychiatrists will have no roles in the future. The absolute wish of all medical practitioners is the world which does not require them. Unfortunately, however, the day of extinction of psychiatry will never come.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Solar panel with up to 30% conversion efficiency

Sustainable energy is one of the most important issues in modern civilization. Most nations rely on oil and natural gas for producing energy. A few countries such as France is willing to utilize atomic power plants. But the serious risk of leak of radioactive substance occurred in Fukushima makes citizens and politicians hesitate to trust its safety.

In contrast, solar power is completely clean and renewable energy source. The sun produces unlimited power on earth, at least for million years. It is a dream for the human to use the solar power for our daily life.

Recently, a Japanese company rewrote the record of the photo-conversion efficiency of the silicon solar panel. Conventional panels can convert the sunlight into energy by 10-20%, depending on the quality of the panel. The conversion rate of the newly product is over 25%. Its potential reaches up to 30%.

Independent: Record-breaking solar panel converts more than a quarter of sunlight into electricity

It is an innovation. However, there is a gap before its commercial use. The cost for creating highly qualified panel is not negligible.

Also, another issue around solar power is downtime. It is evident that a solar panel makes no energy at midnight. Thus, the conversion rate should be considered as less than a half of its potential. Furthermore, the efficiency can be limited on a cloudy day. It is the reason why solar power is never a dominant solution in the energy issue.

Nonetheless, the technology for improved efficiency is hopeful. There are no rooms of innovation for steam and water power plants. Solar panels will not replace other power plants but add some options for our energy strategy.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Universal basic income in Asia

Basic income is one of the latest dreams in modern economics. As I wrote, there are some trials for introducing basic income in European countries. However, their attempts were not successful.

My past entry: Basic income in Swiss: A challenge?

My past entry: Universal basic income experiment in Finland

My past entry: Universal basic income, a new challenge in Swiss

At the same time, some Asian countries took similar experiments. The Indian government suggested even a five USD of monthly universal basic income was powerful enough to compete for poverty

Independent: Indian government survey says universal basic income could combat poverty

And China could reduce the interpersonal poverty gap by 6.5 percent with endorsing minimum income scheme.

TheNewsLens: From Fiction to Reality: Universal Basic Income Gaining Traction in Asia

Recently, experts in trans-pacific countries conducted a conference to discuss the meaning of universal basic income. Their main concern was that the modern trend of automation would get rid of most jobs from us.

Experts and academics from as far afield as Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea met in Taipei last week to discuss UBI, the first time the idea has been discussed in a solely Asia-Pacific context.

I am a little surprised to the fact that Asian countries have been more successful in introducing basic income than European countries which are keen to keep the level of social welfare. But Asian countries suffering from severe inequality require social security the more. Also, even fewer amount of payment would be helpful to citizens in developing countries.

I am afraid that Japan will never endorse basic income. Japanese are rather not empathetic to others. But we should consider what will help us in a truly tough situation.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Trump abandoned to abandon Obama Care

Trump administration submitted the bill of American Health Care Act, repealing the Affordable Care Act established by Obama, on the Congress. As no expect of collecting the affirmative lawmakers, however, Trump had to withdraw it before the vote.

Abandoning Obama Care was the priority for Trump administration. Therefore, this defeat will be disappointing for supporters.

The New York Times: In Major Defeat for Trump, Push to Repeal Health Law Fails

Actually, American Health Care Act was infamous not only for Democrats but also many Republicans. It is interesting that some Republicans were worrying that the repeal would destroy citizens' life, while others the act was inadequate to cancel Obama Care. Trump could not settle these opposite opinions.

Most Republicans, as well as many American people, are fond of taking their responsibility of their own life. Health insurance should be selected by each person, instead of forced admission, according to them.

On the other hand, it was unclear how much the budget would be saved by the repeal of Obama Care. Although the administration claims that abandoning Obama Care is essential to improve the fiscal status of the US, its economic impact may be limited.

Only ten voters were below than the approval, according to Trump. But, it is suggestive that not a few Republicans believed that withdrawal of Obama Care was a stupid idea. I hope the US government will change the direction to the right way.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Scandal around Akie Abe, the Prime Minister's wife

Japan parliament is stormy because of a scandal of Abe Shinzo's wife.

Akie Abe, the wife of Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, is suspected to have been involved in a tricky discount in selling a public land to an educational corporation.

Moritomo Gakuen was planned to be established as a primary school belonging to an educational corporation.

The kindergarten operator testified to parliament that the first lady, Akie Abe, gave him an envelope containing 1m yen (£7,100) and said it was from Shinzo Abe. The government denies the claims.

Moritomo Gakuen group was planning to build a new elementary school in Osaka. Yasunori Kagoike, the president of the group, claims that Akie Abe was involved in the approval of the planning. He also stated that Akie had given him a million JPY as a secret donation. Akie denied his claim.

The Guardian: Shinzo Abe and wife accused of giving cash to ultra-nationalist school

The land on which the new elementary school would be built was sold from the government to the corporation for very low cost. The official said that it was because many wastes were buried in the land. But, there are unclear things around the contract of transferring the land.

Yasunori Kagoike was summoned to the Parliament to reply the questions of lawmakers. However, the gap of the speech between Kagoike and the Prime Minister's wife became widened. Opposing parties are keen to pursue the issue, because Shinzo Abe declared that if he were arbitrarily involved in the scandal, he would abandon the seat of the PM.

To be honest, I am indifferent to the fact about this scandal. It is not illegal for a politician to make a donation outside of his constituency. Cheating in selling public lands is, of course, problematic. But I do not think it is so critical.

Akie Abe is an active woman. She is not always on the side of Shinzo Abe, but she behaves based on her own opinion. In this sense, I admire her policy.

However, I do not like her ideology as a nationalist. It is true that Akie is inclined in the policy of Moritomo Gakuen. In the kindergarten administered by Moritomo, children are encouraged to admire Shinzo Abe. According to the media reports, even hate speeches against Korean people are heard in the kindergarten. If true, they are not education but brainwash.

Although the liberty of thoughts should be accepted, I am shameful that the wife of the Prime Minister approves such a nationalistic education. In this sense, I dislike Akie Abe.

Friday, March 24, 2017

London Parliament attacked

London was attacked by a terrorist.

It occurred in front of the Parliament building in Westminster. A vehicle rushed into pedestrians, to hit many. And then, a person with a knife got out of the car to run into the parliament. After killing a police officer, he was shot to death by the police.

A total of five people were killed and over 40 were injured. It is a terrible incident in London since a deadly attack occurred in 2005.

Aljazeera: Westminster attack: Five killed outside UK parliament

Before the background of the perpetrator was clarified, Theresa May mentioned that it was not by chance that outside of the Parliament was chosen as the place of this tragedy. Thus, it was estimated that the criminal had some extreme ideology.

At first, I did not think it was an organizational assault. If so, explosive objects would have been used to maximize the victims. I wondered the police had identified the suspect before the incident.

However, ISIS claimed that the culprit was a soldier.

RT: ISIS claims its ‘soldier’ carried out UK Parliament attack

Even if ISIS' commitment is correct, the offender might not be a professional terrorist, but a person who had inclined to the ideology of Islamic extremists.

ISIS is disguising to represent the voice of pious Muslims who are discriminated in European countries. It is the reason nonoccupational terrorists emerge in several countries repeatedly.

By the way, almost a half of the cases aiming at an important person is conducted by a person with mental disorders, according to a study. Extreme thoughts are often hardly distinguishable from delusion.

The absolute truth is that we should never accept any violence. I pray for the victims.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

World Happiness Report 2017 revealed

World Happiness Report was published recently. In this report, all nations are ranked according to some elements, including GDP per capita and social support.

World Happiness Report

The top of the list is Norway. Northern European countries are listed up in the upper class. The UK is ranked at 19th, and the US is 14th.

Surprisingly, Japan is out of top 20th countries. Furthermore, Japan is ranked at 51st. Japan has the greatest life expectancy and also good GPD per capita. But, it is inferior in the segment of generosity and dystopia.

It seems World Happiness Report is constructed taking a high value on liberty, as well as social security. This sense of value is well matched to Scandinavian countries.

In contrast, many Japanese people are indifferent to the freedom of ideology. Though youths are critical to authorities, elder people are rather conservative and dislike people who are not obeying the local rules of the community. On the other hand, some Japanese tend to distrust the government, while they rely very much on the government in their life. This imbalance is unique, and I guess it is hardly explainable to foreign people.

UK people also seems to have felt shocked to the result. The difference between the UK and Northern European countries is the cost of social security, according to the author of the article below.

International Business Times: Britain is one of the wealthiest countries in the world – so why aren't we happier?

However, the sense of value in people differs from each other. It is extremely difficult to establish the definition of happiness applicable to people in any countries. Even commonly shared values such as life expectancy and liberty are not equally prioritized among countries.

Also, sense of happiness is highly subjective, as well as relative. In my opinion, people feel happy when they expect to become happier in the future. In this sense, I agree with the opinion that people in a developing country look happy, even they are less happy in an objective view.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Julia, an autistic character in Sesame Street

Sesame Street, a popular cartoon muppet show, is going introduce an autistic character.

Julia, an autistic girl, has been displayed in cartoons and books, but has not appeared on the children's show. The developer seems to utilize Julia's unique character to enlighten youth audience to let them know autistic disorder precisely.

The Guardian: Sesame Street introduces muppet with autism to teach children about disorder

There are several works featuring autism. "Elephant Man" is one of the most popular films whose hero has autism. Mark Zuckerberg in "Social Network" is also described as if he has Asperger's syndrome, though I do not know the real Zuckerberg is autistic.

However, it is relatively rare to describe a person belonging to the minority in films or comics for children. Children can bully those who share the characteristics of the person in fiction. Especially Japanese teachers and parents are likely to think so.

Linus in Snoopy has some characters of autistic syndrome. He always keeps security blanket and believes in Great Pumpkin while he is fond of philosophic thinking. This unbalance of thought and behavior is typical of autistic people. But he is not explicitly  described as autism.

Nobita and Gian in Doraemon, a popular Japanese cartoon, was described as ADHD by Eriko Shiba, a child psychiatrist. Actually, however, they seem not to have ADHD, for my sense. Maybe Shiba utilized them to make a simplified explanation of ADHD.

By the way, men are much more likely to have autistic disorder than women. In this sense, Julia is not typical as an autistic child. I guess autistic girls are easier to describe in fiction than boys.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Karalla, an excellent frying machine

Recently, I bought Karalla, a cooking machine.

Karalla is sold by Shop Japan, a famous e-commerce company. It can fry several kinds of food without oil.
As you need not boil oil in the pan, you can save excessive oil while cooking fried chicken, fried potatoes, or cutlet. The products include fewer calories than those deeply fried with oil.

I cooked fried potatoes using Karalla. To be honest, it was for the first time for me to cook fried something.

Potatoes were delicious but had less rich flavor than those eaten at McDonald's. It is quite natural that fast foods provide us instant satisfaction. Of course, I believe my fried potatoes are healthier than McDonald's.

There are several similar fryers available. As reading some entries comparing them in Japanese, Karalla is more popular in Japan than other fryers. Japanese companies are enthusiastic to adapt machines to Japanese customers' favor. Philips Airfryer, The Original Airfryer with Bonus 150+ Recipe Cookbook, Fry Healthy with 75% Less Fat, Black HD9220/28

In recent years, cooking machines made significant progress so that we can cook various menus with little stress. It is very welcomed.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The US and North Korea are approaching the war

The circumstance in the Korean peninsula is now in tense ever before.

The US President Donald Trump suggests the possibility of military actions upon North Korea. Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary emphasized the words "all options are on the table."

The Star: U.S. ready to take military action against N. Korea, if necessary, Tillerson says

North Korea repeatedly take provocative actions against the Western nations so far. Recently, it declared to have accomplished an experiment of a hydrogen bomb. It was very threatening for neighbor countries.

My past entry: North Korea declared successful hydrogen bomb experiment

The previous Obama administration attempted to keep a gate of conversation with North Korea. His purpose was to make North Korea gradually less tyrannous. Unfortunately, however, it resulted in a failure. Maybe, Trump considers Obama's diplomatic strategy made North Korea rather arrogant.

On the other hand, I hardly understand the reason that Trump is concerned about the environment of Korean Peninsula. Trump's doctrine is America first, and he is even considering to abandon South Korea. I do not believe that attacking North Korea will profit to the US.

On the contrary, if the war begins, the nation which is likely to be damaged the most is South Korea. Once the battle starts, the US will be able to ruin North Korea. After that, enormous refugees will enter South Korea. South Korean government will have to struggle to maintain the order and function of Seoul and other major cities against chaotic situation brought with the refugees. North Korea has no resources and technologies the US and South Korea want to gain. The nation itself is a waste, for developed nations.

China is likely to be injured by the war. It has close relationship with North Korea. Therefore, China is trying to calm the US down.

I never want this war. To begin with, the idea that a military force will bring the peace is out of date, considering the outcome in Iraq. Trump and the US should learn this issue.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Norway will ban gasoline vehicles

Norway declared that the majority of new cars newly sold there is electric or hybrid.

Norway has been committing to the sustainability of the global environment. It is planning to completely ban the sale of gasoline and diesel cars in 2025. Also, it accomplished zero deforestation for the first time in the world.

Independent: Half of all new cars in Norway are now electric or hybrid

Norway's challenge is respectful because exhaust gas of vehicles has a great impact on the environment. On the other hand, electrical cars require large electric power. There are several hydraulic power plants in Norway. In addition, it can borrow electricity from neighbor countries in time of drought. Thus, it owes geographical advantage for proceeding it progressive policy.

In contrast, Japan has no resources to gain electricity. It is surrounded by the oceans so that no other countries can supply the power. As well Japan has several water power plants, but their percentage of contribution to the power supply is limited. It is why Japan can hardly be independent of atomic power plants. After the 3.11 Tsunami disaster and the accident of Fukushima atomic power plant, fire power plants became dominant in Japan. Obviously, it brought Japan polluted atmosphere.

After all, an environment-friendly policy is not easy to build. A balanced idea in which several elements are considered is essential for sustainable decision making.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The doubtful relationship between sleep and obesity in children

Do you have enough sleep every night? Otherwise, you will become obese. It is suggested that a lack of sleep is relevant to the risk of obesity, according to some studies.

However, it is not always applicable in any environment. Especially, the relationship between sleeping time of children and the rate of obesity is somehow skeptical.

The Conversation: Does a lack of sleep really make children overweight? Here’s the science

In this article above, the fact that sleeping time in children has been shortened in many countries through this century, whereas it is the opposite in the UK and Australia. Also, some studies suggesting the causal relationship between less sleep and weight gain in children are doubtful of their clinical validity, according to the author. For example, the difference of sleeping time in the two groups of children classified by the body weight shown in a study was only 14 minutes. This finding obviously does not make sense, even though there is statistical significance in it.

I am not familiar with children' health. But I guess dietary habits and frequency of exercise, as well as genetic factors, have more impact on their body weight than sleep.

However, it does not mean keeping good sleep is meaningless in children. It has been proven that growth hormone is secreted while children are sleeping. As well, some other hormone levels are modified in the midnight. Disturbed sleep is easy to bring children malfunction both physically and mentally. Even if it does not prevent obesity, deep and enough sleep is crucial for children.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ruling party took a narrow victory in Dutch election

Yesterday, the Dutch parliament election was conducted. It resulted in the victory of ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) with 21.2 percent of the vote. In contrast, Party for Freedom led by Mr. Wilders took 13.1 percent.

Mr. Wilders has a far-right policy and promise de-Islamisation of the Netherlands. Some people were afraid that Party for Freedom would win the first position in the Parliament. This worry was not realized.

New Statesman: Dutch election results at a glance

However, it will be difficult for VVD to take the leadership in the coming Parliament. It has to make a grand coalition composed of several parties to form the majority.

The New York Times: The Dutch Election Shows How Not to Defeat Populism

One of the reasons for the victory of VVD seems that it gained the support of some voters with far-right ideology. It will bind the policy-making of the ruling parties.

This year many European countries will a crucial election. Politicians against populism should learn many things from this election.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Ransomware is spreading in Japan

Ransomware is one of the topics in modern cyber crimes. If a computer is infected, important data are encrypted against the will of users. The criminal demands ransom to allow the victims to get the data recovered.

Many people are potentially targeted of ransomware. Not only major companies but also individuals and other organization than profiting companies should be aware of the risk of ransomware. Recently, the data of patients in a hospital were subjected to ransom.

My past entry: Ransom-ware and Bitcoin in hospital

In Japan, increasing cases of ransomware are reported. A total of 2,810 cases, as over four times as that in the previous year, were reported the last year.

Japan Today: Japan becoming prime target of 'ransomware' crime

The other days, Japanese were rarely targeted to cyber crimes because it is hard for the attackers to master the Japanese language. Most phishing mails in Japanese contain some grammatical errors, in my experience. So, it is relatively easy to distinguish deceiving documents in Japanese.

However, recent emails with malice are often written in perfect Japanese. In addition, many companies are needed to treat English emails. It is not so easy for Japanese to distinguish important emails in English from junk ones.

According to the article above, Japanese tend to pay ransom to the attacker. It is obviously a fool idea. In addition to feeding cyber criminals, paying the ransom to an attacker will be a message that the company is willing to surrender. It is highly likely that such information will be sent to other criminals because the dark web society is quite narrow. Thus, making a payment weakens the organization's resistance to the next cyber attack.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unvaccinated children will be banned in Australia

Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia proposed a new legislation which forces all parents to vaccinate children. Unvaccinated children will not be permitted to enter a preschool according to the new scheme. The right of the objection to vaccination will be officially dismissed.

Independent: Unvaccinated children could be banned from attending preschool across Australia

This idea is scientifically correct. It is no doubt that vaccination saves several children's life. On the contrary, unvaccinated children force not only their lives but also other children's to expose the risk of infectious diseases. Of course, the government should be responsible for the effect and safety of the mandatory vaccinations.

Some people are opposing vaccination. They are concerned about the adverse effects of vaccines. Indeed, there are risks of unexpected influence on vaccination. Some years ago, I felt very sick after taking a vaccine of influenza. It is a typical adverse response. Nonetheless, I am willing to take a vaccine every year because it is relatively safer than refusing vaccination.

Vaccination is a way of prevention. And you have to understand the statistics of precaution for recognizing the benefit of vaccination. Without knowing the statistical facts, some people are emotionally refusing the vaccination. Furthermore, a few people believe vaccination is an illusion created by pharmaceutical companies to gain profit.

Unfortunately, Japanese people are not enough enlightened about this issue. Some parents are strongly opposed to the spread of vaccination.

Vaccination against human papillomavirus infection is recommended for girls to prevent the onset of cervical cancer. But since some parents emphasized the adverse effects of HPV vaccination, the government abandoned the recommendation. I am afraid that lots of Japanese ladies will suffer from cancers due to missing vaccination in the future.

Australian politicians seem very rational and confident, compared to Japanese ones. One of the reasons Australian are aware of the infectious risk is that Australia is surrounded by the ocean. There are many unique species living in Australia. Therefore, the government is very keen to keep the environment clean. Bringing alien plants and animals to Australia is strictly regulated. Japan is also surrounded by the sea. But, because Korean peninsula and China is very close to Japan, the intercontinental transaction has been conducted since the ancient era. Many foreign species were brought to Japan.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Switch and Virtual Boy: Gambling Game Consoles

On March 3, Nintendo launched "Switch," a new game console. It has a unique user interface. Players can select some forms according to their play styles such as tabletop mode and handheld mode.

There are several consoles appeared by some developers so far. Some of them became popular, attracting users joyful mind. However, others were forgotten by most consumers other than a few enthusiasts.

Nintendo Virtual Boy is one example of the big failure. It was released in 1995. Players can look into the scope to see the 3D vision. But its performance was too unique to be accepted by many users and developers.

International Business Times: Switching it up: 6 of the weirdest consoles from video game history

Developing a game console is a gamble for a company. Usually, developers sell a new console at a price which is less than the total cost to make one. Making the console spread to consumers is the essential goal. Then, other companies are willing to create new games with this console. The developer of the console gets the license fee from the game designing companies. The many famous titles are released, the many players buy the console. Finally, the developer reduces the price of the console because the cost of developing the machine has been already retrieved. Then, more gamers buy the console.

Sony Playstation, Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft X-Box series took this process. In contrast, Sega had to abandon Dreamcast, a game console which was competing Sony Playstation 2 temporarily. Dreamcast was not so inferior to Sony's concurrent consoles. But it failed to gather many supporters. Sega, suffering from money shortage, finally decided to retreat from developing the game console.

It is unsure whether Nintendo Switch will win the race of the game console war. Switch will ignite the motivation of game programmers, with its unique appearance. But it is another issue whether consumers become accustomed to its user experience. Preceding Nintendo Wii U is deemed as a failure, although the ex-President Toru Iwata was struggling to sell it.

In my sense, Switch is possible to be successful. Nowadays, many people play games with a smartphone. However, the UI of a smartphone is limited to a touch screen. Some gamers feel it uncomfortable. Switch's unique UI may meet their need to grip the game controller emotionally.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Yume Kara Sameta Yume: A musical play of my favorite

Today, I watched "Yume Kara Sameta Yume [Dream after Dream]," a musical play performed by Gekidan Shiki, on a blue ray disc. Gekidan Shiki is one of the most popular troupes in Japan. It also performs "The Phantom of the Opera," "Cats," and several great programs. But it is my favorite. I saw it in my adolescent. And I listened to the musical numbers of it with a CD so repeatedly that I remember the melodies and lyrics of it perfectly. Yume Kara Sameta Yume BD [in Japanese]

The heroine of this story is Pico, a little girl. She meets Mako, a girl who is actually a ghost. Mako was killed in a traffic accident and is seeking someone to switch with each other temporally to say good-bye to her mourning mother. Piko accepts her beg. Piko goes to the inter-celestial airport, to see several people who experienced immature death. After some incidents, Piko is to return to the real world. But before she switches again with Mako, her mother interrupts them. Mother intends to save Mako's life with sacrificing Piko. Finally, mother accepts the end of the day with Mako, and Mako goes to heaven.

In this film, I was charmed by some numbers sung by Piko and Mako. Among them, "Ikanaide [Do not go.]" is extremely fascinating. Although it is a very short song, it includes Mako's grief and sincerity, Mako's mother's tenacity and love to Mako,  and Piko's hesitation and kindness. I believe this is the best musical song.

Always I remember the musical film, I cannot refrain myself from crying. It ignites my primitive emotion deep in my mind.

By the way, seeing a sad film makes you feel happy, according to a recent study. Endorphin is secreted in your brain when you watch a traumatic scene. It would be acceptable with considering that your brain attempts to soften the shock. Furthermore, however, it is suggested that a shared experience of watching a sad film may strengthen the social bond of the members.

The Guardian: Watching sad films boosts endorphin levels in your brain, psychologists say

I do not recommend you to watch "Yume Kara Sameta Yume" with your lover. To be honest, it is a film rather for children. But if you believe the hypothesis above, it would be good to see a sad movie with your sweetheart.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Time is unequal among persons and era

Many people believe that the time is equal to everyone. Indeed, there are several inequalities among persons. Money, abilities, appearance and every other element we have are various with each other. But your one minute is equal to my one minute.

However, I oppose to this idea. Even time is unequal.

For example, some people die in their young age because of a hereditary disease. If your life expectancy is only twenty years, is your one year equal to one in someone expected to survive eighty years? Of course, not.

And, productivity is also an issue. Talented people can make the performance as twice or three times as other ordinary workers at the same time of duty. In such meaning, their working time is as twice as valuable.

Furthermore, I think modern people's time is more valuable than that in the ancient era. A few years ago, I visited Taiwan. I saw some treasures of the kings in the ancient kingdom there. One of them was a bowl whose surface was delicately decorated. The guide told me that it was created by a famous craftsman, and his son, and his grandson. Thus, that bowl was completed through the effort of the family of artisans for 100 years.

When I knew this story, I felt a little embarrassed. I was always wondering about something interesting. And I was seeking for money and reputation through achieving my work. But, that craftsman who began to create the bowl knew that he would not get the reward for creating it. Nonetheless, he did not save his effort. He devoted all of his life to make only a bowl which cannot be completed in his life. Thus, hits lifetime was less valuable than a bowl.

Nowadays, nobody is willing to do the same thing. It is unclear that the bowl will be valuable as same as we expect now. Betting all the life to an uncertain outcome is ridiculous.

Our time is more valuable than that in the ancient era. As the same time, we have to change everything around us to survive tomorrow.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

President Park Geun-hye dismissed

The South Korean constitutional court upheld the vote of impeachment against President Park Guen-hye. It means that she was officially exiled from the seat of the President.

The Guardian: Park Geun-hye: South Korean court removes president over scandal

The majority of Korean citizens supports this decision of the court. It seems Park attracted hatred of citizens too much.

In addition, Park is possible to be prosecuted for the corruption scandal, because she lost the status of the President.

My past entry: Park Geun-hye in peril

My past entry: Impeachment vote against Korean President 

In the next 60 days, an election for the new leader will be held. Some candidates already have appeared officially or potentially. Among them, Moon Jae-in of Democratic United Party is expected to be victorious. But, if he becomes the President, the relationship between South Korea and the US will get worse because of his diplomatic ideology. It suggests the circumstance of the Korean peninsula will be more vulnerable.

Park is the first person who was dismissed in her Presidential term. In recent years in Japan, a total of six Prime Ministers resigned within each one year for some reasons before Shinzo Abe won the seat. A short-term administration brings fragility to policy making. Park survived less than four years on her throne. I am afraid that Korea loses its stability as a nation. It will be connected to the risk for the peace in the far-east region.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The murder case of Kim Jong-nam

Kim Jong-nam, a half-brother of Kim Jong-un, was assassinated in Malaysia. This incident occurred at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Security cameras shot the critical scene in which a couple of persons approached him to inject VX nerve agent.

It was a surprising but also an expected incident. Kim Jong-nam had been criticizing Kim Jong-un with calling him a dictator. Kim Jong-nam was hated by Kim Jong-un, to be named as the top of the target lists for assassination.

And, his will seems to be inherited by his son, Kim Han-sol. He appeared on the internet to report he is alive. He spoke the fact his father was killed in fluent English.

BBC: Kim Han-sol: The open-minded son of Kim Jong-nam

Kim Han-sol was going to enter Oxford University. But authorities in China warned him not to visit the UK for the risk of assassination. Now he is possible to be supported by an organization in Netherlands.

North Korea and Malaysia is now in tension because of the conflict upon the murdered case. North Korea was just provocative Japan, South Korea, and the US by shooting ballistic missiles recently. The safety of Korean peninsula became quite fragile more than ever seen.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Next general election in the UK

This year, many European countries will face a general election. It is possible the society will be changed following each result.

Among them, the German federal election planned in this September attracts public attention. If leading Angela Merkel is defeated, and Alternative for Germany wins many seats, its policy for immigrants will be turned by 180 degrees.

In contrast, the next general election in the UK will be held on May 2020. Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK, denied the possibility that the next general election is held this year. Some people expected May would call an election to dismiss the Brexit. But she declared the enforcement of the article 50 recently.

Opposing Labour Party seems not be prepared for the next election. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, is criticized for the lack of leadership. Even Stephen Hawking, a famous physicist and enthusiastic supporter of Labour party, also claims that Corbyn should resign for the victory in the next election.

The Guardian: Stephen Hawking: Jeremy Corbyn is a disaster for Labour

In the first decade of 21st century, Labour Party was ruling the nation. It made remarkable investments to welfare, infrastructure, and science. However, as soon as Tory grab the administration, severe austerity began. People with low income are suffering from shortage of social support. However, the budget of the government is not infinite.

Now, the UK is proceeding the way to leave from the EU. UKIP is the only party supporting this policy. But it is near to collapse. There seems little chance for Labour or UKIP to take the majority. I think Tory will make a long-life administration. However, it looks a little odd for Tory to make the preparation of Brexit.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Elon Musk targets the moon

Elon Musk, the CEO of Space X, is aiming at the space. He promised to launch a space trip in 2018. He also seems to plan the colonization to Mars.

Houston Chronicle: Elon Musk's urgent moonshot

Donald Trump, the President of the US, is supportive to Musk, whereas he is doubtful to the value of NASA. It may be because shooting the moon is symbolic being consistent with his ideology as making America great again.

Musk's challenge faces some obstacles such as an international treaty. Perhaps, Musk's saying is a little exaggerated. Indeed, the moon trip in 2018 will not include the landing to the moon.

The Conversation: Fly me to the Moon? Why the world should be wary of Elon Musk’s space race

Moon as a destination will no more be a fantasy in the next generation, I think. Nonetheless, colonization in the moon or Mars will not be feasible in the next decade. I will be able to land on the moon within 50 years. But I would not live on the moon.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bitcoin overtakes gold

This week is a symbolic one for bitcoin.

The price of bitcoin boosted up to 1,200 USD. Its value per one bitcoin is now more than one ounce of gold.

Seeking Alpha: A big week for bitcoin

Bitcoin is often compared to gold. The total amount of bitcoin is programmatically limited. No one can mine any more bitcoins over the limitation. This character of bitcoin, which is different from other digital objects, makes its value reliable.

However, Bitcoin's volatility is still an issue of anxiety for people who consider bitcoin as property. Its price sharply decreased in this January because of China government strengthened the regulation of domestic bitcoin trade. Fragility to the environmental change is one of the weaknesses of bitcoin, as a innovational new product.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Volkswagen scandal caused a thousand of fatality?

The emission scandal of Volkswagen is still fresh in memory. The company was revealed to have secretly installed a defeat device for the purpose of pretending the emission level. At last, Volkswagen had to recall millions of diesel cars and pay massive compensation.

In addition, a research team in Massachusetts Institute of Technology published an estimation that over 1,000 people had been killed by excessive emission of Volkswagen.

Independent: Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal to cause more than a thousand premature deaths, MIT study finds

It is evident that exhaust gas is harmful to human. However, I am doubtful that many people chose Volkswagen with misunderstanding its emission level for their health concern. The reason that low emission level is required is to minimize the adverse influence on the environment rather than an individual.

In this sense, I think the report by MIT is overrepresenting. Nonetheless, the act of Volkswagen was far from acceptable.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mindful drinking

Recently, more people become abstinent from alcohol. Actually, in the UK, a fifth are teetotal.

My past entry: One-third of Londoners is teetotaller

Then, pubs are forced to change the strategy for gaining guests. Some bars are storing a variety of non-alcoholic beverages. And surprisingly, there are some services to list them up, such as Club Soda. It calls low alcohol consuming style "mindful drinking."

The Guardian: Forget the hangover, under-25s turn to mindful drinking

To be honest, I cannot drink at all. Therefore, I feel bored whenever visiting a bar. But some restaurants serve cool cocktails without any alcohol. At such a restaurant, I order Sharry Temple, to be satisfied.

Mindful drinking movement is a new trend, especially for young people. I think it includes several meanings. First, a modern consuming style is the superiority of the experience to materials. Young people are fond of spending the time of drinking than drinking alcohol itself. Second, mindfulness means focusing on the presence. Drunkenness is against this concept. Young people tend to favor spirituality. Of course, this trend is somehow associated with the poverty of youth.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Effective workout

Many people living in an urban area are suffering from loss of physical exercise. You see some businesspersons are running around the park nearby your office building. However, people who are fond of running before the on-duty time begins are rare. It is terribly difficult for us to make exercise a regular habit.

One of the reasons that exercise is hardly continuous is it takes a lot of time. Even if the actual time we are engaged is only ten minutes, we need to prepare for exercise, and after that, we need to bathe. Going to a gym is also time-consuming.

Therefore, several people have a suggestion for effective exercise. One of the potentially promising methods is to make your daily life more active. For example, taking upstairs when you go to office is a good resolution.

Using stairs is much more punishing than walking. Only a few minutes of moving on stairs can ignite your internal fat.

Tabata training developed by Izumi Tabata, a Japanese professor of sports science, is also effective to make your body warm. In Tabata method, you should repeat a combination with an exhausting exercise for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest eight times. It takes only four minutes. Nonetheless, this series of exercise can stimulate your energy providing system adequately.

ExecutiveStyle: Four 20-minute workouts that actually work

Keeping time for exercise is an issue of importance for modern people. There are some more rooms for improving your daily life.

Friday, March 3, 2017

South Africa's sugar tax

South Africa is going to introduce a challenging policy. It is taxation for sugar.

From April 2017, 20% fiscal tax will be applied to sugar-sweetened beverages sold in South Africa. Its aim is not to gaining income of the government, but to reduce citizens' sugar taking.

The conversation: South Africa’s sugar tax: a bold move, and the right thing to do

In South Africa, non-communicative diseases are rapidly spreading among people. In 2004, the obesity rate reached 15%, whereas the shortage of adequate food distribution had not been resolved. Nowadays, one in seven women in South Africa is suffering from obesity.

In general, people in countries with low income tend to take an excessive amount of carbohydrate. In contrast, the main course of obesity among rich people is fat. It is because carbohydrate is cheaper than fat. In this sense, hike to sugar is appropriate for reducing the consumption of foods with high nutrition.

Also, white sugar is criticized as including some adverse effects on human body. Sugar seems proper as a target for a hike, while some relevant farmers are against this policy.

It is uncertain that the obesity rate and fatality will decrease in South Africa thanks to this administration. There are many other factors to make people obese. Nonetheless, I agree with this policy. In Japan, consumers cannot know how much amount each food contains sugar. For example, cake makers hardly disclose the amount of calories and ingredients of each product. Subjects containing sugar should be regulated to some extent, I think.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A quarter of young men commit self-harm?

A shocking report was published regarding self-harming behaviors in young men.

Approximately a quarter of the participants of this survey who were aged 16 to 24 replied that they had an experience of intentional self-harm when they depressed. And, a further 22% made an idea of self-harm if they did not so.

The Guardian: A quarter of young men self-harm to cope with depression, says survey

Generally speaking, self-harm behaviors are typically seen in young women. Criteria for borderline personality disorder defined in DSM-5 include self-harm. Not only wrist cutting, but also binge eating, vomiting, excessive shopping, and even seeking a new sexual partner repeatedly are considered as a form of self-harm. Compared to women, men are unlikely to conduct such self-destructive acts.

However, this result suggests that the idea of self-harm is not unique in women. Indeed, the suicide rate is higher in men than women even though prevalence rate of depression is higher in women. Male patients tend to commit serious harm when they are influenced by mental disorders.

In addition, men are unlikely to express their agony to others. Suppression of their unwilling thought and feeling is frequent. Thus, the rate of self-harm reported among men can be underestimated.

On the other hand, there is a possibility of selection bias in this survey. This poll was commissioned by the Mix, Self-Harm UK, and Young Minds. The members of these organization are more aware of the risk of self-harm than ordinary citizens. Considering this fact, the real percentage of self-harm in young men can be lower.

Anyway, self-harm is a destructive behavior. Even if it is an expression of something, it cannot be accepted as it is. Appropriate care and treatment are needed for people who experienced or expect self-harm.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Korean President and Samsung in scandal

South Korean society is now in confusion.

South Korea's special prosecutors' office seems to confront President Park Geun Hye. A spokesman for the office told that she was identified as a criminal suspect. It is for the first time that the serving President is prosecuted. In real, she cannot be charged as the Constitution does not allow this. On the other hand, the Parliament has impeached Park last December. It is possible that the Constitutional Court will deliver a verdict to force her to resign.

Nikkei Asian Review: South Korean prosecutors identify impeached Park as criminal suspect

Meanwhile, Samsung group, one the most famous companies in Korea is in peril of perishing. Korean prosecutors will charge Jay Y. Lee and some other executives with bribery and embezzlement. Following the scandal, Samsung' corporate strategy office, a key nerve center of Samsung, was to be dismantled. Each branch of Samsung conglomerate will become independent to launch its own business plan.

Reuters: Samsung Group dismantles nerve center as chief faces bribery charge amid scandal

I have yet not understood its meaning precisely. But it is certain Samsung group will no more take an initiative in the Korean and global market as it is.

It is not so rare that a politician misuses her political power. And it is also common a huge company is inappropriately connected to policy makers. In this meaning, similar scandals will occur in Japan and other countries. Indeed, Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, is now suspected to be concerned about a deal with a private school which bought a land from the government at an unusually low price.