• February 15, 2022

    Do You Know Why We Love Wood?

    We reach enlightenment by clearing snow Nothing can stay the same. This is very famous Buddhist terminology, meaning “Life is fleeting and empty.” Even on weekend, I always wake up very early and leave home before six to go to a gym. On the way to the gym, I very often see many elderly people. They are active outside and clear snow even in the very cold and dark winter morning. Every time I see such people, the above words come up to my mind. Our life is very short, but we have to spend much of our time to clearing snow here in Hokkaido in winter, even though it melts away in spring anyway. Once wood was used for snow-clearing tools, though The above image is of the International Snow Clearing Championship held in Hokkaido since 2013. It may sound funny to you, but it’s natural for us to […]

    • February 10, 2022

    Do You Know That Beetles Like Acorn Trees (Oak)?

    Let secrets be secrets Do you know the green flash? Fairly infrequently, at the moment of sunrise or sunset, the upper rim of the Sun looks to flash in green. You might have learned it from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.” On a similar note, I know another strange natural phenomenon. I believed it was, to be more precise. When it heavily snows at night, the sky looks tinged with orange here in Hokkaido. It was my special secret. One day, with an air of great importance, I shared the secret with my wife. Against my expectations, she said quite casually “Snow in the sky just reflects the street light.” I’ve decided in my heart not to tell her any more secrets. Orange-tinted street lamps are gone High-pressure sodium lamps are used for the street light in Hokkaido because the orange-tinted light improves visibility on snowy roads. According to […]

    • February 7, 2022

    Do You Want to Participate in Our Factory Tour?

    Our hometown is the city of rivers This is the central station of our hometown, Asahikawa, seen from due south. The two bridges are still new, built about 10 years ago. In the days without the two bridges, the city center was divided into two parts, and the south side of the station was just a deserted area. Even now, the area is full of nature for the second biggest city in Hokkaido with the population of 340,000. The river is so clean and beautiful that I once saw a businessman in a suit walking down from the station, taking out a fishing rod from his briefcase, and fishing trout in a moment. He looked so cool like James Bond. Anyway, having an oasis in the very center is one of the charms of our hometown, but our chairman doesn’t seem to be satisfied at all. Riversides should be a […]

    • February 4, 2022

    No Two Wood Pieces Are Alike; So, They Are Beautiful

    Can you judge apples by appearances? Apples are the most popular seasonal fruit in Japan in winter. You can see a lot of them piling up everywhere. I don’t know whether it’s because my wife really likes them or just because they are cheap in this season, though. Anyway, she always goes straight to an apple stand in any supermarkets. Her way of selecting apples looks like some magic ritual. With a serious look on her face, checking them from every angle, mumbling something, she carefully picks out the ones she thinks best. That’s why I eat apples a lot these days. To be honest, I can’t see any big difference in taste between what she and I chose. Even careful selection is no guarantee It is said that about 30% of agricultural output is thrown away as a non-standard product in Japan. Now the sugar level of some fruits […]

    • February 1, 2022

    Do You Know the Truth of Godzilla?

    Godzilla becomes an academic research subject in Japan In my childhood, I memorized even the height and weight of many monsters in Godzilla movies, let alone their names. I’m sure I would have annoyed many people around me by proudly showing off the knowledge, and my parents would have wanted me to apply the same level of passion to study. Godzilla is a super movie content known to everyone in Japan, and many people, like film critics, marketing professionals, and even university professors have published study on it. The explanation that sounds most feasible to me is “Godzilla is the metaphor of nature.” Indeed, it has destroyed many cities many times, but has shown no animosity or hatred to humans, though making no apologies as well. Godzilla makes us remember a feeling of awe for nature Although I feel sometimes a little frustrated as an ex-military person, Japanese Self-Defense Force […]

    • January 27, 2022

    Do You Know Gratitude Is Important to Survive?

    Do you think you say thank you? What about your thank you? My mother very often told me this when I was a kid. Even if it’s minor stuff like asking to pass something on the table and forgetting to say thank you, she was nagging at me. As growing up in such a background, I believed I was a man who can say thank you, but now, my confidence is wavering. I found a research article of Royal Society Open Science. The article claims we humans remarkably rarely express gratitude for everyday life events where someone seeks and gains a good, service, or support from another. The researchers seem to interpret it as a good sign that most people rely on the tacit understanding of reciprocal relationship, though. Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast Some weeks ago, a furious snowstorm hit a part of Hokkaido, and the […]

    • January 25, 2022

    Have You Seen How Lamberjacks Cut Trees Now?

    Snowy mountains are really harsh Last week a logging company invited us to a mountain tour to see the cutting of trees. While we were going up the mountain plowing through snow, a staff member talked a lot about the troubles they have faced in the mountains. The stories reminded me of a huge hostage crisis lasting for 10 days in the deep mountains in the winter of 1972, though I hadn’t been born yet. The police riot squad laid siege outside but soon became dysfunctional. Food and water were frozen. There was no bathroom, of course. In order to continue the operation, the military was dispatched for logistic support. The remote mountains are such a harsh environment especially in winter. Winter is the season to cut trees You might say “Why don’t you cut trees in other than winter?” but that’s not going to happen. In summer, for example, […]

    • January 20, 2022

    The Way How to Get Away from Remote Work

    We come to need hotels for another reason The COVID destroyed the bright future of the Japanese tourism industry. The number of foreign tourists to Japan was increasing year by year and exceeded 30 million in 2018, when the nationwide hotel construction rush reached its peak. After the disaster, the rumor said many landlords went bankrupt by changing their apartments to accommodations for Airbnb. In addition to an awful lot of vacant hotel rooms, the COVID created a strange trend at the same time. Nowadays people come to stay at local hotels near their homes. One reason is, as you can imagine, the free-falling hotel charges due to the collapse of the supply-demand balance, but it’s not good enough to explain why local hotels. Guess another one. I think it’s remote work. We can’t get away from work Thanks to the COVID, even workaholic Japanese people managed to escape from […]

    • January 18, 2022

    The Renewable Energy in the Frozen World

    This is the reality of the frozen world The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen. When you hear this song, you may picture in your mind some beautiful scenes, like Elsa and Anna playing in the snow and ice. Me? It’s more realistic and boring. Snow fields seamlessly spreading to the surrounding mountains (even to the gloomy sky when it snows), a heavy snowfall immediately covering even human figures let alone footprints, fingers numb with cold, etc. Our hometown is the heavy-snow and coldest place in Japan, of which lowest recorded temperature is -41°C. On the other hand, our summers are very hot. The maximum temperature often exceeds 35°C. On a hot summer day, I always wish I could get back the snow treated as a nuisance in winter. How to use snow as a renewable energy source As a matter of fact, […]

    • January 14, 2022

    Do You Know the World’s Largest Chair Collection?

    Most of the kids are collectomania As I think I’ve learned the figure somewhere, 70% of kids under 6 years old are collectomania. At the age of around 10, I was devoted to collecting stickers that came with chocolate cookies. The stickers were very popular among boys at that time. One day, I found a girl in a car running next to my mother’s car, and showed her the best one from my sticker collection through the car windows. My mother, seeing me, said “Stop it. It’s embarrassing.” I still don’t know why my mother felt embarrassed, but I clearly remember that was the moment I quitted collecting the stickers. Soon after that, I made big money for a kid by selling all the rare stickers to my classmates, by the way. Sorry, the introduction has become a quite long. Today’s topic is collection. The world’s largest whisky collection If […]