Japan’s well respected car industry sells cars the world over, but at home it’s a different story. Car ownership is low in Japan for obvious reasons like having a good public transit system and high speed trains for intercity travel. In the capital city of Tokyo car ownership is amongst the lowest in the world thanks to the cost of owning a car itself. Tokyo’s lack of cars all comes down to refusing to buckle to the influence of large automobile companies.
Yet the much bigger reason for Tokyo’s high quality of life is that Japan does not subsidize car ownership in the way other countries do. In fact, owning a car in Tokyo is rather difficult. For one thing, cars are far more enthusiastically inspected than in America or most of Europe. Cars must be checked by officials every two years to ensure that they are still compliant, and have not been modified. That is true in Britain too, but the cost is higher than what a Ministry of Transport test costs. Even a well-maintained car can cost 100,000 yen to inspect (or around $850). On cars that are older than 10 years, the fees escalate dramatically, which helps to explain why so many Japanese sell their cars relatively quickly, and so many of them end up in East Africa or Southeast Asia. On top of that there is an annual automobile tax of up to 50,000 yen, as well as a 5 percent tax on the purchase. And then gasoline is taxed too, meaning it costs around 160 yen per liter, or about $6 a gallon, less than in much of Europe, but more than Americans accept. Read more.
Today is halloween and, if you’re like many others, you still need to create a costume. Thankfully there’s a Japanese costume trend that is a perfect solution to let you create a fun and entertaining last minute costume. The trend is called jimi halloween (åœ°å‘³ãƒãƒã‚¦ã‚£ãƒ³), or â€œmundane Halloweenâ€. It’s a nice concept that explores moments in everyday life that people can relate to.
In 2014, a subculture emerged in Japan called jimi halloween (åœ°å‘³ãƒãƒã‚¦ã‚£ãƒ³), or â€œmundane Halloween.â€ It was started by a group of adults at Daily Portal Z who â€œkind of wanted to participate in the festivities of Halloween, but were too embarrassed to go all out in witch or zombie costumes.â€ So instead of the flashy and flamboyant costumes they had been seeing gain popularity in Japan, they decided to dress up in mundane, everyday costumes. The type of costumes that you have to explain to people and then they say, ooooh I get it.
The answer for how their famous bullet trains move so quickly is thanks in part to biomimicry, the study of using animals as a source for design. The front of the bullet train was inspired by the beak of a kingfisher which allows for more efficient airflow and thus less of an environmental impact. This is merely one example of the interesting world of using the evolution of animals to design the world around us.
Japanâ€™s Shinkansen doesnâ€™t look like your typical train. With its long and pointed nose, it can reach top speeds up to 150â€“200 miles per hour.
It didnâ€™t always look like this. Earlier models were rounder and louder, often suffering from the phenomenon of “tunnel boom,” where deafening compressed air would rush out of a tunnel after a train rushed in. But a moment of inspiration from engineer and birdwatcher Eiji Nakatsu led the system to be redesigned based on the aerodynamics of three species of birds.
Nakatsuâ€™s case is a fascinating example of biomimicry, the design movement pioneered by biologist and writer Janine Benyus. She’s a co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit encouraging creators to discover how big challenges in design, engineering, and sustainability have often already been solved through 3.8 billion years of evolution on earth. We just have to go out and find them.
There’s so much talk about taking action around climate change that it can be hard to remember what real action looks like. Climate action can take on many different forms and around the world how places react to climate change is different; meaning that we can see so many ways that cities are changing the world. Over at desmog blog they have compiled 11 cities that are making real efforts to take on climate change and what it looks like in picture.
The city of Yokohama is a winner of the C40 Awards 2016 in the Clean Energy Category. The Yokohama Smart City Project uses Smart Grid technology and solar panels to help cut energy consumption in homes and businesses by between 15 and 22 percent (Yokohama aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 perce
Golf courses have a well deserved reputation of being absolutely horrible for the environment. Golf courses are responsible for deforestation and damaging local ecological systems all while consuming an absurd amount of water.
In Japan, where many golf courses have gone out of business, they are converting the massive chunks of land into something useful: solar farms. The open fields are located near where electricity needs to go and thus are in a prime location.
Last week, Kyocera and its partners announced they had started construction on a 23-megawatt solar plant project located on an old golf course in the Kyoto prefecture. Scheduled to go operational in September 2017, it will generate a little over 26,000 megawatt hours per year, or enough electricity to power approximately 8,100 typical local households. The electricity will be sold to a local utility.