Home  >  Magazine  >  Issue 13 : Dec 2006/Jan  2007  > Columns  >  Eco Corner  >  Mikans, RED and Estima


Eco Corner

By Jake Reiner

Mikans, RED and Estima


Toyota Estima Hybrid


It is not too late to run down to your nearest Toyota dealer and buy yourself a Christmas present for being so good this year. A seven-seater, 2.4 liter, 47 mpg (5L/100 km.), 4WD Hybrid Estima van will make you a hit with all your eco-minded ski-bum buddies looking for a lift to the slopes.

Toyota is also using the model to incorporate newly developed sustainable technologies such as more recyclable parts, reuse of heat exhaust, better emissions control and more. Also a dream to drive. Starts at ¥3,633,000.

Eco Driving Tip: Keep your tires fully inflated to save gas.

Seeing RED

“As first world consumers, we have tremendous power. What we collectively choose to buy, or not to buy, can change the course of life and history on this planet.” Bono and friends extolled this message at the recent launching of the Product (RED) program, to raise funds for AIDS drugs in Africa.
You can support their efforts and contribute your spending power by buying specially designed (and usually bright red) products. The line keeps expanding and, so far, they have brought us (RED) American Express cards, GAP fashion, Armani watches and sunglasses, Converse kicks, and now the (RED) iPod.    

Charity is nothing new, but these guys are trying to kick it up a level and save a continent. “(RED) is not a charity. It is simply a business model. You buy (RED) stuff, we get the money, we buy pills and distribute them. They take the pills and stay alive.”

Yahoo! Travel


A few issues back we told you about Yahoo!’s energy saving pledge and use of solar and wind power to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Outdoor Japan Magazine, June 2006) and how nice it is to see the big corporations being a little conscientious. This month we bring you a simple way Yahoo! can make your time in Japan customized sustainable.

Go to travel.yahoo.com and type in whatever particular eco-thing you are into. I tried “organic cotton Japan” and found an organic meats, vegetables and cotton shop in Sapporo. And “vegetarian tokyo yokohama” found me an entire listing of vegetarian restaurants in Japan, as well as a Kanto vegan club. Search to your green heart’s delight.

A Mikan a Day…

Winter is upon us and with it the ubiquitous Japanese mikan. When I was a kid in New York, we only got them in cans labeled “mandarin oranges.” But here in Japan they’re in the peel and pushed on you in every home. Perhaps it is ancient wisdom, or maybe just dumb luck, but these little vitamin C bomblets appear just as flu season is peaking.

Vitamin C super boosts your immune system, so eat three or four while you sit around and don’t say no when granny tries to fill your pockets as you leave her house. It could just help you beat the common cold.