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News & Notes

Japanese Company to Inexpensively Convert Gasoline Vehicles into Electric Vehicles

Oct 31 (Sun ), 2010

Japanese Company to Inexpensively Convert Gasoline Vehicles into Electric Vehicles Hyakkado, a Japanese company which manufactures and sells electric vehicles (EVs) and their parts, announced on July 14, 2010, the start of a service to convert gasoline vehicles into EVs. While a new EV costs nearly four million yen (about US$45,000), the new service offers consumers an EV at an investment of less than 1.5 million yen (about US$17,000). The company makes an EV by converting the client's existing car. Unnecessary parts, including the gasoline engine, exhaust pipe, and fuel tank are removed from the vehicle, and an EV motor and a battery are installed in their place. Operating and travel devices are retained. Although the cruising distance varies depending on driving conditions, the test vehicle ran for 45 kilometers on a test run on a public road. The company is mainly targeting vehicles used for short-distance pickup and delivery within the local community. The service costs 1,298,000 yen (about US$15,000) including tax. It is offered as a package which includes the conversion parts kit, vehicle conversion work, all associated paperwork up through obtaining a vehicle number, and driving and maintenance workshops. The company started this conversion service for 15 vehicles per month at its factory in Tokyo, planning to increase the number to 100 in a year. For the time being, this service is intended only for stick shift light vehicles.

Rivers Receiving Higher Grades in Recent Report Card

Oct 31 (Sun ), 2010

More Rivers Receive Grades of Four Points or Better in Third River Report Card System The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) published the results of a river survey known as a "report card" system on July 16, 2010. In the survey, MLIT evaluated rivers and their surrounding environments from citizens' perspective at major recreation sites along first-class river systems nationwide. All 665 sites along 236 rivers in 108 catchments were evaluated using a five-point scale on the basis of criteria, such as availability of open spaces and familiarity. About 50 percent were graded at four points or better, and five sites received a five-point grade. This survey has been conducted every three years since fiscal 2003, and the most recent study was the third to use the river report card system. The evaluation aims to acknowledge good and bad points and to promote conservation and maintenance of good rivers and their surrounding environments. In response to comments from citizens during the previous survey in fiscal 2006, MLIT conducted facility maintenance, weeding and cleaning at 206 sites. In the overall evaluation, five sites received a five-point grade (0.8%), 327 sites received a four-point grade (49.2%), 325 sites received a three-point grade (48.9%) and eight sites received a two-point grade (1.2%). The percentage of rivers and their surrounding environments that received four points or better increased by about 14% from the previous survey. The following five sites received a five-point grade: Omonogawa River Park in Yokote City, Akita Prefecture; Joganjigawa Park in Tateyama-Machi, Nakaniikawa-Gun, Toyama Prefecture; Kawasakyo Gorge in Fuchu City, Hiroshima Prefecture; Nanasegawa River Natural Park in Oita City, Oita Prefecture; and Otozu River Waterfront Fun School Project in Oita City, Oita Prefecture. The comments about these sites included: "good layout of the land for children to play;" "abundant nature on walking trails;" "pleasant sounds from the stream;" and "good accessibility to the waterfront." (Courtesy of Japan for Sustainability)

The Joy of Sake (Nov. 2)

Oct 15 (Fri ), 2010

THE JOY OF SAKE TOKYO TOC Building, 13th Floor, Gotanda Tuesday, November 2, 6:00 to 9:00 pm Celebrating the World's Finest Sakes 300+ great sakes... 12 top restaurants... 1 terrific party!   THE EVENT The Joy of Sake is the largest sake competition and tasting outside Japan, attracting 2500 people every year to its events in Hawaii, San Francisco and New York. For its tenth anniversary, The Joy of Sake is travelling to Japan for a wonderful evening of sake, food and Hawaiian entertainment.   THE SAKES This year 329 labels are available for tasting, including gold and silver award winners from the U.S. National Sake Appraisal representing virtually every style and every region of Japan. It's a once-a-year chance to taste the world's finest sakes in peak condition.   THE CUISINE Good food brings out the suble flavor harmonies of premium sakes. Chefs from eight Tokyo restaurants, plus four guest chefs from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Honolulu serve original appetizers from a variety of different cuisines. Participating restaurants: Al Porto, Wakiya, Restaurant J, Fukuwauchi, Yoshi’s (San Francisco), Takao (Los Angeles), Nobu (New York), Hoku’s (Honolulu), Komahachi, Honoka, Kushiya, Toritama   Tickets: 8,000 yen • Pia (P-CODE: 617-866), e+ Order Online: www.joyofsake.com Phone Info: 070-5552-5747

Tokai University Breeding Bluefin Tuna Onshore

Oct 12 (Tue ), 2010

Tokai University Publicizes Research Success in Breeding Bluefin Tuna Onshore JFS/Tokai University Publicizes Research Success in Breeding Bluefin Tuna Onshore Tokai University opened its doors to the public on July 7, 2010, to introduce its onshore bluefin tuna breeding research farm, which utilizes seawater pumped from underground, and displayed tunas raised in the facility. Nobuhiko Akiyama, a professor in the Tokai University School of Marine Science and Technology, has jointly conducted this research since fiscal 2006 in cooperation with a private company and the university's Department of Fisheries. Bluefin tuna fry of about 20 centimeters in length are raised each year on the university's Shimizu Campus using seawater pumped from underground in four special tanks of about one meter in depth and five meters in diameter, for a period of about four months beginning each August. The seawater drawn up from the two underground wells on campus has a constant temperature year round. In addition, its characteristic quality is that aerobic bacteria have not been detected in the water. Compared to offshore fish farms, onshore tanks using underground seawater reduce the cost of water temperature management, and reduce the risk of pollution from disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. Meanwhile, issues caused by the onshore tanks do exist. For example, the survival rate is not necessarily that high. Professor Akiyama states, "I hope to build know-how, working toward the realization of higher added-value and stable production, with the ultimate goal of complete onshore breeding. My aim is to establish a breeding system that is feasible for onshore tanks." Tokai University official website http://www.u-tokai.ac.jp/international/

Japanese Resort Theme Park Opens 'Plant Factory'

Oct 12 (Tue ), 2010

Japanese Resort Theme Park Opens 'Plant Factory' Powered by Solar Energy Huis Ten Bosch, a large resort theme park located in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, started operations of a pilot "plant factory" on its premises on November 14, 2009. The unit, funded as one of the 2009 Advanced Plant Factory Promotional Projects sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, will be the first one in the Kyushu region open to the public. It will be powered primarily by Huis Ten Bosch's onsite photovoltaic (PV) generation system. A plant factory allows the growing of vegetables indoors all year round. It is a system that artificially creates the environment necessary for plants to grow by controlling the amount of culture solution, air, and light from light-emitting diodes (LED). Because the amount of light, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration levels can be optimized without being affected by the weather, the growth rate of vegetables is two to four times faster than those grown in open-air fields, and yields are ten to twenty times higher. Vegetables harvested at the factory are served at Huis Ten Bosch's hotel restaurants for visitors to taste, while vegetable scraps are composted for use on plants in the park. The resort also re-uses the nutrient solution used in the solution culture by spraying it onto park plants. The PV generation system (900 kilowatts) is located at Huis Ten Bosch's Nagasaki Next-Generation Energy Park. It includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery system that stores the energy generated by the PV system to light the plant factory at night. Huis Ten Bosch official website http://english.huistenbosch.co.jp/

Friday Deadline (Oct. 8) for the Ko'ko' Road Race in Guam!

Oct 05 (Tue ), 2010

The 2010 Guam Ko'ko' Road Race will be held on Sunday, October 17. Over 600 runners from Japan have already signed up! Now is the time to register. The next early bird discount deadline is THIS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8. Sign up at Hornet Sports in Tamuning or online at www.guamkokoroadrace.com Join us on Facebook to keep up to date with race news.   You can run the half marathon on your own, or get a team of four together to run the ekiden relay (each leg is only slightly over 5km!). Email questions to info@guamkokoroadrace.com.   Each runner will get an adidas t-shirt, finisher's medal, chance to win free trips and cash prizes for the top three soloists and top ekiden team!   Please forward this email to your friends and family that might also be interested.

Autumn Showcase “Falling for Brew” at Baird Nakameguro Taproom

Oct 01 (Fri ), 2010

Autumn Beers Style Showcase “Falling for Brew” Baird Nakameguro Taproom Sunday, November 14th 3 to 6 pm Admission: 3,200 yen This event will feature at least six beers showcasing the unique tastes of fall beers. Marco McFarren will be talking about malts and lagering, as well as fall and seasonal flavors. Both Baird beers and imported beers will be featured, and the admisson fee covers all beers, some light food, and a short all-you-can-drink session on the featured beers after the presentation. The selection of beers will be announced at the event. The presentation will be given in English. A separate presentation will be given in Japanese by Beer Manager Takahashi-san on Saturday, November 13th from 3 pm. www.facebook.com/BairdNakameguroTaproom (Courtesy of BrewsNews / Bryan Harrell)

Yokohama Oktoberfest Through Oct. 17

Oct 01 (Fri ), 2010

Yokohama Oktoberfest on Now Through Sunday, October 17 My favorite Oktoberfest is now on, at Akarenga Soko in Yokohama. It’s open from 11 to 9 pm on weekends and holidays, and from 12 noon to 9 pm on weekdays. After paying a 200 yen entrance fee, you can make your way through a number of stalls selling a huge variety of German beers until you find the stall that has a small selection of Japanese craft beers sold at lower prices. Enjoy the free live music from the stage, and join in when the snake dances erupt from the crowd. Akarenga Soko is a collection of old brick warehouses, and is only a six-minute walk from Nihon O-dori station or Bashamichi station on the Minato Mirai line. The best information is on the Japanese site at http://www.yokohama-akarenga.jp/oktoberfest2010/ (Courtesy of BrewsNews / Bryan Harrell)  

Japanese Florist Encouraging Customers to Participate in Green Campaign

Oct 01 (Fri ), 2010

Japanese Florist Encouraging Customers to Participate in Green Campaign Hibiya-Kadan Floral Co., a leading floral specialist that operates stores across Japan, is offseting its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with flower deliveries From July 1 to October 31. The company said it will purchase and write off emission credits equivalent to the total CO2 emissions related to delivery of flower products during the period through Recycle One, a provider of carbon offsets. Hibiya Kadan also conducted ,from June 9 to August 28 its annual Green Save the Earth Campaign, which is aimed at preventing global warming,. This is the fourth year it has organized the campaign, in which customers participate simply by buying flowers. Part of the proceeds from sales will be spent on the Billion Tree Campaign facilitated by the United Nations Environment Programme, and volunteers from the company will plant trees on the site of the Ashio Copper Mine in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, and in the Sakai District No.7-3 Symbiotic Forest, which has been created in a former dumping ground in a waterfront area in the city of Sakai, Osaka Prefecture. Hibiya Kadan is also working on other green projects, including rooftop gardening and wall greening, aimed at protecting and improving the environment under its corporate philosophy of contributing to building a richer society through flowers and greenery. Weblinks: http://www.hibiya.co.jp/carbonoffset/ http://www.hibiya.co.jp/earth/  

Nippon Craft Beer Festival 2010 (Oct. 31)

Oct 01 (Fri ), 2010

Nippon Craft Beer Festival 2010 Celebrate the fifth year of the Nippon Craft Beer Festival  one of the best craft beer festivals in Japan. Starts at high noon until 6pm on Oct. 31 at the Sumida Riverside Hall. Price is 3,500 yen and includes a commemorative glass and 10 tasting tickets. Ticket sales have begun online at http://www.craftbeerfestival.org/ticket.php