An egg-cellent source of renewable energy

Researchers from Osaka City University in Japan have discovered that using proteins taken from egg whites could help facilitate the carbon-free production of hydrogen.

Although hydrogen is considered clean fuel because it emits nothing but water when burnt, the creation of the gas itself is a less eco-friendly affair. Currently, the mass production of hydrogen involves the burning of fossil fuels, a process which releases harmful carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Scientists have discovered that is possible to generate hydrogen for fuel cleanly using a photocatalyst like solar power by creating a fluid to store the substance. But free-moving and randomly located molecules and particles in the fluid can interfere with the process of producing hydrogen and scientists have long searched for a way to immobilise them.

A team of scientists at Osaka City University believe they have found the solution. The researchers, led by Professor Yusuke Yamada, have developed a method in which the protein contained in egg whites can be harnessed to build crystals with lots of tiny holes to trap these particles.

“We found protein was a useful tool” to generate hydrogen in a lab without using a fossil fuel, the professor told AFP.

The whites of chicken eggs, which are inexpensive and inexhaustible, consist of porous lysozyme crystals.

“Lysozyme crystals have a highly ordered nanostructure and, thus, we can manipulate the molecular components when they accumulate in the crystals,” Hiroyasu Tabe, a special appointment research associate at the Graduate School of Engineering at Osaka City University in Japan, said. The crystal structure can be easily analysed with X-ray technology.

The change brought a sense of traffic control to the molecular interactions and improved the efficiency of clean, hydrogen production, Yamada was cited as saying. The discovery was published in the February edition of the scientific journal “Applied Catalysis B”.

Hydrogen is considered by many as the ultimate clean energy. If an efficient method to generate the gas can be found, it could be used to power everything from cars to buildings.

Source: Osaka City University; AFP

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Energy, Hydrogen Power, Japan, Proteins, Renewable energy, Research, Science

Chemical found in fast-food fries could cure hair loss, Japanese research suggests

Scientists at Yokohama National University have discovered that a chemical used to cook McDonalds’ fries could help cure baldness.

After using the chemical dimethylpolysiloxane in the cell generation process, the research team managed to mass produce up to 5000 ‘hair follicle germs’ (HFGs) simultaneously, according to a paper published in the journal Biomaterials. The scientists then transplanted the cells onto the backs and scalps of mice which started to sprout new black hairs in these areas. HFGs, which are the reproductive source of hair follicles, are notoriously difficult to produce. This is the first time they have been produced in a lab on a large scale. According to the study, preliminary experiments indicate this technique will also work in people.

“We hope this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness), Junji Fukuda, a professor at the university involved in the study, said.

Dimethylpolysiloxane, a chemical found in silicone, is used in the production of the fast-food chain‘s fries for safety reasons to the prevent cooking oil from foaming . Fukuda said the use of the chemical was crucial to successfully producing the hair follicle germs, the Independent reported. According to reports, the chemical is particularly effectives for HFGs because oxygen can easily pass through it.

“The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for culture vessel,” Fukuda said in the press release. “We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane at the bottom of culture vessel, and it worked very well.”

“This simple ssHFG preparation approach is a promising strategy for improving current hair-regenerative medicine techniques,” he added.

Source: The Independent; The Evening Standard; The Mirror

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

First “Japan Festival” opens in Turkey

Turkey’s first festival to promote Japanese culture began in the country’s capital Ankara on Saturday (10.02.2018). More than 300 people took part in the opening ceremony of the “Japan Festival”, NHK World reported.

Increased interest in learning Japanese among young people in Turkey has been put down to the popularity of Japanese comics and animation.

The number of people who have taken an exam to gauge their proficiency in Japanese has increased by more than 50 percent this fiscal year, compared to last year, the news service reported.

Minister for the “Cool Japan” strategy adopted by the Japanese government, Masaji Matsuyama, said he hopes those attending the festival will serve as bridges between Japan and Turkey.

Numan Kurtulmus, Turkish minister for culture and tourism pointed out that the number of Japanese tourists in Turkey is now increasing after a decline due to concerns over the security situation. He too expressed his hope for further cultural exchanges between the countries, NHK said.

Entertainment at the festival included music played on a Japanese “koto” harp and a traditional Turkish flute called a “ney,” as well as a dance performance.

Source: NHK World

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Low-cost origami 3D-printing technique could improve bone implants

Scientists at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands have created a new way to print flat structures which self-fold into complex shapes according to a pre-planned sequence. The research has many applications, including the potential to improve bone transplants, the university said.

origami-1308378_1920

Essentially a combination of the Japanese paper-folding art of origami and 3D printing, the technique created by Amir Zadpoor and his team of researchers is means of creating shape-shifting constructs without the high costs or manual labour usually associated with this process.

Zadpoor’s team used an Ultimaker, one of the most popular 3D printers, and PLA, the most common printing material available. “At about 17 Euro’s per kilo, it’s dirt cheap”, said Zadpoor. “Nevertheless, we created some of the most complex shape-shifting ever reported with it.” The process is also fully automated and requires no manual labour whatsoever.

Zadpoor’s team achieved this by creating a technique in which they simultaneously printed and stretched the material in certain spots. “The stretching is stored inside the material as a memory”, PhD researcher Teunis van Manen explained. “When heated up, the memory is released and the material wants to go back to its original state.”

The researchers also alternated the thickness and the alignment of the filaments in the material.

“What makes the team’s shape-shifting objects so advanced is the fact that they self-fold according to a pre-planned sequence,” TU Delft wrote about the project.

“If the goal is to create complex shapes, and it is, some parts should fold sooner than others”, Zadpoor explained. “Therefore, we needed to program time delays into the material. This is called sequential shape-shifting.”

This approach marks an important step in the development of better bone implants for two reasons, the researchers explained. Firstly, it makes it possible to create prosthetics with a porous interior which allows a patient’s own stem cells to move into the structure of the implant and attach themselves to the interior surface area, instead of just coating the exterior. This will result in a stronger, more durable implant.

Secondly, with this technique, nanopatterns that guide cell growth can be crafted on the surface of the implant, TU Delft explained.

“We call these ‘instructive surfaces’, because they apply certain forces to the stem cells, prompting them to develop into the cells we want them to be”’, said PhD researcher Shahram Janbaz. “A pillar shape, for instance, may encourage stem cells to become bone cells.”

It is impossible to create such instructive surfaces on the inside of a 3D structure. “This is why we decided we needed to start from a flat surface,” said Zadpoor.

Other applications for the research include printed electronics (“by using this technique, it may be possible to incorporate printed, 2D-electronics into a 3D shape,” Zadpoor said) and flat-pack furniture. “Shape-shifting could definitely turn many of our existing 2D worlds into 3D worlds’, he said. “We are already being contacted by people who are interested in working with it.”

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Electronics, Engineering, Health, Medicine, Science, Technology, Uncategorized

Campaign to foster “a culture of giving” in Japan enters third year

For the first time, partner organisations from all 47 prefectures of Japan will be getting involved in the “Giving December” project, designed to encourage people to donate to charity in Japan, the Japan Times reported.

Giving December

Japan lags behind other developed nations when it comes to donating to good causes. While, in 2016, individuals in the US donated a total of around USD 282 billion in 2016, according to data by the Giving USA Foundation, those in Japan donated only USD 6.8 billion over the same period, the Japan Fundraising Association found in its recent survey.

In the US, over 30 per cent of donations are made in December. It makes sense, then, for a campaign focused on improving these numbers in Japan, to take place during this season of giving.

The message of the campaign which began in 2015 and is supported by a network of non-profit organisations, local governments, companies, universities and others, is “Donate more. Invest in the future of society”.

“The amount of donations in Japan is small among the advanced countries,” Hiroshi Komiyama, head of the promotion committee for this year’s “Giving December” was quoted as saying.

Organisers of the Giving December campaign hope that the projects planned under the initiative will help to close this gap by instilling in people the joy of giving and the benefits of charity, which then translate into positive changes in society.

The Japan Fundraising Association (JFRA) is one of the main bodies behind the campaign. Set up in 2009, the association was founded “to create a society with a new culture of giving.” The Association’s CEO, Masataka Uo, also heads the committee’s secretariat.

According to the report, about 500 entities (up from 397 in 2016) will participate in the initiative. A record number of projects under the “Giving December” header will also be carried out, said Uo. Last year, there were 71 projects, while this year, there are expected to be 125.

According to the Japan Times, an initiative by high school students to produce an original stamp, or digital sticker, on LINE, a popular messaging app in Japan, is among the 125 projects. Other examples include the official certification of company mascots – collectively known as “yuru-kyara,” meaning “loose characters”  – to promote the cause, and a restaurant in Sendai offering customers a special drink menu in which part of the proceeds will go to charity.

“Giving December” has also been received support from celebrities. Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates spoke at a forum that year to discuss philanthropy and innovation, the Japan Times reported.

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Images taken by Japanese camera space drone on ISS released

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released the first group of photos and videos movies taken by its zero-gravity autonomous camera drone, known as the JEM Internal Ball Camera (or “Int-Ball”), aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Photo: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

The JEM Int-Ball is the Agency’s first camera drone that can record video while moving in space under remote control from the ground, JAXA said.

Its main purpose is to optimise cooperation and communication between flight controllers on the ground and the astronauts on board, and to eliminate the need for onboard astronauts to take photographs: a task which currently accounts for around 10% of working hours.

Manufactured using 3D printing, and adopting modern drone technology, the orb-shaped camera is able to move autonomously in space and record still and moving images under remote control by the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center, JAXA said. It is also really cute – with CNN calling it the “cutest little orb since Star Wars’ BB-8 droid.”

The recorded images and videos taken by the floating camera can be checked in real time by flight controllers and researchers on the ground, and then fed back to the onboard crew, the agency said.

Int-Ball was received on board the ISS’s Japanese Experiment Module known as “Kibo” on 4 June 2017, and the images were released on 14 July.

Source: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

No public consultation planned to decide Japan’s new Imperial era name

The Japanese government is not planning to ask for the public’s opinion on what the next Imperial era name should be if Emperor Akihito abdicates in order to speed up the process, a government source was cited as saying.

Called a “gengo” in Japanese, an Imperial era name is valid for the entirety of an Emperor’s reign but changes with a new Emperor. The name is often used on calendars and official documents without reference to the Gregorian date.

The current period under Emperor Akihito is known as “Heisei”. It changed from “Showa” on 8 January 1989, the day after the death of the Emperor Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa.

Usually, a new era name is selected by a process of incorporating public submissions when passing an ordinance. Although the government is not legally obliged to abide by the outcome of public consultation, it is required to give thorough consideration to suggestions and present its opinions on the proposals.

When Emperor Hirohito died, however, the selection of the era name was fast-tracked as a matter of urgency. Instead of asking the public, the government officially solicited ideas for the next era’s name from intellectuals and presented three of them to a panel of experts.

This time around, time is also a concern. The succession from Emperor Akihito to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, could take place at a predetermined date because the government plans to announce the new era name at least several months before the Emperor’s envisioned abdication, The Japan Times reported.

“The government source acknowledged that seeking public comment improves transparency, but also expressed concern that it might not be able to come up with a “satisfactory” name in time if the opinions presented diverge too widely,” the newspaper said.

Since 83-year-old Emperor Akihito hinted that he would like to resign and pass the Chrysanthemum throne onto his son in a rare video message last summer, Japan has been anticipating the need for a new Imperial era name. Businesses and calendar-makers require advance notice of the name change which will have a number of effects upon the Japanese calendar. The date of the Emperor’s Birthday national holiday will probably have to be changed to reflect the new emperor’s date of birth, for instance.

“Changes in era names have affected people’s lives in various ways, including administrative papers and official documents such as driver’s licenses and health insurance cards,” The Japan Times said.

“Shortly after the nation changed from the Meiji Era to the Taisho Era in 1912, following Emperor Meiji’s death, names inspired by the new era name, such as those containing the Chinese character used, became the most common new names for babies, according to Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co., which compiles an annual ranking of the most popular baby names.”

To allow the current Emperor to abdicate and pass on the throne without dying (the 1947 Imperial House Law currently lacks a provision regarding abdication meaning only posthumous succession is allowed), the Japanese government is reportedly seeking to pass special legislation in the Diet.

Source: The Japan Times

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki working on new film

According to reports, the 76-year old has come out of retirement to work on a new animated feature film.

Thomas Schulz detengase @ Flickr - http://flickr.com/photos/t_p_s/2842706001/

Hayao Miyazaki at the 2008 Venice Film Festival.

The Oscar-winning director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli retired almost three and a half years ago after directing WWII drama The Wind Rises (released in July 2013), said to be his final feature-length film.

Toshio Suzuki, a producer at Studio Ghibli, said on Thursday (16.02.17) during a pre-Oscars interview – to promote the studio’s most recent picture The Red Turtle – that the legendary director was working on a new feature-length film. “He is creating it in Tokyo, working hard right now,” Suzuki was cited by The Japan Times as saying.

“(The storyboard) was quite exciting,” Suzuki said, “but if I’d told him it was good, I know it would ruin my own retirement,” as making the film would dominate his life, Suzuki told the audience.

“Nevertheless, I put my own feelings aside and told him straight, ‘This is fascinating.”

Some reports name the new film as Boro The Caterpillar or “Kemushi no Boro” in Japanese, a film which Mizyazaki described in documentary, “Hayao Miyazaki: The Man Who Is Not Done”, aired in Japan in November 2016 as “a story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers” In an interview for the documentary, Miyazaki said he would “continue making anime until I die.”

Miyazaki is known for his anime feature films, which include My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997) and Spirited Away. The latter won the Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear award in 2002 and the Oscar for Animated Feature Film in 2003.

Source: The Japan Times, The Guardian

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Number of foreign workers in Japan hits 1 million

2016 saw the number of foreign workers in Japan reach 1 million for the first time as country faces labour shortage.construction-1921518_1920

Data from the Japanese labour ministry revealed on Friday that slightly over a million foreigners were working in the country as of October, The Japan Times reported.

The figure is the highest ever recorded in Japan and represents a near 20 per cent increase on that of the previous year.

Workers from China and Vietnam made up the largest proportion of the foreign workforce, accounting for 30 per cent and 16 per cent of the total respectively. The number of Vietnamese workers alone was up by over 50 per cent on 2015.

According to The Japan Times, “the figures suggest Japan is increasingly turning to overseas workers to plug its labor shortages despite its reluctance to accept them.”

“The country is facing its worst labour crunch since 1991 amid a shrinking and aging population, which has prompted calls from the International Monetary Fund for it to accept more overseas workers to boost economic growth,” the report said.

Construction is one of the areas hit hardest by the shortage. Demand for workers in this sector has increased ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as for rebuilding following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The number of construction labourers from abroad reached 41,000 as of last October, up from around 29,000 the previous year.

According to government data, in November 2016, there were over eight times as many job offers for putting together steel construction frames as there were workers.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that more Japanese women and elderly people should be employed to plug the gaps rather than bringing in foreign labour but, according to the Japan Times, policymakers are exploring ways to bring in more foreign workers without calling it “immigration.”

A system for accepting trainee workers from developing countries was expanded by the government in December, and a new visa status for nurses and domestic helpers was created. The trainee system aims to attract highly skilled workers from overseas by easing the path to permanent residency.

According to The Japan Times, the trainee programme has, however, been dogged by cases of labour abuse including illegal overtime and unpaid wages, prompting criticism from Human Rights Watch and the U.S. State Department.

Trainees made up 20 per cent of the foreign workforce, labour ministry data showed, an increase of more than 25 per cent on the previous year.

Source: The Japan Times

————————————————————————————————

The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Japan to use world’s smallest flying car to transfer Olympic flame at Tokyo 2020 closing ceremony

A team of Japanese engineers is developing a miniature flying car to drive the Olympic flame around the New National Stadium track and then take off to light the Olympic cauldron.

skydrive_img

Image of the SkyDrive from Cart!vator’s website

Cart!vator (Cartivator),  the company behind these plans, comprises a team of about 20 young engineers. Founded in 2012, the company’s objective is develop a flying car that can be used to reduce the reliance on roads, and also be used to lift people out of disaster zones, SportTechie reported.

In order to develop the vehicle, the Cart!vator team has been conducting tests at an abandoned primary school in the mountains of the Aichi Prefecture after being given permission to use this building by the city of Toyota.

“We aim to create (a) world where anyone can fly in the sky anytime by 2050,” the Cart!vator website states. “To realize our vision, a compact flying car is necessary with a vertical takeoff and landing type, which does not need roads and runways to take off.”

According to SportTechnie, the car, known as “SkyDrive” will be a single-seat electric vehicle design that will have one front wheel, two rear wheels, and a rotor in each of the four corners. Each rotor will consist of two propellers that will allow the car to take off and land vertically.

In terms of dimensions, the vehicle is expected to be roughly three metres in length and 1.3 metres in width. According to the company, this will make it the world’s smallest flying car.

Cart!vator’s website says the company hopes to start selling SkyDrive to the public in 2023, with mass production planned by 2030.

“If technological innovation is achieved in the battery performance and other fields, the vehicle could be commercialized in the future,” Masafumi Miwa, a mechanical engineering professor and Cart!vator partner, told the Asahi Shimbun.

First, however, the team needs to get the vehicle to fly higher. Its current prototype can only fly at an altitude of one metre for a period of five seconds, according to the Asahi Shimbun. The company believes this can be remedied by reducing the weight of the vehicle by replacing the 180kg aluminium frame with a 100kg frame made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic.

The car will not be cheap to make. The company says that it needs 30 million yen (GBP 208,000) from investors to make the prototype ready for a manned test flight. To raise these funds, the company presented a 1/5 scale prototype at a Maker Faire in Tokyo in 2014, and set up a page on the Japanese crowdfunding website zenmono. By January 2015, it had raised almost 2.6 million yen (about GBP 18,000). “It used the money to purchase a full-scale prototype from a joint researcher, and that’s the prototype it’s experimenting with now,” reported Sports Technie. If the company raises the 30 million yen, it plans to perform a manned-piloted demonstration of the car in January 2019.

Another concern is safety. A breakdown in the air probably means a fatal crash.

According to the SportTechie report, at least nine other companies are also trying to build some version of a flying car. “Google co-founder Larry Page has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in two different flying car companies. Slovakian company AeroMobil could be launching its own flying car as early as next year. And the Massachusetts-based company Terrafugia has already built a flying car that has received legal approval for personal use, although it’s really more of a street-legal plane,” the website revealed.

Sources: SportTechie, Asahi Shimbun


The Japanese Connection offers a wide range of professional Japanese translation or interpreting services worldwide, with specialists in many areas including lawbusiness and engineering.  Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. To find out how our services can assist you, please visit our website or contact us directly by email. You can also visit our blog guide to doing business in Japan.

Member of: ATCITIProz

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized