research

New research suggests even low-level radiation in Fukushima negatively impacting wildlife

New research suggests even low-level radiation in Fukushima negatively impacting wildlife

Dr. Timothy Mousseau, professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina and researcher for the Chernobyl and Fukushima Research Initiative, presented new findings to the International Ornithological Congress in Tokyo last week that suggest radiation contamination around Fukushima Daiichi, even at low levels, is negatively impacting biodiversity and wildlife populations.

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Smooching survey: Finding out what age Japanese women had their first kiss

Smooching survey: Finding out what age Japanese women had their first kiss

Your fist kiss is sure to be a memorable event. It might even be the most memorable event in your life for decades if all goes well…or if it turns into a proper disaster. At least, that’s what we learned from teenage comedies–and Hollywood never lies, right? But even though it’s such a big event in any young person’s life, everyone’s first kiss seems to come at different ages.

We’ve discussed kissing in Japan before, but a new survey reveals the average first-kiss age of Japanese folks broken down by prefecture, showing which prefecture’s women were the fastest and kissiest in the country! Who do you think came in first place? And who’s bringing up the rear as the “slowest to their first kiss?” Find out below!

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Japanese government study on robot anime now available in English

Japanese government study on robot anime now available in English

Thanks to the patient translation efforts of AltJapan Co., Ltd. co-founder Matt Alt, readers can now read, in English,most of the 90-page study on robot anime made available by the Japanese government. Titled “Nihon Animation Guide: Robot Anime-hen,” the original document was written by anime critic Ryusuke HikawaSunrise head of cultural promotion Koichi Inoue, and writer Daisuke Sawaki, and compiled by Mori Building Co., which has previously also compiled reports on Japanese live-action special effects shows, movies, and other pop culture topics. In addition to these reports, the company also promotes media arts information, hosts symposiums, conducts surveys, and works on archive projects.

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Shut up mom, scientists proved playing video games is actually good for your brain!

Shut up mom, scientists proved playing video games is actually good for your brain!

Ladies and gentlemen of the gaming world, those entire summer breaks spent parked in front of that hulking box of a rear-projection TV (but it was 60-inches!) with your N64 controller in hand were actually productive despite what your mother said. Thanks to the hard work of researchers in Berlin, we now know that playing Super Mario 64 is scientifically proven to increase your brain size. Which goes to show that a lot of things your mother told you as a kid were probably false. So go ahead, stop listening to your mom, your brain is probably bigger than hers now anyway.

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Research Shows Eating Kimchi Every Day Helps Lower Cholesterol and Blood Glucose Levels

Research Shows Eating Kimchi Every Day Helps Lower Cholesterol and Blood Glucose Levels

Kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish from Korea that is often referred to as “Korea’s national dish.” It’s so pungent that those who enjoy eating copious amounts of kimchi have been known to purchase a separate fridge dedicated to storing it. For decades, Korean mothers have sworn by the health benefits of adding kimchi to one’s diet, but now it seems scientists agree as well. New research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests that eating even a small amount of kimchi every day may help lower cholesterol, LDL (“bad cholesterol”), and fasting blood glucose levels.

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Survey About Employees’ “Ideal Boss” Highlights Major Differences Between Japanese and Chinese Thinking

Survey About Employees’ “Ideal Boss” Highlights Major Differences Between Japanese and Chinese Thinking

Bitching about our bosses is probably one of the best things about socialising with coworkers. They’re to strict; they’re a push-over; they have coffee breath and get way too close when they talk; whatever the issue, complaining about the boss is a great stress reliever and helps us get through the day.

According to a recent survey taken across four countries, however, expectations of bosses and opinions of what makes a good one vary wildly between countries. Not only that, Japan ranks as the country with the lowest “boss satisfaction” rate of all those surveyed.

Of course, my boss is the greatest, and I would never even dream of saying a bad word about him <cough>Christmasbonus<cough>, but the difference between the opinions of those surveyed in Japan and those in other countries, most notably China, is startling.

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Tokyo University Adapting Videogame Technology to Help Physically Disabled Computer Users

Tokyo University Adapting Videogame Technology to Help Physically Disabled Computer Users

The University of Tokyo Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (known as “RCAST” for short、thankfully!), in conjunction with Microsoft Japan, has launched trials of new a computer program that utilise Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows technology as a way for physically disabled people to communicate and interact with computers.

For the uninitiated, Kinect is a motion-sensing camera designed for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console and Windows PCs that tracks users’ body movements and is capable of recognising voice commands. The technology first became available for Xbox users just under two years ago, with Microsoft heralding a new age of gameplay where “you are the controller”, seeing users flapping around their living-rooms like maniacs to control their video games.

While games that utilise Kinect well have been few and far between, it would seem that the technology, once intended as a competitor to Nintendo’s popular Wii console, could soon be changing disabled people’s lives for the better.

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After Three “Harassed” Doctors Leave, a 71-Year-Old Physician Enters to Lay Down the Law

After Three “Harassed” Doctors Leave, a 71-Year-Old Physician Enters to Lay Down the Law

This story probably isn’t coming to a theatre near you any time soon, but it certainly sounds like something straight out of a movie.

In the tiny village of Kamikoani, Akita prefecture, the sole medical practitioner has thrown her hands up and admitted defeat. Amid rumours of bullying and harassment, Dr. Ijiri has become the third doctor to hand in her notice in as many years. Previous GPs in the village reportedly left for similar reasons, and are quoted as saying that “the job was simply too much to bear” and that they were “slandered” by rumour and vicious talk amongst the townspeople.

But when word arrives that a 71-year-old specialist has decided to pick up the gauntlet, the tale takes an interesting turn…

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Bang Bang You’re Tongue-Tied! Stop Irritating Chatter with Gun that Jams Speech

Bang Bang You’re Tongue-Tied! Stop Irritating Chatter with Gun that Jams Speech

The best talkers are people who keep it short with something interesting to say. It is forgivable for someone to go on at great lengths if the content is captivating. But the worst talkers are those who drone on and on concerning the most boring, mundane topics.

As adults, we all have to put up with a certain amount of polite listening, even though we would really like to run out of the room screaming from boredom. You could probably get away with that in your personal life (although you might not have any friends left afterwards), but work related meetings are particularly querulous, where you have to listen to endless reports, where nothing is decided, and where all you want to do is get out of there, or at least take a nap.

Good news! There is a way to shut people up harmlessly and with the simple aim and fire technique of a gun. Wow! Read More

Japanese Shoppers Buying Tomato Juice Like There’s No Tomorrow, Or Like There’s A Fat Tomorrow

Japanese Shoppers Buying Tomato Juice Like There’s No Tomorrow, Or Like There’s A Fat Tomorrow

Supermarkets all across Japan have been struggling to keep up with demand for that barely-tolerated gritty beverage known as tomato juice.  This is the latest in an ongoing series of food fads many in the country believe to be effective in reducing weight like cabbage and bananas.

At the beginning of February one supermarket in Osaka had a well-stocked shelf of tomato juice daily, most likely catering to the odd person avoiding blood clots or making Bloody Marys.  However, on the weekend of February 10, hordes of shoppers descended on their supply of juice like so many locusts on a farm.  By the 14th, the staff was turning desperate dieters away as new shipments could not reach them in time.
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