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Save Energy and Earn Points - Kyoto Eco-Action Points Program Starts

Eco Action Points

The model Kyoto Eco-Action Points program started in October 2008. As part of this project, Kyoto Carbon Dioxide Reduction Bank (committee for environmentally friendly activities in Kyoto) issues Eco-Action Points based on the amount of CO2 reduced in the central elements of domestic energy consumption, such as the use of electricity and gas. These points can be used as shopping credits at participating stores. This is the first such system in Japan, and it aims to drastically reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the domestic sector.

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Japan for Sustainability • Monday March 9, 2009 • TrendsAdd Comment

省エネと太陽エネルギー利用でポイント 京都でモデル事業スタート

Eco Action Points

「京都エコポイントモデル事業」が2008年10月よりスタートした。電力、ガスといった家庭のエネルギー消費の中心をなす部門について、CO2排出削減量に応じたエコ・アクション・ポイントを「京都CO2削減バンク(京都環境動促進協議会)」が発行し、協力店舗などで利用可能とすることにより、家庭でのエネルギー消費・CO2排出量の大きな削減を目指すもので、日本初の仕組み。

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ジャパン・フォー・サステナビリティ • Monday March 9, 2009 • Trendsコメントをどうぞ

Masks Attack Japanese Cities

Japanese Flu Masks

These white strips of cloth obscuring your fellow commuters’ faces have long been a common way to ward off influenza and hay fever, but their popularity is soaring higher than ever this winter because of frequent reports about an outbreak of a new type of flu.

“The media have been repeatedly giving a warning of a new type of influenza outbreak, so people may have thought they should store some masks and use a mask more often,” said Yukihiro Hosoe, manager of the advertising and marketing strategy department at Kowa Co., Japan’s leading health care product company.

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The Japan Times • Friday February 27, 2009 • TrendsAdd Comment

Japan’s Fearless Women Speculators

Photo of Japanese Currency (10,000 Yen)

Nakako Ishiyama sits quietly in the living room of her apartment in the old Nihonbashi quarter of Tokyo, not far from its famous stone bridge – the point from which, in Edo times, all distances in Japan were measured. The neighbourhood was once part of the city’s financial district, and Ishiyama’s flat is strolling distance from the Bank of Japan, the venerable institution that controls the amount of yen in circulation and, via the interest rate it sets, the cost of money.

Ishiyama serves green tea and autumn chestnut biscuits. She has been telling me about her investment history since around 2000 – the time, not coincidentally, when the Bank of Japan first pushed interest rates down to within a hair’s breadth of zero. Largely without the knowledge of her husband, Ishiyama began investing the couple’s money, mainly in lots of around $50,000. And didn’t stop. Each fund in which she entrusted their retirement nest egg – or toranoko, “tiger’s cub”, in Japanese – has a more elaborate name than the last. As she lists each one she invariably adds as a suffix the words nantoka nantoka – “something or other” or “thingamajig”. It is not altogether reassuring.

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Financial Times • Monday February 23, 2009 • TrendsAdd Comment

Japanese Toy Travels Back in Time

Bandai Showa Ginza Diorama

The past few years, Japan has embarked on a nostalgic trip back to the Showa Era (1926-1989). People conveniently forget the terrors and destruction of war, debilitating poverty, discrimination of minorities and the high crime rates of this period, and instead focus on an imagined utopia. Most of the nostalgia has expressed itself in books and movies, but toys are increasingly traveling back in time as well.

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• Thursday February 12, 2009 • TrendsAdd Comment

Will Japanese Men Start Giving Chocolate on Valentine's Day?

Gyaku Choco

Since the custom of giving chocolate on Valentine’s Day was first promoted in Japan in the 1960s, it has always been the women who have been doing the giving. Usually to men they are clearly not in love with, like a boss or a male colleague. Men get their chance to return the favor on the later invented White Day, held on March 14th. Now confectionery giant Morinaga believes that men are ready to initiate the gift exchange.

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• Sunday February 1, 2009 • TrendsAdd Comment [2]

Japanese Manga Museum Attracts Half a Million Visitors

It is frightfully quiet in the former elementary school in the historical town of Kyoto. Yet the corridors and former classrooms are crowded with people. Some one hundred men and women from young to old, sit, stand and lay reading manga. This is the Kyoto International Manga Museum and it is incredibly popular. Only two years old, the museum has already welcomed half a million visitors.

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• Friday January 30, 2009 • TrendsAdd Comment