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Yearly Archives: 2013

Two years later

About 160,000 people were evacuated from the region surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the meltdown two years ago. There is still no clear indication of when it might be safe for them to move back home, and elderly evacuees are now having to face the possibility that they may never get the chance. Meanwhile, it seems like the Japanese government will soon have to bow to economic necessity and restart the reactors that were shut down in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Engineers now have a much clearer idea of how to prepare for the next major earthquake. Hopefully this time they will get it right. This TV news report from inside the Fukushima exclusion zone is interesting, but in some places it tends towards blatant scaremongering rather than balanced journalism. In other news, The Atlantic has published a series of photos showing how Japanese towns and cities have recovered since the tsunami two years ago. It’s clear that there’s still an awful lot of rebuilding still to be done.

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Six months in Kyoto

Flickr user franksvalli has uploaded a lovely set of photos taken in Japan (mostly in and around Kyoto) over the last 6 months.

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2013: Year of the Snake

As you may know, 2013 is the Year of the Snake (hebi-doshi; 巳年). The Chinese new year isn’t until February, but the Japanese always celebrate the new year on January 1st. This year is also year 25 of the Heisei era (平成25年) in the older calendar system (still used today) where years are numbered from the accession of the current emperor Someone has uploaded a video to YouTube showing how to draw a snake with a single brush stroke. It’s really quite impressive. Take a look at this: And here’s a great video from last year where the same technique is used to draw a dragon’s tail:

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Icon font

A Japanese designer called Yūgo Kajiwara (梶原勇吾) of Creative Studio Condense has just released an icon font called CONDENSEicon that looks like it would be quite useful for web application developers and web designers. The font is available in TrueType, OpenType, WOFF and EOT formats, so it can easily be embedded in web pages. Best of all, it’s freeware. Here’s the licence text: 営利、非営利問わず自由に使用できます。但し、再配布は禁止しています。また、使用上のトラブルに関しては、全て無保証とさせていただきます。 And here’s an English translation: This font is free for personal and commercial use, but may not be redistributed. There is absolutely no warranty that use of this font will be error-free.

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Header image: Snow covers the golden pavillion at Kinkakuji (金閣寺), a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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