Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Five Random Things on Japan 5

1. Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a 93 year old Japanese man, has been certified as a survivor of both the atomic bomb blast at Hiroshima and the bomb blast at Nagasaki. He had been on a business trip to Hiroshima, survived with burns to his upper body, and then went to his home in Nagasaki arriving shortly before the atomic bomb did.

2. Researcher Yoshiko Taya, designed clothing that kills bacteria, absorb water, insulate the body and dry quickly -called J-ware. Japanese astronaut Takao Doi gave the clothes a trial run during a shuttle mission last year and even after a workout, his clothing remained dry.

3. Capsule hotel - A product of the 1980's (technically the first one was thought to have opened in 1979 but that's close enough to the eighties) capsule hotels are extremely miniature hotels. Each consists of aisles of small rooms, roughly six feet long, three feet wide, and three feet high, stacked one on top of the other made of heat-resistant molded plastic or fiberglass. Each room is floored with a mattress and includes a TV set, radio, light and clock. A ladder built into the wall is used to climb into rooms that are off the floor. Lockers and shower facilities are provided, most have restaurants or vending machines, and some have pools and/or saunas. The size of these hotels vary widely, some having only fifty or so capsules and others have hundreds. These are mostly used by men, primarily business men who missed the train/bus/working in the area for a few days/overly long commute, etc., though some have rooms reserved for women or only accept women. People also rent these rooms to take small naps. Eating, drinking and smoking are not allowed in the rooms. The primary appeal of these hotel rooms is price, they are much cheaper than regular hotels or even most taxi trips (taxi's are expensive in Japan, particularly in Tokyo)

4. Land is expensive in Japan particularly in Tokyo and Osaka. When I say expensive I mean expensive, those two cities are the most expensive cities on the planet, go anywhere and it is cheaper. Though land is not expensive everywhere in Japan. The most common excuses for the high costs is that Japan is that it is a crowded country, which is true, nearly half the U.S. population in a land space that's a bit smaller than California. That is not the real reason that land is so expensive though. This site: Why are the prices in Japan so damn high??? explains in some detail the real reasons that the prices are so high.

5. In Tokyo, 2006, the price per foot of land (just the land not the buildings on the land) was $11,710; during the early 1990's the price had reached nearly $33,000 per square foot. Since the price of land is so very high the Japanese have maximized the use of it and built some very tall, thin buildings, which I find to be pretty interesting and would not want to be in. I'm not claustrophobic but some of the buildings would make me. This site: 20 thin buildings in Japan, where I got the two pictures below from, has some pretty interesting looking buildings. For an interior view gizmodo has one.

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