All posts by blogsonjapan

Nostalgic goods from 30 years ago

hawthorne vintage lamps & furnishings

There’s been a good number of these surveys from goo Ranking looking at nostalgia, with this one being for goods from the Showa Era, from post-war to 30 years ago.

I remember these rocket pencil things; I didn’t think much of them then, but I’d forgotten all about them until seeing this list. My wife’s parents still have a dial telephone (hmm, is it dial or is it push-button but in a standard Bakelite form factor?) complete with cover – ah, that explains why I cannot recall the dial as it’s always covered! I also had a couple of these water games, but I cannot for the life of me remember what the English name for it was.

This might be art, or perhaps just someone got angry after one too many tapes got eaten by their Walkman:

Research results

Q: What goods from the Showa Era do you feel nostalgic about? (Sample size=500, multiple answer)

Rank Votes
1 Cassette tape 153
2 Cassette tape Walkman 133
3 Dial telephone 120
4 Floppy disk 119
5= Print gocco (home rubber stamp-based printing set) 118
5= Kinnikuman eraser 118
7 Rocket pencil (non-sharpening pencil) 114
8 Dakko-chan doll 104
9 Telephone cosy (usually knitted or crocheted cover for a standard black phone) 95
10 Word processor 94
11 Twin tub washing machine 93
12 Laughing bag 85
13= Sock touch, glue to hold up socks 83
13= Flypaper 83
15 Laserdisk 82
16 Soap paper 81
17 Pennant 80
18 American cracker (clackers) 79
19 Star sand (tiny star-shaped coral) 77
20 Drinking bird 70
21 Aluminium bento lunch box 66
22 BB (ball bearing) pellets (for air gun) 64
23 Merbromin liquid (red anti-septic liquid) 62
24 Sonosheet (flexidisk) 61
25 VHS 56
26= Pogo stick 55
26= Bear carving 55
28 Milk delivery box 53
29 Cylindrical post box 51
30 France doll 48
31 Advertising balloon 47
32 Music box-style telephone table 40
33 Tablecloth 37
34= Roulette-style fortune teller 35
34= Strawberry spoon (spoon with flat bottom for squashing strawberries, etc) 35
36 Scented balls (for clothes drawers, etc) 34
37= Shippokudai (low round table) 33
37= Bead curtain 33
39= Aluminium ice cube tray 18
39= Water game 18
39= Ban ban ball 18
42 Mamehon key holder (tiny books on key holders) 15
43 Dream catcher 13
44 Other 9


goo Rankings asked iBRIDGE’s Research Plus to conduct this survey, where on the 24th of April 2018 500 members, 50:50 male and female and aged between 30 and 59 years old, of their monitor group …continue reading


Life insurers’ asset allocation numbers make welcome return


The Life Insurance Association of Japan’s statistical team has come good and is not only just about back on schedule with its regular asset allocation numbers but has also caught up on the seven months missing since August last year.

The picture revealed by the 31 March 2018 figures is not much different from that at the end of June last year. The shifts since then are broadly attributable to changes in market prices, thus reinforcing the idea that the big life cos are, for the moment at least, content with the shape of their portfolios.

The same is true once the the holdings of the mighty Japan Post Insurance are removed and neither set of figures yet shows any of the much forecast shift into private equity.

For Reuters’ survey of how the giants saw their likely alloca-tion actions in the half year which started on 1 October last year see archive 2017 -11-2.

For the full report Japan Post Insurance’s result for the year ending 31 March 2018, referenced above, see archive 2018-5-18 and here.

© 2018 Japan Pensions Industry Database/Jo McBride. Reporting on, and analysis of, the secretive business of Japanese institutional investment takes big commitments of money and time. This blog is one of the products of such commitment. It may nonetheless be reproduced or used as a source without charge so long as (but only so long as) the use is credited to and a link provided to the original text on that site.

This blog would not exist without the help and humour of Diane Stormont, 1959-2012

…continue reading


Global economic uncertainty and Japan’s leadership in the Asia Pacific

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

Japan has found itself assuming new and unusual leadership responsibilities in the Asia Pacific as it deals with the rise of protectionism in the United States and parts of Europe. Japan has led the way in holding the line on the global economic rules-based order, through pressing conclusion of the Asia Pacific’s first mega-regional trade agreement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and initiating the EU–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at their trilateral summit with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not in picture) at Akasaka Palace state guest house in Tokyo, Japan on 9 May 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

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The current US administration’s America First agenda is a dramatic departure from the US leadership of a multilateral order that has been the norm for over 70 years. That order defines the rules of trade and economic exchange between countries that have signed on to it through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international institutions and underpinned the growth in Asian economic relations and prosperity.

Economic relations between Japan and China have prospered hugely despite the ups and downs of their political relations because of both countries’ adherence to the rules of the WTO. Economic relations would unravel all over Asia if confidence in the WTO-led, rules-based order was undermined. Trade disputes, like that between Japan and China over rare earth metals in …continue reading


Jalan Jalan (1): Introducing the Summer Walk Series

Walking with my camera(s) is one of my most favorite activities. It’s a form of joyous and holistic meditation – good for the mind (walking out the stress; letting one’s mind wander) and body (good exercise; but don’t forget the sunscreen…).

During my fieldwork in Bali I found I needed time to myself so I started to take an early evening walk. My Balinese friends called it jalan jalan and jokingly translated it as “walking for nothing.”

When walking for nothing one sees things that might be otherwise ignored. It is fun to record such observations with photography.

So here I introduce a new feature on VAOJ, Jalan Jalan: the Summer Walk Series. See (some of) the things I notice and record on my morning walks in my Kansai neighborhood.

Sometimes there might be themes to the photos and sometimes there might be more abstract (weird) photos similar to previously posted ones that have been referred to as untitled, くわしく (details), random and/or accidental. If nothing else it’s an excuse to explore my neighborhood again and play with my new cameras… Yoroshiku!

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What are the reasons behind the decrease in solar module prices?

What are the reasons behind the decrease in solar module prices?

The solar photovoltaic energy market has seen huge growth in recent years. Unlike solar thermal energy, which harnesses heat from sunlight to generate electricity, solar photovoltaics or PV is a technology that converts sunlight directly into electricity. The annual worldwide solar PV electricity production increased from 4 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2005 to 247 TWh in 2015 (IEA 2017). In 2016, cumulative solar PV generated over 310 TWh, 26% higher than in 2015 and representing just over 1% of global power output. Moreover, the accumulated solar electricity plant capacity grew from 101 gigawatts in 2012 to 368 gigawatts in 2017 (Figure 1). One of the key drivers behind this growth is the reduction in solar module prices. Over the next five years, Solar PV is expected to lead renewable electricity capacity growth, expanding by almost 440 gigawatts.

Figure 1. Worldwide growth in cumulative capacity of solar photovoltaics from 1992 to 2017

Figure 1. Worldwide growth in cumulative capacity of solar photovoltaics from 1992 to 2017

Note: Cumulative capacity of solar photovoltaics from 1992 to 2017 in megawatts.
Source: Created by writers using data collected from Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2016–2020, Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2015–2019, Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2014–2018, and Snapshot of Global PV 1992–2014.

Solar modules are the main component of solar photovoltaic systems. A solar module is composed of solar cells, which are small electronic devices that convert sunlight into electricity. A study by Kimura and Zissler (2016) shows that module cost makes up about 30–40% of the system cost in Japan and 50% in Germany. This suggests that the price of solar modules plays a large role in solar PV system development.

The price of solar modules has seen a huge drop worldwide in …continue reading