All posts by blogsonjapan

Realising smart cities in ASEAN

Author: Phidel Vineles, RSIS

Rapid urbanisation poses concerning implications across ASEAN by straining infrastructure, raising inequality and compromising public safety. If ASEAN is to overcome these obstacles, it needs to make greater use of technology. While the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN), already with 26 pilot cities, is a step in the right direction, a few flaws in its plan need attention.

A view of the Nanyang Technological University campus in Singapore 2 August 2016 (Photo: ReutersEUTERS/Edgar Su).

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Rapid urbanisation is occurring throughout ASEAN with an additional 90 million people expected to move into cities across the region by 2030. Most of this growth is expected in medium-sized cities with populations of between 200,000 and two million. These cities are projected to drive 40 per cent of the region’s growth.

It is then crucial to adopt ‘smart’ technologies to address the increasing challenges of urban development, including traffic congestion, pollution and strained infrastructure. The establishment of the ASCN, an initiative of Singapore for its 2018 ASEAN chairmanship, gives ASEAN member states leeway to adopt a cities-level mechanism for achieving next generation urban settings.

The ASCN framework was developed as a non-binding guide to facilitate smart city development in each ASCN city. It consists of three strategic objectives: competitive economies, sustainable environments and higher quality of life. Smart cities help economies become competitive by leveraging innovation and entrepreneurship, helping to generate business and job opportunities. They also promote sustainable environments by employing sustainable green technology …continue reading


Golden Week 2019: Make the Most of This Year’s Super-Sized Break

Source: Gaijin Pot

The term “once in a lifetime” gets overused, to the point where the meaning can be lost. However, at the end of next month, an event that truly is a once in a generation event is scheduled to take place.

After three decades of hard work promoting Japan to the wider world, Emperor Akihito is going to retire. His son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will replace him and become the new Emperor of Japan. This is the first time in centuries that such an occurrence has taken place. The last time this happened was in 1817, when Emperor Kokaku abdicated.

Typically, as was the case with Emperor Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, the monarch’s term does not end until he dies. However, whatever your views on monarchies or hereditary privilege, almost everyone agrees that after 30 years of rule, the current Emperor and his wife have earned a peaceful retirement.

There is still some confusion as to the effect this will have on the Japanese calendar since eras (and therefore dates) are named after the sitting monarch. Currently, Akihito’s reign is known as the Heisei era and yearly dates according to the Japanese calendar would be numbered accordingly — for example, the current year (2019) is Heisei 31. The word heisei comes from ancient texts referencing the Chinese Emperor Shun and is said to mean “universal peace.”

Crown Prince Naruhito’s coronation will see the beginning of a brand new era and a reset of the traditional Japanese calendar. No announcement has yet been made as to what this new era will be called — much to the chagrin of bureaucrats and calendar publishers across Japan. For us mere peasants, though, that means a long holiday — a truly unprecedented one.

The ceremony to welcome in our new emperor has lead to this year’s Golden Week being rebranded …continue reading


Naked Japanese

Guest post by Akita Ben Well, wish I could say I’ve been too busy enjoying life in Japan to write any updates, but that depends on whether you consider spending the better part of February binge-watching The Sopranos as being busy. Or Japan. Nothing like watching an American drama about Italians to make one really …

“Naked Japanese”

The post Naked Japanese appeared first on Japanese Rule of 7.

…continue reading


Odawara: Where The Samurai Spirit Is Still Very Much Alive

Warring clans, formidable fortresses and samurai warlords laying down their lives for their people – Odawara is a city that has seen it all. Today, you can experience the sense of adventure of the samurai without meeting a violent end by visiting Tokyo’s closest castle town. Situated between the Hakone mountains and the Pacific Ocean, visitors are drawn to Odawara for its impressive castle and fascinating history. Once there, expect to be won over by its attractive shopping streets, beautiful castle park and warm atmosphere.

Odawara’s famous Odawara Castle in summer. Photo: JNTO.

Odawara: Formerly a battle city, today a sightseeing paradise

As far back as the Kamakura era (1185–1333), Odawara was a local political center, thanks partly to its tactically advantageous location. A castle was built on the hill in mid-15th Century, and the city became an economic and cultural hub. During the Sengoku period (1467–1600), when Japan was almost constantly in a state of civil war, the castle surrendered to the notorious feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi after a three-month siege, despite its strong defenses. Remnants of this tumultuous military history can still be found across both the castle and the town today, which is part of what makes Odawara such an interesting day out.

Today, as, I recently came to learn, Odawara is a peaceful sightseeing paradise.

I was recently invited to take part in a day tour around the city organized by Ellista Local Tours, which offered a fun and informative tour of Odawara and gives you insights that you would simply not get on your own. The tour begins at Odawara station with some local street food. As a seaside town, Odawara takes pride in its seafood and so the ebi-age comes recommended.

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Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Episode 11 Impression

Source: Supaku Blog

On this episode, Naofumi and his allies faces against the upcoming wave. Later, they fight against the wave’s boss.

So it was awesome to see Naofumi engage the wave and reveal his abilities to other people. Also, the action scenes was just plain fantastic. Other than that, they didn’t skip any important details from the original story once again and the cliffhanger timing is good. Now what will happen next for our male lead during the wave? I’ll be looking forward to it. Overall, awesome fight scenes and some twists.

Conclusion: Awesome fight scenes and some twists. …continue reading