Category Archives: News

Pregnant in Japan

Okay, so I’m not pregnant, but my wife is. We’ve never been through this before and all my expectations are built upon the little bit I happened to absorb (against my will) as I grew up. Though I’m so far away from “expert” on American childbearing that a karate teacher wouldn’t bother giving me a white belt, I’ve already found that traditions and expectations between the two countries are very different. A little background: My wife and I live on Kumejima,

Typhoon 1419 Vongfang

Tyhpoon Vongfang has been blowing its way through Okinawa this weekend. While the media has been hyping it as the strongest storm this year, the majority of the fury was spent over open seas. While there have been strong winds since early Friday morning, and Okinawa is still in the *red* zone, the danger has mostly passed since the typhoon has weakened to category 1. As for Kumejima, were all safe if still in lock-down. Unfortunately, the timing has led

A School Closing in Japan

What is the importance of a school? To small communities like the ones in rural Japan a school can be the very heart. In a land where the PTA has a far more visual and important role, the school acts as a focal point for community events and networking among parents, local government, and even the large population of elderly people not comprising many rural areas in Japan. The past two weeks marked a transition in Japan, with the financial

Automatic Driving Cars in Japan

We’re not talking about a new transmission, instead, think Knight Rider. On Kume Island, Denso Co. in partnership with NEC is developing a car that can drive automatically. This project is one of several as the town works to turn itself from agricultural outlyer to a fully renewable clean energy smart island. With a population declining by around 100 people per year, such initiatives are essential for dealing with a growing elderly population and creating new jobs so that young

2013 Year in Review

Happy New Years! Once again we have made it through another year. Thanks for sticking with MoreThingsJapanese. This past year a lot has changed for me and I’m sure some of it has been reflected on the blog. First off, I ended my time teaching English with the JET Programme (they have a five-year limit) in July. I began working for the Okinawa OTEC Demonstration Facility in August. I first wrote about OTEC without much in the way of knowledge

The End of JET- Five Years in Japan

First off, thank you for reading and being a part of More Things Japanese. I started this blog back in 2010 to put some of my experiences into writing. It’s move around a bit and I’ve changed my posting schedule a few times to keep up with shifting work related activities, so I appreciate you sticking with me.  It’s been a lot of work, but a lot of fun sharing my experiences. For the past 5 years I’ve been living

Two Summer Endings – The Last Sports Festivals

On Kume Island, the first semester of school is over and students are on summer vacation.  For two of those schools it is the very last summer they will be open.  Due to rural depopulation both schools will close, with a ‘new’ school opening next April.  The unfortunate thing about the schools’ closing is the chance that local traditions and culture will be lost.  On this ancient island, each area has its own traditions that have become entwined with school

Okinawa OTEC Power Initialization Ceremony

Update: You can now find out more information on OTEC on Kume Island at the official site OTECOkinawa.com June 16th marked the beginning of power generation at Kume Island‘s Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Power Plant with a ceremony and visiting dignitaries from around Japan and the world.  The newly completed OTEC power plant will be able to generate up to 50 kilowatts of electricity from a thermal expansion turbine.  The turbine is propelled by temperature variations provided by warm surface

Samurai Awakening wins the Crystal Kite Award

When I moved to Japan, nearly every day was full of new experiences, wonderful people, and rich culture I didn’t want to keep to myself.  In addition to this blog, I began writing my first novel, initially titled True Samurai.  Like many projects, it evolved and grew with the input and help of friends, family and eventually Tuttle Publishing.  After nearly three years, I was finally able to hold Samurai Awakening in my hands last October. The book industry is a vast space full

Magnesium Light – A Clean, Green Lightsource

Have you ever heard of an Mg Battery? Magnesium is a common element, in fact it’s even the 8th most common element.  When made into small particles, it burns with a bright light, is very light, and is easily recycled. Magnesium can also be obtained from seawater.  Recently, the Okinawa Deep Sea Water Research Institute completed the creation of an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion power plant.  That plant uses mineral-rich cold water from deep in the ocean to drive an

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