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2016/06/28

Chaser (to speak of liquor)

This time I’d like to share some information in between my series.

Here in Gunma Prefecture we have a prefectural original rice that is suitable for sake called “Maikaze.”

Maikaze is a sake bound rice developed by the group effort of the Gunma Prefecture Brewing Union and the Gunma Prefecture Industrial Technology Center.

This sake suitable rice was trademarked in 2011 and is being used 100% at 18 different breweries each with their own flavor and label in competition with one another.

On display at the Gunma Prefecture Industrial Technology Center:

In the Japanese Die Casting industry the aluminum alloy ADC12 is used at a rate of over 90%(based on mass).

Just as with sake bound rice (a raw material), the way in which it is used (mold design, settings), the environment it’s used in (the facilities of different companies), many different flavors (castings), can be produced, just like die casting.

I carelessly replace things with thoughts of die casting...

I was planning to write this article after I had a chance to taste several different sakes that use Maikaze, but I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve not been getting enough alcohol.

Like a habit-forming flavor, interesting enough to try again, I hope to continue developing as a person.

From Jyoushin Electric Railside Resident

2016/06/20

The not so scary Endoscope

A few days ago I went in for an adult medical examination and swallowed a flexible endoscope (stomach camera). Endoscopes make people think of gagging, internal irritation, the no fun preliminary treatment, and other negative attitudes, but for me it’s fun that I look forward to.

In my younger days with a different company I was engaged in the development of endoscope technology. For the stance of a developer it was not only how to take better pictures and improve operability, but also how to keep patients as comfortable as possible.

However, regardless of how much I might have been serious about development, it wasn’t easy to understand why some people suffer through diagnostic endoscopy. That’s because diagnostic endoscopy is a medical procedure and can only be performed by a certified doctor. Having said that going to the doctor and asking them to let you swallow an endoscope when there is nothing wrong with you doesn’t make any sense so it was an experience I had long awaited for.

My first diagnostic endoscopy was in my late twenties when excessive stress had given me recurring stomach problems which led to my doctor suggesting I undergo endoscopy. My first impression was something akin to “ah, now I understand.” I gagged more than a few times. My eyes were steadily tearing. Even though I was suffering all I could do was bite on the mouthpiece.

However, what I remember most about the examination was how I was able to watch the video feed of the camera as it went inside me, and see for myself that regardless of my recent intestinal upsets, the interior of my stomach was clean and clear with absolutely no problems.

Several years later, now over 35, I undergo diagnostic endoscopy annually.

This brings me to two points:

1. The gagging sensation is only for a moment caused by the pharynx. If you don’t do it too strongly you can swallow surprisingly smoothly.

2. If you know what is going on the way you feel about everything changes dramatically. Before the interior inspection of the stomach begins any fluids are sucked out causing the stomach to shrink. During the inspection air is blown into the stomach which makes it feel a little bloated and causes you to burp quite naturally. To be able to inspect all the way to the duodenum the endoscope gets pushed further in and is capable of rotating left, right, up, and down, but must be operated from the handle. Of course, because it crawls through the stomach anywhere it touches will create a feeling of pressure or bloating. At the end, in order to properly view the cardia, or entrance to the stomach, the camera gets moved around 180 degrees, the air is pumped back out, and the esophagus gets inspected on the way back out.

If you go into an endoscopy with no prior knowledge of what to expect it’s just unpleasant and should really be looked into before undergoing.

Above all else, being able to clearly see the inside of your stomach first hand, for only a few minutes of discomfort, is not necessarily “cost-effective,” but perhaps “pain-effective,” in a big way.

By the way, this time around I didn’t gag at all, intentionally relaxing my body, and had an overall easy examination.

Currently, now that I’m no longer on the side of development or a hospital, it feels like they try only to appeal the process as “painless.” I wish they would explain why the process feels the way it does at different stages and say “it hurts a little but we get to look directly at the inside of your body,” instead of just saying “it’s painless,” so that we can change the negative image of diagnostic endoscopy into something people are much more willing to take part in.

From Naotyn@Endoscopic Cheer Team

2016/06/10

Time and Location

imagining the fourth dimension

Everything we see and touch is made from waves of vibrating energy. Even the atoms that make up our bodies are made with vibrating energy that we call “strings.”

Strings create everything in the universe by changing shape and vibration. Water, gold, an apple, everything is created by these wavering strings. But did you know that strings are believed to actually vibrate in 11 or more dimensions.

In die casting we talk a lot about the 3 physical dimensions, horizontal(x), vertical(y), and depth(z). In daily life we talk a lot about the fourth dimension time(t). These four dimensions can be considered variables that apply to all objects. In order for an apple to exist in our universe it must have a location (x, y, z) and a time(t), such as my hand, right now.

We’re very used to observing changes in location. When we move an apple from our hand to our mouth we know that the location of the apple has changed. We are not however very good at witnessing the movement of time. Our brains are built to only recognize one point in time that we call “now.” It is always now, no matter when you check. Earlier and later can only be thought of in the now. Time is however a variable just the same as location. In other words time is not set, it actually exists all at once, though we perceive ourselves as moving through it.

The past, the present, and the future, all coexist and are simply variations in the time(t) variable, which our brains perceive one slice at a time. If we were able to change the strings of our body vibrating as “now,” to say next Thursday, we would begin experiencing next Thursday, as it is actually happening right now, our brains just can’t perceive it.

imagining the fifth dimension

Thinking of time as a dimension(past, present, and future), not just a point (now), requires thinking in the 4th dimension. But as I said earlier there are actually 11 or more dimensions. The fifth dimension considers any x, y, z, and t as a single point on its scale, thus moving around in the fifth dimension means exploring different choices of your life. If you ate an apple this morning when you could have eaten a pear, in the fifth dimension there will be a you that ate the apple, a you that ate the pear, and billions of other versions of you doing different things. The sixth dimension would connect these different version of you letting you go from eating an apple to eating a pear just by changing your “location” in the sixth dimension. And so on and so on.

A “Time Machine” is thus both possible, and impossible. We could create something to change our current perception of time, but it would not be going backwards or forwards, it would simply be moving to another time that already is.

Sounds crazy, but that’s physics!

From Postman

2016/06/02

Trigger

Have you been watching “Sanada Maru,” the NHK dramatic saga? Already we’ve reached the middle of the story where Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s world is taking on solidity. Not far off now the Siege of Odawara will begin.

Gunma prefecture is a central location in many dramas such as “Yae no Sakura,” “Hana Moyu,” Sanada Maru,” which makes me very interested in how the locations will be depicted.

Around 50km north of Takasaki along National Highway 17 in Minakami-village is Nagurumi Castle. It wasn’t a very big castle, more like a mansion, though at present none of the building remains. This castle Japanese Mountain Castle is said to have fortified Sanada Masayuki.

To the North is the Akaya River, to the East the Tone River. On the plateau, like a small peninsula, the land stretches vertically northward. The cliff edges drop around 50m. The South side has a small plateau, with the rest surrounded by the mountains. It is from here that Sanada Masayuki planned to capture Numata Castle, which according to records he did. Thus this small castle is said to have triggered a great change in the course of history.

In 1589, when this castle stood in Sanada clan territory, a vassal of the Hojo clan, it is recorded that Inomata Kuninori took control of the castle in the Nagurumi Castle Incident. This move angered Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who in the next year ordered the Siege of Odawara. This led to the end of the Hojo Clan.

With the completion of the Siege of Odawara the age of civil war came to an end.

The confrontations of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Hojo clan.

Osaka and Odawara, amidst the wars these conflicts may not seem important, but in fact they had a heavy impact.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this lesser known conflict will be depicted in “Sanada Maru.”

I’ll be watching the drama with high hopes.

From No.258

2016/05/27

Things with form are things that break 2

It’s already been half a year since I took apart my Aprilia’s engine. “The time has come,” I say to her, taking the cover sheet off with its five months’ worth of dust.

A vehicle already in pieces! I now have no memory of what screw goes where. I turn the engine into cylinders and pistons and the malfunction becomes clear. This is it. Seizing due to scratches was my prognosis from the outside, but opening it up I find the cylinder was galling, with lots of tiny pieces pulverized inside.

Alright, let’s see if she’ll start after swapping in the used parts I bought for her. I finish setting the engine back together, add some radiator fluid and gas into the tanks. Of course the battery is dead so I give it a jump from my small truck.

OK! I turn on the ignition and turn the cell. After a few cranks my Aprilia comes back to life. The moment the engine wakes up, ”paran! pa, pa, pa, paa,” my weariness disappears. I drive her once around the neighbor to be sure that all is well, and the reassemble the exterior.

The next day I drive her around until my eyelids refuse to stay open any longer.

Returning home I spot a black stain under the Aprilia. Ah great, now the mission oil is leaking. “Hey you. Not ready to let me go bored yet huh.”

My journey looks to continue for a while yet.

From Pumping both Wheels

2016/05/24

A Takasaki exclusive item

Have you started feeling tired as the days get hotter? I would like to introduce a gourmet stamina dish perfect for people feeling this struggling with the heat.

The Japanese-beef (wagyuu) bento for sale on the basement floor of the representing Departmenet store of Takasaki “Suzuran,” comes from the “Sukiya: Suzuran Department Store Takasaki Branch” which has only been open for two months.

“Sukiya” has 1,970 branches throughout Japan, but only the Suzuran Department Store Takasaki Branch offers this special bento.

The price is an amazing \1080! Compared to their normal beef bowl which is only \370, making it almost 3 times the price, but for Japanese-beef it’s quite reasonable. The beef topping the bento is Gunma-raised black-haired Japanese beef, with sweetened omelet, balled konjac, pickled roots, a nice array of famous Gunma grown edibles.

Bentos are generally for take-out, yet this bento can also be enjoyed within the restaurant.

I rushed out and tried one for myself, and as expected the beef was very soft with a clean delicious flavor.

Takasaki exclusive! Get out and try Sukiya’s “Japanese-beef bento. ”

From Aqua

2016/05/16

A local western restaurant

Isn't food just wonderful.

An update from me who finds happiness in delicious food.

This time I would like to introduce a stew shop in Maebashi called “Flower Cabbage” or “Hana Kyabetsu.” Their stewed items, such as curry rice, beef stew, hashed beef, and rolled cabbage, are all high on my list of recommendations. Imagine an elderly couple cutting vegetables in a western style kitchen and you’ll get an image of what it’s like. The visible time and effort that goes into their slow food makes for a great atmosphere.

This time I’d like to talk up their luxurious rolled cabbage.

The rolled cabbage has a light tomato flavor to it. There are two rolls stuffed full of meat and politely stewed potatoes, carrots, and broccoli. The juiciness of the meat combined with the lite sour of the tomatoes makes for a dish that I’d like to eat to no end.

With such a special atmosphere the restaurant is great for dates. It is my hope that you can enjoy a wonderful meal wrapped is a tasty and gentle environment.

From Creampuff Fingers

2016/05/09

Sleeping book revival series #2

“DREAM TERMINAL Touyoko Line Shibuya Terminal Memorial Photo Album”

Author: Nakai Seiya

Published: March 15, 2013

On March 16th of 2013 the Toukyuu Touyoko Line’s Shibuya Terminal was moved underground, leaving behind a photo album of its roll above ground and the people that passed through. The album is filled with the memories and dreams carried by its many passengers as a farewell gift to its past location.

When I went to grab the album I was able to sit in on a talk being given by the author Mr. Nakai Seiya who then went on to sign books after the talk. The reason I was interested in buying a copy is because of my personal past with the Touyoko Line which I used to use on my way to school and work. I feel as if I’ve gained something full of nostalgia and memories now that I'm far (?) away here in Gunma.

Thinking back, I can remember riding back and forth from Shibuya to Sakuragicyou Station after drinking all night to try and wear off my sleepiness, eventually getting off at Hie Station. During my daily commute between Hie and Shibuya I learned how to stand in a fully loaded train. I even have memories of getting so used to the pack commute that I could fall asleep pressed between all of the other passengers. The more I think about it the more memories flash before my eyes.

Alas, during the recent extended vacation I visited my parent’s house via train. En route we happened to pass through Toukyuu Corporation’s Rail Yard which used to be the Sumiyoshi Train Inspection District. After the timetable revision in March 2013, many different lines began to merge into one another along with an increase in the styles of train, yet remembering back to those times I would always get a little excited whenever I saw a red colored train.

Rather than talk about the book I ended up talking about my own experiences with the Touyoko Line, though I hope those red trains last forever.

Here is the sign I received from Mr. Nakai Seiya

From Jyoushin Electric Railside Resident

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