The models of the lingery company Triumph during the launch of their bra to help the Japanese people achieve a target inflation of 2%. They call it “Branomics” = “Bra” + “Economics”
This economic policy is popularly known as Abenomics = “Abe + Economics” and is composed of three arrows “3本の矢”. There is a Japanese proverb that says “three arrows can’t be broken” 三本の矢なら折れない.
The three arrows of Abenomics:
1.- Quantitative Easing (量的金融緩和): the BOJ (Bank of Japan) leaves the interest rates near 0% and makes the money flow to commercial banks to create excess liquidity with the objective of promoting lending. With this objective, the BOJ is buying government bonds and Asset Backed Securities. The objective over the next years is to double the amount of money in circulation and as a consequence reach a 2% inflation target. Another consequence is that the yen has been depreciating fast against other currencies since the Abenomics measures started to be implemented.
2.- Fiscal policies to stimulate demand: investment in public works and renovation of infrastructure which is older than 50 years (built shortly after the Second World War) and fiscal deductions to companies that invest in R&D, that hire more employees, that pay higher salaries, that buy new equipment, etc. These measures aim to achieve an increase of investments, create jobs and increase salaries.
3.- Deregulations and creation of sustainable growth: of the three Abenomics arrows, this one is the arrow that is least concrete. As of now, there is a group of experts (mainly CEOs of large, medium and small companies) that will propose measures to the government over the next few years. This arrow includes plans to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new free-trade agreement between countries in the Asia-Pacific region that would help Japanese companies export more.
The Triumph ladies wearing “Branomics”, holding two bows and with three abenomics arrows stuck to their stomachs.
The three Abenomics arrows follow ideas started by Keynes and whose most famous exponent nowadays is Paul Krugman. Some people say that it will work, but others say that it will end in a catastrophe because the future Japanese population will not be able to withstand an even higher debt although they can finance themselves emitting bonds in their own currency. As of now the negative consequences of Abenomics are an increase of the debt, a VAT increase from 5% to 10% (in 2015) and the depreciation of the yen (positive for exports). Another possible negative consequence is that inequalities in wealth distribution may increase.
For the moment it seems like prices in supermarkets are stable (we still haven’t noticed signs of inflation) but the Nikkei 225 index has started to notice the effects of Abenomics after several years of stagnation and it has risen more than 40% in 2013:
The good news for all those of you who plan to visit Japan this Summer is that according to a popular theory when the economy is going well the skirts length decreases (Skirt length theory). On the other hand when things go sour the economic situation affects women’s moods which decide to wear longer skirts. This theory is better explained in this CNN video:
“When the Nikkei is below 9,000 we wear long skirts, when it’s between 10,000 and 11,000 we wear knee-length skirts and when it is above 11,000 we wear miniskirts”
A team of researchers lead by Yukiyasu Kamitani has been able to decipher the contents of the dreams of three people.
To be able to achieve this feat, first they had to collect the data of the dreams of three volunteers by using fMRI and EGG/EOG/EMG/ECG scanners while they were sleeping and also while they were awake. They also wrote down the impressions of each volunteer after waking up, what they said they had been dreaming about. Next, they proceeded to classify as visual the dreams with at least one visual element and they assigned a name in English to each dream using Wordnet. From there, they built data vectors using each concept as the index and they used diverse automatic learning techniques based on support vector machines. The fascinating thing is that they were able to make the learning converge for the three volunteers and then they could use what was learned by the algorithms to be able to know what each person was dreaming before waking up.
To make it even more impressive they decided to map the words of each visual element dreamed by the volunteers with images extracted via Google Images. And that is how images very similar to a person’s dreams can be shown. For example, this is an image of the dream interpretation of subject 2 while he is dreaming:
This is what the subject said when he woke up, he was dreaming about characters:
“What I was just looking at was some kind of characters. There was something like a writing paper for composing an essay, and I was looking at the characters from the essay or whatever it was. It was in black and white and the writing paper was the only thing that was there. And shortly before that I think I saw a movie with a person in it or something but I can’t really remember.”
Here the volunteer was dreaming about people (male and female)
This tomato haircut is a work of art by a hairdresser called Hiro who works in a hair salon in Osaka. It seems that this kind of haircuts are very popular among a group of trendy young people who hang out in the Amemura district in Osaka.
When I was Thailand and Singapore in 2010 with my friend Ignacio I found him several times taking a picture of his face. “It’s for a project I’m thinking about; it’s going to be really cool!” – he told me. “The idea is to take always the same kind of picture, with the same angle and using the same lens, so when I go back home after my trip around the world I can make a video”.
It’s taken a while but the result is impressive; it’s very interesting to see how Ignacio’s beard changes!
I already have in my hands the new novel by Haruki Murakami, as of now only available in Japanese, with the title “色彩を持たない多崎つくると、彼の巡礼の年” that would translate as “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage”. It seems like when Murakami started writing the story he was thinking about writing a short story but he ended up writing a full new novel.
Tsukuru Tazaki, the main character, is a 36 year old architect specialized in designing train stations. The novel starts with Tsukuru Tazaki reminiscing parts of his past life with nostalgia and sadness.
“Kyoshinhei Tokyo ni Arawaru” is a tokusatsu short film directed by Ghibli’s Shinji Higuchi in which the god warriors of Nausicaä destroy Tokyo. It’s interesting to see Studio Ghibli producing something that is not 100% animation.
It seems like little by little the people with power to change things are starting to realize that one of the greatest problems that travellers find when they arrive to Japan is how closed and inaccessible the Wi-Fi and 3G ecosystem is (controlled by a few operators that make it very difficult to give you access if you are not a Japan resident). If you live here and pay your contract with one of the operators the experience is wonderful as you have 3G/LTE almost everywhere, but if you are a tourist Internet connectivity is a big issue.
I think that right now this is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to be connected in Japan during your travel. If you are going to be here more than 14 days 7spot and Frespot are other free options.