Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Until the Very End: Heisei Emperor Visits Memorial for Civilian Sailors Lost During War

Seen here in this Mainichi.JP photo are the outgoing Imperial couple Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko paying their respects to a Memorial dedicated to the 60,000 civilian sailors who were pressed into service by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. The Heisei Emperor who Abdicates this April arrived to present prayers and white chrysanthemums to offer these lost sailors of which 30,000 of them were in their teens. With the Combined Fleet on the run after the Battle of Midway, there were few naval vessels to protect these civilian ships which were forced to carry supplies and personnel. This is the Imperial couple's eighth visit to the memorial since it was erected in 1971. Dutiful until the end, the Heisei Emperor has worked tirelessly to heal the wounds of the Showa Era and has never wavered. It is said that in a press conference in December 2015 he said this: "In those days, Japan lacked command of the air, and no battleships were available to escort the transport vessels. It gives me great pain to think of the feelings of those sailors who were forced to engage in such transport operations under those conditions." We at American Mishima will miss this kind gentile Emperor. We thank him and Empress Michiko for their lifetime efforts to promote peace.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Meteors for the Masses?

Seen here in this Kyodo photo is an Epsilon 4 rocket blasting off into space from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Prefecture. According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the rocket carried seven small satellites from the Tokyo startup ALE Co LTD. These micro-satellites carry up to four hundred tiny balls set to be released at 500km above the Earth to create an artificial meteor shower. ALE Co LTD plans to demonstrate this over Hiroshima sometime in the Spring of 2020. If successful, you'll have meteor showers on demand. No word on how much this will cost or how commercially viable this venture could be. ALE claims these artificial meteor showers (provided the weather cooperates) will be visible by millions. Naturally, we could think of better ways to use this technology, but we shall see how this works out, or not.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Oshugatsu 2019 in Little Tokyo's Koyasan Temple.

あけまして おめでとう ございます! Happy New Year of the Boar! We hope that everyone is off to a good start. Ours started as it has for the last nine years by participating in the Oshugatsu ceremony at the Koyasan Temple in Little Tokyo. There's much we could say but rather than ramble on here, we will let the pictures do the talking. Please enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

China Successfully Lands Rover on the Dark Side of the Moon

Seen here is the first image taken by China's National Space Administration's Chang'e-4 Rover. It set down on Thursday in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, the moon's largest and oldest impact crater on the Dark Side of the Moon. Communication to ground controllers in Beijing must be done by a relay satellite that orbits the moon launched earlier in 2018. The Chang'e 4 rover is 1.5 meters (5 feet) long and about 1 meter (3.3 feet) wide and tall, with two foldable solar panels and six wheels. Such design is based on the PRC's earlier Jade Rabbit mission. 
This is a big move for the PRC and one we can say to be a positive Scientific venture that could benefit all Mankind. We are hoping the Chinese will take some good high definition photos NASA thus far has not provided. It's crazy to think we have 3-D imaging of Mars, but when it comes to the Dark Side of the Moon, we are still relying on grainy black & white photos from the 1960s. Hopefully, China will change that and help answer some lingering mysteries. And while we have been highly critical of their military expansionism in the South China Seas, we wish the Chinese National Space Administration great success in the exploration of Space.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Final New Years Greeting for the Heisei Era

Seen here in this widely circulated REUTERS/Issei Kato photo is Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko wishing well-wishers his final New Years address. Japanese media reports that up to 72,000 people went to go see the soft-spoken emperor who abdicates the chrysanthemum throne this April making way for Crown Prince Naruhito to become the new Emperor for this new Era. The 85-year-old emperor thanked the crowds who chanted Banzai saying: "It gives me deep comfort that the Heisei Era (his reign) is coming to an end, free of war in Japan." 

We will miss the Heisei Emperor. He had spent his entire reign seeking peace and the healing of old wounds caused during the reign of his father Emperor Hirohito who reigned during Japan's military expansionist era that brought about the tragedy of WWII. We at American Mishima wish the Imperial Family, the People of Japan and our readers a most happy 2019 New Year of the Boar.