By >RENO J. TIBKE
Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week it’s American gas, Japan’s lack of startups, and J-tech to make horses happy!
Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday:
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – May 17, 2013 ::
• Japan Wants American Gas (the natural kind – from the U.S. Shale boom, that is)
The combined monetary instruments of Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi, and Nippon Yusen (a global shipping giant in Mitsubishi’s pocket), along with some French cash, have secured an almost 50% interest in a US $10 billion Louisiana LNG venture. The why of it is that, outside of nuclear expertise and reserves of favorable public sentiment toward cleaner technologies, Japan doesn’t have much in the way of domestic energy resources. As such, and as mentioned in the JTFF two weeks back, Japan’s very necessarily been making global rounds to secure energy deals & resources. Not much choice, really – since the 2011 Tohoku disaster allowed neo-J-Hippies to successfully monkey-wrench the nuclear energy industry, importing fossil fuels is pretty much all that’s keeping the lights on here.
[JAPAN INVESTS LOTS OF CASH IN U.S. SHALE GAS - FINANCIAL TIMES]
• Where are Japan’s Startups?
Very decent discussion/overview of why startups can’t (yet) get a lot of traction here in Japan. Both domestically and in the pan-mutally co-dependent economies of planet Earth, the question of J-startups comes up a lot because 1. basically every other advanced economy has a healthy startup culture, and 2. Japan is just not innovating like it used to. What makes the most sense is that the lumbering giants of J-tech, your Sony, your Sharp, your Panasonic, etc., have reached a point of monolithic immobility that makes them either oblivious to the need for or incapable of re-working a pervasive corporate culture that rewards staying the path and profoundly undervalues initiative and innovation. Decent read. It should be translated and printed on the front page of every major J-newspaper (yeah, they still have those here).
[IN SEARCH OF JAPAN'S MISSING STARTUPS - FORBES]
• How Much Human and Human Stuff Can a J-Horse Comfortably Carry?
Uhhh… reasonable question, if somewhat amusing. Like, remember back in the day when that American research team was totally belittled and ridiculed for studying cow flatulence – but then we learned that one single cow farts out more greenhouse gases than a full-sized truck left running all day? It is curious though, that until now no one ever bothered to get horses up on treadmills and do this kind of research. Even more curious that it was undertaken here; Japan ain’t exactly lousy with horses. Well, this J-tech development might not do much for global warming, but horses will dig it – and it goes to show that applying science & technology to stuff that might seem inane and ridiculous might just have some merit. Oh, and there was probably a “horse sense” pun to be used there, but the JTFF is better than that. See what just happened there? And also probably nobody knows what that means anymore.
[HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN A HORSE COMFORTABLY CARRY? - THE HORSE]
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all!
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Reno J. Tibke is the founder and operator of Anthrobotic.com, where the JTFF was born.
Tokyo at Night image via PhotoEverywhere.