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Thursday, March 24, 2011

阪神淡路大震災 (Hanshin awaji daishinsai) - Hanshin Awaji Great Earthquake

The recent events in Japan with the 東北 (とうほく - Touhoku) 地震 (じしん - jishin - earthquake) come as another tragic reminder of the devastation that can be caused by natural disasters. Being one of the most 地震-prone countries in the world, Japan is shaken by hundreds of tremors every year and unfortunately, some are orders of magnitude worse than the usual cupboard-rattling shake. In the face of all the destruction, I think the resilience and ingenuity of the Japanese people is to be admired; early warning signals, 地震-resistant buildings and a rapid response to the crisis surely all played a part in minimising the losses. You don't need to look too far to see where all the experience came from - in 1995, the 阪神淡路大震災 became one of the most infamous chapters in the history of 神戸 (こうべ - Kobe) and formed the basis for future 地震 response across Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Japaneats その8 - 河豚 (ふぐ - fugu) - Blowfish

Most people have heard of 河豚, a highly poisonous fish and Japanese 冬 (ふゆ - fuyu - Winter) delicacy for the world's more adventurous diners. Its infamy is well known and at times, it's hard to separate fact from fiction; for every uneventful dinner story, you'll have one where none lived to tell the tale. In Japanese, 河豚 is nicknamed "鉄砲" (てっぽう - teppou - "gun"), feeding its popular image as a culinary game of Russian roulette. Whether the notoriety is earned or not, I figure it's worth trying at least once if you're here but it's really up to you whether you risk pulling the trigger.