Posts Tagged ‘computers’
The above photo by Reuters’ Thomas Peter fronted a CBC feature article that reminded me the cherry blossoms are blooming in Japan.
Japan International has a nice page up including a map featuring predictions for the first cherry blossoms in different cities. In Niigata, on the Sea of Japan shore of northern Honshu, the first cherry blossoms were predicted to bloom yesterday. Subtropical Okinawa saw its flowers bloom in January, while Sapporo with its Canadian-like climate will see its cherry blossoms at the end of the month.
PRI featured an article (<u<"The 99,000 cherry trees Japan planted to salve the sorrow of a tsunami") an article describing how one Japanese town hit by the 2011 community has embarked on a campaign to plant cherry trees as a sign of hope and healing.
Cherry blossom season has once again returned to Japan. While the arrival of the delicate pink flowers means social media is filling up with some incredibly beautiful photos, the bloom also represents a chance to reflect, hope, dream, and come to terms with loss.
In Iwaki, the project, called Iwaki Manbon Sakura (which roughly translates as “10,000 Cherry Tress of Iwaki”) represents just this.
Iwaki is a little more than 30 miles south of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex. The community was stricken not only by the massive tsunami that struck Japan’s Pacific coast following a massive earthquake in March 2011, but also by the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant, about 30 miles away.
As part of the Iwaki Manbon Sakura Project, to mark the fourth anniversary of the massive disaster, 99,000 cherry trees have been planted on a hill overlooking the city. Tadashige Shiga, whose company helps sponsor the project explains:
“The effects of the March 2011 disaster have left a pall of sadness here. So let’s do something to fix that! Every year the cherry trees blossom. So let’s give kids 20 years from now, 30 years from now something to look upon when they gaze up at the mountain slopes above Iwaki. Even if for some reason no one can live in Iwaki, we can still express the love we all feel for our city for all time, and we can do that by planting cherry trees.”
The idea is that cherry trees and their spring blossoms will be able to soothe some of the memories of terror and sadness caused by the 2011 tragedy.
There are many wonderful photos there, too.
PC World notes the many apps created to support cherry blossom visits.
uch is the country’s passion for cherry blossoms, known as “sakura,” that the state-run Japan Meteorological Agency once deployed a supercomputer that crunched temperature, elevation and other data to predict when and where they begin and peak. Articles still discuss the agency’s mathematical equations to predict the pink explosions.
The agency provided cherry blossom forecasts for over half a century, based on sample trees and historical records, but stopped in 2009 to focus on other services. Since then, companies have stepped in with forecasts of their own and now compete to produce the best smartphone apps for timing hanami.
One of the latest is a crowdsourced feature called Sakura Channel, part of the popular Weathernews Touch app for iOS and Android, which has been downloaded 13 million times. It provides forecasts, based on user reports, for when cherry blossoms will bloom at 700 famous viewing locations across Japan. Users can see hanami calendars and get alerts about when their favorite groves of cherry trees will burst into pink-white flowers.
They can also choose from preferences such as public parks, cherry-lined roads and spots known for nighttime revelry under the boughs. A “sakura simulator” shows a low-res view of pink petals gradually taking over cities such as Tokyo as users click through the calendar from late March through early April, the usual season for sakura.
The Telegraph warns that aging trees and the effects of climate change and pollution are threatening the future of Tokyo’s cherry blossoms.
Already threatened by rising temperatures and pollution in cities that have combined to reduce the number of flowers, the iconic cherry blossoms are also falling victim to time.
Planted in huge numbers in the decades after air raids devastated large parts of Tokyo and other cities, cherry trees usually live about 60 years before they fall prey to disease or they become too large for their roots.
A survey conducted in 2013 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government showed that 44,000 cherry trees dot the city. But an increasing number are ailing and need to be cut down, meaning that entire groves of trees that add a dash of pink to the unrelenting grey of Japan’s cities may disappear.
“Cherry trees usually live about 60 years so the ones we have in Tokyo are getting too big, are contracting diseases and are shedding branches,” Kiroyuki Wada, a spokesman for the Japan Tree Doctors’ Association, told The Telegraph.
The Wall Street Journal has a video report on the growing number of tourists visiting Japan to see the blossoms.
I was going to go to the Future Shop location at Yonge and Dundas today to pick up my newly-repaired laptop. After I woke up this morning, I checked Facebook to discover that the entire chain had closed down. The Toronto Star‘s Francine Kopun has a nice article outlining the case for the chain’s closing-down.
The Future Shop banner in Canada was shut down for good this morning as U.S. based owner Best Buy Co. consolidates the stores under the Best Buy banner, eliminating 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions.
In all 131 Future Shop stores were closed Saturday — 66 of them permanently. Another 65 will be closed for a week, reopening under the Best Buy banner.
“Currently, 80 per cent of our customers are within a 15 minute drive to a store and this won’t change,” said Ron Wilson, President and COO of Best Buy Canada. “We will continue to have a strong store presence in all major markets in Canada.”
Best Buy spokesman Elliott Chun said Best Buy will invest upwards of $200 million over the next two years, “to provide an improved single-brand customer experience, both in-store and online.”
Chun pointed out that many Future Shop and Best Buy stores are located next to each other — sometimes across the same parking lot.
“Best Buy stores have larger formats, which allows us to invest in appliances and in-store experiences,” Chun added.
In the particular case of the Future Shop at Yonge and Dundas, there is a Best Buy location a couple hundred metres away in the Eaton Centre. I wasn’t very surprised, then, to see as I approached the Future Shop’s doors earlier this afternoon a sign noting that this particular location was going to be closed down permanently.
In the case of me and my laptop, I was assured in person by the manager who came out after I knocked on the door, and again on Twitter after I posted my account, that I should be able to pick up my laptop in a week’s time, once everything gets shifted over. I’ll hold them to that.
Why, I wonder, was it impossible for Best Buy to give advance warning that this might happen?