Tag Archives: united states


4 Jul

Today is 7月4日 (July 4). 「アメリカ独立記念日」 (American Independence Day).

I don’t usually do anything special on this day. Although there are many 花火大会 (fireworks shows) in Japan during the summer, they don’t usually start until late July or early August.

Watching fireworks is a “Fourth Of July” tradition in America, but I don’t live in America.
(It’s possible that the U.S. military bases in Japan will have a fireworks show this evening. I’m not sure. I don’t live near any U.S. military base anyways).

But anyways, in honor of the 234th anniversary of America’s independence from England, I am writing a list of some of American inventions that have changed the world (in most cases, for the better).

So, according to the U.S. Patent Office, this is a list of some of the numerous things that have been invented in America:

  • Swim Fins: (1717) Invented by Benjamin Franklin
  • Franklin Stove: (1742) Also invented by Benjamin Franklin
  • Refrigeration: (1805)
  • Circular Saw: (1813)
  • Dental Floss: (1815)
  • Morse Code: (1832) Invented by Samuel Morse
  • Revolver (Firearm): (1836) Invented by Samuel Colt (founder of the Colt Gun Co.)
  • Vulcanized Rubber: (1844) Invented by Charles Goodyear (founder of Goodyear Tires)
  • Safety Pin: (1849)
  • Potato Chips: (1853)
  • Rolled Toilet Paper: (1857) Surprised this one took this long. Before this invention, people were using pages from old newspapers and magazines or leaves from plants.
  • Escalator: (1859)
  • Roller Skates: (1863)
  • Cowboy Hat: (1865)
  • Paper Clip: (1867)
  • Barbed Wire: (1867)
  • Cash Register: (1879)
  • Electric Chair: (1881)
  • The “STOP” Sign: (1890)
  • U.S. "Stop" sign

    Japanese 「止まれ」 ("Stop") sign

  • Ferris Wheel: (1891)
  • Zipper: (1891)
  • Radio: (1893)
  • Flashlight: (1898)
  • “Teddy” Bear: (1902) A toy maker made a stuffed toy bear and named it “Teddy” after the U.S. President at that time, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, who went hunting but decided against killing a bear cub.
  • Air Conditioning: (1902) Before this invention, places in the southern U.S. such as Florida (where I grew up) were unpopular to live.
  • Airplane: (1903) Invented by the famous Wright brothers.
  • Ice Pop: (1905) Usually called by the brand name Popsicle in the U.S. In Japan, it’s called 「アイスキャンディー」 (“Ice Candy”). It was invented by an eleven-year-old American boy.
  • Automobile Self-starter: (1911) Eliminated the need to engine hand-cranks on cars.
  • Fast Food Restaurant: (1912) For better or worse, these changed the industrialized world.
  • Traffic Signals: (1912)
  • Fortune Cookie: (1914) Although many Americans associate it with Chinese food, the “Fortune Cookie” is only found in Chinese restaurants in America. Actually, it was invented by a Japanese-American man.
  • Ice Cube Tray: (1928)
  • Electric Razor: (1928)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: (1930)
  • Electric Guitar: (1931)
  • Stock Car Racing: (1936) Led to the formation of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).
  • Corn Dog: (1942) Called a 「アメリカンドッグ」 (“American Dog”) in Japan.
  • 「アメリカンドッグ」 (Corn Dog)

  • Napalm: (1943) A terrible substance used as a military weapon.
  • Supersonic Aircraft: (1947)
  • Windsurfing: (1948)
  • Cable Television: (1948)
  • Polio Vaccine: (1952)
  • Barcode: (1952) Invented in America, but Japan turned them into an art form.
  • Eight-track Tape: (1964) This impractical medium for playing music was actually popular for about a decade.
  • KISS "Alive II" on 8-track tape

  • Snowboarding: (1965)
  • Inline Skates: (1979)
  • Space Shuttle: (1981)
  • Nicotine Patch: (1988) To help people quit smoking. I wonder if it actually works.
  • Global Positioning System: (1993) Commonly known by it’s initials GPS.
  • Self-balancing Personal Transporter: (2001) Commonly known by the brand name “Segway“.

World News

15 Jan

Some recent news from around the world that made an impression on me.

japan1 JAPAN
  • On Saturday, January 10, 2009, three 17-year old high school students in Tokyo risked their lives to rescue a blind man who fell off of a train station platform.
    Without hesitation, they rushed over and pulled him back onto the platform to safety moments before a train pulled into the station.
    They were awarded letter of commendation from both the train station and the local fire department.
  • Wednesday, January 14, 2009, a forty-five year old professor at 「中央大学」 (Chuo University) in Tokyo was stabbed to death in the school’s restroom.
    The motive is unknown and the killer is still at large (as of this writing).
  • A 54-year old man who owns a medicine distribution company got a perm hair style so that he could more closely resemble his twenty-year-old son and attempted to take a test in his son’s place so that his son could get his OTC drug handling license to work at his company.
    He was caught when the test administrator notice he looked unusually old for being twenty.
  • America’s Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. currently owns 41% of Universal Studios Japan‘s shares. They are making a take-over bid to gain the remaining 59 shares and own the amusement park outright.
  • U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Thomas Schieffer left Japan today to return to America as his post ends with the change of the U.S. president this month. Schieffer was the Ambassador to Japan since April 2005.
china1 CHINA
  • A group of thirteen people in China were arrested for riding up on motorcycles and snatching toddlers to sell to people in other parts of the country for prices ranging between US$125 to US$3,800.
  • China recently surpassed Germany to become the world’s third largest economy. The U.S. and Japan are still far ahead as the number one and two world economies, respectively.
australia AUSTRALIA
  • Chemical pollution is the assumed cause of a recent spate of two-headed fish being spawned in Australia.
  • Two Australian brothers in their early twenties were vacationing with their parents in New Zealand were killed when tons of falling ice fell on them at Fox Glacier, a tourist spot in New Zealand.
    The youngest brother’s body was never recovered, and he had the keys to their rental car in his pocket.
    Without the keys, the car rental company told the parents, they would have to pay NZ$1,950 (US$1,085) to have the car towed back to the rental office and have new keys made.
    After being relentlessly criticized for being heartless by both Australia and New Zealand, the rental car company finally decided to waive the charges.
  • A man in California was arrested for trying to sell his fourteen-year-old daughter for US$16,000, one hundred crates of beer, and some cases of meat!

Have you heard this news stories? What do you think?

Prime Minister

2 Sep

Yesterday, the 内閣総理大臣 (Prime Minister) of Japan, 福田康夫 (Yasuo Fukuda) resigned after only eleven months in office.

If a Japanese Prime Minister feels that he’s not going a good job and holding back the country’s growth, he’ll often step down.

I have lived in Japan since 1990. In that time, Japan has had eleven Prime Ministers. 海部俊樹 (Toshiki Kaifu) was Japan’s Prime Minister when I came to Japan.

Of the 11 Prime Ministers that I’ve seen, some completed their full-term…one (Koizumi) even did three terms. One (Keizou Obuchi) died in office.
But most of them resigned before their term ended.

In contrast, when I came to Japan, George Bush (Sr.) was the アメリカ合衆国大統領 (President of the United States). After him was Clinton’s two terms, then George Bush (Jr.)’s two terms.

Only three Presidents in the same eighteen year period.

Unlike the Japanese Prime Ministers, America’s Presidents finish their full-term without resigning…whether anyone feels he’s doing a good job or not.
I’m sure many people have different opinions about which system is better. I think, though, many people get too emotional about politics…so I’ll keep my opinions private.


16 Jun

Yesterday I went to the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) to see the マシュー・ペリー (Matthew C. Perry) exhibit.

Matthew C. Perry was a Commander in the U.S. Navy in the early 1800’s.

At that time, Japan was closed to foreign countries, and Perry was sent here by the American president to negotiate with Japan to signing a trade agreement with the United States.

The fact that Perry had a fleet of black, intimidating war-ships just off the coast of Japan played a big part in convincing Japan to open to the West.

The museum had, among many other interesting things, some 浮世絵 (Woodblock prints) that Japanese artists painted of Perry.

This was the first time any of them had seen foreigners or heard them speak. So the pictures that they painted of Perry had exaggerated features, such as huge noses and wildly curly hair.

And a couple of them had Perry’s name spelled (in Japanese) incorrectly. They wrote: ペルリ (Peruri) and ペロリ (Perori), instead of ペリー (Perry).


By the way, I’m currently in the process of redesigning My Website ( http://www3.ocn.ne.jp/~tokyo5 )…it’s gonna look nicer, I think.

I’ll let you know when it’s done.