VOL   25
APR 2012

Connecting Fukuoka to the globe.


Toyota plans to release its new Avalon model in the United States this year. Every step of the vehicle’s production process, from design to development and manufacturing, has been carried out in the United States. This is the first time Japanese auto manufacturer to transfer development functions that have traditionally been completed in Japan to local markets around the world, allowing the company to quickly respond to market changes.


»Project Glass: Google has announced a head-mounted computer that resembles eyeglasses and has augmented reality features. The device handles e-mail, gives directions, plays music, and takes photos, all through voice commands. The company has not yet announced when it plans to commercialize the product.

»Vanderbilt University: Researchers at Vanderbilt University have won a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for research on solar power generation from the protein in spinach. The technology is receiving attention as a possible substitute for silicon wafers.

»Paper: Paper is an application for the iPad that allows users to write memos, draw pictures, and share them via e-mail and social media. The application is easy to use, allowing users, for example, to use two fingers in a counter-clockwise motion to “Rewind” to previous points in the creative process.


JR Kyushu Issues Special Passes for Visitors from Overseas

JR Kyushu, JR West and JR Shikoku have issued a shared rail pass just for visitors from overseas. The pass, which costs 25,000 yen and is valid for five days, allows unlimited travel on all lines in Kyushu and Shikoku, as well as on the West Japan Shinkansen. » More

Kyushu University Seeks to Attract Big Science

Kyushu University has established an elementary particle and nuclear research zone on campus in an effort to attract the International Linear Collider (ILC) to Fukuoka’s Sefuri mountains. The ILC is a proposed massive and cutting-edge experimental facility for recreating big bang conditions from immediately after the birth of the universe. » More

Kitakyushu City Begins Dynamic Electricity Pricing

Kitakyushu City has become the first community in Japan to test dynamic pricing for electric power. In dynamic pricing, electricity prices fluctuate by season and time of day. Prices also take into account the available levels of renewable energy. » More

Fukuoka Families Focus on Fashion

According to a preliminary report by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on research into family budgets, residents of Fukuoka City spent 174,037 yen per household on clothing and footwear in 2011. This estimate places the city at the top of the nationwide ranking of annual household expenditures in major cities. » More

Kyushu Car Production Reaches Highest Point

The number of automobiles manufactured in Kyushu in 2011 is estimated to have been 1.3 million, the most ever. The numbers were led by cars produced in Fukuoka for the North American market, including the Nissan Rogue and Toyota Lexus. The increase is evidence that the industry has rebounded from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and floods in Thailand. » More

Torigoe Makes Bread with 80% Fewer Carbohydrates

The Torigoe Co., Ltd. has created a bread roll with 80% fewer carbohydrates than standard rolls. The company achieved the result, which it calls Pan de Smart, by not using flour or starch. Pan de Smart contains 6.5 times as much dietary fiber and twice as much protein as regular rolls. Torigoe plans to market the bread to hospitals in North America. » More

"Earth does not belong to us; we belong to earth." - Chief Seattle

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