fukushima nuclear reactor

Japan’s Decline as a Robotics Superpower: Lessons From Fukushima

The first robot to go into one of the plant’s reactor buildings, where high radiation was measured after the accident, was a U.S. PackBot. Japanese-made robots, said to be the best in the world, were not at the vanguard of such a crucial event. This has begged the question: Where has the country’s pride as a scientific and technological giant gone?

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Gambling in Japan

The great kabuki actor Mitsugoro Bando VIII was a fan of fugu, or blowfish. Fugu is a rather bland, unremarkable fish except for one thing: its internal organs, particularly the liver, are highly toxic. Japanese chefs have to acquire a special certificate to prove that they know how to remove all traces of toxin before preparing the dish. Nevertheless, a couple of people die every year from eating it, which gives the fish an exotic reputation. Diners enjoy the slight tingle that fugu sushi imparts to the tongue and lips. Bando, however, wasn’t satisfied with this slight tingle. A daredevil eater, he relished bowls of soup made from fugu liver and in this way built up a certain resistance to the toxin. But on January 16, 1975, Bando ate not only one bowl of this liver soup for dinner but also the three bowls that his friend wisely declined. That night he suffered respiratory failure and died.

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