Air Canada is number 1! Just not for the food...

Good morning everyone,

Sorry...there won't be any weather news for the next few days, because it's going to be warm and sunny for me...for you...maybe not so much...you'll have to check NHK until I get back.

Air Canada has been named the 2018 Eco-Airline of the Year by Air Transport World in its 44th Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards.

In recognizing Air Canada's environmental accomplishments, ATW cited the carrier's commitment to emissions reductions through supporting the development of alternative fuels and its numerous green programs and partnerships, including being the first airline in the world to voluntarily join the World Bank's IMF Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition.

"Air Canada has made sustainability central to its decision-making and business processes, and this includes acting responsibly with respect to the environment," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada. "We are very pleased that ATW has recognized the effectiveness of our environmental programs, including our participation in the development and support of alternative fuels in Canada, and our efforts to contribute to healthier communities. We have made great strides, improving fuel efficiency by 40% since 1990, and this award will further spur us on to the goals we have set for ourselves to continually improve our environmental performance."

ATW aims to present the Eco-Airline Award to an airline that practices and innovates in exceptional eco-operations. In choosing the 2018 winner, judges looked for an industry-leading commitment to technologies and efforts that increase operational efficiency and reduce emissions and dependency on oil. This includes pioneering solutions to environmental problems, environmental concern and action through community involvement, and best practices at airports.

Karen Walker, Editor-in-Chief, Air Transport World, said, "Air Canada as a company is a committed leader in sustainability, becoming the world's first airline to voluntarily join the World Bank's IMF Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition. And Air Canada thinks out of the box in its drive to be an eco-responsible company, donating old business class duvets to good causes where they can be re-used, and partnering with Diabetes Canada so that uniforms can be recycled."

This ATW Eco-Airline Award is the second award won by Air Canada this year related to its sustainability programs. Air Canada's corporate sustainability report, Citizens of the World, was named the Best Sustainability Report in the Transportation Category by The Finance and Sustainability Initiative (FSI). It is the second year in a row Air Canada's report was named best in the sector by the FSI, a non-profit organization that brings together finance professionals dedicated to promoting sustainable finance and responsible investment to financial institutions, companies and universities.

Air Canada has a four-pillar approach to reduce emissions through technology, operations, infrastructure and economic instruments. Among other things, Air Canada is a partner in biofuel research in cooperation with the Canada Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI) and the Civil Aviation Alternate Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research (CAAFCER). It has invested significantly with a $10 billion fleet renewal program that has given it one of the most modern, fuel efficient fleets in the world. It maintains innovative recycling, scholarship and community activity programs, many aimed at involving employees in environmental activities. The airline has also adopted the ambitious collective International Air Transport Association reduction targets for greenhouse gases that include:

  • Improving fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5 per cent per year from 2009 to 2020; 

  • Capping aviation CO2 emissions from 2020, or carbon-neutral growth; and 

  • Reducing CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 relative to 2005 levels.
If you've ever flown Air Canada, you'll know that they won't be winning any awards for their food. It isn't that it's so bad...it's just exactly like we imagine airplane was...about 30 years ago and they haven't made an effort to make it any better.

Have a great day!

I've already planned my next trip!

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a pretty nice weekend. It'll be slightly cooler than usual but it should be sunny both tomorrow and Sunday. Monday may get some rain, but it'll remain warm and the rest of the week will be sunny and about average for this time of year.

Fasten your seatbelts for a flight departing to Paris, and never leave the ground.

That's exactly what 12 passengers did at First Airlines in central Tokyo this week, where they relaxed in first and business-class seats and were served four-course dinners, before immersing themselves in 360-degree virtual reality (VR) tours of the City of Light's sights.

first2.jpg
Staff help guests to wear virtual reality (VR) goggles.

"A real trip is a hassle to prepare for, and expensive, and takes time. So I think it is good that we can enjoy all this hassle-free", said Takashi Sakano, 39, who was on his first VR trip, adding that he wanted to 'travel' to Rome next time.

At 6,600 yen, a fraction of the cost of an actual trip overseas, it's easy to see why First Airline's two-hour 'flights' to Paris, Rome, Hawaii and New York have been fully booked since the company opened in 2016.

firstclass3.jpg
Guests are served appetizers.

"We have lots of elderly customers, who want to go overseas but are not able to easily, given their physical limitations", Abe said, explaining that the majority of First Airlines' visitors are older Japanese from around the country.

Abe added that domestic flights around Japan will be added soon, with meals highlighting the region's cuisine.

What do you think? Tempting? Not yet for me...but it may be once I get older, or if the world doesn't feel any safer anytime soon.

Have a great day!


Great way to see the game!

Good morning everyone,

Well, it's supposed to be sunny and warm today and through the weekend, but you may get some rain on Monday...not me though, I'll be in Guam. Well, I could get rain in Guam too, but at least it'll be warm and I'll be sitting in a bar on or near the beach...ha ha!
Hiroshima Carp Zoom Zoom Stadium Objet Deck
What’s better than watching the Carp on home turf at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium? How about watching the Carp surrounded by 12 animal figures, wearing sunglasses.

Mazda “Zoom Zoom” Stadium’s new “Objet Deck” is set up near first base on the 2nd Floor above “Hippopotamus Square”. Along with the animal “objets” placed around the multilevel seating area there are some “grassy” areas on which you kick back and lounge. The weird part is that this is a part of the stadium which doesn’t have a great view of the action on the field so the area can not only accommodate 37 people, but comes equipped with screens on which to watch the game.

It’s ¥80,000 to rent out the space, plus a ¥2500 or ¥3500 food set (which, for some reason, are centered around Dutch-style pancakes) per person. You can add another ¥2000 for all-you-can-drink beer and shochu! You'd think that with the not so great views, this would be a bit cheaper...

How great does this sound?! Do you think we can come up with 37 of us to do it? It's about Y10,000 per person after you add in the cost of the space and the all-you-can-drink option...it's  a bit pricey...but sign me up! I only need 36 other people to join me...

Have a great day!


Does your man have these qualities? He's probably a keeper

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be mostly cloudy today, which doesn't sound very nice, but it's better than rain which is what they were originally calling for. It'll get up to 13C and highs all week will be above 10C and it'll be a bit sunnier until Monday, when they are saying we may see some rain.

There are certain traits that the majority of heterosexual women look for in a man: kindness, good sense of humour (GSOH), an understanding that the fight for gender equality is very much still ongoing.

Beauty of all kinds really is in the eye of the beholder, and human uniqueness is what makes the search for ‘the one’ all the more interesting (and difficult).

That said, with scientists having spent decades trying to work out the key to why we fall in love, there are certain things you should look for in a potential suitor which suggest you may have found a keeper.

With the advent of dating apps meaning another love interest is never more than a swipe away, it can be hard to commit.

So if you're wondering whether to settle down with your current partner, it might be worth taking a step back and asking yourself whether he ticks the boxes below.

If he doesn’t, that doesn’t mean he isn’t the one for you. But if he does, you’ve likely got a pretty good egg on your hands.

1. He’s smart

While some of us are naturally brainier than others, a new study suggests that the smarter the man, the less likely he is to be unfaithful. According to the research, more intelligent men are more likely to get married and stay married.

So if you’re worried your boyfriend might be too brainy for you, a) don’t be intimidated because intelligence isn’t everything, and b) know that you may have a guy who’s more likely to be faithful on your hands. 

2. He makes you laugh

Finding someone you can have a laugh with is crucial - even if everyone else rolls their eyes at his dad jokes, if they crack you up, that’s all that matters.

And a study has shown that men are more likely to have “mating success” if they have a GSOH. 

3. He actively supports your career

A study found that husbands were a deciding factor in two-thirds of women’s decisions to quit their jobs, often because they thought it was their duty to bring up their children. Men who support you are few and far between, if he 

4. He makes as much effort with your friends and family as you do with his

It’s not uncommon for a woman to end up giving up her own social life to slot into her new man’s. But it’s rare that a man does the same once entering a relationship.

In fact, a recent study found that young men get more satisfaction out of their bromances than their romantic relationships with women. While this is clearly ludicrous, maintaining your friendships is important. So make sure you’re with a man who not only wants you to make time to see your friends but also makes an effort to get to know them too.

5. He’s emotionally intelligent

If stereotypes are to be believed, it is women who are always desperate to talk about feelings and never men who fall hard. Whilst this definitely isn’t true, it’s important each person in a relationship has a certain level of emotional intelligence.

Studies suggest that women are better at taking the opinions and views of their partner into consideration than men, which is essential for a healthy relationship. 

6. He respects your opinions and listens to what you have to say

Being closed-minded isn’t a trait that’s exclusive to a particular gender, but if a man is convinced he’s always right and will never consider your argument, it’s not a good sign.

If a man rejects his female partner’s influence, it may be a sign that he has power issues and may not be a good long-term choice.

7. He’s willing to put the work in

A study found that the most successful relationships weren’t down to compatibility, but rather making the relationship work. So if you or your partner is always looking for the next best thing rather than committing to make your relationship last, it may not bode well. 

8. He celebrates your achievements

Whether it’s deadlifting your bodyweight or learning enough German for a trip to Oktoberfest, it’s important to have a partner who celebrates your achievements.

But this isn’t just to make you feel great - a study found that couples who did so were more satisfied with their relationships than those who reacted negatively or were indifferent.

9. He shares your values

Having a similar outlook in life could be crucial to a successful relationship, according to a study. The more alike your personalities are, the more likely you are to approach problems in the same way.

You and your partner will share similar approaches to everything from socialising to working if your priorities are the same, and this is likely to lead to a greater level of respect for one another.

Of course, if your partner doesn’t have all the above qualities that doesn’t mean you should necessarily dump him immediately - we all look for different things in a partner and a relationship, after all and besides that...nobody's perfect. Can you say that you would tick all of them for him?

But if he does tick all these boxes, he could be one to hold on to.

I'm sure I'm good for at least two or three of these...ha ha!

Have a great day!

King of Giri Choco

Good morning everyone,

It's a bit warmer today and it'll remain warm with daytime highs of around 10C all week, although they are calling for rain tomorrow. However, the rest of the week is looking pretty nice.

Earlier this month, the Japanese division of Belgian chocolate maker Godiva made the very unusual move of publicly pleading with the people of Japan to stop buying so much chocolate. Specifically, the advertisement, with its statement attributed to Godiva Japan president and Parisian native Jerome Chouchan, was taking aim at the practice of giri choco, or “obligation chocolate,” in which Japanese women give gifts of chocolate as a platonic thank-you to male coworkers and friends on Valentine’s Day.

Godiva criticized giri choco as being a burden on Japanese women and encouraged men to vocally disavow any desire for giri choco from their female officemates. But while detractors may deride giri choco as a meaningless gesture and costly hassle, not everyone is so critical. Some Japanese women are quite happy to participate in the established social nicety of giving an edible thank-you gift on February 14 (and to receive a gift in return on White Day, March 14), and so one Japanese confectioner is softly but firmly firing back at Godiva’s anti-giri choco campaign.

Black Thunder is a budget line of chocolate filled with cocoa-flavored cookie bits and made by Tokyo-based Yuraku Confectionery. The official Black Thunder Twitter account recently posted the following tweet:

black thunder1 

It seems like a lot of people are talking about a certain advertisement(‘-‘*)

You do you, and we’ll do us.

Everyone has different ways of thinking, and that’s fine. At Yuraku Confectionary, we support the culture of taking an opportunity to say thanks to someone for all the little kindnesses they’ve shown you, just like we always have.

Tweeted along with the ad is a photo of a Black Thunder sales display, and the bold text written along the front of the stand states:

Chocolate that you can immediately tell is giri choco.

See, while Black Thunder is tasty, it’s also incredibly cheap, selling for less than 100 yen a piece. Just about everyone likes its balanced, straightforward sweet taste, and you can buy it in pretty much every convenience store and supermarket in Japan, so it’s not like it requires a special shopping trip to some fancy chocolatier with only one location in the entire greater Tokyo area.

In other words, it’s basically the perfect giri choco, and it even has the added bonus of being so remarkably unpretentious that there’s no way anyone will misinterpret it as a declaration of true love.

▼ Black Thunder

As a matter of fact, Black Thunder has embraced its image as absolutely nothing more (or less) meaningful than giri choco for some time now. In 2015, the brand even put up a large-scale advertisement in Shinjuku Station’s underground walkway, one of the most coveted advertising spaces in Japan.

▼ “Chocolate that you can immediately tell is giri choco.”
blackthunder2.jpg

While we won’t know how extensive, if any, an influence Godiva’s ad has had until Valentine’s Day comes, there’s virtually no chance that the high-end confectioner’s criticism is going to completely eliminate the practice of giri choco. And for all those who choose to say thanks in that way, Black Thunder will be there to lend a hand. And luckily there are more and more flavors of Black Thunder to share with your favorite English teacher, who is quite happy to get Black Thunder.

Have a great day!


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