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News from Japan - January 27, 2022

Starbucks Japan launches its drink for the sakura season

Starbucks Japon lance sa boisson pour la saison des sakura

Although there is no official date for the sakura season, Starbucks Japan decides to launch the cherry blossom season before everyone else. By selling its new drink, the “Sakura White Chocolate with Milk Pudding”, the coffee brand will offer a caffeine-free product with aromas of cherry blossoms, sweet white milk chocolate and a pudding texture.

The Sakura White Chocolate with Milk Pudding will be available at a price of 237 yen (1.84 euros).

You would think that sakura-based sweets would come out when the cherry blossoms bloom in late March/early April.

Nevertheless, the traditional confectionery related to sakura is sakura mochi. It is therefore on March 3, on the occasion of the Hina Matsuri celebration (known as the Festival of Dolls or Girls' Day), that this confectionery using sakura tree leaves is consumed.

Also, the beginning of February can be a good time for sakura-flavored sweets, since the ancient Japanese calendar says spring begins the day after Setsubun (Bean Throwing Festival, which takes place on February 3). It is certainly this last option that was chosen by Starbucks Japan.


Japan soon on the moon

Le Japon pourrait être le prochain pays à aller sur la Lune

Japan could be the next country to land on the moon.

Japanese company ispace plans to launch a lunar lander by the end of 2022. If the plans work as expected, then the company will be the first to achieve an intact landing of Japanese spacecraft on the Moon.

The size of a hot tub, the lander is part of ispace's M1 mission, the first mission of dozens planned for the coming years. This mission aims to demonstrate operations on the Moon. The space object is in the final assembly phase at the European partner Ariane Group.

If testing goes as expected in April, then M1 will be tested at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, for launch on one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets.

During a press conference, Takeshi Hakamada, founder and general manager of ispace indicated that "to date, the precise launch date is scheduled, at the earliest, for the end of 2022". Moon contact would occur three to four months later, as the mission uses a long trajectory in order to save fuel and maximize the amount of cargo M1 can carry.

For its part, the M2 mission, scheduled for 2024, will allow ispace to transport their own micro-rover and thus to move around and study the lunar terrain.


A service informed of the arrival of garbage trucks

Un service averti de l'arrivée des camions-poubelles

The Japanese city of Nisshin has some problems related to household waste, such as odors or animals rummaging through trash left outside.

So the municipal administration is collaborating with universities to test a service to warn residents of the passage of garbage trucks.

This system consists of equipping garbage trucks with GPS to alert residents, on Line messaging, of their approach. The notification should be sent approximately 15 minutes before the truck arrives.

Some garbage trucks are also equipped with environmental assessment sensors. This makes it possible to measure fine particles and atmospheric pollutants.

We find this problem of garbage in the Japanese capital. To avoid dumpsters filled to the brim, a new system of garbage cans has been set up in the Harajuku district. These are dumpsters, called SmaGO (for “smart gomi-bako”, gomi-bako meaning trash), using artificial intelligence to gauge the amount of trash present inside them. When it is full, a compression mechanism allows the skips to be filled again.

Tokyo therefore avoids both visual pollution, a fight against waste left in the street, but also the passage of garbage trucks.

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