Now that we’ve been cooped up at home several weeks, I have unknowingly finished almost all the movies and television shows on my watch list. I heard from a friend that NHK World-Japan offers a wide range of free-to-view programmes in up to 18 languages, so I headed over to check out the website.

So far I’m loving the insider information and exposés on the lesser known sights and cultures of Japan, and the even more exclusive access to Japan’s cutting edge businesses and technology.

Watchlist #1

Great Gear:On Site: Interior Lifestyle Living 2019

Duration: 28 mins, available until March 19, 2021

Japan is known for incorporating technology to pragmatically improve quality of life. This episode of Great Gear features technology used to improve our living aesthetic, road safety and farm produce.

The Interior Lifestyle Tokyo exhibition showcases innovative products used in the home, from eco-friendly furniture made from discarded wood, to a trashcan that freezes waste at minus 10 degrees Celsius.

A one-of-a-kind kawara teapot with a lid in the shape of Mount Fuji

As a tea-lover, kawara appliances caught my eye. Clay for kawara, the roof tiles used to decorate temples, is specially cured for 10 years before being shaped. The clay is now being used for kitchenware like sake cups and teapots, and enhances the tea by removing bad flavours naturally as charcoal does. Perfect for that afternoon teatime we’re all having at home now!

Mechanic Heiji Minami demonstrates the stop pedal mechanism he developed to enhance safety features

Japan’s ageing population has contributed to an increase in driving accidents, significantly due to elderly drivers mistakenly stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake. In response, 80-year-old Heiji Minami built a stop pedal mechanism which engages the brakes when the accelerator pedal is jammed down on. Minami’s mechanism has been well-received by the industry and elderly drivers alike for increasing the safety of all road users.

The automatic farmhand performs delicate work by grasping and slicing each stalk of asparagus

Robotics company inaho has developed an “automatic farmhand” to alleviate the labour-intensive harvest process in the ageing farming industry. The company aims to have 100 robots in operation, increase harvesting capabilities, and mass produce robot parts. As automated harvesting allows farmers to export their produce faster, I’m all for robot-enabled fresh produce.

Watchlist #2

Direct Talk - Saving the Fukushima Seas: Riken Komatsu / Local Activist

Duration: 15 mins, available until March 9, 2021

Fukushima experienced 2 disasters on 11 March 2011: the Tohoku earthquake and the Fukushima.

Destruction from the earthquake and nuclear explosion caused almost half a million people to evacuate

9 years on, lingering suspicions about the safety of Fukushima seafood have caused demand to plummet, a problem which Fukushima native Riken Komatsu is trying to solve.

Komatsu catches a rockfish from Fukushima waters to test its level of radioactivity

In 2013, Komatsu started taking his own radiation readings with the help of a radiation specialist. Surprisingly, they found that the seawater and migratory fishes near the power plant were not affected by radioactivity at all. In fact, no test by Komatsu or the government since 2015 has detected radiation levels exceeding safety limits in any Fukushima seafood.

A food fair organised by Komatsu featuring mostly local seafood attracts residents

To promote Fukushima seafood, Komtasu organises food fairs promoting Fukushima seafood and fishing excursions to the surrounding waters for people to experience Fukushima first-hand. It’s great to see Komatsu educating people through enjoyment and fun instead of taking a stiff-necked approach.



Quarantine-time-only chef and baker who is temporarily enjoying travelling on the interwebs.


NHK WORLD-JAPAN is the international service of Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK.
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