Friday, April 29, 2011


From the AP.

Average gas pump prices across the country rose to within a dime of $4 a gallon Friday, as weather-related refinery outages tightened supplies and pushed up prices.
The national average increased 2 cents, to nearly $3.91 a gallon for regular gasoline. That's the highest level since July 31, 2008. Three years ago, as oil was on its way to a record $147 a barrel, the average price of gas was $3.61 on April 29. It hit $3.90 on May 24 and peaked at $4.11 on July 17 before heading down again.
Economic data released Friday show gas prices are impacting consumer spending patterns. The Commerce Department reported that personal income rose 0.5 percent and consumer spending was up 0.6 percent in March.
"The increase in ... spending was swallowed up by higher gasoline and food prices," said IHS Global Insight economist Chris Christopher. "This report is good news since it shows that consumers are plowing ahead despite rising gasoline and food prices. The bad news is that consumer spending adjusted for inflation has lost the momentum it had in the last quarter of 2010," he said.
Some economists think lower gas prices could encourage consumer spending in other areas, although the high unemployment rate will keep the economic recovery in low gear this year.
How these rising prices will impact the anime conventions this summer is still unknown. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011


From Bloomberg News.

“We’re all reacting to the numbers and looking for sustainable growth,” said Firas Askari, head currency trader in Toronto at Bank of Montreal. “The dollar weakness is a trend that’s hard to break,” he said. “The momentum we did seem to be having in the U.S. economy seems to be hitting some headwinds. Best case scenario: the U.S. economy is lukewarm.”
The dollar weakened against 10 of 16 major peers, losing at least 0.7 percent versus the yen and South Korean won. It rebounded after slumping as much as 0.6 percent to $1.4791 against the euro and breaching $1.48 for the first time since December 2009.
U.S. government securities headed for their biggest monthly gain since August as investors reduced bets that policy makers will raise interest rates by early next year. Six-month bill rates hit a record low.
 Remember the US Dollar / Japanese Yen exchange rate is one of the key dynamics that impact the anime industry in both the U.S. and Japan. When Robotech first came on the air in 1985 $1 USD = Y240 JPY now in 2011 1 USD = Y81 in other words the dollar has lost 2/3 of its value.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011



                       Global stocks rallied and the U.S. dollar slid to a three-year low against major  
                       currencies on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled itwould retain 
                       extensive support for the U.S. economy.
 Wall Street advanced broadly and oil rose after the Fed
said in a statement it believed the recovery was proceeding at
a moderate pace and pledged to keep interest rates, now near
zero, extraordinarily low for "an extended period."

 The Nasdaq surged to a 10-year high and gold rose to a
record above $1,525 an ounce after Fed chairman Ben Bernanke
reiterated the Fed's stance that inflation was a transitory
problem related largely to commodity price pressures.
Translation: Gas prices continue to go up while it will become more expensive for U.S. Companies to acquire amine from Japan.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


From Yahoo News.

Gas pump prices have climbed for 35 straight days even though industry surveys show Americans have started to drive less.

The national average rose by a penny to hit $3.87 per gallon on Tuesday, more than a dollar higher than it was last year. Experts say prices should keep rising for the next few weeks before weaker consumer demand forces prices to drop. "We're going to see prices keep bumping up for three, maybe four weeks," energy analyst Jim Ritterbusch said. Eventually less travel will take its toll, Ritterbusch said.
"They're going to cut back on spending, and that will push gas prices down," he said. "All that should kick in by June."
Retail gasoline prices have become a growing burden for consumers this year. They've risen 32.2 cents per gallon since March 22 and are averaging above $4 per gallon in California, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Alaska and Hawaii.
35 straight days with prices going up for the next month.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Where are you Kev? 

Really busy with work right now so no blogging for the time being.

Friday, April 22, 2011

ANIMECONS.COM SITE REDESIGN, the internet's best website devoted to convention news, has given itself a compete makeover. You can view the new website here.

If your looking for a easy way to find the anime convention nearest to you, is your best bet.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Over the past few weeks I've been talking about how rising gas prices would affect peoples behavior. I mentioned that if people are paying $70-100 USD to fill up their cars something got to give.

Something is now giving.

With gas prices above $4 in some states, Americans are canceling spring break plans and rethinking summer vacation, and some tourist destinations are offering gas vouchers of as much as $50 to talk people out of giving up and staying home.

At Mount Rushmore, only about 37,000 people decided in March that seeing the four granite-etched presidential sculptures was worth the trip, down from about 43,000 a year before.
At the Grand Canyon, a marketing executive for one company that offers sweeping helicopter vistas says 10 percent fewer people than last year are driving up and booking tours. The company is counting on international tourists to make up the rest.

And along the Rhode Island coast, where 800,000 people a year show up to gawk at the opulence of Gilded Age mansions, it's even worse - business is off 30 percent just since the beginning of March.
Memorial Day is still five weeks away, and summer doesn't officially start for two months. This year, anxiety over high gas prices - and whether the family vacation will bust the family budget - has come early.
"I can't go anywhere because I can't afford it," said Greg Sensing, who works in admissions for the University of Maryland. "It's kind of nice to take a road trip, to get in the car, you see the country, and now why bother doing it?"
 Anime conventions cant offer gas vouchers and the rely on people driving into thier show.We have major attractions down 10% in attendance what will happen to the larger anime conventions this summer?


Sichuan Xinhua Winshare Chainstore Co. Ltd. has produced a video for the Robotech Trade Paperback Comics for the China market.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


This comes from CNBC.
A dollar plumbing three-year lows is hitting Americans squarely in the gas tank, and one economist thinks it could drive prices as high as $6 a gallon or more by summertime under the right conditions.

With the greenback coming under increased pressure from Federal Reserve policies and investor appetite for more risk, there seems little direction but up for commodity prices, in particular energy and metals.
Weakness in the US currency feeds upward pressure on commodities, which are priced in dollars and thus come at a discount on the foreign markets.
One result has been a surge higher in gasoline prices to nearly $4 a gallon before the summer driving season even starts, a trend that economists say will be aggravated as demand increases and the summer storm season threatens to disrupt oil supplies.
"All we have to have is a couple badly placed hurricanes which could constrain some of the refinery output capacity in some key locations," says Richard Hastings, strategist at Global Hunter Securities in Charlotte, N.C. "If you get weakness in the dollar concurrent with the strong driving season concurrent with the impact of one or two hurricanes in the wrong place, prices could go up in a quasi-exponential manner."
Hastings sees gasoline having "no problem" getting to $6.50 a gallon over the summer after increased demand and storm disruptions come into play.
The overwhelming majority of anime fans drive to their local conventions. Many of them often drive long distances (over 2 hours) to get to the conventions. With gas now hitting $4 USD per gallon in most parts of the country well before the summer driving season and could easily hit $5 USD per gallon before summers over could really make the summer convention season interesting.

High gas prices act as a tax if people are going to have to spend $70-80 USD to fill up a compact car gas tank its less money they have to spend on cons and anime products.


The Winshare Cover for Love and War

The website is reporting that Sichuan Xinhua Winshare Chainstore Co., Ltd is to release all of DC Comics' Robotech adventures in new trade paperbacks for the 20th anniversary of Robotech's debut in China! Each of these trade have been carefully supervised by Harmony Gold and the Robotech Union China for accuracy and quality.  Also each of the trade paperbacks will have new supplemental material that has never been seen before.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


From Kyodo News

The government is considering increasing electricity charges to help cover damages payments to people who have suffered losses on the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co., government sources said Tuesday.
It is planning to increase the tax on electricity source development, which is collected from consumers as part of electricity charges, and use the hike for providing a portion of the damages payments that TEPCO may not be able to shoulder, they said.
Within the government and the electric utility industry, however, there are some cautious views about the planned measure that will effectively force all the Japanese people to share the burden of damages payments.
Nearly all of anime, including 2D has a digital component to it (what do you think powers all of those computers they use at the studios). If the cost to power anime studios equipment rises then that can add significantly to production costs. If the cost of electricity rises it also hits the artists as well as they still have to pay their own electricity bills. So in many ways its a double whammy.

- The cost to make anime goes up.
- Workers at he studios get hit with what looks like a "tax" that lowers their disposable income.

That is not a good thing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Hello Everyone,

While the blog is off to a great start please keep in mind I'm still working on the "look" of the blog. You will occasionally see new banners and gadgets pop up and disappear as I try out new things. Example: Yesterday I tried out a banner on the top of the blog and it did not work out the way I wanted.

So if you see things pop up then disappear its me still learning the ropes of the platform and not anything nefarious going on.

That is all.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


With gas prices now well over $4 USD in many places across Southern California a disturbing trend is reemerging.

For the first time since the record-setting gasoline- and diesel-price summer of 2008, there has been a double-digit increase in the number of Southern California motorists gambling -- and losing -- a bet that they will find a pump price they can live with before they run out of fuel. Experts say it's a common form of rolling the dice out of anger and frustration.
"When prices go up, people like to push it. If it is costing you $50 or $75 or $100 to fill up, that is real money they don't want to part with. They are hoping to find a bargain, and they push it further and further," said Jason Toews, co-founder of, a system of 185 websites where members post the highest and lowest prices they find.

AAA of Southern California says that an average of 15,600 of its members a month are having to make one of those mildly embarrassing "stranded, need gasoline" emergency calls in the 13 counties within the organization's jurisdiction. That's an increase of 12.9% over the first quarter of last year, and it represents the biggest jump since the California gas-price average hit the AAA all-time-high mark of $4.61 a gallon on June 19, 2008.
The current state average is $4.191 for a gallon of regular gasoline, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, which is compiled by the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express. That's up from $4.125 a gallon a week ago and just $3.112 a gallon at this time last year. Among states, only Hawaii, with an average of $4.464 a gallon, has more expensive gasoline than California.
If filling your car (even a hybrid one) is costing you $50 or $75 or $100 to fill up, that is real money you don't want to part with. Most anime fans often drive great distances to get to conventions they want to go to. If those fans that drive are getting hit with these prices to fill up thier cars now try to imagine what it will be like when were in the "summer convention season". A season that happens to align with the summer driving season when prices peak.

Already we have 4 states, some who are home to the larger amine conventions,  with gas prices above $4 USD. If you do not think this has an effect please note how non-anime fans are reacting.

AAA of Southern California says that an average of 15,600 of its members a month are having to make one of those mildly embarrassing "stranded, need gasoline" emergency calls in the 13 counties within the organization's jurisdiction. That's an increase of 12.9% over the first quarter of last year, and it represents the biggest jump since the California gas-price average hit the AAA all-time-high mark of $4.61 a gallon on June 19, 2008.
 A 13% increase and gas prices are still rising with no end in sight.  It will be interesting to see how this affects the conventions.

Friday, April 15, 2011


From Anime News Network.

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), a group affiliated with the Japanese government, reported in its April 13 "State of the Content Market in America 2010-2011" white paper that the anime-related market in the region was worth an estimated US$2.741 billion (about 257 billion yen) in 2009. Wowmax Media used data from NPD, Nielsen VideoScan, ICv2, and Box Office Mojo in compiling the statistics that JETRO posted. Wowmax Media does not have an estimate for the sale of character goods in 2010, so it does not have a full estimate for the anime-related market for last year.

The anime-related market in North America was reportedly at its largest in 2003, when it stood at US$4.84 billion. The 2009 figure was over 43% smaller. Of that US$2.741 billion in 2009, character goods made up US$2.420 billion, while DVDs accounted for US$306 million.
The article does a interesting breakdown of the numbers and its really worth the read.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


                                                                   Sendai airport on March 11, 2011

USA Today has a photo essay on the reopening of Sendai Airport.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


From NPR.

In some parts of the country, gasoline prices have hit $4 a gallon. The U.S. Energy Department estimates gas prices nationally will average $3.86 per gallon through the summer. That's a big increase — up nearly 40 percent compared with last year. So what does that mean for the economy?
Economists are trying to figure out how much rising gasoline prices will hurt consumer confidence and consumer spending.
The higher prices are not going unnoticed at Stan Hatoff's discount gas station in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
Pumps at a gas station in Laconia, N.H., show higher prices for fuel on Monday.
"It's not good for the people; this is very bad," customer Omery Velagoshti says while filling up his tank.
Velagoshti, who works delivering food for his son's family restaurant, says he has been making some changes in response to the rising gas prices.
"I go for shopping or just for coffee less than before," Velagoshti says. He wants to save money to make up for the extra money he's spending on gas.

At the next pump, Nancy Morales and her husband, Luis, are putting $50 in their old Jeep Cherokee. Their son is in the back seat.
"Every weekend is like, nope, money for gas not personal items," Nancy says.
The family runs a small house-cleaning business, and they've been cutting back a bit, too.
"We wanted to go to Bonkers [Funhouse Pizza] this weekend, and we have to [decide between] Bonkers and the price of gas," she says.
To save money, they decided not to eat at Bonkers, where their son likes to play video games.
Blowing a little less money on pizza and video games probably won't drag down the whole economy, but if hundreds of millions of people start cutting back in significant ways, that could add up to big problems.
When gas prices rise it like a tax it means there is less money for consumers to spend on other things. This article give a vivid example of what I'm talking about. If people are spending more on gas due to price spikes it will mean there is less for them to spend on things like anime. (already pricey to begin with.)

Rising gas prices also set off a cascading effect in the economy also. high gas prices forces upward pressure on the prices of goods and services since it cost more to transport a goods from point A to point B. In 2008 prices were above $4 USD for only a few months and went back down, however it appears that prices are going to above $4 USD and stay there for a long period.

What type of impact this will have on anime conventions are unknown.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011



The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department announced on Tuesday that the tradition of zoning the main street of Tokyo's Akihabara otaku shopping district as pedestrian-only on Sundays (known as "pedestrian paradise") will resume in on Sunday, April 17.
The district was in the news a few years ago when a deranged individual ran a truck into a crowd and started stabbing people.  In response the authorities did not allow the pedestrian only days until January of this year and that was put on hiatus when the March 11 earthquake happened.


From The Japan Times via

Japan on Tuesday raised the severity level of the accident at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to the maximum 7 on an international scale, up from the current 5 and matching that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.
The previous evaluation of 5 on the International Nuclear Event Scale provisionally set by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, a body under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, was at the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979.
Within a 20-km exclusion zone set by the government, the amount varied from under 1 millisievert to 100 millisieverts or more, and in the 20-30 km ring where residents are asked to stay indoors, it came to under 50 millisieverts.
As I said yesterday.

The question is not the short term evacuations but rather what the long term exclusion zones will be. Example the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone is about 19 miles in the Ukraine. While there are a few people who still live there the government removed over 120,000 people, living in 90 communities in the zone.

How big and how many people will the permanent zone of exclusion in Japan will be is the question that no one has an answer for yet.
That question has just become much more urgent.

Monday, April 11, 2011


This video comes from Allahpundit from

The video shows that in the span of less than under 10 seconds the parking lot goes from bone dry to a raging river where cars are floating.

Exit quote:

Most of the tsunami clips that have gone viral thus far are birdseye views of the water rolling in from a distance, with people already on high ground and out of harm’s way. That trend ends here, vividly.


From CBS News Chicago.

At one time, $5 per gallon gas seemed like a farfetched idea, but that is no longer the case.

As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, as of Monday, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Chicago area is $4.11, compared with $3.71 a month ago, and about $3.10 a gallon at this time a year ago.
Some experts say $5 per gallon gas is possible by Memorial Day-or sometime in summer. Others caution that reaching that mark is unlikely over the next six weeks. In Chicago, the prices keep rising to near-record levels–with no relief in sight.
Right now, oil markets are so skittish that records set in 2008 could fall.
When gas prices rise it acts like a tax meaning there is less discretionary income to spend on other things. It also increases the overall costs (for attendees and guests) of attending an anime convention significantly which puts even greater pressure on both the con and invited guests. (only a few conventions have the luxury of calling on guests who are well known that live locally)

Also when gas prices were this high in 2008 the economy was in far better shape then than it was now. Unlike 2008 when the prices peaked in the middle of the convention season after people made thier arragenements, we are seeing prices go up in the months when people start thinking of going.

While anime convention attendance has been growing at most shows it will be interesting to see if these prices put a damper on people going.


From ABC News.

The dollar fell against the yen Monday after another powerful earthquake shook northern Japan, setting of more tsunami alerts.
Monday's large aftershock came exactly a month after an earthquake and tsunami flattened towns and damaged a nuclear plant in northern Japan. It's the second strong aftershock to hit northern Japan in less than a week.
The dollar was worth 84.75 Japanese yen in late afternoon trading in New York, down from 84.89 Japanese yen late Friday.
The Japanese yen is considered a safe-haven currency and tends to get stronger during times of turmoil. Days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the yen reached a new record high against the dollar.
Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar traded between narrow ranges and was nearly unchanged Monday. The euro edged down to $1.4429 late Monday from $1.4435 late Friday.
This is happening despite the massive amount of interventions that the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan have been doing over the past months. 

The Dollar/Yen exchange rate is one of the driving forces in the anime industry in both U.S. and Japan. During the "Golden Age" of anime in the 1980's the Dollar/Yen exchange rate was $1 USD = 240 JPY if the dollar keeps getting weaker it makes anime much more expensive to acquire for the U.S., Australia and European market. 

Further reading.

Jitters mount spurring yen and dollar gains after the Japanese quake-
Canadian Dollar Drops To 4-day Low Against Yen- RTT News
Yen rebounds against dollar, euro after new earthquake- International Business Times


From Kyodo News

Japan on Monday expanded evacuation areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled by the killer earthquake and tsunami a month ago, due to high amounts of cumulative radioactive materials beyond the evacuation zone of a 20-kilometer radius from the plant.
The government's decision comes amid persistent calls from the international community to expand the government-designated evacuation areas due to health risks of continued exposure to radioactive substances.
At present, those who live in the 20-km range must evacuate while those in the 20-30 km radius ring are asked to stay indoors.
Top government spokesman Yukio Edano told a press conference that accumulated radioactive substances have been observed in the newly designated areas due to weather and geographical conditions and while he said locals need not evacuate immediately, they should do so in around one month.
''There is a possibility that if people continue living in these affected areas for six months or one year, accumulated radiation quantities would become even higher,'' Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said.
The question is not the short term evacuations but rather what the long term exclusion zones will be. Example the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone is about 19 miles in the Ukraine. While there are a few people who still live there the goverment removed over 120,000 people, living in 90 communities in the zone.

How big and how many people will the permanent zone of exclusion in Japan will be is the question that no one has an answer for yet.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


In the early years of the Robotech franchise long before Al Gore invented the internet one of the few ways Robotech fans could communicate was through a fanzine called Protoculture Addicts. Well Anime News Network has announced those vintage B&W issues are now on sale at discounted prices.


Friday, April 8, 2011



Grisly news comes from the UK Daily Mail.

A vast field of debris, swept out to sea following the Japan earthquake and tsunami, is floating towards the U.S. West Coast, it emerged today.
More than 200,000 buildings were washed out by the enormous waves that followed the 9.0 quake on March 11. 

There have been reports of cars, tractor-trailers, capsized ships and even whole houses bobbing around in open water.

But even more grizzly are the predictions of U.S. oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who is expecting human feet, still in their shoes, to wash up on the West Coast within three years.
'I'm expecting parts of houses, whole boats and feet in sneakers to wash up,' Mr Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer who has spent decades tracking flotsam, told MailOnline. 

Several thousand bodies were washed out to sea following the disaster and while most of the limbs will come apart and break down in the water, feet encased in shoes will float, Mr Ebbesmeyer said.
'I'm expecting the unexpected,' he added.

Members of the U.S. Navy's 7th fleet, who spotted the extraordinary floating rubbish, say they have never seen anything like it and are warning the debris now poses a threat to shipping traffic.
'It's very challenging to move through these to consider these boats run on propellers and that these fishing nets or other debris can be dangerous to the vessels that are actually trying to do the work,' Ensign Vernon Dennis told ABC News. 
'So getting through some of these obstacles doesn't make much sense if you are going to actually cause more debris by having your own vessel become stuck in one of these waterways.'
If the debris field causes disruptions in shipping traffic that is yet another disruption in international supply chains. That could very well push prices for goods even higher in an already inflationary environment.


Oil is going up and the price of everything else along with it.

Inflation is hitting the U.S. just as the large anime conventions are gearing up. Here are some numbers to crunch over.

Whether it's at the pump or in checkout line at the grocery store, cost of living items are on the rise.
A survey by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau shows food prices are up 5 percent this year.

The bureau's 'Marketbasket' survey totals the cost of 16 food items. In the first three months of 2011, the total was $48. That is up $2.39 from December's price for the same items.
Topping the survey's list
  • Apples increased 24 cents (18 percent) to $1.52 per pound.
  • A gallon of whole milk increased 50 cents (17 percent) to $3.41 per gallon.
  • One pound of bagged salad increased 33 cents (15 percent) to $2.48.
  • A five-pound bag of flour increased 25 cents (12 percent) to $2.34.
  • One pound of ground chuck climbed 32 cents (10 percent) to $3.41.
But its not just food prices on the rise.

Prices are rising at the gas pump as well.
According to AAA, the price for a gallon of regular grade gasoline in the Green Bay area is $3.767. That is up nearly 25 cents in the last month ($3.529) and about 90 cents form a year ago ($2.883) from this time last year.
The highest recorded average price is $4.056 from July 2008.

These rising prices act like a tax that hits the key anime convention demographic 16-21 the hardest. They also act as a drag on the 21 and up demographic as well and with oil prices umping 2% in one day it looks like these factors are only going to intensify just as the big summer cons are gearing up.

If people have to spend more on gas & food then that is less they can spend on or at the conventions. Yes the prices were high in summer 2008 but the economy was far stronger then than it is now. IT will be very interesting to watch what type of impact this will have on the conventions.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


With alot of depressing news on the blog recently I decided to lighten things up a bit and give you a Transformers music video to cheer you up.


Tekkosocon closing ceremonies. 

Photos from the Tekkoshocon anime convention in Pittsburgh are now up on the Robotech Facebook page. 


From Kyodo News

The Bank of Japan on Thursday stepped up its battle to curb the negative economic impact from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, saying it plans to offer 1 trillion yen ($11.7 billion) in cheap loans to encourage financial institutions in affected areas to play major roles in reconstruction work.

The move, widely expected by market players, came as the central bank's Policy Board ended its two-day meeting, in which the policymakers also agreed to keep the bank's key short-term interest rate at around zero to 0.1 percent and maintain its asset purchase fund at 10 trillion yen after it was raised from 5 trillion yen last month to support fundraising by firms.
Yesterday I posted an article on how manufacturing and supply chains in Japan were disrupted by the earthquake. Many of these companies are going to need access to cheap and easy credit to help get them back up and running and rebuild their shattered infrastructure. So as the article above says it was expected.

The long term question is going to be how the massive amount of Quantitative Easing by both the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve will impact the USD/JPY exchange rate. An exchange rate that as a massive effect on the anime industry in both the U.S. and Japan.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


    A damaged port is seen Saturday in Ishinomaki, Japan.

A revealing report from the Los Angeles Times.

The powerful earthquake that rocked Japan last month knocked out a hillside factory owned by Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Little known outside industry circles, Shin-Etsu is the world's biggest producer of advanced silicon wafers, a key material needed for the manufacturing of semiconductors. Its Shirakawa plant represented 20% of the globe's capacity to produce the building blocks on which some key high-technology products depend.

The disaster could prove to be a major concern for chip makers, including Intel Corp. and Toshiba Corp., that buy wafers from Shin-Etsu, analysts said.

But it also has turned the spotlight on a much broader problem in the global economy: Companies around the world often rely on small networks of suppliers that may be thousands of miles away. A good number of those suppliers are in Japan.

Already, quake-related shortages of automotive electronic sensors made by Hitachi's Automotive Systems business have been blamed for halting or cutting production of vehicles in Germany, Spain, France and Shreveport, La.

The crisis also is expected to slash the supply of some vehicles such as Toyota's Prius and contribute to higher passenger car prices in the U.S., where temporary worker layoffs already have hit Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and some Japanese auto firms.

Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group was among the latest to warn that a shortage of components from Japan could crimp supplies of finished products, in its case the LePad tablet computer. Another Chinese firm, ZTE Corp., a major producer of cellphones, said it could face shortages of batteries and LCD screens for months.

The likelihood of more disruptions to come has touched off a scramble for alternative suppliers. It has sparked a run-up in the price of memory chips and some parts. And it is almost certain to lead to a rethinking of a global production and logistics system in which a natural disaster in a small part of Japan's industrial base could have such broad effects around the world.
It a very fascinating read on how the quake has affected manufacturing all over the world and inside Japan. However its important to remember the article only covers manufacturing there are other economic aspects that it does not even touch.


This informative report comes from the AP.


From Anime News Network

North American anime distributor Funimation announced on its blog on Tuesday that it would auction off a variety of "rare" anime collectibles. The proceeds of the auction will go to charities involved in relief efforts for the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster of March 11. In a press release, Funimation noted that it was making use of eBay's Giving Works program to donate auction proceeds to Global Giving.
 The list of items is quite impressive and you can view them here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


From Time

In the safe, sanitized world of nuclear industry brochures, this was surely not supposed to happen: As it struggles to keep four reactors from melting down and thousands of spent fuel assemblies from blowing up, Tepco announced today that it has been forced to dump 11,000 tons of low-level radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
This, now,  is what constitutes the best option in the Fukushima crisis.
The water has a (relatively) low-level of radioactivity of about 100 times the regulatory limit. Though the dumping would normally be illegal under the 1972 "Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter," the Japanese government issued Tepco an exemption so that it could clear space to drain and store more highly radioactive water that has been seeping into the turbine buildings—water so hot with radioactivity it sent three workers to hospital two weeks ago with radiation burns.
But the dumping heightens concern about the marine environment near the plant; by last Saturday, a radioactive leak of water from reactor No. 2, combined with radioactive gas vented from the plant that settled in the sea, brought the radioactivity of water near the plant to 7.5 million times the legal limit, though officials say that level is falling fast.
“There was no choice but to take this step to prevent (other) highly radioactive water from spreading into the sea,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said of the decision to intentionally discard radioactive water. “The fact that radioactive water is being deliberately dumped into the sea is very regrettable and one we are very sorry about.”
Fukushima has been awash with radioactive water since crews began dumping and spraying seawater in a desperate effort to keep reactors and spent fuel assemblies cool. But given the urgent threat of meltdown of the reactors, or ignition of the spent fuel assemblies, there seems to have been no plan about how to safely clean up the water.
Amid public health concerns about the contamination of the sea, the government announced on Tuesday it was setting radiation safety standards for fish. This followed news that a fish was caught last Friday off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture, halfway between Fukushima and Tokyo, that contained high levels of radioactive iodine 131. The  fish contained 4,080 becquerels per kilogram — about 2 pounds — of iodine 131. The new standard allows up to 2,000 becquerels per kilogram of iodine 131, the same standard used for vegetables in Japan, according to the New York Times.
 This is a long term crisis that will be affecting the country for many years.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Just got back from Tekkoshocon and some big news was dropped in the anime world. 

he media distributor Navarre Corporation announced on Monday that it has sold its anime company Funimation to a group of investors that includes Gen Fukunaga, who is also Funimation's chief executive officer. The price of the all-cash transaction is US$24 million. Navarre will continue to serve as Funimation's exclusive distributor in the United States, as well as its logistics and fulfillment services provider. The investment group also includes John A. Kuelbs "who was then instrumental in selecting Darwin and Doug Deason to join the team," according to Funimation.
Some background.

In January 2005, Navarre Corporation announced plans to acquire from a group of private owners that included Fukunaga and the Cocanaour family . The acquisition was completed in May that year. Navarre initially offered $127 million dollars for Funimation ($100.5 million in cash and $26.5 million in Navarre common stock) and $17 million in performance based earnouts, for a total of $142 million. Adjustments to the value of the Navarre stock and cancellation of the earnout payments brought the total price for Funimation down to $114 million, $90 million more than today's announced sale price.

Friday, April 1, 2011