TOPICS May 2022

Scientists’ Epoch-Making Research

A group of scientists, including Professor Kanagawa from the Graduate School of Medicine, Ehime University, announced that they succeeded in treating a test mouse with a type of muscular dystrophy.

They said it is a milestone for developing treatment methods. Muscular dystrophy is a general term for hereditary diseases in which muscular strength gradually weakens. There are various causes and there is no fundamental treatment, so the main therapy just treats the symptoms.

Professor Kanagawa said, “We aim to be able to apply this method to clinical treatments and develop drugs for it. We will continue the research to make patients’ wishes fulfilled.” Their paper was published in the British journal called “Nature Communications” on April 14.

(April 15, Ehime Shimbun)

Japanese-Russian Musical Bonds and Conflict

The Russian army continues to invade Ukraine every day. In March, when about a month had passed since the onset of the invasion, a pianist living in Matsuyama and specializing in Russian music, was interviewed about her feelings.

Ms. Ikeda improved her piano skills in Russia for eight years from the age of 19. After returning to Japan in 2010, she founded a Japanese-Russian musical and cultural circle called Beryoza to introduce Russian culture. She has invited Russian musicians to Ehime about once or twice a year to give people the chance to listen to live Russian music. She intended to make this circle more active as Matsuyama and Russia have good historical relationships, when the invasion occurred.

She said she knows how special Ukraine is for Russia, which dates back to the Grand Principality of Kiev. It’s no exaggeration to say that Russian identity is rooted in Ukraine. Even borscht soup and Cossack dance, which Russia is proud of, originated in Ukraine. She was so sad and so disappointed with Russia that she almost lost her passion, thinking that she couldn’t introduce what she despaired of.

However, she felt it was wrong to hate the wonderful music only because it was related to Russia. She is in touch with friends living in Russia. Their parents’ generation is immersed in the propaganda of the state TV. On the other hand, many young people know the reality through social media, but they can’t raise their voices because the police would detain them immediately. Even social media has been restricted.

Ms. Ikeda said what Russia is doing can never be accepted, but she worries about her friends. She added she thinks it is worth introducing Russian arts as much as she can.

(April 7, Ehime Shimbun)

New Spot in Dogo

“Foot Bath Café Botchan,” where people can enjoy foot-bathing, food and drink at the same time, opened at Dogo Botchan Hiroba, located on the west side of Dogo Onsen Honkan. A large screen projecting PR movies introducing the attractions all over Ehime to visitors was installed in the cafe.

Dogo Kowakuen Haruka Co.,Ltd. managing a hotel and souvenir shop in Dogo established the facility. The size of the foot bath is approximately 2.4 m x 6.8 m x 0.2-0.25 m (Length x Width x Depth), and the temperature of the water is about 40 °C. The maximum number of users is limited to 12 due to the pandemic. Food and drinks bought at adjacent shops can be brought in. There is also an area where picture books and tourism brochures are available.

Mr. Niyama, President of Kowakuen, said that he would be very happy that this café could be a place where people can feel free to stop by and take a break.

It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The fee is 200 yen for 30 minutes and a mini-towel is included.

(April 3, Ehime Shimbun Online)

2nd Generation – Iyonada Monogatari Debuted

 The 2nd generation “Iyonada Monogatari”, a sightseeing train operated by JR Shikoku, has started to run.

The new train can carry 58 passengers, and consists of three cars, of which the 3rd car is was added for charters. The interior of the train is retro-modern, and the design harmonizes Japanese and Western styles. The exterior is same as the 1st generation, which is colored in deep red and gold inspired by Iyo-nada sunsets. It has a metallic coat to glow with the splendor of the setting sun.

Mr. Tsuguhiro Nishimaki, President of JR Shikoku, said that he understood that the biggest attraction on this sightseeing train was the hospitality of the people living along the train track, and that he would like all the passengers to look forward to it.

The operation days until September have been determined, basically on Saturday, Sunday, and Holiday.

The 1st generation operated for 858 days with four routes from July 2014 to December 2021, and catered to a total of 145,000 passengers.

(April 2, Ehime Shimbun Online)