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The Japan Times ST dated June 30-July 7 carried Easy Reading, in which one article caught my attention, with a headline: Gifu cutlery firm's katana scissors prove popular.

It reports that samurai-sword scissors are become popular with foreign tourists. They are manufactured in Seki City, Gifu Prefecture.

The scissors' blades are curved like a katana. The handles are decorated like a sword hilt. And they come in a case lie a scabbard.

The idea was forged in 2014 when a senior official was talking with colleagues after work. And they came up with the idea.

The cutlery maker has received an avalanche of orders from souvenir shops across Japan. There are now 15 models, sailing for about 2,000 yen to 3,000 yen each.

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The Japan Times ST on June 30-July 7 carried Essay, in which Deborah Davidson wrote about "Ainu place names."

When the writer was 8, her family moved to a small town in Hokkaido called Bibai. The kanji for this is 美唄, literally "Beautiful Song." The name came originally from Ainu, pronounced Pipa-o-i ("play of many swamp mussels").

The name of Sapporo is written with kanji that was chosen from its sound, not its meaning. The original Ainu name, Sat Poro Pet, means "dry, big river."

Hokkaido place names tell us about the Ainu way of life. Sometimes they describe landmarks of important  historical events and rituals. Other times they describe the location of food sources, or materials for clothing or building houses.

The New York Times International Edition dated July 5 carried a front page article, with a headline: Echoes of 'Brexit' in cabby war.

It reports that taxi warfare is going on in London between traditional black carbs to newly arrived Uber.

Uber fares are about 30 percent lower than those of black cars. "London without black cars," said the veteran cab driver, "would be like London without Big Ben". "In London, driving a cab is a vocation," he said. "It's a way of life."

Mrs. Bakkalive , who migrated from Morocco with her husband, became a Uber driver. With 5 children, she leads a busy life, Uber driver as well as a house wife. On average, she earns 300 pounds a week. Yet the family relies on benefits like subsidized housing. 

The Week dated dated June 18, 2017, carried "Europe at a glance", where a short article caught my attention: Cruise Vote.

It reports from Venice that thousands of Venetians have voted in an unofficial referendum to ban large cruise ships from the city's lagoon, on the grounds that they overcrowd the city with tourists and damage the environment.

Each year, some 600 giant cruise ships sail past St Mark's Square and up the Giudecca Canal to the cruise ship terminal. Campaigners say they not only ruin the beautiful citiyscape but that the waves they generate damage canal banks and churn up the muddy floor of the lagoon. 

99% voted in favor of the ban. Defenders claim they support thousands of jobs and bring in vital revenue. 

Newsweek in its June 16, 2017, edition carried an article titled: Limiting Screen Time: Smartphones might make your toddler dumber.

It reports a new study which asserts that screen time could cause language delays in children. The research confirms what many of us already know: Smartphones don't always make us so smart.

The study examined the link between handheld device screen time and language development among 894 children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. On average, children spend half-hour on screen time daily, which leads to a 49 percent increase in expressive speech delay. That is to say, they started talking later.


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