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Blog - The Amazing Japanese Culture
Blog - The Amazing Japanese Culture

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 (Bernama) — There is a new hope for cancer patients in Malaysia.

A vaccine widely known for treating late-stage cancer — almost all types of cancer, except leukemia — is now available in the country.

The Human Initiated Therapeutic Vaccine (HITV), which was only available in Japan previously, is able to completely destroy microscopic and tiny nests of cancer cells, thus preventing any future recurrences.

Discovered in 2005 by Dr Kenichiro Hasumi, a Japanese physician and researcher, HITV is an autologus (patient derived) active cell-based immunotherapy for metastatic or late-stage cancer patients.

It is based on immunology that harnesses human immune system’s innate and adaptive ability to combat diseases.

Dr Hasumi, founder and chairman of Hasumi International Research Foundation in the United States, has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to find a cure to cancer.

Speaking at a media conference Monday, Dr Hasumi said the therapy was highly effective for patients suffering from late-stage cancer, when used in combination with radiotherapy.

“The use of tomotherapy (a type of radiation therapy) is important in this protocol. It can target the tumors precisely in one sweep, while reducing the radiation exposure to the surrounding tissues,” he said.

The treatment includes harvesting immune cells from the patient, culturing them in the laboratory to become immature dentritic cells, and then re-introducing them into the patient’s body, through injection into the tumor.

HITV course takes about three weeks, with 10 days of actual treatment. Patients will have to be examined with PET-CT scan after the treatment periodically, to monitor the tumors for regression.

While the treatment was only available in Japan, nine Malaysians suffering late stage of various types of cancer have decided to give it a try. Five of them have shown complete response.

They include Goh Sai Wah, 58, a non-smoker who was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer with extensive spread to the spine and bone in May, last year.

She underwent the HITV therapy in Japan on Oct 30, last year and in her follow-up check, six weeks later, almost all cancer cells had disappeared.

Now, 365 days later, and counting, she is very much alive and well.

Dr Hasumi said, since late stage cancer was a very difficult stage to cure, he hoped that in future, there would be innovations to cure cancer in the early stages.

HITV therapy costs about RM200,000, if patients decide to have it in Japan. In Malaysia, it will cost about RM150,000.

The therapy is now available at the Mahameru International Medical Centre but medical practitioners are trying their very best to introduce HITV to all hospitals in the Klang Valley, in an effort to give late-stage cancer patients a new hope in life.

Source: Click

TOKYO — Unlike Major League Baseball, for whom Rawlings has been the official supplier of baseballs since 1977, Japan’s top league has long used multiple manufacturers.

This season, however, for the first time in the 75-year history of Nippon Professional Baseball, every team is using the same supplier.

In any given season, as many as nine manufacturers had supplied baseballs to Japan’s 12 teams. Many clubs, in fact, contracted with multiple suppliers and freely switched the balls they used in their home games depending on the series, the month or some other variable that had to be revealed in advance to the commissioner’s office.

Citing rising costs and declining domestic production, Commissioner Ryozo Kato began the tedious and touchy process of unifying Japan’s ball last year. Mizuno emerged as the lone supplier.

But old customs are hard to break, and in tradition-bound Japan, the move to a unified ball comes with a twist: it is required only for official games played between major league teams. Individual clubs can continue choosing their own baseballs for minor league games, spring training games and practices. According to the commissioner’s office, at least two teams that contracted with multiple baseball makers last year, the Hanshin Tigers and the Yakult Swallows, continue to use those balls in unsanctioned events.

In Japanese baseball, power has traditionally rested with the teams. Franchises have operated independently on a variety of issues, including deciding which ball manufacturers to contract with, much as players in the United States and Japan decide which manufacturers’ bats, gloves and spikes they use.

In Japan, a culture evolved in which sporting goods makers, especially smaller regional ones, became dependent on their relationships with local clubs to supply thousands of balls each year.

“In order to build relationships that stand the test of time, you have to be willing to endure lots of hardships on your customers’ behalf,” Katsuhisa Matsuzaki, a spokesman for N.P.B, said in Japanese, describing the traditional arrangement. “For a team to then turn around and say to a supplier that persevered, ‘Sorry, we don’t you need anymore,’ is not the Japanese way.”

So instead of trying to undo longstanding relationships, Japan’s commissioner’s office established standards over the years to attain a degree of uniformity among the game balls being produced by multiple manufacturers.

That began as far back as 1950, when the Central and Pacific Leagues came under one governing umbrella. Over the years, standards pertaining to the balls were gradually tightened. This happened, for example, in 1981, after a game was delayed by 20 minutes as one team accused another of using a suspicious ball with extra zip. But until this year, teams could use any ball that adhered to the standards.

The new Mizuno ball for this season has been called the noncarrying ball, a reference to the effect of the lower-elasticity rubber that encases the cork center. Not surprisingly, pitchers like the new ball for that and other subtle changes they can use to their advantage.

“It breaks better, moves more advantageously for the pitcher,” Hisashi Iwakuma of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, speaking in Japanese, said of the new ball. “Whether you throw a fork or a curve or a slider, the break is bigger. Even your fastball doesn’t have to be perfectly straight; you can make it miss the sweet spot of the bat.”

Iwakuma said pitchers could manipulate the slightly lower height of the red stitches and their slightly wider spread.

Japan’s regular season was extended until this week because of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March and unusually heavy rain. But the ball is believed to be responsible for an abundance of curiosities.

Source: Full Story

I had thought–and perhaps I was not alone in this–that Steve Jobs wore black turtlenecks because they were lucky.

It is not uncommon for human beings–especially men–to have lucky shirts, lucky pants, even lucky underwear.

Yet the story of Jobs’ black designer turtlenecks involved not merely the turtlenecks’ designer, but Jobs’ enthusiasm for Apple employees to all wear uniforms.

Walter Isaacson, Jobs’ chosen biographer, donated a fascinating snippet to Gawker that explained the story.

It seems that Jobs took a trip to Japan in the 1980s and was rather moved to see everyone at Sony wearing a uniform. He was keen to adopt the same sartorial consistency at Apple. He thought wearing the same corporate garb would help Apple employees come together–something school uniforms never seem to quite manage.

Jobs discovered that the Sony garb was designed by the fine Japanese fashion icon Issey Miyake. So he asked Miyake to create, dare one even imagine it, an Apple vest for all of Cupertino to wear.

Strangely, Apple employees expressed aggressively negative reservations about such a 1984-ish suggestion. “Oh, man, did I get booed off the stage,” Jobs told Isaacson.

The Apple CEO and Miyake, though, stayed in touch. Jobs’ enthusiasm for a personal uniform remained undimmed, so he asked Miyake to make him some of his classic black turtlenecks. He received “hundreds of them.”

Jobs then offered Isaacson a quote that now seems painfully poignant: “I have enough to last for the rest of my life.”

Many will feel that Jobs understood that the more he was seen in public, the more he felt he ought to project a consistent brand image for his own personal identity.

Which still leaves on question that might perplex one or two people–even Miyake, perhaps: Why the Levi’s?

Source: Cnet