Three Japanese were named in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2021. For one of them, it was her third time on the annual list.

The Time 100 was revealed on Sept. 15. Time separated its list of 100 people into categories: icons, pioneers, titans, artists, leaders and innovators.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka appeared on the list for the third straight year, her second time as an icon. She was praised for sharing her struggles with mental health.

Shohei Ohtani was also listed as an icon on the list. “His skill on the mound, coupled with his dominance at the plate, is unparalleled throughout the major leagues,” read the blurb for the Los Angeles Angels two-way player.

The third Japanese on the list was architect Kengo Kuma. He designed the new National Stadium in Tokyo, the center of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (The Japan Times)


















名寄市立大学 野村クラス  11月22日授業資料

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the value I place on certain items.

For example, if my house were to go up in flames, which items would I try to save?

Let’s pretend that each item weighs the same and is easy to carry, but that I can pick only one thing to bring with me.

Would it be something that brings me joy, like the snowboard I bought just last year or the television that I’ve relied on to keep me entertained during the pandemic?

Or would it be something more practical, like the new and ever-so-slightly-fancy fridge my wife and I bought a couple months? Perhaps it would be something that is practical but also boring, like a washing machine.

There are also numerous sentimental items that might be on my shortlist.

But — thanks to digital storage — I don’t think our photographs would make the cut.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some photos of family, friends and travel experiences that I cherish, but thankfully all of them are backed up digitally.

That’s undoubtedly a good thing. I suspect if I was pondering this question 30 years ago, prized photo albums would be at or near the top of my list of items to save.

Still, despite the benefits of digital storage, I have to wonder if it has caused me to devalue something that I might have once held dear.

We take so many photos in our day-to-day lives that it’s easy to forget how valuable each picture used to be. A century ago, getting a single portrait was an event. Even as recently as the 1990s, photos came at a premium, with film rolls limiting you to a couple dozen pictures that took time and money to have developed. Now, I can take 24 pictures and upload them to the web before I’ve even had breakfast.

Recently I was reminded that photos still hold a lot of value. With our first baby due in less than two months, my wife and I decided it was the right time to have maternity photos taken at a professional studio. No selfie sticks required!

As one might expect, this was not a cheap endeavor. I think my jaw dropped when the final bill was presented to us. But once I got over the price tag — and saw the quality of the images compared to the ones taken on our smartphones — I was incredibly happy we spent the money.

Of course, the first thing we did when we got home was upload the images onto the cloud to make sure they can’t be misplaced or damaged.

If only I could do the same for my snowboard



高校2年 Sさん、2級合格

中学3年 Sくん. 準2級合格

中学2年 Mさん、3級合格

中学2年 Fさん、3級合格

小学6年 Hさん、3級合格

小学6年 Nさん、4級合格










名寄市立大学野村クラス 11月15日授業資料

The Line messaging application has been a mainstay during the pandemic. Thousands of businesses, local governments and individuals across Japan use it to keep the public informed. Fittingly, it was developed in response to another national emergency: the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

When telecommunications were disrupted after the earthquake, internet company NHN Japan developed Line as a way for people to communicate, releasing it to the public in June 2011. It gained 50 million users within a year. By comparison, it took Twitter and Facebook over three years to achieve similar numbers.

What made Line so successful was its understanding of the Japanese market. It achieved fame in Japan early on for its stickers, which people used to make their messages stand out. The stickers’ cute and varied character designs endeared the Japanese public to the social network, and by 2013, Line was the country’s most popular messaging app.

Line has also striven to become a fully comprehensive social network. As early as 2012, it introduced its Home and Timeline features, similar to features in Facebook. Other profitable services include Line Manga and Line Play, a platform for mobile games like 2014’s monumentally successful Disney Tsum Tsum. And Line Pay remains one of the most commonly used money payment applications in Japan.

Line hasn’t been without its failures, however, and many of its extra features have been discontinued, including Line Taxi, which was established as a competitor to Uber, and Line Mall, an e-commerce service similar to Mercari. Also, during its 10-year history, Line has been no stranger to scandal, and has already been subject to several data breaches and hacks.

Outside Japan, Line has become the No. 1 messaging app in Taiwan and Thailand, but isn’t well-known in other countries, including many where competitor WhatsApp reigns supreme. What’s more, China and Russia have both prohibited Line, and there is no sign they will reverse their decisions.

But in its place of birth, Line is here to stay. It has quietly become part of the glue that holds Japanese society together and is used by people from all walks of life. It’s more than just an app. Line provides us with the most essential of human needs: communication — with just a dash of cute too.


Once every fortnight, my friend Audrey has at least a few hundred eggs delivered to her doorstep. They sit neatly in trays, arranged according to weight and type. As you may have guessed, not all of them are for her family. After checking that the order has been correctly filled, she snaps a picture and sends it off with a text message: “Eggs are ready for collection!”

The message is to neighbours in her block and a few blocks of flats nearby. The group of about 70 households keeps in touch via a group chat on the WhatsApp messaging app. They take turns to host regular group buys — mass orders of anything ranging from frozen food to fresh bread. Everyone benefits from splitting the delivery costs. Sometimes they even get bulk-order discounts.

Audrey started hosting the group buy for eggs shortly after the pandemic struck. Instead of going to the market or supermarket, which could get very crowded, she ordered her eggs directly from a vendor, who delivered them to her doorstep. Audrey asked her neighbours if they would like to tag on their orders, and many expressed an interest.

It has been more than a year since Audrey started doing this, and she has now developed her own protocol for a fuss-free group buy. Her neighbours text her their orders, and she keys in the data on a spreadsheet before placing an order with the vendor. Upon delivery, she pays the vendor via bank transfer. Her neighbours transfer their own payments to her after collecting their eggs from her doorstep.