Monday, July 28, 2014

TEPCO tries to summon walls of ice?

RocketNews24 reported that TEPCO is trying to create walls of ice (reinforced by soil and cement) around the Fukushima No. 1 reactors so as to keep in the contaminated water. Unfortunately the walls aren't shaping up as planned.

Only 3 mana? What's the problem?

You can read more about the story at RocketNews or the Asahi Shimbun. I haven't been following the reactor news super closely, as the situation always seems to be that basically "things are bad." However it's an important story to keep track of, both for Japan and other countries that use nuclear power. I'm neither gung-ho for or against nuclear energy, though I lean more towards it being a necessity until we can achieve more efficient sustainable energy (we're still far from cheap and abundant solar or wind power). Still, it quite evidently does have its risks, especially when power plants are not well-maintained.

Regardless, shall we take a look at Yahoo Japan!'s article for a quick J lesson?

If you've studied Japanese for a bit, you're probably familiar with the word for "refrigerator," even if you're not familiar with the kanji: 冷蔵庫 (れいぞこ). For the longest time, extending through my years in Japan, I could never remember the similar word for "freezer," which is 冷凍庫 (れいとうこ).

Here in this article, the kanji for "freeze" abounds! Let's look at a couple of excerpts from one sentence:


"Since the construction on the wall of ice began in April, and it has not frozen despite three months passing... "

凍る (こおる) = to freeze. 

I think the easiest way to remember this is to think of かき氷 (kakigori).

As it happens, こおり (氷) means "ice" and こおる (凍る) means "to freeze." I have a hunch that 氷る can also mean "to freeze," but I've never seen that kanji used that way.

2. ...来週にも1日10トンの氷を投入し凍結を促す対策を開始することを明らかにした。

"...a plan has been announced, starting next week, to begin dumping 10 tons of ice per day into the ice trenches in order to quicken the freezing process."

凍結 (とうけつ) = freeze (the act or process of freezing)

This other reading of 「凍」as 「とう」is the reason I always froze up and couldn't remember the word for "freezer." I'm not sure there is a great way to remember it (if you think of one, let me know). But if you can remember that, you can easily remember 「冷凍庫」 - just one character different from "refrigerator."

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