扇風機 senpuuki—fan

The weather has been fairly chilly recently, but today was amazingly warm for early February. Here in Osaka, the temperature reached 18 degrees, and according to the radio it was almost 20 degrees in Kyoto. We took advantage of the unseasonal weather to pack a picnic and head out for a walk in Tsurumi-Ryokuchi park.

We had set the car navigation to avoid motorways (tolls are pretty expensive) but in hindsight this was a bit of a mistake. I underestimated the distance to Tsurumi-Ryokuchi, and driving in the suburbs is painfully slow, requiring a lot of patience. In the end it took over an hour to get there. I had also overestimated the toll; I thought there was a flat 900 yen fee but in fact it would have been 400.

It made a nice change not to have to wear a coat, scarf or hat. After arriving and parking the car, my first stop before entering the park was to find and log a geocache.

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Inside the park, the area around the windmill which will, later in the year, be a vast field of tulips, was just grass.

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As soon as we came to a small river, Shiro decided to jump in for a swim to cool off, even though he was still on the lead.

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We paid a quick visit to the Irish pavilion,

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and then went into the South Korean pavilion for the first time. That’s Miffy looking at the camera.

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After leaving the park, there was one more thing I wanted to see in the neighbourhood. Apparently, the electric fan was invented in Osaka 100 years ago, in 1913, by a company called Kawakita Denki Kigyosha (KDK). This company became part of the Panasonic Group in 1956.

The factory is long-gone, but this piece of history is marked by a plaque on the wall of the park where the factory once stood. The picture is the “Typhoon”, the first mass-produced electric fan. The text says:

“扇風機発祥の地” senpuuki hassho no chi—The birthplace of the electric fan.

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Note on the word of the day:

扇風機 senpuuki is the Japanese word for an electric fan. It’s written with three characters: 扇 sen is a fan; 風 fuu is the wind; 機 ki is a machine (as for example 飛行機 hikouki, an aeroplane, or 洗濯機 sentakki, a washing machine).

The first model was called “Typhoon”. I always assumed this word was borrowed into English from Japanese 台風 taifuu. But according to Wikipedia the story of this word is much more complex and uncertain, and the article even suggests the word may have been “reimported” into Japanese from English.

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