September 23, 2010

Leave luck to Heaven

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchatoff @ 12:49 am
Tags: , , , ,

Fusajiro Yamauchi started a playing card company on Sept. 23 in 1889 and it was a wild success.  Playing cards had been outlawed to a greater or lesser degree in Japan for centuries in an effort to discourage gambling but hanufuda  – flower cards – were finally being allowed.  Hanafuda cards had no numbers, just pictures to be matched.

Hanafuda cards set up for Koi-Koi. Photo by Aldaron

Yamauchi’s little business – which he called Nintendo Koppai – grew and grew and so he tried branching out, first a taxi business, then a love hotel, then some toys.  But nothing did as well as the cards until his son added some video games in the 60s.  By 1974 Nintendo had developed a color TV game console and focussed on developing games.

They hired a student developer named Shigeru Miyamoto who went to work on games for the console.  In 1981, he created Donkey Kong and the rest, for Nintendo at least, is history.

What’s really cool is that after almost 120 years Nintendo still makes hanafuda – in fact, they have a commemorative Super Mario set and they also sponsor an annual bridge tournament which awards the Nintendo Cup. And the company name, btw, roughly  translates as ‘leave luck to Heaven.’

* * *

This is the autumnal equinox.  Sort of.  All the weather people will refer to the day, but in fact, an equinox is very precise – it occurs at a specific time during a 24-hour period.  This equinox occurred at 3:09 a.m. GMT. So we all have probably missed it.

In any event, it’s the moment when the center of the sun can be seen to be directly above the equator, creating a night and day of equal length.  Here, sunrise is at 6:43 a.m. and sunset at 6:48. Close enough.

Interestingly, it’s no longer called the autumnal equinox officially.  Somebody realized that is a rather parochial view, since it is not autumn south of the equator.  So now they are called the March and September equinoxes. The photo shows the solstice and equinox positions in the northern hemisphere and is really pretty.

Graphic by Tauʻolunga


1 Comment »

  1. Awesome!!! i never knew about Nintendo – how cool! Happy equinox 🙂


    Comment by Nina — September 23, 2010 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

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