A damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, severely limiting Japan’s power supply, has forced the country to reduce power usage. With restricted use of electricity, many people are looking for alternative ways to cool off in the hot Japanese summer. Hiroshi Ichigaya, engineer and president of the Japanese company "Kuchofuku", meaning air-conditioned clothing in Japanese, has invented a must for hot summers: the “Kuchofuku” jacket. The idea of “personal air-conditioning” struck Ichigaya in the 1990s, when he worked for Sony, trying to invent an air conditioner that would use little electricity. “It came to me that we don’t need to cool the entire room, just as long as people in it feel cool,” he said.
Kuchofuku jackets come equipped with a pair of battery-operated fans which draw air in, giving the jacket a puffed-up look. Ichigaya says the constant breeze inside the jacket helps evaporate all the sweat and creates a personal cooling system in the process. The goal is not to lower temperatures outside the body but expand the body's comfort zone, and eliminate the need for energy-consuming air conditioners.
Ichigaya's first collection only featured the standard air-conditioned jacket, but his collection has slowly expanded, along with the company. The Kuchofuku catalog now features air-conditioned cushions, shirts and pants, with fans installed in each pocket. Nearly 1,000 companies in Japan use Kuchofuku, including automobile giants, steelmakers, food companies and construction firms. The shirts and jackets are far from fashionable, but demand for them is soaring because they are not just economical. They also help boost worker productivity and aid in the fight against global warming.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
1. Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? Copy the evidence from the text. No marks are given for only TRUE or FALSE.
a) The name of the company is related to the product it manufactures.
- TRUE: ...Japanese company "Kuchofuku", meaning air-conditioned clothing in Japanese, (has invented a must for hot summers: the “Kuchofuku” jacket.)
b) Ichigaya’s air-conditioned jackets are very stylish.
- FALSE: The shirts and jackets are far from fashionable, (but demand for them is soaring because they are not just economical.)
2. In your own words and based on the ideas in the text, answer the following questions. Do not copy from the text.
a) What made Hiroshi Ichigaya decide to invent air-conditioned clothes?
- In the 1990s, Ichigaya, who worked for Sony, wanted to discover an air conditioner that needed less electricity. He discovered that people need to be cool and not the room. After the Fukushima nuclear accident, electricity in Japan is scarce and Ichigaya’s jackets could help the Japanese keep cool using less electricity.
b) Explain how the Kuchofuku jacket works.
- Kuchofuku jackets have fans that create a breeze inside the jacket. This evaporates the sweat and cools the body, and this lowers the temperature of the body.
II. USE OF ENGLISH
3.-Find the words in the text that mean:
- a) decrease (paragraph 1): reduce
- b) whole (paragraph 1): entire
- c) objective (paragraph 2): goal
- d) grown (paragraph 3): expanded
4. Complete the following sentences.
Use the appropriate form of the word in brackets when given.
- a) Air conditioned clothing is often used by workers at hot construction sites. Last summer, many of Sony’s employees wore/were wearing (wear) Kuchofuku jackets.
- b) Temperatures in Iraq range from 48 degrees in the summer to below freezing. Soldiers operating in this kind of environment would benefit greatly (great) from air-conditioned clothing.
- c) Another Japanese company, whose name is CoolBiz, is also manufacturing air-conditioned clothes.
- d) Have you ever thought (think) about buying (buy) an air-conditioned jacket?