Blue laser diode book with Shuji Nakamura – the back ground story

Shuji Nakamura & Gerhard Fasol the blue laser diode

The Blue Laser Diode: The Complete Story (2nd Edition) Springer Verlag, Heidelberg

Blue laser diode book – GaN based light emitters and lasers (1st Edition)

Since I have been working for many years on GaAs research, as soon as I heard Shuji Nakamura’s talk at one of Japan’s applied physics conferences, I understood the importance, visited Shuji Nakamura in Anan where he was working at Nichia Kagaku Kougiyou, and became friends with Shuji Nakamura (see Shuji Nakamura speaking here at the 5th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium in Tokyo). Shuji Nakamura also introduced me over curry lunch to Founder and Chairman Nobuo Ogawa (小川 信雄), who at that time was about 83 years old.

I asked Chairman Nobuo Ogawa why he had agreed to pay for Shuji Nakamura’s proposed research on GaN blue LEDs, and pay for Shuji Nakamura learn MOCVD at the University of Florida in Professor Ramaswamy’s group. Nobuo Ogawa’s answer: “How did you chose your wife?”

I wrote a number of articles about Shuji Nakamura’s development of GaN LEDs and lasers in SCIENCE Magazine and the Deutsche Physikalische Blätter.

I also wrote an article for the Journal of the German Physical Society, at that time “Physikalische Blätter”, for which I was regularly writing articles and reports from Japan. The Editor initially rejected my article. He told me that he had consulted with German experts, and these experts had told him that they had never heard about a successful blue GaN LED, and that this was therefore impossible, and wrong. The Editor asked me rhetorically: “Do you think these German experts are wrong?” – I answered “Yes, they are wrong – you should publish this article”, and sent him some background information in support of my article. He finally published the article, and you can find it online here:

  • Gerhard Fasol: "Die blaue GaN Leuchtdiode: Auftakt für einen neuen Industriezweig (The blue GaN light emitting diode: the beginning of a new industry)" Physikalische Blätter, 51, p. 925-926 (October 1995)
  • Gerhard Fasol: "Japanische Herbstkonferenzen in Angewandter Physics (Japan’s autumn conferences on applied physics)" Physikalische Blätter, 50, p. 1118-1119 (December 1994) (my first report on Shuji Nakamura’s GaN work in Germany’s Physikalische Blätter)

Through my articles in Science Magazine and Physikalische Blätter, Claus Ascheron, Physics Editor of Springer Verlag became aware of my work in Tokyo, and asked me if I can help him win Shuji Nakamura’s agreement to write a book on his GaN work.

Claus Ascheron and myself went to visit Shuji Nakamura, and we had a lunch with Shuji Nakamura, Chairman Nobuo Ogawa, Claus Ascheron and myself. During lunch Claus Ascheron asked Shuji Nakamura, if he would be interested to write a book for Springer Verlag. Shuji agreed, but said that he needs Chairman Ogawa’s agreement. He asked Chairman Ogawa straight away, and Chairman Ogawa said “No. You can’t write this book, I don’t give my permission”. So I intervened and asked Chairman Ogawa for the reason of this refusal. Chairman Ogawa said: “Nakamura-san is researcher, he must do research and develop new products, he cannot waste his time writing books”. So I offered to help as a co-author, so that this would take less of Shuji Nakamura’s time. Chairman Ogawa agreed to this arrangement, and gave his permission.

As a result, Shuji Nakamura and myself worked many night-sessions over Christmas and New Year 1996/1997, and the first edition of the Blue GaN Laser book was published in January 1997, to be ready for the annual Book Fair in Frankfurt.

  • "The Blue Laser Diode: The Complete Story" (2nd Edition),
    S. Nakamura, S. Pearton, G. Fasol
    (Springer-Verlag, October 2000, ISBN 3-540-66505-6)
    Press here to order “The blue laser diode” from

  • "The Blue Laser Diode – GaN based light emitters and lasers" (1st Edition),
    S. Nakamura, G. Fasol
    (Springer-Verlag, January 1997, ISBN 987-3-662-03464-4)

You can also read some of the background of Shuji Nakamura’s invention and the development of the solid state lighting industry in our Solid State Lighting report.

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Kyoto, Nara, Uji – tips

Kyoto, Nara, Uji - tips for your visit: how to enjoy a single day, a week or longer in Kyoto. Here are some of the most beautiful places to see

Kyoto tips: tell me the top-10 things to see!

I wrote the first version of this Kyoto tips page for my god-daughter who visited Japan with her boyfriend last year, and she asked me “Gerhard – tell me the top-10 things to do in Kyoto!”…

Kyoto is both a town (Kyoto-Shi 京都市) and a Province (Kyoto-fu 京都府).

Kyoto-shi (京都市) has a population of about 1.5 million.
Kyoto-fu (京都府) has a population of about 2.6 million (including the population of Kyoto-shi), and includes quite a large land area reaching to the sea at the North with the port town Maizuru (舞鶴).

Kyoto tips for a 1 Day visit:

Ryoanji -> Kinkakuji -> Ginkakuji -> Kiyomizutera -> Iyemon Salon for Tea or Fukujuen Tea Company (read more explanations about each of these places below)

More days in Kyoto:

Kyoto: how to get around

Kyoto is quite a large town, with about 1.5 million inhabitants, and Nara and Uji are about an hour away by train, so you need some planning to optimize your time in Kyoto and Nara. Get a 1-day, 2-day Sightseeing Bus/Subway pass so you don’t need to pay every single bus trip extra.
You’ll still have to pay extra for the JR lines, private train lines, cable cars etc. Get a ICOCA IC card for that.

Japan has an abundant supply of taxis. In most places and at most times you can catch a taxi within a few seconds just waiting at the roadside and waving down a free taxis. Free taxis have a red illuminated sign, occupied taxis have a green sign.

Kyoto: Iyemon Salon for Tea (伊右衛門サロン)

if you are looking for a nice place to drink Japanese tea – here is the place. Get a seat at the counter, have the tea prepared in front of you, and ask to have everything explained. Iyemon Salon Kyoto

Iyemon Salon (伊右衛門サロン) is a wonderful place, but its not a mama & papa store – if you are looking for a traditional family tea store, check out the Fukujuen Tea Company (福寿園) below. Today its the flagship store for the Iyemon tea brand of Suntory, one of Japan’s largest beverage and food companies, and you can get Iyemon tea from vending machines and convenience stores all over Japan.

To get there – here is the map. The address is:
〒604-8166 京都市中京区三条通烏丸西入御倉町80番地 千總ビル1階
(actually, Kyoto traditionally has an interesting way of writing addresses. The address is essentially a description how to get there from the nearest road junction, which is Karasuma – 3jou-dori. Its a different address system than any other place I know in Japan).
Telephone 075-222-1500
and her on Google maps

If you are looking for a more traditional tea shop 寺島屋弥兵衛商店 in Uji, or Fukujuen Tea Company (福寿園) are the places to go. See below in the section about Uji.

Kyoto: Fukujuen Tea Company (福寿園)

Iyemon was not always a brand of the Suntory Group: Iyemon Fukui is the founder of the Fukujuen Tea Company, which he founded in 1790, and the Fukujuen Tea Company sold the rights to the Iyemon brand to the Suntory Group in 2004 – quite recently.

The Fukujuen Tea Company still continues trading, and you can visit the splendid Fukujuen Kyoto Flagship store here:
〒600-8005 京都市下京区四条通富小路角
Shijo Tominokoji, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto 600-8005 Japan
There are stores, restaurants on every floor, and on the 4th floor you can experience Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Kyoto: Ryoanji 龍安寺

its the famous Zen rock garden. Changes face with the seasons. I go there as much as I can – have been there at least 20 times or more.
Wikipedia: Ryoanji
Official site: Ryoanji

There is a wonderful boiled tofu (湯豆腐) restaurant on the grounds of Ryoanji Temple, Seigenin (西源院). Eat a pot of boiled tofu for lunch.
Information is here:

From Royanji, you can either take taxi or bus to Kinkakuji, which is very close by, or you can take the Randen train to Arashiyama (see below). The Randen train stop is about 5-10 minutes walk from Royanji.

Kyoto: Kinkakuji (Gold temple) 金閣寺

Kinkakuji (Gold temple) 金閣寺 is the very very famous temple covered with plated gold.
Wikipedia: Kinkakuji (Gold temple)
Kinkakuji official site
Official site of the Shokoku-ji Religious Corporation

Kyoto: Ginkakuji (Silver temple) 銀閣寺

Ginkakuji (Silver temple) 銀閣寺 is the equivalent to Kinkakuji, but silver plated. However, because silver is less resistant to the atmosphere, all the silver has gone, and Ginkakuji is not covered with any silver anymore but is a wooden temple building. Still, its fantastic, including the wonderful gardens. Nearby is the “Philosopher’s path” – an allegation to Heidelberg….
Wikipedia: Ginkakuji (Silver temple)
Official site: Ginkakuji
Official site of the Shokoku-ji Religious Corporation

There is a direct bus line between Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji: its the No. 102 Bus, you can see the route map, stops etc here – takes about 1/2 hour.

Kyoto: Arashiyama 嵐山

You could spend the day in Arashiyama. There are lots and lots of beautiful temples, you can walk up the mountain, bamboo forrest, and a beautiful and very famous Togetsukyo bridge. I’ll write more about Arashiyama when I update this blog in the future.
The English language Wikipedia site about Arashiyama is a stub only, and gives only a very small amount of information. There is MUCH MUCH more to see, and you can find much here on the Arashiyama-Navi site.

Japanese friends think that Arashiyama is a spooky place though… but don’t worry about ghosts….

Denjiro Okochi’s residence and gardens, Okochi Sanso (大河内山荘)

Another great place in Arashiyama, in addition to the many temples, is the former residence of the Japanese film actor Denjiro Okochi (大河内 傳次郎).
Okochi Sanso (English Wikipedia Site)
大河内山荘 (Japanese Wikipedia site)
大河内山荘 (Japanese Kyoto City Site)

Randen (嵐電)

The most fun way to go to Arashiyama is with the Arashiyama Line(嵐山線)abbreviated Randen (嵐電), owned and operated by the Keifuku Electric Railway Company (京福電気鉄道株式会社). Randen on wikipedia in English

Trains run about every 5-10 minutes between 6am and midnight every day.

You can take Randen between Riyoanji (where the fantastic Zen rock-garden is) and Arashiyama (you need to change trains in Katabiranotsuji-station (帷子ノ辻駅) ). Takes about 20 minutes by Randen. Then spend the day or afternoon in Arashiyama, and take Randen von Arashiyama back into the center of Kyoto – actually not right into the center but almost…

Randen has two lines which join up at the station Katabiranotsuji, where you can change:

  • 嵐山本線 = Arashiyama main line, which runs from near the center of Kyoto to Arashiyama
  • 北野線 = Kitano Line, which runs from Katabiranotsuji (帷子ノ辻駅) to Kitanohakubaichou (北野白梅町駅). Get off at Riyouanji for Riyouanji temple and Kinkakuji. From Kitanohakubaichou (北野白梅町駅) there are direct buses to Ginkakuji and the Philosopher’s Path.

Kyoto: Kiyomizutera 清水寺

Kiyomizutera 清水寺 is probably the most famous temple in Kyoto
Official website
Kiyomizutera (english Wikipedia site)

Kyoto: Mount Hiei (Hieizan) 比叡山

a fantastic cable car + walk + cable car down to lake Biwa trip. Needs 1/2 day at least, better a full day. The views from the top are spectacular – you need good weather for that.

Hieizan – Official website
Mount Hiei (english Wikipedia site)

I recommend a round trip:

  • Take the Eizan train from Demachi-Yanagi in the north of Kyoto to “Yase Hieizan-Guchi” station
  • Take the Eizan cable car to the top station, change to the “Eizan Ropeway” and go to the top station
  • Walk around Mount Hiei, visit the fantastic Enryakuji temple (延暦寺), and enjoy the views
  • Take the Sakamoto-Cable car down to Sakamoto, close to the Lake Biwa shore
  • Look around Sakamoto
  • Take the Keihan-Line back to Kyoto (you have to change trains at Hamaotsu, the Keihan line from Hamaotsu merges into the Kyoto subway system (Tozai-Line = East-West line)

Enryakuji temple (延暦寺)

Enryakuji temple (延暦寺) consists of many temples, the most important is Konpon Chu-do (根本中堂 = こんぽんちゅうどう), which was established in 788, more than 1200 years ago, bringing Buddhism to Japan, and even today is an important center of Buddhist studies.

Biwako (Biwa Lake 琵琶湖)

Biwa Lake (琵琶湖) is Japan’s largest lake, and is elevated 85.6 meters above sea level.

If you have time over, have a look at Biwako (Biwa Lake 琵琶湖)
Biwako (Visitor’s site)
Biwako (Japanese Wikipedia site)
Biwako (English Wikipedia site)
Lake Biwa Environmental Research Institute

Kyoto: Biwako Canal (琵琶湖疏水)

After the Imperial capital was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1868, Kyoto’s economy collapsed.

In response, Kyoto courageously made a huge investment in building the Biwako-Canal system (琵琶湖疏水), which has three purposes:

  • drinking water supply for Kyoto from Biwako Lake
  • shipping on the canals between Kyoto and Biwako and within Kyoto
  • electricity generation to power electrical lighting and to power Japan’s first electrical street car system

Lake Biwa is approximately at an elevation of 85.6 m above sea level, and Kyoto is approximately 50 – 55 m above sea level. Therefore, water flows along the Biwako Canal naturally, and the difference in elevation make electrical power generation possible.

All of the Biwako Canal system has been preserved and is partly still functional today, and can be visited. You can also walk along many of the installations and canals, and see the power stations and water works, especially near Keage (蹴上).

To study the history, construction and many details and historic models of the Biwako Canal, including also economic analysis, you can best visit the Lake Biwa Canal Museum of the Kyoto Municipal Waterworks Department in Keage.

Wikipedia: Lake Biwa Canal (English)
Wikipedia: 琵琶湖疏水 (Japanese) (note that the Japanese Wikipedia site is much more detailed than the English version, and also shows a detailed map of the various waterways forming the Biwako Canal System, most of which are still active, or preserved.

You could spend days exploring all aspects of the Biwako Canal. If you only have a few hours, I recommend, you take the subway to Keage station (蹴上駅), visit the Biwako Canal Museum, and then take a walk along the ramp where a rope driven railway used to raise an lower canal boats on trolleys on a railway for ships. This shipping railway is also a great cherry blossom spot in spring. (There is another such inclined railway at another location in Southern Kyoto).

Kyoto: Nijo Castle 二条城

Nijo Castle 二条城 is one of the most impressive castles in Japan – if not the world
Nijo Castle, Kyoto Town Government site
Nijo Castle, Kyoto (english Wikipedia site)
Nijo Castle on Google maps

Uji 宇治

spend enough time in Uji.
There are two world heritage sites in Uji:

Here is the official site for Uji of the Kyoto town government.
Uji (english Wikipedia site)

Uji is famous for tea- you can get Uji tea all over Japan, but of course Uji tea is best in Uji. I recommend the following store: 寺島屋弥兵衛商店, sorry could not find anything in English about this tea store. Its the best. Its close to the main road approaching Byodo-in. The location is here on Google-maps.

There are three train lines going to Uji. JR-West and Keihan Uji stations are quite close to Byodoin, about 10-20 mins walk, Kintetsu Ogura-Station is a little further away, about 30 mins walk.

Nara 奈良

Nara is the core of Japan with very very long history, and really needs a site of its own – which I’ll make if I can get round to it. You can spend a week, or a month in Nara, and have not seen all. So minimum is one day trip from Kyoto to Nara, so you can get an idea.
Official site of the City of Nara
Official site of the Prefecture of Nara
Nara (English Wikipedia site)

Kyoto-Nara by train

There are two ways:

  1. JR-West Nara Line: 710 yen, takes about 50 minutes – 1 hour
  2. Kintetsu Line: 620 yen, special express takes about 35 minutes: 1130 yen

The best way to go from Kyoto to Nara is with the Kintetsu-Tokkyu (Kintetsu Special Express), goes about every 30 minutes (first: 8:30am, last: 22:50pm) from Kintetsu-Kyoto station to Nara, takes about 35 minutes.

The last Kintetsu-Tokkyu express train back to Kyoto from Nara is at 20:30, and the very last train from Nara to Kyoto is 23:09-00:12 with the JR-Nara-Line.

Kintetsu-Tokkyu express train: costs 620 yen for the train ticket + 510 yen Express supplement = 1110 yen each way.

Have fun – and leave any tips or comments in the discussion section below if you like!

Copyright·©2013-2015 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Tips for Vienna (Wien) – enjoy your time in Vienna like a real Wiener

Vienna tips: Heurigen, Tafelspitz, Lippizaner and Schloß Schönnbrunn. Here are some insider tips from a true Wiener for you to enjoy your stay in Vienna.

Vienna: have fun in Wien like a real Wiener

Here are some tips for Vienna, if you visit Vienna for holidays or conferences, or live in Vienna!

Vienna: Lots of friends ask me for recommendations when visiting Vienna, so I wrote up some tips here, I’ll keep updating these tips, so let me know any comments, or add new tips in the discussion section below after the end of this blog post!

Vienna tips: Heurigen, Tafelspitz, Lippizaner and Schloß Schönnbrunn. Here are some insider tips from a true Wiener for you to enjoy your stay in Vienna.
Vienna from the top of Stefansdom

Spanische Reitschule

visit the morning training or a performance of the Spanische Reitschule – that is something you cannot see anywhere else: dancing white horses – the “Lippizaner“.

The Spanische Reitschule theatre is inside the Emperor’s Castle in Vienna, and was built for the Emperor and his entourage, so there is very little seating available, and tickets are difficult to get. If you can’t make it to a performance, every morning during the winter months, the Lippizaner horses are trained and exercise and practice for the performances. You can visit the stables, and you can also watch the morning training.

During the summer months, the Lippizaner horses move from Vienna to their summer residence in Piber, which you can also visit. Its about 250 km from Vienna to Piber, and you can find the way here on Google.

And you can even buy Lippizaner horses.

Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper)

go to the Opera – if you cannot get seats, then every evening there is a number of standing tickets for sale. you have to stand, but you can get a cheap ticket, usually you can also get Opera tickets with a mark up via your Hotel, or ticket offices (sometimes these tickets cost 2-3 times more than the official prices).

A friend asked me who the owner of the Wiener Staatsoper ist. Read the answer here.

Vienna Volksoper and Theater an der Wien

There are other operas in Vienna also, for example the “Volksoper“, which mainly shows operettas, and the “Theater an der Wien” also sometimes shows operettas and musicals.

In case you know German, and are wondering why this theater is called “Theater an der Wien” – “Wien” here refers to the river Wien. The Wien is a river flowing through Vienna, and you can see the Wien river close to the Theater an der Wien, if you look for it. Its covered and flows under the streets for a small part of its way though. Read here about Wien Fluß (in German, in English). The Wien River starts not far from Vienna at the “Kaiserbründl” and is about 34 km long.


The Burgtheater, here on Wikipedia, (, is/was the Emperor’s Theater, and “Burgtheaterdeutsch” is something like the official Austrian version of the German language.


walk the 343 steps to the top of the 137 meters high South-Tower of Stefansdom – the Cathedral in the center of Vienna. Open 9:00-17:30. Costs EURO 4. Here are the instructions.

There is no better place to look at Vienna from above than from the top of the Stefansdom tower.

The Stefansdom has two towers, a short one – “the Bell Tower”, which you can mount using an elevator. The other much higher tower, has no elevator, and you have to walk up 343 steps to reach the top. Until some years ago, there was an observation room of the Vienna Fire Services, where firemen were watching Vienna from above, looking out for fires during day and night. Today this observation room is conserved, and you can visit this observation room.


go to Schönbrunn – it was the Summer palace of the Austrian Imperial family. Do you know Maria-Theresia? She is the mother of Maria-Antoinette – and had 16 children! She loved her husband so much, that she broke the bed during the wedding night (ahahahaha – I am not sure its true, but at least its a funny story….)

Today Schönbrunn Castle is inside Vienna, and you can easily get there by taxi or subway or tram. There is a beautiful park, which includes a restored Japanese garden, and on a hill inside the park you can go to the “Gloriette” building, from which you have a great view over Vienna.

If you are with your kids, they will love the Zoo, the Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the history of which goes back to 1452! Almost 600 years – about as long as Vienna’s University.

Baden bei Wien

In Baden you can go to Hot spring bath (Onsen) and to the Casino!
If you have time – take the “Badner Bahn” tramway from Oper in Vienna to Baden (takes about one hour by tram). You can see the trip to Baden here on Google maps.


One thing I definitely recommend is for you to go to Heurigen! “Heurigen” comes from the Viennese word “heuer”, which means this current year. Since long ago, Vienna wine farmers had the privilege to sell their own wine, especially this year’s wine, on location. So, “Heurigen” means something like a vinery, which sells their own wine. (,

Don’t go to Grinzing where all the tourists go, but go for example to Sirbu – you can take the No. 36 – D tram line to the end in Nussdorf, and then walk about 1/2 hour up the hill
Sirbu is here [Sirbu on Google maps], and here is how you walk from the end tram stop in Nußdorf to the Sirbu Heurigen

Sirbu even offers “Die romantische Bank – für Verliebte” (the romantic bench for lovers), with a great view over Vienna.

Vienna Restaurants and Coffee Shops (Kaffeehäuser)

Here are some recommendations by one of my primary school friends – who is high up in one of Austria’s largest newspapers:

Wiener Bälle – Vienna Balls

During the Fasching (= carnival) period of the year and until Ash-Wednesday, the Professions and many other organizations and clubs hold 100s of Bälle. You don’t know Vienna, if you have not been to a Ball in Vienna. Bälle generally start around 9pm and last until about 5am or 6am in the morning.

The Vienna Bälle are generally open for anyone to attend provided you can purchase tickets. Tickets are mostly sold via the professional associations and in some cases you need to purchase the tickets in person at the offices of the organizing profession. So if you don’t live in Vienna, often its best to ask your Viennese friends for help.

The most famous Ball is the Opernball, but there are many more. Watch this video to get an idea.

…and where to find Ludwig Boltzmann…

Ludwig Boltzmann is probably Austria’s greatest physicist – and one of the greatest physicists ever. Read more about Ludwig Boltzmann here. And he is the Great-Grandfather of the author of this blog.

To find Ludwig Boltzmann related memories in Vienna:

  • Ludwig Boltzmann’s bust in the central courtyard of Vienna University: Ludwig Boltzmann’s Bust is in the Hauptgebäude (central building) of the University of Vienna, near Schottentor. If you enter the University’s main building you will find Ludwig Boltzmann’s bust soon on the right hand side on the ground floor.
  • The Boltzmanngasse, a street named after Ludwig Boltzmann, is here. Both the US Embassy, and also the Physics Institute of the University of Vienna are located in Boltzmanngasse.
  • Ludwig Boltzmann’s grave: Ludwig Boltzmann (together with several immediate descendants, including the Grandfather and Grandmother of the author of this blog) is buried in an honorary grave at the Vienna Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof). The official website for this grave can be found here. You can find out here how to get there, and here on Google maps.

Have a nice time in Vienna!

Copyright·©2014 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Japan Cloud computing impact and trends

Japan cloud computing impact and trends, keynote article

Software eats everything, and cloud eats software… we all see a strong trend of all data and computing to move to “the cloud”, because if done well, managing data and computing in the cloud can be far cheaper than on computers and on storage that you or your company owns.

It is also much more efficient to manage security centrally in a scaled fashion for large numbers of users, rather than specifically for each computer, or each local network separately.

We expect to move almost all computing and data to the cloud, where we have multiple access points via tablets, smartphones and PCs/Macs or other devices or machines.

Japan Cloud – “Cloud computing impact and trends” by Gerhard Fasol, Keynote article about in the RENESAS ELECTRONICS customer magazine and website “Renesas Edge Global Watch”

The article summarizes the essence of how The Cloud is constructed, the key components, both hardware and software, and some examples of how The Cloud is used.

Japan cloud related:

  • “What Makes Japan’s Data Center Landscape Special: Trends, Growth, and Business Continuity Needs”, keynote at the DataCenter Summit, Tokyo, on May 22, 2013 by Gerhard Fasol
  • GMO Cloud KK

BBC interview about SONY earning results

Helped BBC with the article “Sony earnings boosted by weak yen and smartphone sales