Posts

Showing posts from 2008

2009: Year Of Herding The Ox

Wishing you all the very best for 2009! Thank you so much for reading Kurashi - News From Japan, a humble blog that started in 2005 when I was working for a not-so-profitable NPO and had to attend a United Nations meeting in Seoul, South Korea, which was very memorable and changed my life in a lot of ways. In 2008, I have been on my own, working also for Consumers Union of Japan, where I do editing and translation, and participate in meetings about everything from food safety to G8, energy issues and peace activism. I have also been fortunate to start working with greenz.jp, a media-savvy Tokyo-based group with a lot of potential. Through greenz.jp, I got into blogging for Treehugger, the juggernaut US environmental blog, with thousands of readers. (I have also been busy with Kodansha in Gokokuji, Tokyo, to publish a food guidebook in May, 2009) Through it all, Kurashi has been my hibaki (fireplace), a spot of calm (mostly) where I could chat and write and think and present some of my…

New, Green Economy, Or "Debilitating Ripple Effects"

Yomiuri Online/AP: Japan auto sales plunge as young lose interest

You learn something new every day. Apparently, Japan's car industry is now talking about kuruma banare, or "demotorization" as many young Japanese no longer think owning a car is worth the trouble.

"Young people's interest is shifting from cars to communication tools like personal computers, mobile phones and services," said Yoichiro Ichimaru, who oversees domestic sales at Toyota.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association predicts auto sales in Japan will fall to 4.86 million in 2009 - the first time below 5 million in more than three decades. This year [2008], sales are projected at 5.11 million, the worst since 1980.

What this will mean for the economy is anyone's guess: "Manufacturing makes up a fifth of Japan's economy in gross domestic product. But it makes up 90 percent of its exports, and any faltering in that sector would send debilitating ripple effects throughout Ja…

Downtown Train, Hold On

Tom Waits: Downtown Train. A video from 1985 for all of us who ride the trains into Tokyo on occasion. No car? Welcome to the future. The days of SUVs and zero percent financing and huge Hummers are over. So over. "They try so hard to break out of their little worlds."


And here is Hold On, beautiful video, beautiful song. And here is some fun trivia from Wikipedia:

Waits has steadfastly refused to allow the use of his songs in commercials and has joked about other artists who do. ("If Michael Jackson wants to work for Pepsi, why doesn't he just get himself a suit and an office in their headquarters and be done with it?") He has filed several lawsuits against advertisers who used his material without permission. He has been quoted as saying, "Apparently, the highest compliment our culture grants artists nowadays is to be in an ad — ideally, naked and purring on the hood of a new car," he said in a statement, referring to the Mercury Cougar. "I have …

Frugal, Happy Holiday

Image
In spite of what they tell you, here is my advice: have a slow, quiet holiday. Don't spend, don't use your credit card, don't waste your precious time.

Read a good book, listen to an old favourite record. Write a letter using pen and paper. Make your own food from scratch, using organic ingredients from farmers you personally know & trust.

Clean the house and think about the amazing year that has just passed. Compare your blessings to those of your ancestors a hundred years ago, and a thousand. And more.

Go out and look at the stars, and try to name the constellations above you. Feel the silence.



(Image from Boing Boing: Fortean artist/prankster Jeffrey Vallance created a Santa Claus Family Tree tracing the genealogy of "wild people." Climb the curious branches over at Cryptomundo. Santa's Family Tree)

December Food Ranking

Image
Here is what I want to eat on a cold December evening. Let me know if you have anything better to offer.

1) Tendon: On top of the steaming rice, I get the tempura of my choice... Maybe some pumpkin?
2) Mochi: You beat the living daylights out of the poor rice grains, pound away all you like, and all you get it a very stiff and mushy - and square - kind of cake. Then you heat that in the oven: enjoy with nori and soy sauce: wow. Nothing tastes better.
3) Irori: I'm all yours. This is the way to cook, Edo style, and I still haven't found what I'm looking for. Do invite me!
4) Miso soup: At the local kaiten sushi, if I order a steaming hot miso soup, the staff treats me different. It is like they know, that I know, how cold it can get in late December.
5) Mushrooms: Use them for pasta, on your pizza, or just fry them. In Sweden, and here in Japan, people do go out and harvest all kinds of mushrooms in the forest, and they tend to know the names of even the most obsqure varieties. …

"I Have A Love Hate Relationship With Technology"

How I feel about computers, exactly. Eddie Izzard. I must be getting nostalgic about the 1990s (writing in hand).

And since that had very little to do with Japan, I'll add How to choose a martial art as a bonus. Or maybe Baby J and Christmas (sorry, a little early)?

Eco-Products 2008: Asking Difficult Questions About Electric Cars

Image
I loved Eco-Products 2008 at Tokyo Big Sight. There was a lot to see, and a record number of visitors this year. Over 173,000 people compared to 164,000 in 2007. Clearly a trend!

Over at Treehugger, I singled out Subaru's electric car, because of the "System Thinking" - a focus not only on the vehicle, but on where the electricity will be coming from. Subaru also showcased its 80/2.0 wind mills to power the products they plan to profit from.

Great electric cars are indeed available today. The question is how people and nations will change the infrastructure to power them.

If you are a Pokemon fan, you may have seen the early 1960s Subaru 360 convertible, a fun car that never made it very big in the US, after Consumer Reports called it unsafe. For the R1e and Stella electric cars, Subaru cites the 360 as an influence. I like that sense of humour, and the reminder that this is a company with small, strong roots. They think the all-electric vehicle could be available to consum…

Japan's Economy Needs A Green Revolution

Image
How will Japan get out of the current economic crisis? The recession? The strong yen means exports are down, and major companies are announcing big cuts and layoffs. The car industry reports 30-40% lower sales. Oh, well, what's new.

SO THE GOOD NEWS is that Japan is quietly becoming a more sustainable, ecological country again. I talk to a lot of people who are fond of traditions, and wish for some recognition of the way Japan used to be. Where is the neogambaru? Some would say the Edo era is the model, and others claim that slow life or a u-turn, moving back to the countryside, is the solution. In terms of technology, Japan is still number one, with four Nobel prize winners this year, and the most patent applications of any nation. Japan is indeed a fun place to be if you are a thinker, innovator, designer, or environmental activist. And there is a lot to do!

If only the politicians had a green vision: they could announce a major national reform to deal with Japan's energy depe…

Japanese Cut Flowers Getting Milieu Programma Sierteelt Certification

Image
Over at Treehugger, I note that Japanese cut flowers are moving in the right direction: they are adopting the Dutch standard called Milieu Programma Sierteelt, the environmental horticulture certification program that originated in Holland in 1995. In this system, participating growers record and report data on pesticide, fertilizer and energy consumption and waste management.

If you want to give a rose to someone you love, make sure it is coming from growers that care about our precious planet. If you do not ask, how will the flower shops begin to make the change?

As I wrote this blog entry, and tried to find a nice photo, I discovered that Dutch traders have appreciated Japanese roses for a very long time:

In 1696 Plunkenet added R. multiflora (the Polyantha or Japanese Rose) as the Dutch were bringing home varieties of precious East Asian flowers to Europe.

Update: In the United States, VeriFlora is the label to look for if you are interested in buying cut flowers from growers that us…

Eco+Waza

Image
Japanese Eco-friendly Ideas and Goods, one of my favourite blogs ("Hand made dictionary of Japanese sustainable customs, culture, products and business ideas") introduces issue 4 of the unique Eco+Waza magazine.

Cover Interview
No More Picking Up Trash? Start Reducing
An Interview with Ken Noguchi

Article
A Hint for Sustainability from Awaji Island

Virtual Showroom
1. Biodegradable Detergent
2. Near-infrared Sensor for CCA Contained Lumber
3. Mineral Ion for Water Sterilization and Algal Removal
4. Edo Sensu
5. A Breathing Wall
6. Wall Material Made of Recycled Milk Carton
7. Charcoal Crepe Paper
8. Curtain Hook

To subscribe to the magazine, send an email to subscribe (at) ecotwaza.com with your name and address.

Let's Enjoy Tokyo Guide Recommends Organic Restaurants

Image
Surprise, surprise! オーガニック料理 Ooganikku ryouri (Organic food) has been introduced as one of the key search terms for Let's Enjoy Tokyo, a popular website for shopping, dining and fun.

They also show ads for certified organic Osechi, the traditional new year's food, but that's way too expensive for me.

Often, I think local food makes a lot more sense here in Japan, and I like the Harajuku Batake in Kita-Sando, where they specialize in foods from areas of Japan that are maintaining and promoting a rural, agriculture-based economy, with many small farms. A lot of their stuff comes from Kumamoto prefecture in southern Japan, where Aso Design Center does a terrific job at luring green visitors. Check out the Aso online broschure (pdf)!



The special online Aso-TV channel has streaming videos with a focus on eco-tourism, farm stays and local restaurants. They recommend that you take the train, and then get a bicycle, because "You won't notice it if you drive past in a car.…

Joseph Mirachi: Fuel Efficiency

Image
Automakers have come a long way to their bailout-begging today since the days when Consumers Union published this (very funny) cartoon. I scanned it from an old issue of Consumer Reports, the April 1963 "Facts You Need Before You Buy" issue with a brown cover and red/black letters. A treasure from a bygone era! This was the auto buying guide for 1963, "including ratings of all makes, 6-year repair records, service notes, checks on safety details, etc., etc." And there isn't a single foreign car listed. Not even one.

Joseph Mirachi did over 500 cartoons for publications like the New Yorker and Playboy. He passed away in 1991.

Update: A post I did on the US bailout did not seem relevant to Kurashi, but you'll be the judge. Today (Friday) we hear them lie about the need to support the car industry. Here is what I posted:

We read that the three big automakers are in Washington trying to get elected congressmen and -women to bail them out, or else. Taxpayers will …

Japan Car in London

Image
London's Science Museum, Design Platform Japan and a host of others are presenting a rather different take on the cultural aspects of state-of-the-art automobiles, including kei cars, in a clever exhibition that started on November 29, 2008.Japan Car - Designs for the Crowded Globe is an exploration of the car as a "mobile cell" - conceived by two world class designers: Kenya Hara, the man responsible for much of the success of Muji, the Nagano Olympics opening ceremony, and Shigeru Ban, the architect currently designing a new satellite gallery for Paris’ Pompidou Centre, who did the recycled cardboard paper tubes used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims, having helped earthquake victims in Kobe in 1995...This is all very timely. The car industry is going through a major shift. Volvo and Saab may have to be nationalized, and who knows if the big three automakers in the Unites States will surivive. Ouch.Reuters has also covered the way the US car makers begg…

Food Photos

Image
I had a wonderful day yesterday way up in the central Saitama mountain range, where we took photos for my food book at a small restaurant in Shomaru.

Enomoto-san used to have a fancy eatery in Yoyogi, but got tired of that kind of lifestyle, and found this location instead.

He made traditional foods including seasonal vegetables, tamagoyaki, and grilled tai, red snapper: since tai rhymes with the word medetai, or "congratulations," it is regarded as a good luck dish in Japan.

Kodansha is going all out to make this a best-seller, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

Japanese Children Worried About The Environment

Image
I wrote a post for Treehugger about the campaign over at Japan's Environmental Ministry, where kids are contributing drawings on the theme of global warming, pollution and other concerns. The children are clearly concerned about the future, their future.

I got a pretty nasty comment already from someone who thinks this is all due to propaganda, brainwashing, and: "Seriously, it's the modern day equivalent of the Cold War. I'm sure in the 60's you'd have had the same number of drawings from kids told they were going to die from A-bombs and nuclear winter."

Oh well... That kind of comment really makes me think we all need to work even harder for the future of the kids on this beautiful planet.



Swan Lake

Image
Have you ever seen Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake performed on stage? I was lucky as a young boy to see both this and the Nutcracker at the Malmö Stadsteatern (built in 1944), and then the Aida opera by Verdi, around the time when I was 9 or 10.

Swan Lake was written in the 1870s and received its premiere on February 27, 1877, at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, but credit for the version we are used to seeing belongs to the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

BBC last year made a fantastic documentary, now available on Youtube. Here is part 1:



If you like Japanese animation, I'm sure you know that Toei did a wonderful Swan Lake (白鳥の湖, Hakuchou no Mizuumi) back in 1981...

The first performance of Swan Lake in These Parts Of The World was on August 9, 1946 by the Imperial Garden Theater. Their roots go all the way back to 1911, when Toho opened a theater in Marunouchi, central Tokyo. Today, Tokyo has seven major symphony orchestras. And classical music is incredibly popular. According to …

The Plan

Image
I have had the most amazingly busy week helping a very professional and inspiring Swedish film team do a documentary here in Tokyo. Their emails turned into phone calls and then increasingly - concerns/joyful requests/questions/whatnot.

The team that made The Planet will now go further to talk to some very special people around the world, trying to find out what we all can do to change things.

If you are familiar with Thomas Kuhn/Paradigm Shift-kind-of-thinking, this will sound familiar.

There are moments in history when great changes occur. An old epoch gives way to a new, shifts in ways of thinking or paradigm shifts, as the philosopher Thomas S. Kuhn chose to call it. What is it that drives forth and triggers these changes or sudden shifts in our lives and in our minds?

Yet, somehow, it all boils down to logistics. I found a truly marvellous driver, Mayumi-san, with a Toyota Hiace van big enough for the five of us and tons of gear, including a brand new camera that is good enough to l…

Making Wine From Viburnum Berries

Image
I went to a "Eco-tourism" event in Hanno, up near where the hills become mountains and there are rivers and lakes.


We took a long walk in the morning, with the guide helping everyone identifying edible plants and berries, such as gamazumi, that we picked. We then got the entire, full-monty lecture and started clean the matatabi, yamaboushi, sarunashi and gumi. Adding alcohol, we were told to wait for 3 years to get the special flavour... Our guide had plenty of bottles, all properly labelled, some dating back 20 years or so. The older the better ;)

Gamazumi is a plant we actually have in Sweden too, it is called olvon. The Latin name is Viburnum dilatatum.

Making sake from rice of course happens in late fall, after the harvest. Around here, and in the far western part of Tokyo, and into Yamanashi, there are lots of wineries and sake breweries. Many of them are having events and guided tours.

With my UK friend visiting, I had an opportunity to go to Mercian, the large winery in …

Evening Meditation

Image
Sunset on Lake Kitaura, Ibaraki-ken

and the moonrise

Groovisions: "Ensuring the Future of Food"

Image
Pink Tentacle spotted the new video Tokyo-based Groovisions motion graphic design crew made for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), to highlight some of the serious issues surrounding the future of food in Japan. The video with English subtitles was posted on the official MAFF YouTube channel, which was created last month.


Groovisions usually makes design projects like Spank the Monkey or stuff for MTV, so I wonder how they felt about this project! Do watch, they have managed to cram a lot of facts about Kurashi issues into a very attractive package.

Hanno Matsuri 2008

Image
Hanno City has a couple of amazing festivals, and last weekend I was lucky to meet up with an old friend from the UK who happens to be a great taiko drummer.

The largest taiko drum in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records? Tom loved it. If you ever visit Yamanashi prefecture, pick up the wooden sticks, take off your shoes, and hit the skin.

Tom has been to some 38 prefectures around Japan, usually on the special 18 Seishun JR tickets that allows unlimited train travel on local lines. Tom was back briefly for the 2002 World Cup, but this was his first real "deep" visit since he lived here back in 1989-1994.

And, what a coincidence, having 50,000 people on the streets for 2 nights, just as my old friend was back. Luck... 一期一会!

Caster: Lung Cancer Causing Cigarettes From Japan Tobacco

Image
If you ever have watched Tetsuya Chikushi, a newscaster and journalist who hosted Tokyo Broadcasting System's "News 23" program, you will be sad to hear that he died in lung cancer yesterday. He was fluent in English and interviewed presidents and foreign guests with confidence.

I have no evidence that his favourite brand was Japan Tobacco's Caster, (with a hint of vanilla from Madagascar, apparently) but cigarettes are the cause of 98% of all lung cancer cases around the world. The brand name obviously tries to milk the sense of kakko-ii (stylishness) associated with a TV news caster, but the era of such murdeous marketing scams ought to have ended a long time ago. Tetsuya Chikushi, we miss you.

Kei-Car Sales Up 6.2% In Japan While New Car Sales Dropped 13.1%

Image
Macho car journalism will never be the same... NHK World notes that Kei cars, the 660 cc engine size vehicles that are already so common in Japan, are now selling like hot cakes, no make that omochi (rice cakes). The association of mini-car dealers, Japan Mini Vehicles Association, says October, 2008 new car sales were up 6.2 percent from the same month last year, indicating that many motorists are opting for cheaper, more fuel efficient vehicles.

More details over at Treehugger!

Lifestyle Forum 2008

Image
If you are in Tokyo this weekend, do visit the park called Shinjuku Gyoen and listen to lectures about environmental topics, "slow life" and current topics. The cafes are great and I love the focus on all my favourite topics like solar power, fair trade gifts and organic food.


Lifestyle Forum 2008

Cup Noodles Recalled

Image
Japan's Nissin Food Products Co. said Friday it was recalling half a million cups of instant Cup Noodles over fears of insecticide contamination. AFP has more:

A 67-year-old woman vomited and felt numbness on her tongue after eating Nissin's Cup Noodle this week in the Tokyo suburb of Fujisawa, the city's health office said late Thursday. The product was made at a Nissin factory in Japan.

Recalls are a good way to quickly deal with the uncertainty in such situation. The noodles scare spread as another company, Myojo Foods Co. said it found instant noodles laced with paradichlorobenzene and naphthol, also used as bug repellent. I wonder if consumers are getting more careful and more willing to report bad food. Hope noone else gets sick!

Update I: Asahi says the Japanese Consumers' Co-operative Union (JCCU) has had to recall its cup noodles as well: JCCU told its outlets to remove five types of Co-op cup ramen from their shelves. Their stuff is made by Myojo Foods, and it …

21st Tokyo International Film Festival: Action! For Earth

Image
Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) starts on October 18th. Stars will walk on a green carpet manufactured from recycled plastic bottles to convey the message of “Ecology = Preservation of Earth’s Environment.”
The Earth Grand Prix, a new award, will be given for the first time to the best new film dealing with nature, the environment and ecology. There will also be some fun and easy-to-understand conferences and other events on the environment and ecology are also scheduled. Participation if free! The official poster of the 21st TIFF features a green earth and the new motto of TIFF “Action! for Earth!”
TIFF Lineup
I like that the Natural TIFF, a new section of the festival program, is also launched this year, with 30 new and vintage films. The following films will have their world premier: Ashes from the Sky, Blue Symphony, and Silent Color Silent Voice.

NHK: Shanghai Typhoon

Image
NHK's six-part drama series, Shanghai Typhoon is about a young Japanese woman named Misuzu (Tae Kimura) as she starts her own business in Shanghai. As she moves to the Chinese city she has trouble finding an apartment, so she stays with another Japanese expatriate, Mari (Megumi).

Misuzu applies for a job at a flower shop, and the boss, Kaori (Yuki Matsushita), reluctantly hires her. Later, Misuzu realizes that the Chinese owner of the flower shop (Peter Ho) got her fired from her last job in Japan. It gets more interesting as Misuzu reveals her true talent as a fashion designer...

You can watch six brief trailers from the drama: the last one will be aired on October 18, 2008, called "Thank You, Shanghai".

With the recent opening of H&M, the Swedish retailer, in Japan, I cannot help but wonder... Multinational companies need to do a lot better in terms of supporting culture and drama, to really connect people around the world. If Shanghai Typhoon is shown on Swedish TV, …

Japanese Humour & Really Bad Jokes

Image
Recent reports indicate the Japanese banking crisis shows no signs of improving. If anything, it's getting worse. Following last week's news that Origami Bank had folded, it was today learned that Sumo Bank has gone belly up. Bonsai Bank plans to cut back some of its branches. Karaoke Bank is up for sale and is going for a song.

Meanwhile, shares in Kamikaze Bank have nose-dived and 500 jobs at Karate Bank will be chopped. Analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank and staff there fear they may get a raw deal.

Source: JREF (Thanks guys, you are the best!)

OK, OK, a few more:

Japanese mugger

What does a Japanese mugger say?
"Give me all your money or I'll kill myself!"

Kamikaze
Why did the Japanese Kamikaze pilot fly back to the base?
He forgot his helmet.

Two men and a woman on a deserted island:

On a beautiful deserted island in the middle of nowhere, the following people are stranded:
Two Italian men and one Italian woman
Two French men and one…

Giants and Tigers? It's Crunch Time

I know nill and nought about baseball, but I have a ticket for the game at Tokyo Dome tomorrow night (Thursday). So I would appreciate hints from anyone who knows what the fuzz is all about. Asahi says "The Giants and Tigers each have identical 81-56-3 records with four games remaining, including Wednesday's key matchup with each other at Tokyo Dome." I heard they serve draft beer at Tokyo Dome, so I don't think it will be a complete waste of time.

Oh, and no big Japanese bank has failed yet, but the Crunch seems to be hitting the stock market hard. Is Japan going to avoid the bailouts now happening in the US and Europe?

Which brings me to the main message of this post: how do we all join together and calm down the real crisis, instead of letting politicians that we never really liked anyway scare us all into thinking it will get worse?

The Coup D'etat of October 1, 2008

Listen to Naomi Wolf, author of "Give Me Liberty - A Handbook For American Revolutionaries&q…

Nobel Prize in Physics To 3 Japanese Scientists...

Image
NHK is reporting that 3 Japanese scientists share the Nobel Prize in Physics this year. More later...

Yoichiro Nambu at Enrico Fermi Institute, University of Chicago, US, shares the prize with Makoto Kobayashi at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization
Tsukuba, Japan, and Toshihide Masukawa at the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics (YITP), Kyoto University, Japan. Together, they made important discoveries about "symmetry breaking" and quarks, leading to a deeper understanding of our universe.

...and snowflakes:

How does the oxygen and hydrogen of water form such a wide variety of (beautiful) patterns when forming the simple snowflake? To understand this, we need very complex mathematical models, derived from the years of study of elementary particles and quantum physics.

James Trefil explains the Snowflake like this:

Both the hydrogen and oxygen molecules are quite symmetric when they are isolated. The electric force which governs their actions as atoms is also a s…

The Big Issue

Image
This Thursday, we'll have The Big Issue as guest speakers at greenz.jp to talk about poverty and the situation for homeless people in Japan, as part of Blog Action Day 2008.

Date:

Thursday 9th, October 2008

Time Schedule:

19:00 Door Open. Opening Remarks Followed by Presentation by Big Issue Japan
20:00 green drinks
23:00 Door Close

Address:
Lounge greenz 3-29-3 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (Harajuku station)

Map (in Japanese):
greenz.jp/lounge

Eiji Oue Conducting Mahler's Fifth Symphony

Part II (with the famous harp tune)

21.10.2006 Auditorio de Barcelona

"Asians have lived below their means so that Americans could live beyond theirs"

Image
Japan has invested $55 billion in US firms in the past few days, in addition to the massive amounts of money spent on "infusions" to the market. Hope America appreciates the effort. We are all in this great act together.

Leading research firm Thomson Reuters says Japanese firms have spent over 55 billion dollars - a record-high amount - to buy out or invest in overseas companies so far this year, capitalizing on the financial turmoil that severely affected US firms, notes NHK World.

Over at Treehugger, one of my collegues notes:

Matt Simmons, head of the oil investment bank Simmons and Company, has long been a prophet of peak oil, silencing the Fast Money team with his dire warnings to move to the country and grow your own food. And he’s busy stirring things up again, warning in a conversation with Peak Moment TV that gasoline reserves are so low in the US that if everyone topped up their tank we would see “a run on the bank”, literally running dry – running out of food within …

World Foodless Day

Image
Rising food prices, food contamination, reduced food production induced by climate change — food insecurity is spreading all over the world. Japan is suffering from low food self-sufficiency and a string of food safety scandals and frauds. The occasion of World Food Day on October 16 organised by the FAO is an opportune time to send a strong message of food sovereignty and highlight consumers’ strategies to address the food crisis.

World Foodless Day

How can consumers cope with this crisis? Several NGOs will organise a forum, Another World Food Day, in Tokyo to discuss a wide range of current food problems and solutions.

The forum titled “Sky-rocketing food prices and crisis: hype and reality” will include the following themes:

* The real cause of the rising food prices
* How genetically modified foods are accelerating the food crisis
* Can Japan feed itself?

Organised by:

* NO! GMO Campaign
* Consumers Union of Japan
* No to WTO/FTA Grass-roots Campaign
* Japan …

Avoid Pump Rage

Image
This is from Atlanta, US. Empty gas stations? "Pump rage"? That hasn't happened yet here in Japan, although there have been a couple of reports of drivers who just left without paying after filling up. Kurashi will keep you posted.

Avoid Pump Rage; Practice Gas Line Etiquette

Long lines at the pump and the high price of gas when you can find it are creating a hostile environment at the local gas station.

As soon as you're finished filling up a long line of other drivers waits to take your spot at the pump.

Time is money and gasoline is even more money.

But the crush to fill up doesn't give drivers an excuse to abandon common courtesy.

Here are a few rules that might help you keep your sanity while waiting for fuel:

1. Get in line - If there's nobody behind you it's OK to hover and see which line is moving fastest, but as soon as somebody else pulls into the lot you must pick a line and pull into place.

2. Use credit - While people are waiting it slows things down…