Friday, April 30, 2010

Opera in Tokyo? 2010 Listings

Tokyo is said to have 62 halls and theatres where opera may be performed, according to Opera Japonica.

YouTube video: Renate Tibaldi, performing in Ueno, Tokyo in 1973.

So, if you wanted to listen to opera in this city in 2010, what would you do?

You should probably ask some of the more up-to-date wesbsites, such as

That operajapnica website was last upated sometime way back in 2006. Curious. At some point, someone gathered the following information, about opera and classical music in Japan:


Listed by area: all sites are in Japanese only, unless otherwise indicated.
English pages, when they do exist, may not offer any substantial information!


Classica Japan
Popular site for classical music news and links
Daily Classical Music Critique by Takamoto Hideyuki
Geidankyo/Japan Council of Performers' Organizations (English/Japanese)
HMV Japan (English)
Japan Opera Foundation (also Fujiwara Opera, Nihon Opera Kyokai and Nihon Opera Shinkokai Singers Training School)
Japan Performing Arts Net (English/Japanese)
Site "sponsored by the Japan Foundation to inform people round the world about Japanese performing arts". Has useful information about Japanese orchestras, but the site has not been maintained.
Japan Philharmonic Orchestra (English/Japanese)
Japan Shinsei Symphony Orchestra (English/Japanese)
Mozart Theatre
Musashino Academia Musicae
Neo Wing
International CD and DVD mail ordering service (English)
New Japan Philharmonic
New National Theatre, Tokyo (English/Japanese)
Nikikai Opera
Opera Salon Tonakai (opera restaurant)
Poco a Poco Lirica Club
Has various resources including libretti translated into Japanese.
Suntory Hall (English/Japanese)
Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra
Tokyo Opera City
Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation (English/Japanese)
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra (English/Japanese)
Tokyo Symphony, The (English/Japanese)
Tokyo University of Arts (Geidai) Music Department
Tokyu Bunkamura Arts Centre (English/Japanese)
Tower Records Japan International Page (English)
TVZ Opera
Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo


Concerts of Classical Music in Kansai
Lovely Hall at Kawachi Nagano City
Operetten Verein Kikagekikai (school)
Osaka College of Music
Osaka College of Music Operahouse
Sakai City Opera

Aichi Prefecture

Aichi Arts Foundation (English/Japanese)
Nagoya College of Music
Shiragawa Hall

Gunma Prefecture

Gunma Orchestra

Hiroshima Prefecture

Hiroshima International Opera Studio


Sapporo Concert Hall 'Kitara'

Ibaraki Prefecture

Hitachi Civic Centre
Hitachi Opera
Art Tower Mito (English/Japanese)

Ishikawa Prefecture

Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa (English/Japanese)

Kanagawa Prefecture

Kanagawa Arts Foundation
Showa Academia Musicae/Showa Music University (English/Japanese)
Japan Metropolitan Opera


Kyoto City University of Arts Music Department

Miyagi Prefecture

Sendai Opera Association

Nagano Prefecture

Matsumoto Saito Kinen Festival

Niigata Prefecture

Nagaoka City Foundation for Art and Culture Promotion

Shiga Prefecture

Shiga Opera Association

Tochigi Prefecture

Brian Chandler

Tokushima Prefecture

Minoru Miki (composer)

Toyama Prefecture

Aubade Hall

Yamagata Prefecture

Yamagata Symphony Orchestra

Opera japonica, 21 November 2003

Kyoto Vegan/Vegetarian Festival May 2 (Sunday)

To find out more about how the Kyoto Vegan Earth Day was brought to life, Kyoto resident Jennifer Teeter interviewed Iwasa Akiko (a.k.a. Chiko), who has been organizing the Vegetarian Festival since 2003.

From 10,000 Things:

Can you tell us a little bit about the Vegetarian and Vegan scene in Kyoto?

9 years ago, when the first Vegetarian Festival was first held, people had only heard of the word vegetarian and many thought "vegetarian" simply meant vegetable. Also, many people thought it was strange for people to chose to lead a lifestyle where they didn't eat animals for religious purposes. However, as the years have passed, judging by the people who come to the VegFest, questionnaires, the number of vegetarian restaurants and the media attention vegetarianism has garnered, we can see that the image of vegetarians has changed. Perhaps Kyoto and Tokyo can be considered the easiest places for vegetarians to live in all of Japan. Kyoto is well-known for the vegetarian cooking of Buddhist monks called shojin ryori, and in addition, Kyoto attracts many foreigners, so the number of restaurants in Kyoto that are conscious of the diet of vegetarians has grown.

How did the Vegan Earth Day festival come to life?

The vegetarian festival started 9 years ago, but it was already an ALL VEGAN festival. Tokyo Earth Day, the largest open-air event in Japan, is quite famous, but many of us felt a little uncomfortable at the event. Despite the presence of many wonderful booths at Earth Day selling recycled plates and silverware, eco-bags, et cetera, we wondered why was there so much food with meat in it. There were only a few vegetarian shops on the premises and it felt as if there wasn't any vegetarian food at all but just long lines for restaurants selling animal products. It was a very strange atmosphere. While it is impossible for everyone to all of a sudden become vegan, couldn't we, on Earth Day at least, go without food made from animals?

So, now that people in Japan understand what it means to be vegetarian, we hope that the next step will be that people understand what VEGAN means. We have received requests that we have a Vegetarian Festival twice a year from the many people that come and stalls at the Vegetarian festival. It is from these requests that Vegan Earth Day was born.

Over the year, do you feel that the Vegetarian Festival has had an influence on the vegetarian scene in Kyoto?

I don't think we have influenced the vegetarian scene. It is more the hard work of vegetarian restaurants, the influence of celebs from overseas, and the health boom. These and other factors have played a part and and people in Japan are increasing their understanding about vegetarianism.

What changes have you seen over the years?

Now, there is more of a positive response when people say "I am a vegetarian." You hear more often people responding with "Wow, that's cool" and "Teach me some recipes." Also, we receive lots of messages telling us how people have become vegetarian after coming to the festival and learning about environmental problems and the devastating situation of animals for the first time. A great part of this open-air event is that while eating delicious food and learning, people can have a great time and reflect on their own eating habits and ways of thinking.

Do you have any advice for people that are thinking of becoming vegetarian or vegan?

It is not that difficult. First you have to give it a try. After two weeks, your body will feel great and you won't be able to stop. The media presents a variety of ways to be vegetarian, from macrobiotic diets to the raw food diet. But, everyone is different so you need to find the way that works for you and enjoy your vegan life. Also, be confident in how wonderful it is to find vegan friends and together expand the circle of vegan friends for the future of the earth.

Finally, what is your favorite vegan food?

I guess I am a Japanese person after all, so my favorites are miso soup with tofu and brown rice, and I like eating lots of in-season fruit.

Thank you Chiko for your inspiring answers! From this interview, it is clear to see that this event promises to be thought-provoking, educational, and fun. Hope to see you there!

- Jen Teeter

More Kyoto vegetarian festival staff profiles

Kyoto Vegetarian/Vegan Festival Website:

Exhibitions of NPOs for animal welfare and environmental issues
Workshops and discussions by environmental educator and animal rights activists
Vegan food booth area
Stage performance
Organic vegetables for sale
Vegan products for sale (clothes, cosmetics and more)


平安神宮前 岡崎公園
Okazaki Park is just east of Kyoto Kaikan, and south of Heian Shrine

No parking will be available. Please use public transportation

〒606-8344 京都市左京区岡崎円勝寺町124
If coming from Kyoto Station:
From the A-1 bus stop, take route 5 to "Kyoto Kaikan/Bijutsukan-mae"
(about 30 minutes)

Japan Vegetarian Society is a nonprofit organization (NPO) that was officially founded in May of 2001.

Their motto is "to always consider the well-being of our earth and its people" and they aim to teach and promote vegetarian as it is concerned with general well-being, nutrition, ethics, respect for life, preservation of our environment, and stopping starvation in developing countries.

JPVS strives to spread necessary education and practical suggestions to anyone who may be interested: "We hope our network will help vegetarians to help one another. Please join us if you are interested in living a vegetarian lifestyle."

Main website of Veggy Magazine


Back issues of Veggy Magazine, with news and features from Kamakura, Kyoto, New York, and how to "detox" with vegetables, and ベジィ・カップルの甘い生活 (veggy couple no amai seikatsu) "the sweet lifestyle of a veggy couple."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Newsy Video Featuring The Protests Against U.S. Military Bases In Okinawa

Interesting short video from Newsy, a website media that attempts to show different sides of a story by quoting different sources. In this case, they quoted something I wrote here on Kurashi, which was picked up by Global Post, as well as stories from CNN and Eric Johnston at The Japan Times.

The video provides a quick look at the difficult issues surrounding the military bases in Okinawa, and mentions the advertisement published in Washington Post on April 28, "Would You Want 30 Military Bases In Your Backyard?"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NHK: Democracy On The Line In Japan, Okinawa Protest In Tokyo

Sit-in for removing Futenma base staged

Political leaders from Okinawa staged a sit-in near the Diet building in Tokyo on Tuesday, calling for the removal of a US military base.

About 70 people, including the mayors of Ginowan and Nago cities, and prefectural assembly lawmakers were fresh from a large anti-base rally in Okinawa on Sunday. The rally participants demanded the transfer of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station outside Okinawa, or Japan.

They sat down on the sidewalk in front of the Diet building and raised a banner to express their opposition to the relocation of the base within the prefecture.

Yoichi Iha, the mayor of Ginowan, which hosts the Futenma base said it will destroy the lives of residents in the neighborhood. He added that his city opposes the relocation of the base within Okinawa.

Iha complained that the media has been reporting that the base will eventually be moved to the Henoko area of Nago City in Okinawa but says such plan cannot be accepted.

The protestors appealed to passersby to understand the situation on Okinawa, where military facilities are heavily concentrated, placing a heavy burden on locals.

Sit-in By Okinawa Mayors Today In Tokyo: "Remove the U.S. Marine Base From Ginowan"

Okinawa mayors are holding a demonstration outside the Japanese Parliament building today Tuesday. The sit-in calls for a "removal" of the U.S. marine air base from Futenma, Okinawa in the city of Ginowan. Of course, the more than 90,000 people who attended the massive rally on Sunday, April 25 have made it clear that Tokyo and Washington must re-think the obsolete security treaty from the 1960s. The Cold War is so over.

How important are these recent events for Japan? There has not been a more interesting change in this part of the world for a very long time. As American power is being reduced, with less economic might to back up its usual posturing, that country tries to fight back against China's rise in the Far East, as this would mean Japan, China (and Korea) will increasingly form policies on their own. But, holding on to its military bases in Okinawa, the U.S. appears to have no real plan for the region except asserting that "new" threats or "the increasingly opaque situation on the Korean Peninsula" will mean that "the presence of U.S. marines in Okinawa Prefecture has become increasingly important."

One of the best suggestions so far comes from John Feffer at Foreign Policy in Focus, who thinks the U.S. should move the marines back to Washington D.C. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a Gordian Knot approach I like.

If you are looking for a longer, more careful analysis of what is happening, I recommend Japan’s Stumbling Revolution by Karel van Wolferen in Japan Focus:

Many governments, including Washington, have long wished for Japan to take a more active role on the world stage. Its economic might changed the fate of industries in the United States and Europe, but from a geopolitical point of view, and in diplomacy, it was barely visible. The rest of the world got used to what was early on labeled as an ‘economic giant but political dwarf’. And now, when the new government says that this undesirable imbalance must change, Americans can only whine about military base arrangements different from what they want.

Karel van Wolferen explains how Prime Minister Hatoyama has upset the power structure of the country's "venerable career officials" who prefer status quo than any change. But he digs deeper in also pointing out how silly American officials now look, as they oppose Hatoyama's efforts:

In the Futenma base case we see a new American presidency entirely missing the significance of what is happening in Japan. Obama and his advisers risk undermining new possibilities for creating a stable new cooperative relationship. Over what? Over something that ought to be minuscule in their global strategic vision. We learn from this that the Obama administration does not have its act together with respect to the revamped diplomatic attitude toward the world it announced when taking over from George W. Bush. It also proves that the American military has taken over far more American foreign policy than the details that relate to the countries it occupies. But considering that almost all of the top American officials dealing with Japan are ‘alumni’ of the Pentagon, this lack of a sense of proportion, this tunnel vision, should not surprise us.

I think we have to agree with Karel van Wolferen's view that solving this must be done on Japan's own terms, in a way that is acceptable first and foremost to the people here who voted for reform:

The manner and tone and the substance of what Clinton and Gates said clearly aimed to intimidate the Japanese public. It is crucially important for the future of the Hatoyama cabinet that it not give in to such intimidation. Solving the conflict to Japan’s advantage can be accomplished by doing nothing for a while, and reiterating that fundamental discussions about the future of the relationship must come first. Nothing bad will happen to Japan if, in the absence of an important American compromise, the deadline set for May is postponed until after such serious mutual rethinking.

Time to take a moment and consider this poem, posted on Peace Philosophy Center, from Henoko, Okinawa:

Gift from the Ocean

At the end of the Battle of Okinawa,
Mountains were burnt. Villages were burnt. Pigs were burnt.
Cows were burnt. Chickens were burnt.
Everything on the land was burnt.
What was left for us to eat then?
It was the gift from the ocean.
How could we return our gratitude to the ocean
By destroying it?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Great photos and report of Kyoto's Solidarity Rally for Okinawa at Deep Kyoto

Deep Kyoto has posted some great photos and good report of the Kyoto Tea Party in support of Okinawan democracy.

Deep Kyoto says:

The Japanese have a reputation for being rather apathetic about politics, so it’s good to see people making a racket on the streets about issues they care about. Now it’s up to Prime Minister Hatoyama to make good on his election promises and listen to what the Okinawan people are saying.

NHK's report: Governor Nakaima calls for removal of US military base out of Okinawa

From NHK's English website "Anti-US base rally held in Okinawa:"
Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has called on the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to move the US Futenma air station out of Okinawa.

Nakaima spoke at a massive rally in the village of Yomitan on Sunday. The participants called on the Japanese and US governments to move the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa or overseas.

Nakaima said it is very unfair that US bases have remained in the prefecture long after the end of World War Two.

He said the issue does not only concern Okinawa, and he believes the enthusiasm shown at the rally will prompt both the Japanese and US governments to come up with an acceptable solution.

The 2 countries agreed in 2006 to move the Futenma air station from the crowded city of Ginowan to a coastal area near the US Camp Schwab in Nago, also in Okinawa.

The participants adopted a resolution demanding that the 2 governments give up relocating the base within Okinawa and move it out of the prefecture or overseas.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

90,000 Okinawans Attend Massive April 25 Rally Demanding Closure of the Futenma U.S. Marine Base & Opposing A "Replacement" Base In Henoko

Massive rally in Okinawa on April 25. 90,000 people attended. Many more intended to join the rally, but were stuck in traffic en route. Okinawa Governor Nakaima addressed the crowd, promising to listen to the protests.

基地を撤去 (Kichi wo tekkyo) means "Remove the bases"

Update: Later on April 25, 0ver 1,200 attended a candle vigil in Tokyo (photos below).

At the solidarity event in Tokyo's Meiji Park on Sunday evening, candles were lit and 1,200 people formed the letters NO BASE OKINAWA.

Let's be honest - there is no military threat in the Far East that really requires tens of thousand U.S. soldiers or marines to be based here. The only recent event when the Okinawa marines were useful was when "papa Bush" as he is called in Japan decided to send them to Kuwait in 1991, almost 20 years ago.

And Japan's tax payers are reluctantly footing a huge part of the bill, as part of deals made in the 1970s by the corrupt Liberal Democratic Party law maker and shadow "king maker" or "most ruthless" "back-room string puller" Shin Kanemaru.

This is what Prime Minister Hatoyama is trying to change: "The 2008 Japanese defense budget allocated ¥146.3 billion for labor costs, ¥36.2 billion for FIP, ¥25.3 billion for utilities, ¥500 million for training relocation, for a total of ¥208.3 billion." - Wikipedia

Photo The Mainichi

From Satoko Norimatsu of Peace Philosophy Centre Blog:
Number: 90,000. With the rallies on the two other islands, 93,700. Not quite reached the goal, but significant.

My husband said: "Governor Nakaima just had a loud voice."

Nakaima made two main points: elimination of Futenma danger, and reduction of base burden of Okinawans. Both ambiguous terms. He made only one clear point though: permanent use of Futenma could not be tolerated.

People's New Party's Shimoji, the only MP who was absent (Even LDP's Shimajiri was there!!!), could say all those things too and stay politically correct.

But again, any Nakaima is better than No Nakaima.

The three mayors, Iha of Ginowan, Inamine of Nago, and Shimabuku of Uruma, all made powerful and convincing statements, pretty much what they have been saying every day.

Japanese Communist Party's head Shii was there. He was the only party head present. I am disappointed Social Democratic Party's Fukushima did not attend.

All 41 municipalities participated: 39 mayors attending and 2 their reps.

The biggest significance was that this was the first all-party rally of this magnitude in Okinawa and Japan.

Two more photos from the Tokyo event at former NHK director Shimura's blog:

Video from Okinawa Times:

「普天間」を国外・県外へ 県民大会に9万人余


AFP: Japan PM rules out environmentally destructive 2006 deal on US base on eve of rally

AFP reports that Prime Minister Hatoyama has ruled out the 2006 Bush-Koizumi agreement to build a U.S. military base in an environmentally sensitive area of Okinawa. Their proposal called for the destruction of the habitat of the federally protected Okinawan dugong, a critically endangered species.
Japan's premier ruled out a plan for a new US airbase on Okinawa island Saturday, on the eve of a mass rally against the planned facility, in a row that has soured ties with Washington for months.

The centre-left Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama last year launched a review of a 2006 pact to move an unpopular US base from a crowded city area of the southern island to a quieter coastal area, where locals also oppose it.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that Tokyo had agreed to broadly stick with the original plan, in an online report published a day before 100,000 people on Okinawa were expected to protest against the US military presence.

Hatoyama, whose approval ratings have dived into the 20-percent range amid the long-festering row, denied the report and said he rejected the plan to build the replacement US airbase in Okinawa's coastal area of Henoko.

"It must never happen that we accept the existing plan," Hatoyama told reporters in televised comments, effectively scrapping the agreement to move the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma there in coming years.

Building the new base -- with runways that would destroy a fragile marine habitat -- would be "blasphemy against the nature," Hatoyama said, according to the Jiji Press news agency.

The comments were the latest twist in an issue that started when Hatoyama's government took power in September, ending more than half a century of conservative rule and vowing "more equal" relations with Washington.

Hatoyama and his left-leaning allies pledged to ease the burden of the people of Okinawa, who have since World War II hosted a heavy US military presence and often complained of noise and frictions with American soldiers...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Noise Pollution In Okinawa

Do watch this 8 minutes long video to get a brief feeling of what residents of Ginowan City, Okinawa, Japan go through each day (and night). This is the plight that must end. Prime Minister Hatoyama may not be sure how to go about it, but he has the right idea. Main stream media in Washington is mocking him for trying. President Obama, come here and listen to the voices of ordinary citizens (just as U.S. presidents have visited Iraq and other American battle fields).

U.S. Marines have overstayed their welcome after years of abuse. With all due respect to individual men and women who serve in the U.S. military, it is time to leave Japan and the Far East. People here want peace, not more noise, threats, and the usual (oh, so boring) military posturing. It is time to end the cold war in the Far East, and close these U.S. bases. The massive protests on Sunday. April 25, cannot be ignored.

LIVE VIDEO of OKINAWAN RALLY - 3 p.m. Japan time (2 a.m. D.C. time) until the end of the rally

You can see the Okinawan Rally at the Ryukyu Shimpo website. Coverage starts on Sunday, April 25 at 3 p.m. Japan time (2 a.m. Washington D.C. time) and lasts until the end of the rally.

Gavan McCormack: Okinawan rally on April 25th--unprecedented event for democracy in Japanese & World History

From Satoko Norimatsu's Peace Philosophy Centre Blog:
"The 25th becomes an unprecedented event in modern Japanese history, if not the world history," Gavan McCormack, Professor of Australian National University, shared his thoughts on the upcoming mass rally in Okinawa.

"Never before in Japanese history has an entire region stood up and said 'No' to the central state authorities. And it is so much the more remarkable because they are actually saying 'No' not just to Tokyo but to Washington.

"And, not only that, they now almost certainly are going to win: they are going to impose their will upon the two most powerful governments in the world. For citizens to assert, successfully, their moral authority and their right to dictate to government(s) is really something to celebrate!

"This may be a new phase in democracy. "

Don't Force Bases onto Okinawa! - Open Air Tea Party (3pm) • Rally (5pm) • Demo (6pm) in Kyoto-- Sunday, April 25th!

Give the U.S. and Japanese governments a YELLOW CARD!

Yellow-garbed, peace-loving people will gather together on Sunday, April 25th in Honolulu, Washington D.C., and Tokyo in solidarity with the 100,000 person strong rally that will be held in Okinawa opposing the continued presence of military bases.

On the same day, Kyoto Action against bases in Henoko and Futenma is also organizing a simultaneous action along the Kamo River in Kyoto City. For more information about the activities of Kyoto Action, click here to see a Ten Thousand Things previous post.

In the spirit of ensuring that all voices and opinions are heard with respect and compassion, there will be a river-side Open Air Tea Party where participants can exchange their thoughts on the military build up in Okinawa and the world. Participants will also have the chance to create origami of the endangered dugong, one of the beautiful cousins of the sea cow whose habitat will be destroyed should the U.S. military succeed in inundating Henoko Bay with concrete to build a new base.

Should you not be able to make it to the Tea Party, check out this video of how to make the dugong and learn more about the actions of the Osaka and Tokyo-based Save the Dugong Campaign Center watch the following video:

The Tea Party will be followed by a rally and then a demo through the sakura streets of Kyoto. Join us in raising our voices against continued military occupation and expansion!

Open Air Tea Party
Time: 3-5pm
Place- Along the Kamo River near Sanjo Street
Activities: Discussion, origami, sanpin tea, and sata andagi (sweet Okinawan buns)

Mouth-watering Sata andagi


Wear Yellow (In solidarity with the Okinawa people )

Time- 5pm
Location- Along the Kamo River near Sanjo Street

Demo Departure
Time- 6pm

For more information, call Kyoto Action at: 090-2359-9278

Supporting Organizations
Group Chanpuru (ぐるーぷちゃんぷる)
Kyoto Resident Uchinanchi Group (京都在住うちなーんちゅの会)
Kyoto Association of people from Okinawa Prefecture (京都沖縄県人会)
Kyoto Peace Constitution Organization (平和憲法の会・京都)
Kyoto Organization for a Nuke & Base-free Okinawa (核も基地もない平和な沖縄をめざす京都の会(京都沖縄の会))
Ainu Okinawa wo Kangaeru Kai (アイヌ・沖縄を考える会)
Anti-war Senior Club- Kyoyo (反戦老人クラブ・京都)
Kyoto Co-op Workers Club (京都生協の働く仲間の会)
US for Okinawa
and many more...

Friday, April 23, 2010

U.S. Military Bases In Japan, South Korea (and more)

How many American military bases are there in the Far East? Close The Base has the details.

Do join the Tokyo anti-base events on April 25.

Meiji Park
Location Kasumigaoka-machi, Shinjuku Ward; Sendagaya 1-chome, Shibuya Ward
Time: From 6 pm
Place of contact Yoyogi Park Administration Office
Tel: 03-3469-6081
Address: Yoyogi-Kamizono-cho 2-1, Shibuya-ku
Transport 3-minute walk from Sendagaya (JR line).
2-minute walk from Kokuritsu-Kyogijo (Oedo line).

List of current U.S. Military facilities

The U.S. military installations in Japan and their managing branches are:

Air Force:

• Camp Chitose, Chitose, Hokkaido
• Kadena Air Base, Okinawa Prefecture
• Kadena Ammunition Storage Area, Okinawa Prefecture
• Misawa Air Base, Aomori Prefecture
• Yokota Air Base, Fussa, Tokyo
• Fuchu Communications Station, Fuchu, Tokyo
• Tama Service Annex, Inagi, Tokyo
• Yugi Communication Site, Hachioji, Tokyo
• Camp Asaka AFN Transmitter Site, Saitama Prefecture
• Tokorozawa Transmitter Site, Saitama Prefecture
• Owada Communication Site, Saitama Prefecture
• Okuma Rest Center, Okinawa Prefecture
• Yaedake Communication Site, Okinawa Prefecture
• Senaha Communication Station, Okinawa Prefecture


• Fort Buckner, Okinawa Prefecture
• Camp Zama, Zama, Kanagawa
• Yokohama North Dock, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
• Sagami General Depot, Sagamihara, Kanagawa
• Sagamihara Housing Area, Sagamihara, Kanagawa
• Akizuki Ammunition Depot, Hiroshima Prefecture
• Hiro Ammunition Depot, Hiroshima Prefecture
• Kawakami Ammunition Depot, Hiroshima Prefecture
• Gesaji Communication Site, Okinawa Prefecture
• Army POL Depots, Okinawa Prefecture
• White Beach Area, Okinawa Prefecture
• Naha Port, Okinawa Prefecture
• Hardy Barracks, Roppongi, Tokyo
• Torii Station, Yomitan, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

Marine Corps:

• Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Yamaguchi Prefectures. Although these camps are dispersed throughout Okinawa and Japan they are all under the heading of Camp Smedley D. Butler):
• Camp McTureous
• Camp Courtney
• Camp Kinser
• Camp Hansen
• Camp Schwab
• Camp Shields
• Camp Gonsalves (Jungle Warfare Training Center)
• Kin Blue Beach Training Area
• Kin Red Beach Training Area
• NSGA Hanza
• Higashionna Ammunition Storage Point II
• Henoko Ordnance Ammunition Depot
• Camp Foster, Okinawa Prefecture
• Camp Lester, Okinawa Prefecture
• Marine Corps Air Station Futenma
• Yomitan Auxiliary Airfield
• Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
• Camp Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture
• Numazu Training Area, Shizuoka Prefecture
• Tengan Pier
• Ie Jima Auxiliary Air Field, Okinawa Prefecture
• Tsuken Jima Training Area
• Kadena Ammunition Storage Area


• Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Ayase, Kanagawa
• United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, Sasebo, Nagasaki
• United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Yokosuka, Kanagawa
• Urago Ammunition Depot, Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture
• Tsurumi POL Depot, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
• Naval Housing Annex Negishi, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
• Naval Transmitter Station Totsuka, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
• Naval Support Facility Kamiseya, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
• Tomioka Storage Area, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
• Naval Housing Annex Ikego, Zushi, Kanagawa
• White Beach Area, Okinawa Prefecture
• Awase Communication Station, Okinawa Prefecture
• Sobe Communication Site, Okinawa Prefecture
• New Sanno Hotel, Tokyo

South Korea:

This is a list of U.S. Army posts in South Korea:

• Camp Ames
• Camp Carroll
• Camp Casey
• Camp Castle
• Camp Colbern
• Camp Coiner
• USAG Daegu
• Camp Essayons
• Camp George
• Hannam Village
• Camp Henry
• Camp Hovey
• USAG Humphreys
• Camp Jackson (Korea)
• Camp Kwangsa Ri
• Camp Kyle
• Camp Long
• Camp Market
• Camp Nimble
• Camp Red Cloud
• Camp Sears
• Camp Stanley
• Camp Walker
• Camp Yongin
• Far East Dist Engr
• H220 Heliport
• K-16 Air Base
• Kunsan Pol Terminal Site
• Madison Site
• Masan Ammunition Depot
• Pier #8
• Sungnam Golf Course
• Swiss and Swed Camp Mac HQ
• Tango (U.S. Army)
• Watkins Range
• Yong Pyong
• USAG Yongsan

Historic United Okinawa Prefectural Rally April 25: "Move Futenma Outside of Okinawa out of the prefecture, out of the country!"

From Satoko Norimatsu's Peace Philosophy Centre Blog:
100,000 Okinawans are expected to show up at the Okinawa Prefecture Rally on April 25, at Yomitan Sports Park. Above is the flyer, which reads:

"Move Futenma Outside of Okinawa out of the prefecture, out of the country! Express our determination to Japanese and U.S. Governments!"

April 25 Prefecture Citizens' Rally

• To call for immediate closure and return of Futenma Air Station

• To Oppose inter-prefectural relocation

• To call for out-of-country or out-of-prefecture relocation

Location: Yomitan Sports Park

Let's All Go There!

3:00 PM, April 25 (Sunday)
Rain or Shine

Mayors of 37 out of 41 municipalities of all the Okinawa islands will attend the rally. The four remaining mayors, of the islands of Kumejima, Ishigaki, Ginoza, and Tokashiki, will send their representative, if not attend themselves.

Governor Nakaima, after vacillating, finally decided to attend. According to NHK News at noon on April 23, Nakaima was reported as saying, "I hesitated to make a decision while the Japanese government had not made a decision; but I decided it was a good opportunity to express my opinion about the over-burden of bases by Okinawa."

DPJ's Cabinet Secretary Hirano pressured Nakaima not to attend, but Hirano, knowing Nakaima's decision, said, "It is the Governor's choice."

April 18 Ryukyu Shimpo quotes:

Inamine Susumu, Mayor of Nago: "I have been saying not only the Henoko Shore plan but also the Camp Schwab in-land plan was unacceptable. I want to show the power of our opposition."

Shimabukuro Toshio, Mayor of Uruma ( White Beach): "I want the government to show a policy consistent with their election pledge."

Iha Yoichi, Mayor of Ginowan (Futenma Air Station): "The U.S. is planning to move Futenma's helicopter units to Guam. I want the Government not just to talk about building an alternative base, but to explain to the people of Japan and to the parliament what the U.S. plan is about."

The rally starts at 3 PM, but Makishi Yoshikazu, an Okinawan architect and blogger says: "Starting as early as noon, there will be songs and performances by young people. Let us get a bottle of water and leave home by 10 AM."

Many municipalities, including Ginowan City, will arrange free shuttle buses for the convenience of rally-goers.

Those who cannot attend are encouraged to wear or have something yellow to show solidarity.

There is no doubt that it will be a historic event, with the Governor and all the municipal leaders on a united front of the hundreds of thousands of people of Okinawa.

琉球新報 4月18日

「普天間」県民大会、37首長参加へ 全市町村で「県内反対」2010年4月18日


沖縄タイムス 4月23日



OKINAWAN SOLIDARITY: Gov. Nakaima officially decides to attend & will make a speech at mass rally in Okinawa!

Another up-to-the-second report from Satoko Norimatsu of Peace Philosophy Centre:
You may not believe me any more, but Governor Nakaima officially decided to attend and will give a speech at the prefectural rally on April 25th.

No matter how indecisive, any governor is better than no governor. His presence will make a difference, and clearly communicate that the whole Okinawa is on a united front.

Gov. Nakaima waffling about attendance at rally; will he be the only person at home watching TV in Okinawa on Sunday?

From Satoko Norimatsu at Peace Philosophy Centre

The latest from the Okinawan newspaper Ryukyu Shimpo: Governor Nakaima changed his mind again and went back to the "undecided" position about the April 25 Rally.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano admitted that he spoke to Nakaima over the phone on April 20, just before Nakaima expressed his reservation again.

Nakaima denied the phone call. It is easy to guess that Hirano pressured Nakaima not to attend.

He is calculating the political gains and losses of attending or not attending, and of delaying the decision til the last minute or not.

"All we know about Nakaima is that he is not looking to the Okinawan citizens," a member of the rally committee says. Nakaima is just looking to Tokyo.

His indecision is hurting his image, and is possibly affecting the turnout at the Rally. Or maybe more people will attend because of that, to show solidarity of ordinary residents.

Nakaima could be the only one in Okinawa watching TV at home on Sunday.

More details about the April 25 anti-base events in Okinawa, Tokyo, and many other locations can be found here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Practicing Archery In Osaka...

Zen's Sekai, a blog I like, is in Osaka for some serious archery practice. He is amazingly honest about his experiences and if you like good writing, do have a look. His wife takes great photos too.
Afterward more practice, and another time in front of Dai-Sensei, I was helped with my standing form and orientation to the shooting line, which I was blowing, yet Dai-Sensei was patient and had someone help me. I felt better on my next to last shot when I got a dead center bulls eye and heard a couple of exclamations from behind me… yeah baby, Yatta!
Kyudo is closely related to Zen. Both may require long, hard practice. By being able to observe yourself, in a self-referal way, and then letting go, you start making progress. Having a great teacher is of course helpful. I like how the narrative of the Nihon Chronicles 2010 takes the reader deep into Nippon mindfulness country, a place where old people do Tai Chi at 6:00 AM in some Osaka park, and where a "foreigner" is no longer that, just a pupil, a state of consciousness, absorbing and then doing.

Every day should be like this.

More Japanese archery blogging with videos over at Kyudo - the road less travelled

In Herrigel’s book The Method of Zen, he tells a tale of eating dinner in a restaurant with Japanese colleagues. As one friend is telling a story, an earthquake shakes the entire building. The hotel creaks and sways, sending objects to the floor. While many rush to evacuate the hotel, his friend sits calmly. Herrigel fears for his life but is mesmerized by the calm nature of the friend. He sits back down at the table. As the commotion subsides, the friend continues his story at the exact point he left off from, as if nothing had happened. This story is a good example of heijoshin. Simply put, heijoshin, can be described as the calm, everyday mind. The Kyohon states that “…at full draw you must wipe away negativity like doubt, anxiety, faintheartedness, fear, and self-depreciation…”.

From Reflections of the Mind - A study in Progress

Why do we get nervous and worried? I can only suppose that we still are animals at heart. We have that instinct, to feel fear. How we deal with it - be it concerns about failure, loss, death - is up to our training. Not just what our parents or friends told us, or what formal schooling taught us. Also - what else did we aquire as we grew up, went on travels and journeys, got lost and found our footing again. Something beyond what others did.

How do we reach that calm state of mind, not easily shaken or stirred by events. Humans can achieve that, by observing nature and studying animals, by refining our cultural and spiritual practices, and not straying too far away from the advice we get. For others it comes from religious practice, prayer, or reading (and writing - even blogging!) or daily meditation. And - always remembering to say "thank you."

Kurashi 5 Years!

Kurashi News From Japan started five years ago, thanks all of you who who have tuned in to the "eco blog" and especially to everyone who felt that special urge to make a comment. Five years is a long time. It all begun when I was in Seoul, Korea in 2005, and since then, I made a lot of speeches and appearances at different conferences and meetings. My food safety ranking book was published last year in May, 2009, and it continues to sell in bookstores and at amazon. Who could ask for more?

Blogging has since evolved. I like using Youtube videos here, hoping you are able to enjoy the kind of music I like. However, I rarely get comments on such posts. Does it mean that most of you cannot access Youtube videos posted here on Kurashi?

Others use Facebook and Twitter. New tools. I'm not so sure that we should try every new gadget. If you like blogs, please stay with Kurashi. I'm hoping we can keep the momentum going. Any ideas how to suit your needs as you access my humble blog on your pc, your mobile phone, any other tool - make sure you comment and keep in touch. Five years of Kurashi. Lots of spelling errors, links that no longer work, videos that Youtube decided to delete =_=.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Governor Nakaima will attend the April 25 rally in Okinawa!

The latest--many thanks to Satoko Norimatsu's outstanding bilingual reporting:
Ryukyu Shimpo's report just came in.

Governor Nakaima of Okinawa has decided to attend the April 25th Rally.

Good news.
Analysts say his attendance is crucial in the movement opposing any further U.S. military base construction in Okinawa.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lingering Snow In Tokyo

We had early morning snow in Tokyo just a couple of days ago, very strange weather. Not for 40 years or so has it been like this. On the other hand, what is normal these days.

Iruka's real name is Kanbe Toshie. She wrote and performed a number of well known and popular Japanese folk songs, the most popular of which is probably "Nagori Yuki" (Lingering Snow). Enjoy...

Kisha o matsu kimi no yoko de boku wa
Tokei o ki ni shite 'ru
Kisetsu hazure no yuki ga futte 'ru
Tokyo de miru yuki wa kore ga saigo ne to
Samishisou ni kimi wa tsubuyaku
Nagori yuki mo furu toki o shiri
Fuzake sugita kisetsu no ato de
Ima haru ga kite kimi wa kirei ni natta
Kyonen yori zutto kirei ni natta

Ugoki hajimete kisha no mado ni
Kao o tsukete
Kimi wa nani ka iou toshite 'ru
Kimi no kuchibiru ga sayounara to ugoku koto ga
Kowakute shita o muite 'ta
Toki ga yukeba osanai kimi mo
Otona ni naru to kizukanai mama
Ima haru ga kite kimi wa kirei ni natta
Kyonen yori zutto kirei ni natta

Kimi ga satta hoomu ni nokori
Ochite wa tokeru yuki o mite ita
Ima haru ga kite kimi wa kirei ni natta
Kyonen yori zutto kirei ni natta
Kyonen yori zutto kirei ni natta
Kyonen yori zutto kirei ni natta

I'm next to you, who is waiting for the train to come
Looking down at my watch
Snow is falling at the end of the season
We see snow falling in Tokyo, and you whisper
"This is the last of it", in a lonely way
I know that it's time for traces of snow to fall
After the season in which we had too much fun
Now spring is coming, and you've become beautiful
You're definitely more beautiful than the year before

Looking out the window of the train that's started to move
You were trying to say something to me
Scared that your lips were forming the words "goodbye"
I kept my head down
Now that the time has come, I'm still oblivious
To the fact that you who were so young, has now grown up
Now spring is coming, and you've become beautiful
You're definitely more beautiful than the year before

Still on the platform (hoomu) that you left on
I stayed and watched the snow that fell and dissolved away
Now spring is coming, and you've become beautiful
You're definitely more beautiful than the year before

Another translation from BaKoGi:

Kisya o matsu kimi no yoko de boku wa
tokei o ki ni shiteru
Beside you waiting for the train
I'm anxious about the clock(time)

Kisetsu hazure no yuki ga futteru
Unseasonable snow is falling

"Tōkyō de miru yuki wa kore ga saigo ne" to
Samishisō ni kimi ga tsubuyaku
"This is the last snow I see in Tokyo",
You murmur sadly

Nagori yuki mo furu toki o shiri
Now it's time for the last snow to fall

Fuzake sugita kisetsu no ato de
After the season we spent playing too much

Ima haru ga kite kimi wa kirei ni natta
Now spring is coming and you've become beautiful

Kyonen yori zutto kirei ni natta
You've become much more beautiful than last year

Ugoki hajimeta kisya no mado ni kao o tsukete
You're putting your face to the window of the train which began to move

Kimi wa nani ka iō to shiteiru
And trying to say something

Kimi no kuchibiru ga sayōnara to ugoku koto ga
kowakute shita o muiteta
I was afraid your lips moved to say goodbye
So I looked down

Toki ga yukeba osanai kimi mo
otona ni naru to kizukanai mama
You didnt notice even you who were childish
became an adult as time went by

Ima haru ga kite kimi wa kirei ni natta
Now spring is coming and you've become beautiful

Kyonen yori zutto kirei ni natta
You've become much more beautiful than last year

Kimi ga satta hōmu ni nokori
ochite wa tokeru yuki o miteita
I stayed on the platform and watched the snow which fell and melt

Ima haru ga kite kimi wa kirei ni natta
Now spring is coming and you've become beautiful

Kyonen yori zutto kirei ni natta
You've become much more beautiful than last year

And here is the original version from 1975. 1,323,560 views on Youtube.

NO BASE! OKINAWA Candle Action Event in Meiji-Koen, Tokyo

A mass rally will be held in Okinawa on April 25, with people gathering from all over the prefecture and Japan.

They are demanding that no more bases be forced on Okinawa!

In solidarity, people from throughout Japan will gather together to spell out with candles the message "NO BASE! OKINAWA" and send their support to the Okinawan people.


NO BASE! OKINAWA ~キャンドルで人文字をつくろう!

☆日 時:4月25日(日)18時~
APRIL 25th, from 6 pm

☆場 所:明治公園 新宿霞岳町、渋谷区千駄ヶ谷一丁目

☆アクセス:JR「千駄ヶ谷」下車 徒歩5分
地下鉄大江戸線「国立競技場」(E25)下車 徒歩2分

☆内 容:歌、スピーチ、キャンドルによる人文字

☆協賛:沖縄一坪反戦地主会関東ブロック/WORLD PEACE  NOW


☆ Event:
Simultaneous actions for a base-free Okinawa
Candle event spelling out "NO BASE! OKINAWA"

☆ Date: April 25, 2010 (Sunday)

☆ Time: From 6 pm

☆ Place: Meiji Park, Sendagaya Icchome / Shinjuku Kasumigaokamachi

☆ Access: 5 mins walk from Sendagaya station, JR Sobu Line
2 mins walk from Kokuritsu Kyogijo station, Oedo Subway Line
15 mins walk from Gaienmae station, Ginza subway line

☆ Contents: songs, speeches, candle action
※ Donations of 500 yen for candles requested!

☆ Organised by Simultaneous actions for a base-free Okinawa Tokyo
☆ Co-sponsored by the Kanto Block of landowners against military bases and WORLD PEACE NOW

☆ Contact:

★ Appeal ★

Next April 25, a people's gathering will be held in Okinawa to call for the closure of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma,
the return of the land, and to oppose construction of another base elsewhere in Okinawa,

The US-Japan Security Pact signed by the mainland Japanese government resulted in Japan's consent of allowing the U.S. to
force its unwanted military bases on the people of Okinawa. The U.S. bases have damaged Okinawa's rich environment, and created daily issues: noise pollution, accidents and crime, and the linked dangers of war.

The problems of the bases in Okinawa are not Okinawa's problem. They are, instead, a problem of those of us from the mainland who are forcing this burden onto the people of Okinawa.

We must seriously consider this issue now--more than ever.

If no site in mainland Japan is willing or planning to accept the bases in its own territory, then this burden must not be forced
onto Okinawa. We cannot push the problem around within Okinawa and pretend that we are not aware that this is happening.

The U.S. Marine Corps must withdraw, and the Futenma Air Station must be closed.

The people of Okinawa are united in their opposition to the forced placement of the Futenma base in Okinawa.

On April 25, on the same day as their prefectural event, actions will be held simultaneously throughout Japan and hopefully
the world to join our voices together with Okinawa in solidarity to oppose new base construction in Okinawa.

This action is being called for by a coalition of well-known Japanese individuals, including university professors, authors,
artists, lawyers, educators, commentators, musicians and representatives of NGOs including Peace Boat, WWF Japan and
Greenpeace Japan.

Citizens around the world are also called upon to hold events on the same day, and send messages and photos in support
and solidarity.

We thank you for your cooperation!


Tokyo Event to send our message to the April 25 Okinawan People's Gathering

★ A demonstration will be held after the event
Date: April 25 (Sun), from 3 pm
Place: Miyakezaka Hall, Shakai Bunka Kaikan
(4 mins from Nagatacho Station, Yurakucho/Hanzomon Line)

Organised by the Kanto Block of landowners against military bases.
Co-sponsored by the Organising Committee against base construction in Henoko

Monday, April 19, 2010

People of Tokunoshima in island-wide protest -- "Absolute Opposition to Bases!"

Photos: Jiji News Agency

As usual, Satoko Norimatsu has the latest and best coverage on all things Okinawa (and Tokunoshima) at her Peace Philosophy Centre Blog--"Hantai!" - Tokunoshima's Record-Breaking Addition to Ryukyuans' Democratic Voices:
On April 18, a rally was held in Tokunoshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture to oppose the relocation of Futenma Air Station in Okinawa to the Island. The participation of 15,000 people, 60% of the population of about 26,000, is a record-breaking size of gathering on the island.

Signs read:

"Tokunoshima does not need military bases."
"Absolute Opposition to Bases! "
"Tokunoshima - an Isalnd of Long Life and Children"
"Protect the Island of "Yui"(mutual support)"
"The treasures of the Island are Nature, Children, and Kindness"
"We Oppose US Military Bases!"

The most frequently-seen word in this photo is hantai (反対), meaning "opposition."

According to Okinawa Times report, 60 organizations, including all the three towns of the island and their mayors were involved.

One of the mayors said, "It will be poisonous for us if we drink the soup of economic subsidies." He was talking about the "economic rejuvenation projects" and hefty subsidies, what the central government has always provided the municipalities that host bases in Okinawa. He knew that once the local economy becomes dependent on such subsidies, it will be difficult to get out of it, as many Okinawan base-hosting municipalities have experienced.

This rally is the latest addition to the series of democratic voices of Okinawa. Again, Tokunoshima is part of Kagoshima Prefecture now, but traditionally it is part of the larger Ryukyuan culture, and I would still call a voice from Tokunoshima one of Okinawans' (Ryukyuans'). (See my April 6 post "Is Tokunoshima Really Outside of Okinawa?)

According to another report on April 18 in Okinawa Times, the associations of mayors in Okinawa announced that out of 41 municipalities (cities, towns, and villages) of Okinawa, a total of 29 have submitted position statements regarding the relocation of Futenma Air Station. A total of 23 municipal assemblies have passed statements that opposed inter-prefectural relocation, i.e. construction of another base within Okinawa, and asked Prime Minister Hatoyama to keep his pre-election pledge that the relocation site would be outside of Okinawa prefecture.

Speaking about subsidies, Medoruma Shun on April 15 again is relentless on the corruption over the base relocation. He quotes Ryukyu Shimpo's April 15 article that reported on April 14, seventy-three parliamentarians formed a group to endorse legalization of casinos in Japan. It is officially called "Coalition of Parliamentarians for Promotion of International Tourism Industry," but it is dubbed "the Casino Caucus." The chair of the organization is Koga Issei, a DPJ member, and one of the seven vice chair is notorious Shimoji Mikio, an Okinawan representative of People's New Party, who has endorsed plans to relocate Futenma within Okinawa.

Okinawa is one of the top candidates for building a casino under the possible new legislation. Medoruma says, "Even after the administration change, the policy of 'carrots and sticks' by the central government will continue, and Shimoji is about to jump on those carrots." Construction of a new casino would be a delicious reward for burdening another military base. "This is why Shimoji insists of inter-prefectural relocation, no matter how much sharp criticism he receives within Okinawa." (see March 16 post for more.)

Another event that is coming up, which Shimoji is not going to attend, is the April 25 Okinawa Citizens Rally. It is expected to draw 100,000 people or more. Okinawa's Governor Nakaima is still oscillating over his attendance to the rally, but whether the indecisive governor is there or not, Okinawa and its people are going to add another important chapter to its history.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

US Rejects Tokunoshima & White Beach; still wants military expansion at Henoko, home to critically endangered dugong

According to an April 17 Japan Times article, the US military rejects Tokunoshima and White Beach; still wants military expansion at Henoko, an ecologically sensitive area in central Okinawa and home to critically endangered dugong.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Love Harukaze 2010: Music festival-goers feel the love; explore issues of peace and sustainability

For the second year in a row during the first weekend of April, amidst cherry blossoms at their peak and near-perfect (if slightly chilly) weather, the Spring Love Harukaze festival transformed Tokyo's Yoyogi Park into a space of positive energy and peaceful vibes.

The event featured some of Japan’s top musical talent, as well as a series of talk sessions related to various peace and environmental issues. In addition, the festival included a flea market with natural and eco-related goods, food stalls with organic and various world cuisines, tents with information from peace and environmental NPOs/NGOs, a DJ tent where young dancers enjoyed chilled-out grooves, and jam sessions/performances spontaneously organized by festival-goers that cropped up all over the venue throughout the weekend.

The festival was the result of a collaboration between Harukaze organizers, who put on rave parties of the same name in Yoyogi Park during the 1990s, together with the volunteer collective Peace Not War Japan, which organizes events combining music and peace. By bringing back the festival as Spring Love: Harukaze and including the educational component, their goal expanded to encourage festival attendees—including youth who may never before have thought about these social topics—to consider war, militarism, peace and sustainability.Masudo Ikue and Peace Not War Japan coordinator Fukui Hiroshi

One speaker was Masudo Ikue, a television and film actor, well-known by her former stage name, Takagi Saya. While still making occasional public appearances, she decided in 2008 to scale back her work to focus on natural pursuits such as running her own beachside eco-café/gallery, growing some of her own food, and free-diving (she is a champion record-holder in Hawaii!).

“The modern capitalist system that we live in encourages us to spend our energy gathering material possessions while gradually drifting further and further away from nature and healthy ways of living, ” Ikue declared. “It is up to each one of us to look deep inside and reconnect with our own deepest selves to see what we truly want out of this life.”

Another discussion, titled “Building sustainable, non-militarized economies: examples of organic, small-scale, community-based alternatives to a military-dependent economy,” featured three well-known peace and environmental activists and offered a similar message.

“When you structure your life the way the capitalist system demands—working as a slave to one single company—your individuality has absolutely no meaning, since the instant you are gone, you will simply be replaced by another cog in the wheel,” explained speaker Tanaka Yu. “The recipe for happiness is to be in control of your life by diversifying your income sources, and always doing what you want to do rather than what some boss is telling you to do.”

Kosaka Masaru, a thirtysomething who runs his owne organic café/bar and grows his own soybeans and rice, said that his greatest happiness is listening to great music and cooking tasty, healthy food.

Writer, translator, and international activist Kikuchi Yumi, whose family lives in a restored farmhouse and grows all of their own organic vegetables and rice, agreed. She shared that growing one’s own food is as easy as starting with one simple herb planter at home; anyone can do it. Yumi described the local currency system in her region of Awa, southern Chiba. Residents buy products using “Awa Money" in addition to Japanese yen.

“This kind of local currency movement is the basis for building peaceful societies, as opposed to what happens with Japan’s major banks—where money in peoples’ savings accounts are used without their knowledge to purchase things like cluster bombs used in U.S. wars,” concluded Tanaka, who also serves as executive director of the Mirai Bank (“Bank of the Future”)—a model for other sustainable community projects such as the Artist Power Bank. “We have the power to create peaceful societies by choosing how and where we use our money.”

Supporters of Takae Village, Okinawa, portraying the kuina bird that is endangered by U.S. military base construction plans

The third talk session also focused closely on creating alternatives to existing ills. Titled “Listen to citizens' voices: No more wasteful, destructive construction projects!”, the panel discussion featured speakers from groups working to save Mt. Takao from a highway tunnel; stop a nuclear power plant in Kaminoseki; and protect the lush Takae Village in Okinawa’s Yanbaru forest from construction of U.S. military base helipads. In the latter case, the Japanese government has brought a lawsuit against villagers who organized to stage a nonviolent sit-in protest against the construction.

“The role of a government is supposed to be protecting its citizens; but the Japanese government is clearly doing the opposite by exposing locals to these helipads, which carry very real risks of accidents using the unstable, dangerous Osprey helicopters,” explained Peace Not War Japan coordinator Fukui Hiroshi. He organized the panel to create solidarity among various domestic movements, all facing a common goal: to protect human beings and nature alike from militarism’s endless capacity for destruction.

The event’s final talk session, titled “Why should Japan's Constitutional Article 9 (the peace clause) be protected?,” considered the ways in which governments should function--as opposed to how they often do in reality. “With Japan’s peace constitution in danger, we must also look at other examples of peace constitutions at work, such as the case of Ecuador, which successfully ousted a U.S. military base,” said panel moderator and Peace Boat staff member Matsumura Masumi.

“Japan must protect its peace constitution in order to avoid becoming a country like the United States, where systematic poverty results in young people being shipped off to fight destructive wars,” agreed freelance journalist Shiva Rei, a firsthand observer of war and violent occupation areas like Iraq and Gaza. “We must also do what we can to solve other related problems, such as making sure that we use natural energy sources rather than nuclear power—something that requires that we act on both personal and social/political levels.”

Panelists Shiva Rei, Kamebuchi Yuka and Matsumura Masumi discussing issues related to Japan's Constitutional Article 9

"This kind of topic might not come naturally for some of us,” concluded the third panelist Kamebuchi Yuka, a gospel singer and director of the Harukaze planning committee.“But one thing that every single one of us here can do is to go home tonight and talk to others about what we heard here at this festival. Another thing we can do is to get educated about the constitutional change election that is coming up next month.”

The event featured two stages: the main Spring Stage, where most musical acts and peace talks took place; and the smaller, cozier Love Stage, which housed DJs, smaller musical acts, and presentations from representatives of several of the NPOs and NGOs in attendance. One group was US for Okinawa, mostly of foreign residents in Japan committed to demonstrating their support for a base-free Okinawa. The group organized a booth at the event with a photo exhibition, FAQ sheetFlyer, and petition that show the destructive impact of U.S. military bases. Coincidentally, many of the network's core members were actually on a study tour to visit U.S. bases in Okinawa on the very same weekend as Spring Love—their report of their fruitful tour may be read here.
Another speaker on the Love Stage was Clara Shinobu Iura, a Japanese-Brazilian who is one of the 13 indigenous grandmothers featured in the film For the Next Seven Generations. It recounts how the women came together from around the world to impart their knowledge and healing wisdom to younger generations before it is too late. “I was warned by my sister to be careful when visiting Mt. Fuji, because I am such a sensitive person and might be susceptible to particular energies there,” Iura told festival listeners. “Well, that is exactly what happened…it was as if the mountain was speaking to me, and telling me to dedicate my life to trying to save the earth.” Iura, who is now a practicing shaman in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, will visit Amami Oshima island in southern Japan with the other grandmothers this coming October for a festival event, where they will conduct healing prayers and workshops. More information is available about the grandmothers’ project here. Clara Shinobu Iura, seated right

Many other organizations participated--including From Earth, an ecology/fair trade shop promoting organic lifestyles; and the nonprofit groups Habitat for Humanity and Natural House, partnering to spearhead a unique fundraiser for survivors of the earthquake in Haiti by selling handmade bricks for ¥500 in a project simulating the construction of new homes.
Many of the performing artists echoed messages onstage supporting the spirit of the event. “Even if we feel we cannot make a difference on a large scale with our individual actions, it is still important to live every single moment with purpose and clarity; this in itself is a step toward creating a peaceful world,” said the spokesperson for Gocoo, a phenomenal 11-piece wadaiko (Japanese drum) ensemble.The event’s closing artist, Sandii Bunbun, offered one of the most striking stage performances of the entire weekend. An internationally-known rock singer who collaborated with many famous artists during the 1970's and 80's using various stage names, Sandii—who grew up in Hawai’i—returned to her roots some years ago by performing more Hawai’ian music, and also earning the rank of Kumu Hula (hula master).

After purifying the energy of the space, Sandii began her set by singing and drumming several numbers dedicated to Pele, the Hawai’ian goddess of passion and fire, while flanked by a troupe of her dancing students, known as the Hula All Stars. This was followed by an energetic set with her band, Earth Consciousness, which featured instrumentation including a didgeridoo, as well as stunning background visuals projected behind the stage. Just prior to her performance, Peace Not War Japan shared a powerfully poignant message of solidarity that had been received from activist Kyle Kajihiro in Hawai’i, which may be read in full here.Peace Not War Japan coordinators Fukui Hiroshi and Kimberly Hughes

The festival received thoughtful solidarity messages from Sung-Hee Choi, an activist with the No Base Stories of Korea website; and Peace Not War Japan founder Dom Pates.

"I enjoyed myself here so much," said one event-goer, a third-year university student of social issues and history. "Coming here made me feel like it is possible to change the world to make it a better place!"

Peace Not War Japan extends deepest thanks to all artists and participants who helped make the Spring Love Harukaze event possible, as well as the 40,000 some attendees who dropped by the event over the weekend to make it their own—and everyone who took the time to read this report.

Truly…each one of us represents the peace we wish to see in the world!

-- Kimberly Hughes

Friday, April 09, 2010

US for Okinawa - Revelatory journal & photos from Naha, Ginowan City, Henoko, & Takae

From our friends at US for Okinawa, revealing findings and photos from Naha, Ginowan City, Henoko and Takae, Okinawa:
DAY 1: Up at 03:30 AM and off to Okinawa to experience what is really happening with our own eyes. There has been a lot of news recently dealing with the Futenma Air Base issue and what should/will be done in Okinawa regarding its relocation or closure. We are here to learn as much as possible while visiting the island, through interviewing locals and talking with those on the front lines, in order to make our own opinions on the subject.

Immediately upon arrival we noticed that Naha wasn't your typical airport. Self-defense and U.S. military planes line the runway while fighter jets screamed overhead and men with military backpacks wait in the airport for their flights. We tried to keep a tally of the number of military aircrafts that we heard; 6 helicopters and 4 jets in the first hour that we were there...we lost count half-way into the third hour. Emilie noticed how strange it was to hear but not see the various military aircrafts.

During a taxi ride I asked the driver how he felt about so many foreigners in Okinawa. His initial response was that he liked the business but upon further inquiry he admitted that he could do without the bases.
DAY 2: Upon viewing Futenma from an aerial perspective, we were struck by its location - right in the middle of the city. One member from US for OKINAWA, Danielle Pierre told us about her life growing up in Colorado Springs, USA, surrounded by various army bases, the Air Force Academy, and other military facilities, but she never felt that the military presence adversely affected her daily life. "I can't imagine, however, that the Futenma locals feel the same", she said. A sizable military base was placed right in the middle of their lives, bringing with it planes and helicopters that fly in a pattern nearly double the radius of the original agreement. Not only that, but a representative of Ginowan City Hall stated that these planes fly on average every 5 minutes near the base. Can you imagine trying to carry on a normal life with that noise?

Another shocking fact, upon many, that we learned from the Mayor Iha himself is how many accidents happen near Futenma...

Altogether, what we've learned so far highlights the necessity for Futenma to be closed. Having a conversation last night with a foreigner living in Okinawa reminded us that it is also important to think about what happens next, and not to leave Futenma in a vacuum after so many years of having a military base that stimulates the local economy. Thankfully, Mayor Iha has already taken sizable steps in the next direction. He explained his outline to restore the area to its original form, rebuilding a valuable avenue that was once lined with native pine trees and land that was once a source of livelihood for local farmers.
DAY 3: We left our guesthouse in Ginowan early in the morning and headed toward the Henoko region of Okinawa, where locals have been struggling for about 13 years to stop Futenma's Air Field from being transferred (along with a plethora of other new construction).

A number of different plans have been proposed over the past decade, starting with the construction of an air field inside of Camp Schwab, which is located on a cape in Nago City next to Oura Bay, Henoko. However, this plan was overwhelmingly rejected because it would simply transfer the problems of noise pollution and safety risks from Ginowan City to Nago City.

So the plan changed to a large airfield that would be built in a section of Oura Bay (right over its coral reefs!), but local people--mostly elderly men and women--resisted this plan so strongly (by holding daily sit-ins that continue even today, by occupying a platform in the bay that was erected to start planning the construction, and by paddling sea kayaks in the way of the motorized boats that came to carry out the construction) that it was finally scrapped.

Then the plan changed to expanding the perimeters of Camp Schwab so that it would extend out into Oura Bay, and building the runway on this extension. Locals have fought this plan, too, and now the government is talking about building the runways inside Camp Schwab--the very same plan that was rejected more than 10 years ago!

In Henoko, our first stop was to Tent Village on the shoreline of Oura Bay, where locals were marking more than 2,100 days of consecutive sit-ins. One of their representatives, Onishi-san, used photos to tell us about the history of their non-violent struggle (which, incidentally, was inspired by the non-violent resistance of Martin Luther King Jr.).

Then we walked over to a beach that is divided by a long stretch of curled razor wire that functions as a border to Camp Schwab. Peace lovers had covered just about every inch of the wire with colorful ribbons and banners calling for no war, no killing, no bases, protection of the dugong, and so on.

Apparently, the U.S. military used to regularly remove these ribbons (once, even by setting fire to them all!), but people kept retying them with such persistence, that the military finally gave up trying to remove them. One funny aside: on the way to the beach, we passed by a municipal sign that said: "Keep this beach clean--please take your garbage home with you."

To this sign, locals had pencilled in the word "base," so that it read: "Keep this beach clean--please take your base and your garbage home with you..."!

From Henoko, we travelled to the Takae and Yambaru Forest area to see the U.S. military's Northern Training Area, which the U.S. military has used for jungle warfare training since 1956--initially to prepare for jungle warfare in Vietnam (to our shock, we learned that the U.S. military even forced local villagers to play the role of Vietnamese people in their jungle warfare trainings!).

This training area occupies thousands of hectares, much of which wasn't being used, so the U.S. military finally agreed to give part of it back to Okinawa. However, the part they agreed to give back has seven aircraft landing pads, and the construction of 7 new landing pads elsewhere was made requisite for its return.

Unbelievably, the area chosen for the new construction is rich in biodiversity, and home to endangered species such as the Okinawan woodpecker and Okinawan rail.

Opposition to this plan finally led to it being discarded, and a new plan was drafted: this time the landing pads would be built around a small village of fewer than 150 people. However, this village is already surrounded by 15 other landing pads, and the people were opposed to more being built around them, because of the danger and noise problems that they pose. So they went to Henoko, and learned from the people of Henoko how to build a sit-in tent and carry out resistance activities.

Again, unbelievably, the government sued 14 people for stopping the construction work from beginning (charges were later dropped against 12), and the case is now making its way through the court. In other words, instead of using civil law to protect citizens, the government is using civil law to prosecute them, and our local guide explained that this sets a very dangerous precedent around the nation, because if it gets established, people who protest against things the construction of nuclear power plants or big dam projects in their communitities can also be sued by the government.

What's worse, the villagers are being sued under the Hatoyama administration's government, which is an enormous betrayal for them (and for us!), because they had voted for him and his party after he promised to lighten the burden of the military bases on Okinawa. We asked them if they planned to countersue, but they said it's difficult because their numbers are so small, it's difficult to balance a livelihood and stay fully active at the same time, all expenses would have to come from their own pocket, and it takes them 3 hours just to get to Naha, where the district court is located...

With heavy hearts, we left the Takae area and returned to the Henoko area just in time to participate in a peace candle night in front of Camp Schwab. Peace candle nights have been held in front of Camp Schwab every Saturday evening for the past 6 years, and were started by a base-protester who wanted to give young children and others who could not participate in physically risky resistance activities a way to get involved in the movement. The organizer explained that flames symbolized the soul, and that many souls have been lost because of the bases in Okinawa, given that they have been used to attack Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other areas. So he taught his three young children to hold the candles carefully, and to see them as souls that need caring and should be cherished...

Afterwards, we headed to the guesthouse we would be staying at that night--a haven next to the sea that was lovingly built by a longtime base resister named Mr. Teruya. He built it largely from recycled wood, and decorated it beautifully with driftwood and polished glass he had picked up from the coastline. In the garden area of the guesthouse, an underwater photographer set up a screen and gave us a slideshow presentation of all the rich, beautiful life that can be found in Oura Bay, as well as in the mangrove lined rivers feeding into Oura Bay. It's hard to believe that anyone could consider pouring dirt and concrete over such rich and rare biodiversity--and of course, those who are proposing to do so are far removed from it, in offices in Tokyo and Washington.
DAY 4: On our final day, we headed to the Save the Dugong Center to meet with Takuma Higashionna, who has been working tirelessly to protect the dugong and other sea life in Oura Bay and to raise awareness of the issue inside and outside Japan. He told us about how U.S. and Japanese officials always shift the responsibility to one another when he presses them about protecting Oura's biodiversity from base construction. Japanese officials claim that the U.S. is ordering the construction in Henoko and that they have no choice to follow it, and U.S. officials claim it's Japan that insists on this site and wants the construction for its security--so much so, that they are even willing to pay for it. Higashionna-san led us to a beach across the bay from Camp Schwab, and told us how he and others have dived extensively in the bay in order to map out all its coral reefs and delicate points in order to gain a better understanding of how to conserve its ecosystem and vitality. He looked across the bay and pointed to Camp Schwab, noting where its barracks, ammunition storage area, and firing ranges are located, and said it was his dream for Japan and the U.S. to one day work together to covert the camp into a nature conservancy center for all to enjoy and learn from...