Nothing serious to report here, it is just hot and humid, a bit of rain, and thankfully no power outages (so far). I like how a lot of people are powering down, and it is a huge collective effort here in Japan right now. Trains are running as usual, but yup, it is a little warmer than last year, pre nuclear armageddon in Fukushima.
I'm a little concerned that people think we are back to normal. We are not. We are all, together now, heading for a very interesting journey into a lot less energy waste.
It may even become a sort of patriotic thing, this power-down 節電 setsuden thing. We all do it, and it makes it less frightening. At my local Seven Eleven, they have replaced all their old lighting, so I asked the part-time staff - and he had no idea. Funny how a big company can pay millions of Yen to replace ceiling fluorescent or neon lights, but cannot educate their staff.
Having said that, I frankly have no idea at all how such fluorescent lamps actually work, compared to ordinary light bulbs. Why didn't anyone educate me??
Just kidding, why didn't I figure it out by myself? But, I really do not know what the new stuff is that they are using: LED (light-emitting diods)?
It drives me crazy (more about that later) that we are so ignorant about the solutions that may be out there. We just "carry on" as if someone else will fix all problems for us. LED? We are rather being led into a new era, just as people were led into the high-growth, big-waste era a generation ago. What kind of era will it be? Que sera sera?
Seven Eleven in Japan actually published CSR reports back until 2004, then they gave that up. It was called Sustainability Reports back then. Nice idea, based on the thought that share holders and new workers worried about things like environmental issues and efforts to combat global warming. So, why stop? Financial crisis? Lehman Brothers? Collapse of our oil-dependent society? Their Japanese website is more interested in Eco this and Eco that, and mostly for kids. "Social" Seven Eleven Japan has nothing new since March 1, 2011, before earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown. If I want to know what kind of new lights they are using in my store (since the part-time worker had no idea), where should I turn?
I could call, I suppose. But I think most of us are by now very frustrated by being put on hold, muzak while we wait, then another person who has no clue. Yes, it drives me crazy. I use google to try to make sense of things, rather than trying to actually talk to people who should know better. And I still do not know what kind of novel lamps my local Seven Eleven is using.
If they really wanted to save energy, why not just shut all shops at 23:00PM when all of us used to go asleep, anyway. Why do they have to stay on and about 24 hours? Whoever had such prospects back in the day before "cheap" nuclear energy made us all bask in the light...?
Here is The Temperance Seven, from 1961, and what used to be public transportation in the UK (and in many other places): The Tramway Village (formerly National Tramway Museum) at Crich near Matlock Derbyshire.
Of course we can sift through press releases, and try to make sense out of what our local yet multi-national corporation is doing to our town. Locally, a small outfit cannot be 24/7 in the way that Seven Eleven Holdings can be. Most, if not all, shops close at night, and staff go home. Why not Lawson, 7/11, Family Mart? Why no rules? Ask the LDP politicians who were in charge when Japan went neo-liberal, de-regulation, free-for-all. But, that is for others to judge.
On April 14, 2011, Nikkei noted (which means they just published whatever 7/11 sent them as a so-called press release) that LED will now be the solution to all your worries in case you ever wondered how your local convenience shop was lit up at night. 5000 shops will be fitted with the latest LED lights, no information about where such lamps are produced (probably China).
Nikkei: 5000 shops to introduce LED lights, reduing energy by 25%
Seven-Eleven Japan Co recently announced it will replace in-store and signboard lights with energy efficient LED light bulbs at 5,000 outlets of its convenience store chain. This move is part of a 10 billion yen program aimed at dealing with the power shortages expected in Japan's eastern and northeastern regions this summer.
The goal of the program is to cut electricity consumption by 25 percent from July to September, and includes installation of solar panels on 1,000 Seven-Eleven stores. The Japanese government is considering limiting the use of electricity by major companies to deal with power shortages anticipated this summer as Tokyo Electric Power Co and Tohoku Electric Power Co struggle with lost supply capacity following the March 11 epic earthquake and tsunami.
Seven-Eleven of Japan has around 6,000 outlets in Tokyo Electric Power's service area, and will likely be targeted for electricity limiting. Installing LED light bulbs will free up a large portion of electricity, allowing Seven-Eleven stores to continue operating the same while using less energy.
Another company in Japan, FamilyMart Co, aims to reduce its electricity with a reduction in light bulb usage, and changing temperatures to adapt to changing seasons. In any case these are positive changes toward a more energy efficient future. It's unfortunate these sweeping changes had to be prompted by such dire circumstances.
Let me just take this one small step further. If I understand it correctly, these 5000 shops are now installing LED lights, and just suppose I would like to know where the LEDs are made, and how... Do you have any suggestion as to what we should do?
And, if it drives us crazy, that maybe they are spending millions to replace 7/11's old-fashioned fluorescent lights (with mercury compounds) then, why are we not told about the way the "old" stuff is thrown away and where that will be disposed...?
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe