Showing posts from 2012

Happy New Year

Wishing all my friends and family, and everyone who reads Kurashi, a very happy new 2013.

Everyone of you is special.

Enjoy this beautiful slideshow video with images from Nonin-ji, a temple with a 500 year history here in my parts of the wood in rural Saitama, Japan.

Exodus, Passports, Veggies

This time of year, a lot of people have a brief opportunity to go abroad, and this year, the holiday is a little longer than usual. Exodus, indeed.

This year, many people are taking advantage of an extended nine-day break. The last day of business for most companies is Friday. Next week, Jan 1-3 are national holidays and many companies have given employees Friday Jan 4 off as well, adding up to a nine-day holiday.

I just talked to my uncle Sven, 82 years old, who is healthier than most, he is on a LCHF diet to avoid trouble. Did I mention, avoid meat?

Which reminded me of this classic movie clip, the Marx Brothers from Monkey Business. Do keep your passports with you, at all times.

Glad to know that my family is healthy. And, always that sense of humour. Here is a clip that Panadabonium sent, boy, I am so lucky to have friends that care.

Do watch at least twice, and why not send it along to someone you care about.

Abe Visits Fukushima

As the year of Heisei 24 is about to end, another Prime Minister goes to Fukushima to watch the damage, meet the people, and try to get to grips with something like an energy policy that will work for Japan.

We are all of course watching, not sure what we would do were we in his plastic-bag-covered shoes!?

The clean-up at Fukushima after its tsunami-sparked nuclear meltdowns is unlike anything humanity has ever tried, Japan’s prime minister said Saturday during a tour of the plant.

“The massive work toward decommissioning is an unprecedented challenge in human history,” the newly-elected Shinzo Abe said. “Success in the decommissioning will lead to the reconstruction of Fukushima and Japan.”
Dressed in a protective suit and wearing a face mask, Abe was taken by bus to see two of the damaged reactors. Thanking workers for their efforts at this time of year, when many people are celebrating New Year at home with their families, he said: “Decommissioning work is hard work, but it i…

Hideaki Tokunaga - That Old Broken Radio

That old broken radio, a song that some of you may remember from the early 1990s. I don't think I have seen this video, isn't Youtube great.

Music and lyrics by Hideaki Tokunaga

作詩:徳永英明 作曲:徳永英明

何も聞こえない 何も聞かせてくれない
僕の身体が昔より 大人になったからなのか
ベッドに置いていた 初めて買った黒いラジオ
いくつものメロディーが いくつもの時代を作った

※思春期に少年から 大人に変わる
道を探していた 汚れもないままに
飾られた行きばのない 押し寄せる人波に
本当の幸せ教えてよ 壊れかけのRadio※

いつも聞こえてた いつも聞かせてくれてた
窓ごしに空をみたら かすかな勇気が生まれた
ラジオは知っていた 僕の心をノックした
恋に破れそうな胸 やさしい風が手を振った

華やいだ祭りの後 静まる街を背に
星を眺めていた けがれもないままに
遠ざかる故郷の空 帰れない人波に
本当の幸せ教えてよ 壊れかけのRadio

ギターを弾いていた 次のコードも判らずに
迷子になりそうな夢 素敵な歌が導いた


華やいだ祭りの後 静まる街を背に
星を眺めていた けがれもないままに
遠ざかる故郷の空 帰れない人波に
本当の幸せ教えてよ 壊れかけのRadio
遠ざかる溢れた夢 帰れない人波に
本当の幸せ教えてよ 壊れかけのRadio
TranslationI can't hear anything from you, you're not telling me anything
My body has grown into an adults since way back then
The first black radio that I bought, and took into bed with me
So many melodies have made up so many eras

Changing from a boy going through puberty, into an adult
The road that I s…

Hideaki Tokunaga - Love Is All

Just a song I happen to like, from September, 1991. He's from Fukuoka, I'll have to start a new label just because of that.

Hideaki Tokunaga also released this wonderful tune in April, 2011, about the quiet ocean, and its violence...

Tasogare wo Tomete (Stop the Twilight)

So, How Many Nuclear Reactors, Out Of 54, Are OK?

Since main stream media will not do the math, I thought I would give it a try. There used to be 54. But, four at Fukushima Dai-ichi are gone due the the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Major meltdowns.

Do we have 2, or 10, or 20, or more nuclear reactors that could actually do the job, in Japan? What is their status?

Let's start with a map, found on wikipedia.

Then, let's go from north to south.


Three reactors, the only plant in Hokkaido. "...the Tomari power facility in Hokkaido, said that it could not rule out the possibility that the plant was vulnerable." Source NHK World 20120229 and JAIF (pdf).

So, 50-3=47


So,  only one reactor, but more planned. Now, this is where things tend to get interesting:

Although the plant was in maintenance shutdown during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the April 7th aftershock caused the loss of all external power and the plant had to switch to backup power to supply cooling to the spent fuel poo…

The Election - A Disaster For Anti-Nuclear Japan?

I'm going to keep this short as more details will no doubt be forthcoming after LDP and New Komeito form a government, having won the majority in Sunday's election. What can be noted right off the bat is that no party managed to ride any kind of anti-nuclear power wave to victory. Even the real-deal renewable energy activists like Iida Tetsunari could not get enough votes to get a seat in Parliament. That's pretty lousy, he could have done a lot of good.

Anti-nuclear power parties missed this opportunity to explain to voters how Japan can manage short-term and long-term without the now unused power plants, that have been stopped one by one during 2012 for scheduled inspections, and not been restarted, except for two (at Ohi near Kyoto) out of some 50 or so (not counting the four at Fukushima Dai-ichi, three of which exploded after the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011).

Meanwhile, experts have been able to look closer at possible seismic faults under the pla…

Ravi Shankar RIP

One of the world's most amazing musicians, Ravi Shankar, has passed away, at age 92. Imagine back in the 1950s or 1960s, most people in Europe or America had never heard any "world music" or "new age music" or any kinds of tunes from other parts of our beautiful planet. Sad, but true. We were that "euro-centric" or whatever they call it in Europe or the US of A. Music was still caught up in all kinds of barriers. Mankind has so much music to offer!

In comments, if you have suggestions of tunes by this master, I would be so glad to add them.

Ravi Shankar was one of those rare pioneers, who managed to convince audiences in the West that music in other parts of the world was worth listening to. Not only was he truly a master of his craft, but he also managed to deal with people, to get the message across. One such student was George Harrison. And, George may have helped Ravi to understand the legal realities of making music (and money) in the West.

My f…

Energy: To Deregulate, Or Not...

Currently, if you live in Tokyo, or in Osaka, or in the boondocks north or south or on some tiny island, you have no choice but to get your electricity from the regional electricity provider. How old-fashioned, some of you foreigners may say: Back in the UK or Sweden or the US of A there may be so much choice! Wonderful, wonderful, choice?

Remember Enron? "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years... Not such a great idea, some of you may say. No wonder Japan has not yet decided to go in that particular direction. Also, this country being an island, there is not much hope of importing electricity from neighbors.

5 years ago, I blogged about Japan Natural Energy Company Limited...

So, should Japan follow the path suggested by free-market liberals (any better name for the ideological bunch of "thinkers", anyone?) who think this country also ought to "fully" liberalize its power retail market... Or am I missing the point? Could this m…

Japan In The Grip...

...Of powerful emotions.

When over a million people watch this anti-nuclear video song on Youtube, it ought to be huge news.

Kazuyoshi Saito - It Was Always a Lie
斉藤和義 - ずっとウソだった

Can you stop someone nuclear power plant?
Will you not allow us any more nervous?
Will you deprive future in us?
I just want to live in peace but in Japan

Is Japan in December 2012 in a state of flux? Or is this just business as usual? Election time, rejection time. Erection time... What kind of dreams are you having? Do you keep a dairy of your strange dreams, did you watch A Dangerous Method, which is playing at Bunkamura in Shibuya, Tokyo, this fall? Isn't election time a great time in December, with that earthquake, plus the NHK alerts of rockets about to be launched from North Korea, and wasn't there a food safety scare in Kyoto, of all places, involving children? If you have lived in these parts of the wood for a long time, having read all kinds of books and studied this and that... …

The na-s of Japanese farming, and the threat from imported GMO canola

The na-s are a great family of veggies, that you ought to know more about. The kanji is simple and fun, 菜 "flowers" and "tree" and "claw" - we can all learn a lot from just that. Here, farmers grow a lot of na-s. They are part of the brassica family, that Swedish Linneus introduced, some 300 years ago in Latin.

Going beyond that, Japanese cuisine will embrace all kinds of na-s. Korean botanist Woo Jang-choon, or Nagaharu U, found out back in 1935 that there was a link.

This great family of healthy veggies includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts
 but also a lot of greens that you may eat in Japan, as part of a seasonal diet.

Joan of Farmers Markets has this to say about Komatsu-na, one of the many na-s:

Thankfully, I started helping at the farm where the farmers began teaching me not just about urban farming in Tokyo, but about the vegetables we grew. Komatsuna, a leafy green we grow in the winter months in Tokyo, was one of my first new…

Sony In Trouble? Face-Palm

If you have read the news, you know that just about all of Japan's high-tech companies are in some kinds of trouble or another, going down the financial gutter. Well, I happen to have a Sony Vaio PC, which works fine, most of the time, and if it doesn't, I turn it off and voila, it works fine again.

However... I went out to buy a simple DVD that I thought would do the trick, to store some data and photos from 2012, from Sony. A DVD-RW to be precise.

Did not work. In spite of its touted 4.38 GB of memory, I was not able to "format" it on my Sony PC. How very strange. And you wonder why these companies are having trouble. Of course, consumers are not stupid. Like not using cassette tapes and LPs anymore, people have had enough of trouble with their old Sony/Windows/Whatever troubles. Too bad. We liked you, once upon a time. Ages ago. Walkman, ages ago.

So let me just get this straight. Sony sells Vaio personal computers, using Windows and INTEL and whatever, and their …

Diet Therapy in Asia

Earlier this fall, I had the pleasure of participating in a WHO/FAO Codex Alimentarius meeting in Tokyo. I have participated before, in all kinds of places, including Bratislava, Bonn and others... These conferences of government delegates are a bit like having your wisdom tooth pulled out... Takes a long time, feels good when it is over!

One thing that struck me though, apart from the dental care allusions, was that the World Health Organization really is trying to get one single message across. And that is related to diet. We are facing a massive health care disaster in Asia, if diets here are going to include more meat, more sugar, and more salt. Particularly meat. WHO has its hands tied but the message is still clear. Avoid more meat.

Prioritizing a Preventable Epidemic (2011)
A Primer for the Media on Noncommunicable Diseases

We have all heard the basic public message on NCD prevention: stop smoking, eat right, be more active. That message is as valid as ever, but that does not …