Posts

Showing posts from May, 2012

Options

Image
End of May, 2012, and I need almost no electricity to stay put (or stay sane). I can unplug my electric toilet seat heater, and except for the old fridge and the new Sony laptop, I guess I'm no real threat to the power grid.

Japan does, however, still have major industries like steel and aluminum factories, and all kinds of high tech companies that are worried about competition from China and elsewhere.

Seems to me that with the larger problem looming, such as what to do with spent nuclear fuel, what Japan needs to do is to figure out a way to get us out of this mess. Some 10,000 years later, people are still going to ask, "What the heck were these people thinking...?"

In other words, how much steel and plastics and other high-energy-consuming products do we really need?

I suppose that includes fertilizers and all kinds of stuff needed for "modern" farming like vinyl for the houses for winter tomatoes...

Thus, it is good to read that the venerable government of…

Dealing With Energy And Saving Power In Clever Ways: Osaka

Image
Japan is going through changes that are hard to keep up with. I like it! I started blogging in May, wow it was 7 years ago, and it is still fun. Hope you all enjoy it too. Mostly of course I stick to food topics but energy topics are so interesting.

So, how are you saving electricity this summer...?

Image from The Adventures of a Foreign Salaryman, a great blog if you like a bit of Swedish humour.


Jiji/The Japan Times just had this today that is full of great ideas about saving electricity:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Kepco plans to buy back saved power

OSAKA — Kansai Electric Power Co. will introduce a megawatt trading scheme under which the utility will buy saved electricity from large-lot corporate customers through auctions.

Kepco is boasting it will be the first Japanese power-supply firm to use such a mechanism.
Under the scheme, the utility will put out to tender a specific amount of electricity that it wants customers to save on a certain day between July 2 and Sept. 7, whe…

Robert Kenner In Japan

Image
Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner visited Japan in May, 2012 to talk about agrobusiness and the problems of genetically modified organisms (GMO). He visited Japanese organic farmer Uozumi-san in Ibaraki, north of Tokyo, who has developed his crops since 1974 with natural methods, connecting mountain forests, farm and the ocean. Consumers Union of Japan and the Japan Citizens' Network for Sustainable Food and Agriculture organized the trip.



From an interview with The Ecologist:

LS: What was the most shocking aspect of making the film?
RK: There were two things. One was early on when we went to a hearing about whether to label cloned meat. A representative from the meat industry said it would be 'too confusing for the consumer'. I realised I had entered an Orwellian world where people are being 'protected' by not being told.
Then when I asked food safety advocate Barbara Kowalcyck what food she eats and she couldn't answer me or she'd be sued. I re…

Visiting An Organic Farm In Japan With Food, Inc. Director Robert Kenner

Image
Just a few images from last week's trip to Ibaraki prefecture with Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner and his wife, part of the biodiversity events here in Japan.

Robert got to see how a small-scale farm can work with over 120 different crops. This is the future of food. We went there together with Harata-san from the Kansai-based effort to promote information and knowledge about biological diversity, not only in Japan but all over Asia and - needless to say, around the world.

Japan Citizens' Network for Sustainable Food and Agriculture (J)

Consumers Union of Japan (E)

There is no such thing as "nationalism" when it comes to crops or species that have evolved over millions of years.

I liked how Robert Kenner was able to transcend a lot of the issues and cut to the chase.

Soy - so important here in Japan for a lot of stuff you take for granted in the food we eat every day in Japan, like soy sauce, miso, and natto, as well as eda-mame, dried beans. No artificial additive…

Bees

Image
I had a chance to see some Japanese native bees up close at Uozumi-san's amazing organic farm in Ibaraki. They are very calm compared to European bees, not aggressive (or so I was told) and less noisy!

They also have an amazing defense mechanism against larger insects... (from BBC)

"Japanese honeybee kills steamed and heated to 50 Celsius in the population the Giant Hornet. Giant Hornet dies at 48 Celsius."

More videos about Bee Keeping in Japan on Youtube.

Food, Inc. Director Robert Kenner in Japan

Image
Compared to the tobacco industry, the food producers have been flying under the radar for a long time. Robert Kenner made a documentary that would make you think twice.

Now he comes to Japan.

Food Inc. Director Robert Kenner To Visit Tokyo And Osaka

Consumers Union of Japan is glad to be able to invite US documentary director Robert Kenner to Japan. His film Food Inc. is a great exposure of the way the food industry and especially Monsanto have hijacked farming and food processing, creating a situation where it is almost impossible for consumers to know what we are eating.

While the focus is on the US agribusiness, it also applies to practices in many other countries, and the frequent abuse against farmers, food factory workers, animals and the biodiversity on our planet.

Robert Kenner is an Emmy-Award winning film maker. He will participate at three screening events and give talks while in Japan. Everyone is welcome!

Tokyo: May 19 (Sat) 13:30-18:00
Tokyo Women’s Plaza (Omo…

Support GMO Labelling

Image
From http://www.organicconsumersfund.org/donate/moneybomb.cfm

Pure food activist Ronnie Cummins says:

Dear Organic Consumer,
Share307 With just nine days to go until our May 26 deadline, our ‘Drop the Money Bomb on Monsanto’ campaign is generating more excitement than I ever imagined possible. Each day more people, more websites, more media outlets join in this unprecedented, coordinated effort to raise enough money to fight back against Big Biotech and Food Inc. and to – finally – win the right to know if our food contains GMOs. If you haven’t already pitched in, please make a donation soon. If you have already contributed, please forward this week’s issue of Organic Bytes to friends, or share it with your social media networks. We need your help today to raise $1 million for the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. If we reach our goal by May 26, we will receive a matching $1 million gift from Mercola.com, Nature’s Path, Lundberg Family Farms, Eden F…

Monsanto, Mercury Poison, And You Provide The Rest

Image
Using mercury to produce all kinds of useful items, like PVC, containing methyl mercury; but it was discharged into Hyakken Harbor. Minamata Disease is a very well known part of post WW2 Japan history. Such chemical poisoning was a huge reason that Japan today has very strict rules about toxic chemicals.

But this is Kurashi. Dear reader, I know you expect some beauty, some sense of distance, as in "we have made mistakes in the past, we may make them again..."

Yes, we are human, and we tend to be flawed.

But, I was surprised to learn that in the United States, Monsanto and other chemical companies have been able to hide any such effects that their activities may have had.

Elizabeth Bluemink / Anniston Star (AL) 20jul01
Monsanto contamination now gets scrutiny after 30 years

A new chapter expands Calhoun County's pollution story. This time, it's mercury.
For more than 30 years, historic mercury discharges in the Anniston community have gone unprobed, an investigation by T…

Famous, Infamous U.S. Nuclear Sites, Chernobyl and Fukushima

Image
We tend to focus on Chernobyl and now more recently Fukushima, when talking about places that have massive amounts of nuclear radiation, with (possibly) all kinds of harmful effects on living beings. How about firmly adding the U.S. nuclear sites from back in the 1940s to that list?

Make sure the Manhattan Project sites are on your map: Los Alamos, New Mexico; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Dayton, Ohio; and Hanford, Washington... All these locations in the United States are as radioactive as ever, and currently clean-up efforts are being studied by experts from Japan.

Kyodo reporter Ben Dooley writes:

A group of Japanese scientists, government officials and company representatives visited the sleepy town of Richland, Washington, in February to seek advice on cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear crisis. They hoped to find answers at the Hanford Site, a complex of decommissioned nuclear reactors and processing facilities that once turned out plutonium for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The rou…

To Create “Uchiwamora”

Image
I think this is a really nice idea (sometimes you just go with the flow):
To create “uchiwamora,” Japanese calligraphy brushes were hung from a tree in Ishinomaki and as the wind blew, it created rhythmical brush strokes on the paper uchiwa.
石巻にある木の枝にぶら下げた筆が風の力で動くことにより描かれたデザインの「Tota Hasegawa×aromamora」がこちら。 There is an additional series of fans “KIDS x aromamora,” designed by the children staying in the evacuation shelters in Ishinomaki. All these designs are one of a kind. This series of uchiwa are scented by “aromamora &01Tohoku,” a fresh, comforting scent inspired by the forest in Tohoku. W+K Tokyo’s Kentaro Shihaku, worked as Creative Director on this project.
From here

Japan: Another Nuclear Free Vision

Image
Good to see that there are people working hard within the echelons of Japan's government that can produce reports like this:
An Environment Ministry draft report states that Japan can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent without relying on nuclear power. This news is most welcome after the dangers of nuclear power were starkly exposed by the Fukushima nuclear fiasco.

The report suggests that even with all reactors offline, cuts could reach 33 percent, depending on efforts to conserve energy and to adopt renewable energy sources. Even more conservative estimates from a similar trade and industry ministry report found that reductions of 16 percent are possible with all reactors offline.

Both reports suggest that Japan will be able to keep its pledge of reducing gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, highlighting a long-standing truth that reductions in the most harmful heat-trapping gas emissions can be achieved without nuclear power despite claims to the con…

Media Power, And Media Lies About Power

Image
As Japan heads into unknown territory, energy-wise speaking, expect mass media to sound all kinds of alarms as they are funded by the electricity companies and TEPCO in particular.

David McNeill noted that "Japan's power-supply industry, collectively, is Japan's biggest advertiser, spending ¥88 billion (more than $1 billion) a year, according to the Nikkei Advertising Research Institute. Tepco's ¥24.4 billion alone is roughly half what a global firm as large as Toyota spends in a year."

The Japan Times:  Fukushima lays bare Japanese media's ties to top

Be that as it may, I'm always worried about the sanity of regular bloggers, and others who may get a little too upset and stressed-out about what they read with their morning coffee. Isn't it funny how "media" has the "power" to make us upset...? But of course what I'm really talking about is the fact that Japan now is running without a single nuclear reactor in service, aft…

A Time To Reconsider Our Lifestyles

Image
This interview is very interesting, a very "Kurashi" topic, as this 80 year old nuclear plant engineer Kazushige Hamazaki talks to Mainichi Shimbun about his initial enthusiasm about nuclear power back in 1970:

An elderly engineer who was involved in the activation of Japan's first commercial light water reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture in 1970 is calling May 5, 2012 "an important day to consider Japanese lifestyles."
"I never felt tired as I was filled with the feeling that I was going to support Japan's economic development," recalled Hamazaki, former vice president of the Japan Atomic Power Co. At 4 a.m. that day, the No. 1 reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear plant completed its 100-hour electricity-generation trial. While the facility's central control room was filled with "banzai" celebration chants, Hamazaki, then head of the power generation division, felt a sense of fulfillment as he held a …

Japan Will Have No Nuclear Reactors Up And Running On Children's Day, May 6, 2012

Image
On Children's day, this weekend, in early May, all Japanese nuclear reactors will be shut down. Zero power to the world's third largest economy, from such power plants. Zero.

Monday, April 30, 2012
Buddhist Monks Sit-in, Calling Christians to Join Them; Ultra-Right Joined by Ultra-Left in Hunger Strike Against Nuclear Power Plants Buddhist monks in Matsuyama City in Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku are staging the sit-ins to protest against the prospect of restarting Ikata Nuclear Power Plant, which sits just outside the largest active fault in Japan (Median Tectonic Line) and part of the plant is built on the landfill. The monks are calling out to Christian churches to join them in the protest.

From Ehime Shinbun (4/29/2012):

 宗教関係者が「伊方反対」の座り込み 松山

Religious leaders staged sit-in against the restart of Itaka Nuke Plant in Matsuyama

四国電力伊方原発(伊方町)の再稼働に反対する県内の宗教関係者らが28日、松山市湊町5丁目の坊っちゃん広場で座り込みを始めた。同日は県内の僧侶や信者ら約25人が宗派を超えて集まり、1時間にわたり「原発を止めよう」などと書かれたのぼりを掲げて読経をした。

Religious leaders in…