Showing posts from August, 2012

Coal Mining Blues Comes To Tokyo

Coal mining is a dirty job, but someone has to do it... And in Tagawa, Fukuoka prefecture on Kyushu, they have turned it into a tourist attraction complete with a Coal Mine Festival. And now they are taking their show on the road. Don't miss the Tankou-bushi Festival at Nippori JR station in Tokyo (East Exit) in collaboration with the Nippori Yume Donya.

The Tankou-bushi tune, which is a popular dance at many summer festivals all over Japan, laments the hard days and nights of people in a small mining town. The movements of the slow, walking-style dance copy the way coal is dug out of the mine and thrown on cars in the mine shafts. Well, kind of. As with any dance, it looks a lot better than that!

Here is a Youtube video from an event this summer in Hayama, where 佐野 真澄 (Gacya) leads her ensemble (complete with a trombone) and the crowd just can't stop dancing on the beach.

Can it be more "Summertime in Japan" than this?

The Sunday, September 2 show in Nippori will st…

Harada: How To Become A Conductor

Nice video featuring Keitaro Harada who was kind enough to make a comment here on Kurashi recently. I wish him best of luck.

I like how he is challenging a most difficult job - how to become a conductor. Teary eyes, goose bumps, well, I have been there, at different occasions, when I have had to speak up at international conferences, confronting the people in power.

Guts. It takes a lot of konjo.

Tokyo alone has some 7 classical symphony orchestras. It only takes one hard-working, genius conductor to make one of them world-class. Do wear a kimono, or hakama, instead of the tuxedo, if that is what it takes. There is enough talent here, to make it happen.

Harada-san's blog has more

Energy Independence?

Returning to Japan, I have jetlag issues that remind me of how fragile we are in our human bodies. Mind over matter? Hardly. I bet politicians and other people who travel too much get a taste of this on a regular basis, thus they don't make so much sense when they appear in front of committees and conferences.

That is no excuse for Mr. Romney, who pushed for his "energy independence by 2020" plan by "removing regulatory barriers to fossil fuel development in the United States, and increasing cooperation with fellow energy-producers Canada and Mexico."

You guys out there that drive a car to work and think gasoline is already too dear, think again. There is no such thing as cheap oil, as consumption is increasing in China and India. And we are not finding new oil reserves to replace Saudi Arabia. What really struck me as weird was the chart that the Guy-Who-Wants-To-Be-Elected-Leader-Of-The-So-Called-Free-World used.

Note how it says "Tight Oil" just …

What To Do About Nuclear Waste?

There are questions and then there are questions... What to do about nuclear waste, that will stay dangerously radioactive for tens of thousands of years, is one such question, that neither science nor religion nor anything else seem to provide answers for. Heck, we don't even know what the pyramids in Egypt actually mean. Were they built to tell us something, or just made to impress?

Japan has no solution to the big question about nuclear waste. The 54 nuclear plants, that are now mostly idle, were built to provide cheap electricity. No concern about the long-term disposal was OK as long as scientists and government officials agreed to not ask the difficult question: what to do about radioactive waste in an earthquake-prone country.

Now, a report is about to be released that questions that mentality.

NHK World reports:

Japan's national scientists' organization is to propose a radical review of the government's plan for disposing of highly radioactive nuclear waste. …

Monsanto Do Not Want GM Labels in California

GMOs are properly labelled in Japan, and in the EU.

Grist, a source of news that I like a lot, says:

As the battle to get genetically engineered foods (or GMOs) labeled in California — a battle that could very well have an impact on labeling nationwide — heats up, Big Food and Big Ag are working in concert to push back to the tune of $25 million.

The fight centers around Proposition 37, the ballot initiative from the Right to Know Campaign that will go to vote in November. If it passes, the result would be no small change.

As Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott wrote recently: Since GM corn, soy, sugar beets, and cotton (the oil part) are processed into sweeteners, fats, and other additives that suffuse the US food system, the initiative would require the labeling of something like 80 percent of all non-organic processed food sold in supermarkets. As you can see in the chart below, The “Big 6” pesticide makers (BASF, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, Monsanto, and Syngenta) are putting up big mon…

500,000 Cheer For Japan

It has been an amazing summer. I'm just back from London, having seen the best (and some of the worst) of the old Roman city by the Thames, in a country that keeps on rising to the occasion. Absolutely marvelous, as it were. Today, back in Ginza, Tokyo, some 500,000 people showed up to greet the medalists from the Olympics.

The 38 medals won at the London games were the most ever by a Japanese Olympic team.

It has been that kind of summer. Protests against nuclear power in Tokyo and Kyoto and elsewhere in Japan. Thousands of young people educating themselves and others about energy issues. Energy prices and food cost of course going up? The UK customers are facing higher heating bills, and the winter of 2012 could be harsh.

As the red bus passed Hyde Park and Speakers Corner, I was surprised how that particular spot was empty of people with an issue. Rather, that entire park area is now full of war monuments. The scars from last year's Reclaim the City protests, and other more…

Gold To Sweden In Sailing

Finally Fredrik Löf, who previously had two bronze medals, achieved his goal and got a gold medal in the Olympics, together with Lund native Max Salminen... Congratulations, or as we say here, grattis! Very dramatic final as Sweden had to pass both Brazil and the UK, and the UK had to really muck things up to not win! If we include canoe, Sweden has gotten medals in water-related events in just about every Olympics ever. 

Youtube video with nice slideshow of photos from the event on Sunday.

Japan: Drums Of Protest, Summer of Discontent

Not a day without another large demonstration in Japan. Drums of Fury has updates (J).

I like the "Life rather than money" sign, 金より命 it just sums it up. Kane yori inochi. 

Here are a couple of videos that give a sense of what is happening.

Kjeld Duits: Massive Human Chain around Japan's Parliament (with subtitles)

July 29, 2012 outside the Parliament Building in Tokyo

July 20, 2012 drum protest outside the Prime Ministers Residence in Tokyo

July 16, 2012 NHK World: Anti-Nuclear Rally in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo Japan July 16, 2012

July 13, 2012 outside the Parliament Building in Tokyo

June 29, 2012 in Osaka, No Nukes, Anti-Nuclear Protest in Osaka

June 29, 2012: Ajisai revolution Ver.1 Japanese/English eagles0467(8bitNews)

May 17, 2012 in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture "Bye Bye Nukes TV" has more