Showing posts from September, 2012

Okinawa, Sunday September 30, 2012

Major typhoon hitting Okinawa, canceling the planned deployment of controversial Ospreys. A kind of divine wind, for 2012?

Top photo from Okinawa Times. I hope the photographer (s) will identify themselfs.You can get major awards for images like this. Who are you!

Cicadas, cockroaches, some 60% of Okinawans without electricity due to the storm. Or at least 290,000 people, according to NHK. In the video, they say over 330,000 people are without electricity. Expect a correction on Sunday, from NHK.

So, whose side is the United States really on?

USA Today (main stream US media?) says:

Thousands protest in Japan against Osprey aircraft

The protesters — as many as 100,000, according to organizers — gathered at a seaside park on Okinawa to demand that the plan to deploy 12 MV-22 Osprey aircraft on the island be scrapped, saying they are unsafe. The U.S. plans to deploy the Osprey, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, to replace older CH-46 helicopters that are al…

News You Can Use: Meat map shows you how to avoid antibiotics

I'd say avoid meat altogether because it is so unhealthy and difficult to know what is in your sausage. What a word, "sausage" it really sums it up, like "ham" which also is just letters to advertise a strange product. I was reading recently about tape worm infections that happen to be related to pork production. Seems there is a link to brain damage.

Speaking of which, I looked up tape worm and associated diseases, and found this gem - a study about a patient who worked in a meat factory... Ouch. Also reveals that the diseases are not "reportable diseases" which means most cases probably go undetected and don't enter into the statistics. 221 deaths in the US during 1990-2002 may not sound like a lot but my guess is that a lot of cases go unreported.

Now, Robert Kenner who visited Japan earlier this year, has stepped up his fight agains…

Don't Fence Me In

There is always a song that is appropriate... Here is Bing Crosby, 1944, Don't Fence Me In with the Andrew Sisters.

Roy Rodgers also recorded it, and it was on the Red Hot and Blue Aids CD released, with Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop.

Loved it then, glad to find it again.

Anyway, it was a tune that stuck in my mind over the past few days, what with all the nonsense about tiny islands...

Lost Laowai has the latest (and a good map):

Explaining the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands “dispute”

Which links to Kyle, aka The Manchurian Candidate:

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Island “dispute”:

So rather than arguing this way or that, Kurashi will stay neutral, and propose that the islands and the oceans nearby are set aside as Eco reserves, call them Biosphere safety zones or Don't fence me in-zones, or just to stay sane, call them Stay sane-zones.

Maps, of course can be altered. The View from Taiwan has some images: Paper on Parade

More photos from the Kabuki act between Japan Coast Guard ships and Taiwan Coas…

Cesium In Food: Update 18 Months Later

The Japan Times has a good piece on the food here, which is being continuously tested for radioactivity. There are some concerns about fish, chestnuts and "food sourced from forests, rivers and lakes in the Tohoku and northern Kanto regions and from the Pacific Ocean. This includes mushrooms, mountain vegetables, wild game, freshwater fish and bottom fish."
The Japan Times: Cesium contamination in food appears to be on wane

However, most people do not eat any of these items, and certainly not in any great quantities. As Takashi Ishimaru, a professor of ocean sciences at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, points out to The Japan Times, when waste and plankton carcasses tainted with radiation sink to the seabed, they are eaten by the bottom-feeding organisms, which in turn are eaten by bottom fish. Commercial fishing near Fukushima Prefecture has been voluntarily banned so there is little chance of getting any of this on our plates. But Ishimaru also sai…

Swedish Peace Activism In Japan

I had the great privilege to meet Swedish peace activist and writer Linda Åkerström who is visiting Japan on a project. She was just back from Okinawa where she had been interviewing activists, and also venturing all the way to Henoko beach with its amazing resilience to the proposed new naval construction.

We met in Waseda and talked a lot about human rights, how we in Sweden used to be dragged by police to military conscription.

Linda has worked for an organization that helped conscientious objectors who refused to participate in Sweden's military draft, the värnplikt, a curious word that means "duty to protect" but of course was a call to arms in a country that was "neutral" yet clearly taking sides in conflicts that mattered... Linda is more interested in Japan's Article 9 and what it means on the ground, today. Is it a constitutional way to avoid belligerence, as it says, or a cop-out to not deal with reality as neighbors (China, North Korea) have nucl…

Détente Hotline

This seems to be a good time to talk about an important lesson from the Cold War era, when superpowers battled mindlessly with arms build up and comments by politicians that took no regard of ordinary people and their desire for peace. Détente emerged as a response to that, as a way for diplomats to quietly go about their business, which is negotiations and building trust, leading up to agreements.

A French term, détente basically means "relaxation" or "chill out" in American, not sure what they say in Russian, google gives Детант or Разря́дка  (Perestroika).

In the heat of the moment, media also gets carried away and forgets that it has responsibilities not only to its paying readers in the nation but also to global peace... With blogs and the Internet, things have gotten even more complex. But in the 1960s the main achievement was to install a direct communication link between the White House in Washington and the Kremlin in Moscow. That way, at least in theory, …

IUCN: Anti-Base Activists From Okinawa Not Allowed To Enter South Korea

An international environmental conference is being held in Jeju, South Korea, somewhat under the radar here in Japan, but nevertheless an important event. However, all has not been smooth as the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) made plans for their large event. IUCN was formed in 1948 and is a "conservative" group as opposed to more radical environmental organizations like Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth. Members of IUCN often include national government groups and in the case of Japan, members include groups like WWF Japan, Birdlife Japan and The Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J) which started back in 1949 to campaign to protect the Oze Marsh.

Interestingly, the Okinawan group that wants protection for the dugong, the rare sea mammal, is a member of IUCN's Japan Committee. This meant, for example, that they were able to propose a resolution to save the dugong at the previous IUCN conference in 2008 in Barcelona,…

Okinawa Tune In English: See You Tomorrow By Nayuta

「see you tomorrow」作詞作曲 Nayuta

From the 2010 film that has received almost zero notice, although it looks like it should be rather good. Nirai no oka (にライの丘) or A Song of Gondola nice tune by Nayuta.

Literally, the Japanese title means "Bitter Height" which I think may have been a better English title. It was shown at the Okinawa International Movie Festival in March, 2010, and introduced as such.

For all the talk about J-pop or K-pop and bands that show a lot of leg and what not, here is a young lady with integrity and a huge amount of talent.

Do check her music out!

Here is her live performance of a sweet melody, Happy Daddy and Mommy:

Okinawa Film: Song Of Gondola Going Round And Round

100,000 people protested in Okinawa on Sunday against the deployment of US Osprey helicopters, known as Widowmakers due to their many accidents - and other military helicopters also do tend to be accident-prown, but that is another issue - but of course it is not just about Ospreys. It is an impressive display of non-violence.

It is about a part of Japan that deserves better.

Lots of photos from Sunday September 9 demonstrations over at Ten Thousand Things.

Top photo from NHK.

Peaceful, dignified demonstrations that should make everyone proud. But unless they have some effect on policy makers in Tokyo and where else in the world decisions are made about their faith fate, do we really expect Okinawans to stay quiet, calm, and dignified?

Today, a hundred thousand of them showing up, and the announcer from NHK World was clearly moved on Sunday. Good. We are all moved this. And moved by how 75% of American military bases are on Okinawan soil, yet the US military complex cannot even begin…

Greenheart Initiative For "Zero-Emissions" Small Cargo Ships

I just want to promote a really good idea that some people are working on: they call it Greenheart, a way to "bring economic resilience to marginalized coastal communities around the world while combating the pollution of the shipping industry by putting a ship in the hands of the community thus eliminating the need to depend on polluting port towns and middle men who drive up prices for goods."

It is all about shipping. In a better way. Well, best of luck to them!

Jen over at Ten Thousand Things says:

...we are working hard to launch our first zero-emissions, environmentally low-impact, solar/sail container-ready ship for a global pilot voyage in 2013. To this effect, we have kickstarted our first major grassroots campaign here:

We have an ambitious goal of $120,000 and we need to get the word out.

The Greenheart idea is to create a new type of low-cost, zero-emissions small cargo ships that use environmentally clean and sustainabl…

Misora Hibari - Kawa no Nagare no you ni

Very popular enka singer, with lots of comments in Spanish from South America...


Day by day, years go by
I've walked along this long and tiny road
I see my hometown far away when I look back from this road
I walked a bumping road and that was winding too
I didn't even have a map
That was nothing but what I call my life
Ah, as the river goes on flowing
gently I wanna give myself to its trend
Ah, as the river~
I wait for snow melting in this new season
Ah, as the river~
gently I wanna give myself~
Ah, as the river~
eternaly hearing the sound of flowing water

And here is another translation...

Like a dream, like a dream, passing day after day
down this long, narrow road I've been walking
If I turn, looking back I can see far away
the old town that I loved long ago.
Roads that wind and twist in every way,

Bumpy roads that have seen too many days
With no map to guide us, every path we cross in our lives
Ah, just like the waters of a river, countless bygone da…

GMO-free Europe Conference 2012

GMO-free Europe Conference 2012 Brussels, 4th - 5th of September 2012
The 7th European GMO Free Regions Conference welcomed 200 participants from 33 countries in Brussels. Intensive workshops and lectures, along with the traditional GMO-Free party in the “mundo b” on the first day were followed by debates and presentations in the European Parliament on Wednesday September 5th. Key issues on the agenda were the still-unresolved question of national bans for the cultivation of GMO crops and a controversial debate with the European Food Safety Agency’s executive Director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle on the performance of her agency, ten years after its foundation.

The final discussion “How Roundup ready is the European agricultural policy?” was introduced by Sofia Gatica and Maria Godoy from Argentina. They presented people who lost children and families due to the spraying of Roundup Ready soybeans in their neighborhood. “We must work together against transnationals like Monsan…

Live Video From GMO Free Regions Conference in Europe

There is a live stream video that you can catch, from the GMO Free Regions Conference in Europe: GMO Free Europe Conference 2012 7th European Conference of GMO free regions Livestream from the European Parliament in Brussels: Wednesday 05 September 2012, 09:30 to 12:30 and 15:00 to 18:00 16:00-19:00 Countries beyond Europe 12: What’s going on in North America? This workshop will provide a summary view of recent developments in the explosion of superweeds and increased chemical use associated with GM crops, U.S. Legislation (including the "Monsanto" riders to the Farm Bill and Agriculture Appropriations Bill), GMO labeling initiatives, legal challenges, and regulatory policies. It will also touch upon seed consolidation and industry strategy during this politically volatile period as twenty new GM crops are awaiting USDA approval—including 2, 4D-resistant and dicamba-resistant soybeans.
Related link: Yes on Prop 37


Here are a couple of links to a couple of things that I'm reading about right now:

NYT: Remnants of Japan’s Tsunami Attract an Archaeological Interest

“The tsunami debris is something of a time capsule,” said Ken Campbell, a professional kayaker who, with two fellow guides, has toured Washington islands looking for lost items. Many see the debris field as a watery Pompeii, eloquent but impermanent, soon to be wiped clean by the force of waves and gravity...
Ten Thousand Things: Robert Redford: Tell Environmentalists & IUCN: No Base on Jeju Island
Dear Friends of Jeju Island,
From September 6-15, some 10,000 environmentalists will converge on Jeju Island to attend the World Conservation Congress (WCC) organized by the oldest environmental organization, the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN’s slogan is that it promotes “a just world that values and conserves nature.” If recent actions are any indication, nothing could be further fr…