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Showing posts from October, 2012

Yuki Isami Flute Performance: Shinobue

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Yuki Isami, native of Japan, first discovered the world of music through piano lessons at the young age of four.

At the age of ten, she began studying flute under the tutelage of Rika Nakagawa.

Magic happens here. Do enjoy her amazing performance.




Music by Reiko Yamada

After having obtained first prize from the Tôhô Gakuen University of Music in Tokyo, alongside Ryu Noguchi, Yuki Isami was accepted to the studio of Claire Marchand at the McGill Conservatory, and the following year, to the studio of Marie-Andrée Benny at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal where she would receive the prestigious Prix avec grand distinction unanimously. After having completed her studies at the Conservatoire, Yuki continued her musical education, and obtained her cinquième cycle with a specialisation in orchestral excerpts.

Yuki also studied Japanese instruments such as Shinobue, Japanese bamboo flute, Shamisen, Japanese three strings banjo, Koto, Japanese zither , and Nihonbuyo (Jap…

Updates From Hyderabad, From Consumers Union Of Japan

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Oh, I just could not resist. "Hyderabad" sounds just terrific, it is somewhere in India, and I'm sure all my long-suffering Kurashi readers cannot wait to hear what this is all about. The Convention for Biological Diversity. 2 years ago it was held in Nagoya, and in 2014 it will be hosted in South Korea.

Hyderabad, like Nagoya, are places that are trying to rise to the occasion. 

Japan, India, South Korea... We are in the right spot for United Nations conferences. This CBD is one I am particularly interested in, as it attempts to deal with biological diversity, and that included all kinds of important issues about food and food safety. I hope Asia can do better.

My own personal concern was always food - we eat some plants and rely on the farmers to save seeds. We need a lot of variety of seeds to keep our main foods healthy, and make sure that they are easy to grow. Some of the seeds may not be commercially interesting, but they still need to be farmed or kept growing o…

Feed In Tariffs In Japan Vs Abroad Rather High?

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Just a quick comment here following the event on Sunday for Fresh Currents, the excellent work to try to combine and collate in English what is going on right now in Japan and the world regarding renewable energy.

One of the questions raised to Eric Johnson, who edited Fresh Currents, was about Feed In Tariffs (FITs) that are very important to get people to invest in alternative energy, like solar, wind, geothermal. All kinds of local energy solutions - that can help get us off nuclear power, or rather away from the energy monopoly that supported nuclear power - are going to benefit from FITs.

Impressive rates show Japan's commitment to a way forward...

Yes, Japan's new law from July 2012 is rather generous and will provide 42 yen per kW/h (for solar) and that is good news. FIT levels for the UK, for example, are around 9-20 yen per kW/h for solar. A similar scheme for New York Long Island Power Authority will give users just 17.85 yen per kW/h for 20 years. For Germany, the…

Fresh Currents At Gotanda, Tokyo

You can catch the people behind Fresh Currents, the special feature of Kyoto Journal, about renewable energy and the future of Japan, over at the Good Day Books in Gotanda. Sunday evening, 18:30.

Speakers:Eric Johnston, deputy editor of The Japan Times in Osaka and editor of Fresh Currents: Japan's Flow from a Nuclear Past to a Renewable FutureSherry Nakanishi, producer of Japan 3-11: Where Do the Children PlayTopic:The Debate over Japan's Energy FutureWhen:Starting at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, 21 October 2012Admission:Buy a copy of Fresh Currents from Good Day Books
To attend the BookNotes presentation by Eric Johnston and Sherry Nakanishi on 21 October 2012, you must purchase a copy of Fresh Currents: Japan's Flow from a Nuclear Past to a Renewable Future from our shop. Paperback copies of Fresh Currents are available at Good Day Books for two thousand one hundred yen (¥2,100) each, tax included. 

Good Day Booksdirections
Tōkai Bldg. 3F
[big-b shoes building]
2-4-2 Ni…

Tokyo Farmers Market Outing

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If you want to go to a Farmers Market in Tokyo this Sunday, why not go with Joan, who blogs over at what was previously Popcorn Homestead, now Japan Farmers Markets, and writes about all kinds of farming adventures. She will guide you to Nippori Marche, a small market that she describes here:

This delightful market is tucked away in one of Tokyo's most historic areas and is, in my opinion, one of the hidden gems of marketdom in the city. A two-day monthly affair, the market offers a very nice selection of foodly items to eat there as well as take home. Atsuko Fujita, the market manager, carefully curates the vendors to make sure shoppers have excellent choices as well as ensuring various regions are well-represented...

October Tokyo Farmers Market Outing
Sunday, October 21st
10am - 1pm
Nippori Station - East exit
Meet at the bottom of the stairs of Nippori Station's East exit and we'll walk over to the market. Meet the market manager, the vendors, have a little sna…

More Images Of Buddha Statues In Afghanistan: Sign To Protect

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There is so much still underground at Mes Aynak. Over 5,000 years of history will be erased if Mes Aynak is destroyed in December of this year.

On Facebook: The Buddhas of Aynak

Great ABC interview with Brent Huffman

Most people remember when the then rulers of Afghanistan, the Taliban, used artillery to destroy the ancient Buddhas of Bamiyan. Now another huge and important archaeological site is under threat of destruction, but this time because of China's desire to mine copper. It's Mes Aynak, a site in Logar Province southeast of Kabul. 

The China Metallurgical Group, known as MCC in English, aims to dig it up with explosives, with a target date of December this year. But archaeologists have only scratched the surface of the treasures of Mes Aynak. Brent Huffman is an award-winning documentary maker. He's working on a project called The Buddhas of Aynak, and he started by describing the ancient place.

Photo: A gold-plated seated Buddha overlooks the tents of the…

Buddhist Statues In Afghanistan

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Buddhists who read Kurashi may want to take a moment to read this post over at Foreign Policy, and do click on the images of Professor Brent E. Huffman, a documentary filmmaker and assistant professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University who has been making a film at Mes Aynak.

I hope to see that film.

Twelve years after the Taliban blew up the world-famous Bamiyan Buddhas, a Chinese mining firm -- developing one of the world's largest copper deposits -- threatens to destroy another of Afghanistan's archeological treasures.

...Huffman notes that some locals also support the mine. "Those who have found employment (albeit at a very low salary) at MCC or at the archaeology dig site are relatively happy," he says. "They can provide for their families. However, due to the terribly mismanaged relocation of six villages, there are many very angry locals who are currently attacking MCC with rockets and land mines demanding cash pa…

NHK World: "Okinawa governor express anger over alleged assault"

It is difficult, no, impossible, to not speak up when news like this happens. The American military culture is at it again, with two servicemen "allegedly" raping a young woman in Okinawa. Anger does not quite capture the emotion, but ok, we can deal with that. With tensions so high already (Osprey deployment, Henoko relocation, Agent Orange in Okinawa, Mock nuclear bombings considered, Planned destruction of Yanbaru Forest/Takae, and the WW2 battles, just to quickly come up with a list of issues) is there no way to end this madness?

Top news today on NHK World:

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has expressed strong resentment over the alleged sexual assault of a woman by 2 US servicemen in Okinawa Prefecture, saying the incident is utterly senseless.

Nakaima made the comment in a meeting with Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto in Tokyo on Wednesday.

He urged the minister to strongly demand that the United States cooperate with investigations of the incident and step up dis…

Stem Cell "Lies" "Claims in the initial announcement were groundless"

Here at Kurashi, we have previously been very harsh on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and foods that may be GM, such as corn, soy and canola. I am not sure that we should trust any of the reports about such issues.

We have also covered the exposure of a South Korean cloning researcher, who managed to fool just about everyone with his outrageous claims.

"Serious ethical violations" in Korean cloning scandal

Science writes that Korea's National Bioethics Committee has released a report, revealing that Dr. Hwang's team received at least 2221 oocytes from 119 women between November 2002 and December 2005. That is 160 more than Seoul National University reported last month, but in their published papers, Hwang and his colleagues reported using only 427 oocytes.

Citing "serious ethical violations," the panel also found that Hwang's team failed to fully explain the potential risks associated with oocyte donation and that the Institutional Review Bo…

Nobel Peace Prize To EU

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Over the past couple of years, the Norwegians have made such a hash out of the Nobel Peace Prize, giving it to anyone from Henry Kissinger to Jimmy Carter, and to at least three Israelis, and then to Al Gore (for what?) and more recently to President Obama, just after he had been elected, before he had done a thing. It was never awarded to the man we all know to have achieved independence for India and Pakistan back in the late 1940s, or to anyone else who fought for the end of imperialism, say in Africa. Japanese Prime Minister Sato got it for Japan's 3 anti-nuclear weapon principles. That list is long and convoluted:

War is a Crime.org: The Betrayal of the Nobel Prize

Now Stockholm's County Administrative Board, which supervises foundations and trusts in the city where the Nobel Foundation is based, has formally asked that foundation to respond to allegations that the peace prize no longer reflects Nobel's will.  The Associated Press reports that,
"The move comes…

My Japanese Book Banned In Communist China?

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My food safety book was published by Kodansha in 2009, in Japanese. I guess it is on the list of Japanese books that are now banned in Communist China. Sorry to hear that! Or is it really? My advice is, stay calm, carry on, don't believe everything you hear or read on the Internet.

We have more important things to think about regarding food security, food safety, energy issues and - what Japanese people like to call "plus alpha" i e a lot of other issues that are also significant and vital and means a lot to all of us.

Do not ban books.

Why would communist China ban a book about food safety issues, published here in Japan, as the writer is from Sweden...?

Links:

The Mainichi:

Publishing of Japan-related books banned in Beijing
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Beijing municipal authorities have ordered some publishers in the Chinese capital not to bring out books related to Japan, bilateral relations sources said Friday.
The order, issued Sept. 14, is seen as a retaliatory step against Japa…

Female Writer Wants To Improve Relationship Between China And Japan

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I'm probably going to have to update this later, but the story so far - a female Chinese writer is getting lots of signatures from intellectuals in China to improve the relationship between her country and Japan. Which is all very good, of course (if it is true).

Asahi (J) reported about it 2 days ago and again today, October 10, Tokyo Shinbun (J) had the story. I'm having some trouble finding out exactly who the 56 year old writer might be, but her name in kanji is  崔衛平

and her 2010 book (or perhaps rather a book she contributed to) with the English subtitle of "Thought and Nostalgia" appears to have been published by the Beijing Aviation Institute. Link (to a Taiwan website).

All very good of course, we need much more action like this. Some 467 intellectuals have signed her appeal so far, asking for "reason to prevail in the relations between China and Japan." Mostly, it is the Chinese government's outrageous ban on the sale of Japanese books that app…

Documentary: Reviving Recipes in Yamagata, Japan

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Some people really make a difference. 100 or 200 years from now, if people do not have the seeds to produce food, they will ask - why did these important veggies and fruits and foods disappear?

As we debate this issue and that, we tend to forget that each day, we eat just a few foods, some 10-20 varieties usually. People who are busy living in cities may rely on even less. Yet, for our health, there are thousands of crops that can make a huge difference. They all help us human beings stay healthy and sane. Thus we ought to treat them with more respect. Like, farm them, harvest them, enjoy them. In Japan, my guess is that we rely on not 10-20 varieties but more like 100-200. You can help me with the research. It is important.

Here is a documentary film that tries to explain this.



From the Youtube site:

Throughout history, farmers have grown crops suited to local environments and of native species, by nurturing and hand-selecting the seeds to carry on a lineage. However in post World…

Lisa Hammond - Potter

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Lisa Hammond is one of a small group of Britain's leading potters, renowned for her expression of the notoriously difficult Japanese 'shino' glaze.

As she throws and fires an exhibition of three years of her best work at Goldmark Gallery in Uppingham, Rutland, she explains her fascination with Japanese pots...

http://youtu.be/I8kFT4gFMBo

Lisa Hammond talks about Ken Matsuzki's exhibition opening at the Goldmark Gallery 2011.



This documentary follows top UK studio potter Lisa Hammond as she prepares for her 2012 Goldmark exhibition.







Delving into her artistic practice, it provides an insight in to the various stages that go into making her distinctive pieces. We see Lisa at her wheel throwing chawans (teabowls) and a large tsubo jar; firing and unpacking her kiln; and talking about her influences over the years, in particular her love of the Japanese pot making tradition. Also captured on camera is her technique of spraying the soda solution direct into the f…

Stop Selling Arms, Period, End Of Story

Trading in arms and weapon systems is a huge source of income for a lot of companies, a lot of countries, thus for a lot of people. Consequently, a very unpopular topic.

Since 1989, the European Union has an arms embargo with Communist China, meaning European countries cannot sell arms and weapon systems to partners in Beijing. Good. But just a week ago, China's premier Wen Jiabao was in Brussels complaining about this. The Telegraph has more:

China's Wen Jiabao demands EU lift arms embargo

With barely disguised frustration, Mr Wen said it a matter of “regret” that he failed over his term of office to remove the arms embargo, which was imposed after the violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. “I have to be very frank in saying this... but the solution [to lifting the embargo] has been elusive over the past 10 years,” he said, using strong, formal language in his speech to EU leaders in Brussels. “I deeply regret this and I hope the EU side …