Showing posts from April, 2014

Rice Is Life, Stopping Genetically Modified Rice

I'm just back from another great meeting in the Philippines, this time with Masipag, one of the main NGOs that work on farming issues in Asia.

Masipag is highly critical of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and has pointed out that it is increasingly becoming a "for-profit" body in spite of its original mandate. Masipag wants rice farmers to have control over their many varieties, be it white, red, yellow, brown or black rice, and all the other amazing kinds of rice that rural farmers have been saving and enjoying over centuries.

"Rice is life" is a rallying call, and you could translate that as, "Don't mess with our rice."

The problem in South East Asia is that, farmers are asking: Who are these guys, the Syngenta corporate guys in their corporate headquarters in Switzerland? Why do they want to tell us how to grow rice? Who do they think they are? Do they think they know better than a hundred million rice farmers in Asia?

I don…

Earth Day In Hamamatsu 2014

In conjunction with the day “Earth Day” to think about the global environment of April 20, Earth Day Hamamatsu 2014 will be held in Municipal Enshu Seaside Park.

I like how these guys spent the weekend enjoying music and all kinds of shopping with a focus on organic foods and crafts.

They also went out on the beaches to pick up the kind of garbage - plastics, ropes, all kinds of nets and whatnot - that wash up from the ocean. Image from facebook

Our heavy lifestyle choices are making that kind of dirty impression on our precious planet.

Others who care are celebrating Earth Day in the Seto Uchi, or the Seto Inland Sea, south of Okayama. 

It used to be that you would go to a beach to look for beautiful sea shells.

Now, what you also find, is lots of garbage made of plastic.

Sorry to say, but the footprint we are making on this planet and its oceans is not a pretty picture.

Earth Day is one event that tries to make more people aware.

Earth Day In Kagoshima 2014

I could go on and on. Earth Day is such a mainstay of great events in Japan. Give these guys some credit. Another Japan is indeed possible, no, it is already happening. All over the place.

So much good you would have to be hiding under a rather heavy rock to not notice it. As they say, it is more up to you, than the place you happen to be in.

Asahi: Demonstrators turn out in force in Kagoshima to oppose Sendai plant restart

KAGOSHIMA--An estimated 6,000 anti-nuclear activists rallied on March 16 here to protest the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s decision to short-list reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant for safety screenings--a prelude to their restart.

Go with the flow and you will notice there is a new movement happening.

Earth Day Kagoshima

Balance by Kagoshima native Nakamura Tetsuro

Facebook Earth Day Kagoshima

Earth Day In Nara 2014

So many events, so much focus on our planet and our future. So much to feel good about! Earth day all over Japan.

Here is more from the event in Nara, the ancient capital of Yamato, or Wa. Focus on how history connects to the future. That's life!

Cool marching band, from 2:30 or so!

Earth Day In Tokyo 2014

Globe-straddling eco event Earth Day has found a particularly receptive audience in Japan, where the two-day gathering in Yoyogi Park consistently draws over 100,000 people each year. It's an opportunity for charities, NPOs and eco-conscious businesses to flaunt their wares and draw new recruits, but many people just go to enjoy the art, vibes and free music. If you're one of the capital's long-suffering vegetarians, too, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit to the Earth Day Kitchen zone for a good selection of herbivorous eats.

From Time Out

Be that as it may, I'm really disappointed by the event's website's main focus on meat eating, and I do not normally want to be pointing fingers, but why let this guy's passion for deer hunting and his "venison cooking" be such a major part of this event?

Bad, bad taste. Mr. C. W. you may have your own likes and dislikes. We all have our favourite issues and concerns. But you do not use Earth Day to pr…

Earth Day In Nasu, Tochigi 2014

Earth Day in Nasu is now an annual event for many small organizations that have hosted large symposiums on how to care for our planet over the years.

They do wonderful market events and workshops as well as art shows.

Earth Day in Nasu, Tochigi prefecture has all kinds of projects prepared for May, 2014.

Which got me to explore another rural Tochigi initiative, that has been around for over 40 years:

The Asian Rural Institute (ARI) is a training center for Rural Leaders. Founded in 1973 by Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami the aim of the program is to invite and train local grassroots leaders to more effectively serve in their communities as they work for the poor, the hungry, and the marginalized.
Each year from April to December we bring together about 30 leaders from countries primarily in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific to take part in our Rural Leaders Training Program.The training focuses on sustainable agriculture through integrated organic farming techniques, community building, an…

Drakskip: Swedish Folk Musik From Japan

I almost went to this live tonight with Kyoto folk music band Drakskip featuring Tatsushi Toritani... Great to see some Swedish nyckelharpa and violins, with a great beat.

Drakskip is a Japanese band in love with the Scandinavian music, formed in 2006 in Kyoto, Japan.
They perform both traditional and original tunes inspired by Scandinavian traditional music with their own unique sound.
They have performed with famous artists,
LAU, Valkyrien Allstars, FRIGG and Göran Månsson.

They have a decent English website too, click to start listening!

But you could call this a rare match of cultures:

Their drummer Nabe has a uniquely Japanese background in percussion. When he was seven years old he saw the Japanese drum troupe "Kodo" and it so inspired him that he religiously practiced Taiko (Japanese drum). When he was a high school student Nabe spent a year in Tasmania, Australia and during his stay, he was an instructor for the local Taiko group there. His vast experience with …

Please Get Rid Of Nuclear Weapons ASAP Meeting In Hiroshima...

...or as it is officially known as, the Nuclear Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) is being held this weekend in Hiroshima, Japan. I feel a little bit like Tom Hanks or rather that character he played, Forrest Gump, who happened to turn up at all kinds of important events in history, because for other reasons I happen to be in Hiroshima right now while this is going on. NGOs including ICAN, Ploughshares and Pax are paying attention, but will mainstream media? Flags and banners here and there, important-looking delegates in black suits, and some cool people hanging out at Otis! tonight. Hope something good will come out of this.
April 11, 2014 To call for world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

A “Hiroshima Declaration” will be prepared by the 12 non-nuclear nations of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, including Japan and Australia, at their ministerial meeting to be held in Hiroshima on April 11 and 12 it was lea…