Showing posts from July, 2014

Eco Links For July, 2014

I went for a walk and watched fireflies near a temple where I live. Amazing creatures. Got a lesson in bioluminescence from Pandabonium, too, via National Geographics.

There is a lot I do not know.

I like how my town is not exploiting this site for tourism.

July - hot and humid. Japan still has no nuclear reactors online. Do people in other parts of the world even think about this? Can we get some support, please?

Seems a small town in Tochigi near major tourist spot Nikko, where the Tokugawa shoguns have their final resting place, will be selected to permanently store radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. "Permanently" is a pretty serious word when it comes to nuclear waste. Not sure why they didn't put it in Fukushima. Expect Narita-style protests?

The Mainichi: Tochigi town favored as permanent radioactive waste storage site

Shioya Mayor Kasuhisa Mikata, right, expresses his disappointment to Deputy Environment Minister Shinji Inoue over the Ministr…

Greetings, Fist Bump (Or Why Not Just The Bow) To Avoid Bacteria

Something I have been worried about for a long time: The old European/American hand shake. Sorry, but it is a disgusting way to say hi. Share a lot of emotions, yes, and also a lot of germs.

I much prefer the Japanese bow.

Great greeting, good manners, no worries about transmitting germs.

If that is not your style, go for the Fist Bump.

Me? I'm a now a solid bow kind of guy. No need to over do it, just a touch of the neck muscles and a moment of humble. Humility? No, just humble.

As in, hi, great to have the honour to meet you.

Medical Daily: Why A Fist Bump Is More Hygenic Than A Handshake

A fist bump may be more than just the young, cooler way to greet someone; it could possibly hold the answer in preventing the spread of bacteria. According to a recent study, a dap can reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria up to about four times compared with a handshake. (...)

A fist-bumping alternative to reduce germs is especially useful since studies have highlighted on…

Miyazawa Kenji - An Introduction

Do visit the Japan Organic Agriculture Association event on Friday, July 25, 2014 to learn more about Miyazawa Kenji.

Poet, writer, vegetarian, and more. From Iwate prefecture. And he is well known in Japan and around the world for his essays on wilderness, and the universe, how hard it is to be human, and the wonders of nature.

Night of the Milky Way Railway and Other Stories

This collection of timeless children's classics by Japan's most beloved modern-age writer features Ginga tetsudo no yoru (tr. Night of the Milky Way Railway), Miyazawa's most celebrated work. It is a story about Giovanni, a schoolboy, and his friend Campanella, and their voyage across the Milky Way aboard a night train. One evening while stargazing, Giovanni hears a voice: "Milky Way Station!" The next moment he is on a train speeding through the galaxy with Campanella. Outside their windows the boys can see a shimmering, phosphorescent river of stars. On the train they meet shipwreck…

Food Safety Violations, Sankei Shimbun Analysis

So, how bad are food imports? Sankei Shimbun notes that in 2013, Japanese food inspectors officially caught some 278 violations in the imports from China, compared to 174 from the US, 93 from Thailand, 45 from Korea and 29 from France.

But if you look more closely at the data, Japan inspected a lot more food from China.

Thus the rate of violation found by Japanese government food safety inspectors was only .25% in the case of Chinese imports. The bigger problem would be foods imported from the US at .8%, Thailand at .78%, Korea at .58% and France at .34%.

China, the bastion of food safety?

Well, they rank just above France, representing the European Union, with its draconian food safety laws, that the US is trying to crush in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, that seem similar to what the US is trying to do in the TPP negotiations here in the Pacific... Here is what BEUC, the European consumers organization has to say:

BEUC Food Safety Publications…

Chinese Food Scandal, Japan Reacts

Again, a food scandal involving unsanitary practices at a major meat processing company. It happens everywhere, not only in China, but this time, the ramifications are huge for the cheap meat/fast food retailers like McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks and even FamilyMart in Japan and others around the world.

First, it was thought that the Husi company in Shanghai only supplied local Chinese outlets with hamburgers and chicken products.

Quickly, on Tuesday we learnt that here in Japan, McDonald's and FamilyMart (Sankei, J) use the same supplier.

So much for consumer choice in the 21th century. Economists tell us we will get more and more at lower prices, while what consumers get is just more of the same, and the only way we know how it is produced is when whistle-blowers reveal the outrageous conditions. Plus, we get all that fun and bright advertising, of course. Which we pay for, indirectly, but still.

This case started to unravel as a clever and courageous camera …

Desperate Days For The US Meat Industry?

No wonder the US meat industry is so desperate to push Japan and other importing countries to further "liberalize" meat markets. US meat consumption is rapidly decreasing, so producers want to increase their exports. Simple, but their tactics may be about to backfire.

What the US pork and beef people face is a complete collapse back home. Not much talked about, but here are the facts:

The USDA’s latest figures show that Americans are continuing to turn away from meat. Meat consumption reached a high of 201.5 pounds per capita in 2004 but has dropped steadily since then, reaching 181.5 pounds in 2012, the latest year for which figures are available. The last time meat intake was at this level was 1983. These figures show that the average American is consuming 20 pounds less meat each year, compared to a decade ago.

From Dr. Barnard's blog: Meat-Eating Falls to Lowest Level in 3 Decades

(Hat tip to Pandabonium!)

No wonder the US Pork Council, the Dairy Foods Associat…

Support And Enjoy Aizu Wakamatsu In Nippori, Tokyo

Do you like farmers markets? If you are in Tokyo, do explore Nippori for the monthly Marche events, and get a chance to buy fresh vegetables and lots of food from all over Japan, from Hokkaido to Kagoshima and Okinawa: The people who grow it, know it.

Nippori Yume Donya (J)

This weekend the focus is on Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima, as the local farmers and the city office decided to support a great summer dance event, with all kinds of surprises.

Do wear a yukata if you are so inclined. Saturday evening should be a lot of fun! I'm also told a television team will be covering the event, so if you do get caught in front of a camera, there is your chance to be on national TV!

East exit from JR Nippori station, you'll see the green tents once you are out of the station.

I like how we can create events, and go beyond the usual structures. We need good people who make an effort. In Japan, the JA people are great, they do a lot of good, but we need more than that to provide services t…

Love Earth Thanks Event In Yoyogi, Tokyo, Saturday July 12

This should be a lot of fun.

Moving on from the success of the Earth Day events...

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. Time Out we also get Love Thanks Earth in Tokyo!

Or is it Love Earth Thanks?

This is a gathering that has already held festivals in Fukuoka, Kyoto and Wakayama this year.

And it just gets better and better.

So, what to expect? Lots of music, healthy food, and inspiration from NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) like Vegetarian Society…