Friday, October 12, 2018

How Monsanto's Glyphosate Kills Farmers

Great documentary, it made me cry. I fought so hard 20 years ago to tell the story of Monsanto's crimes and especially the massive use of glyphosate (Roundup) and its links to cancer. Did my newspaper articles and blogs and consumer activism make any difference?

What I tried to convey, was that all the toxicology data was on the active ingredient only, and not on the final product (Roundup) that people use. When you add the other chemicals to glyphosate, and spray that product, you get risks. Rules at national levels go with the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius rules. At such meetings I attended back then, the ignorance of what this company was pulling off was staggering. On the other hand, I was asked, "Could you make a better rule?"

Unless we eat organic, this is how most of our food gets made.

Australian ABC made the video, do spread the message.

Now that German Bayer owns Monsanto, expect things to get better, anyone?

2018 JAS 39 Gripen Formation Flight Swedish Air Force

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Novel Approach: J-Hangar Space Review of My Novel Kamikaze to Croydon

Novel Approach

My editor Patrick Sherriff over at Tower English in Abiko helped me publish my novel on July 21, 2018. I have a lot to say about his skills as an editor, with a keen sense of sticking to his three approaches to fiction editing. Well, it helped me a lot, and his support was terrific...

Here is how Patrick puts it:

Character arcs. Every story is a journey. For a story to have meaning, there has to be change. Characters start out one way, they experience difficulty or, as the novelist calls it, conflict, until by the end of the story they have changed. That basic pattern — starting with a goal in mind, dealing with conflict, changing — should be present in the novel as a whole and within each scene and for every major character.

You can order Kamikaze to Croydon here at Amazon as a paperback, and also at Kindle as an eBook.

I hope you will also be kind enough to leave comments and rate it.

Iinuma Masaaki is a promising young pilot from the mountains of Nagano, Japan, who only has thoughts of flying for the Morning Sun newspaper. When he learns of a prize for the first aviator to fly from Tokyo to London in under 100 hours, he knows he has the will to make it, just not the way. Suddenly his newspaper approves the purchase of a new aeroplane capable of going the distance. But can he overcome his fears, find a navigator and take the last great aviation prize even while the world marches ever closer to war? A novel based on the thrilling true story of two friends who try to break the last great aviation record before the world goes to war.

Available now as a 280-page paperback or ebook from all Amazon sites including, and

Kamikaze to Croydon by Martin J. Frid, available now from all Amazon sites as a paperback and ebook

Paul T in Toda, Saitama, who has the most comprehensive website about airplanes in Japan, published this first review of my novel, Kamikaze to Croydon:

As can be seen below, J-Hangar Space regularly brings news of the latest non-fiction book releases, in English and Japanese, on relevant topics. Anyone interested in reading an example of that rare (non-existent?) bird, a historical novel on a Japanese aviation topic in English, might care to take this one for a test flight.

Written by Martin J. Frid (link), a Swede who has lived in Japan for 30 years, Kamikaze to Croydon provides what can best be described as a fact-based fictionalized account of a well-documented deed of derring-do—the Asahi Shimbun-sponsored flight from Tokyo to Croydon in 1937.

No ‘spoiler’ alerts needed, as the writer used up no artistic/pilot’s license on a ‘what if’ ending.

The book is available in Paperback and Kindle versions, and preview pages provided, on an Amazon screen near you.

Paul T also noted the following, since I mentioned the Pilot pen in my novel:

You're probably aware that the name Pilot actually comes from one of the founders having been a pilot in the merchant navy.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Drive for the Future (1980) - The Toyota Story

This is a fun movie about how Toyota got its start in the early 20th century, with a lot of details from the factory floor and how to fund such an adventure. In the 1920s, Japan was importing some 2000-4000 cars and trucks and made almost nothing domestically.

GM and Ford had factories in Japan, back then. Now, the foot is firmly on the other shoe, ahem...

How to get that first model A1 to go that extra mile, in 1936 or so?

In my novel, Kamikaze to Croydon, I mention how young Iinuma Maasaki, the pilot of my novel, reacts to seeing one of these Toyotas in Tokyo.

You can order Kamikaze to Croydon here at Amazon as a paperback, and also at Kindle as an eBook.

I hope you will also be kind enough to leave comments and rate it.

Do click that link, and go through the easy steps.

His sempai and navigator, Tsukagoshi Kenji, warns him that making such vehicles would require a lot of resources, that Japan did not have.

We were interrupted as a black car drove past on the broad street near the huge red burnt brick building that was such a symbol of this part of town, Tokyo Station. I almost pointed but just nudged Tsukagoshi's arm instead: Look, thats the new Toyota car from the Koromo factory in Aichi, they just released them.
What will they think of next?
Well, listen! Thats the AA 4 door sedan. It has a 3 speed floor shift gearbox. 6 cylinder engine, listen to that noise. I read that it weighs as much as 1,500 kilograms. They reckon it is almost as sturdy as the Dodge and even faster, some say.
I think I much prefer the cockpit of an aeroplane, but it would be fun to ride a car like that just once. Have you seen the Bentleys they have over at the British Embassy?
That one looks really comfortable. Leather seats!I kept staring as the car drove off leaving a cloud of black smoke, after having let a suit-clad gentleman out from the rear, looking like he was in a rush to board a train.

How about it, dear readers of Kurashi, for a long, long time... 

Meanwhile, here is how the 1980 movie caught our mid 1930s era.

Jay Leno liked the 1936 Toyota AA Replica this much "...and it drives quite nicely!":

If you like long-winded Japanese documentaries, here is more about Toyota, and how it got to number one in sales, world wide:

Monday, October 01, 2018

Watercolor Sketch from Kanazawa and more

Mateusz Urban... now wait, can that really be his name? This young Polish illustrator and painter has some cool ideas about how people in Japan ought to plan their housing... He also draws Tokyo landscapes from what I suppose are different income classes.

His Tokyo at Night series is amazing too.

Where do you want to live? We should all press our politicians and city planners and architects - and especially the private companies - for affordable sustainable development, and some places just get it about right.