Showing posts from October, 2006

Cleaning up Mt. Fuji

I have written before about Ken Noguchi who is on a mission to clean up Mt Fuji. Tonight he was on Fuji TV with a group of volunteers from Fujisan Club who are using GSP equipment to locate garbage, and then go out with trucks to pick it up. For example, they are finding about 200 tons of old tires around Mt Fuji. Watch the news show on ! As Mt Fuji is a symbol of Japan, it is good to see that more and more Japanese people are finally starting to care about it. The cleanup campaign has also been featured on TBS and Asahi TV. About bloody time, too. Mt Fuji garbage previous

WWF: Ecological footprint

The 2006 WWF Living Planet report has been published. So, how are we doing here on Earth? WWF says, "humanity is using the planet's resources faster than they can be renewed and that populations of vertebrate species have declined by about one third since 1970." What is the ecological footprint? The WWF describes the term as follows: "The footprint of a country includes all the cropland, grazing land, forest, and fishing grounds required to produce the food, fibre, and timber it consumes, to absorb the wastes emitted in generating the energy it uses, and to provide space for its infrastructure." Actually Japanese people are doing rather well on this list, at 27th place. Swedish people leave the 8th largest footprint per person - not good. The United Arab Emirates tops the list, followed by the USA, Finland, Canada and Kuwait. South Korea is 30th. Living Planet Report (pdf) Click to enlarge the screen shot I took from the report, sorry about the bad reso

David Suzuki

Reuters says environmentalist David Suzuki, best known for his television programs on nature and the environment, is ready to step out of spotlight and live the simple life: Releasing what he insists is his "very last book," a second installment to his autobiography, the 70-year-old Japanese-Canadian says he is looking forward to spending more time in the Canadian wilderness, carving wood and fishing. He regrets that after decades of campaigning for everything from cleaner air to sustainable farming, his work has not had more impact. "Nobody any longer knows what a sustainable future is," the bearded, bespectacled environmentalist told Reuters in a recent interview in Australia to promote his book, "David Suzuki: The Autobiography." "I feel like we are in a giant car heading for a brick wall at 100 miles an hour and everyone in the car is arguing where they want to sit. For God's sake, someone has to say put the brakes on and turn the wheel

Japan tuna quota halved for the next five years

Reuters reported that Japan's annual fishing quota for southern bluefin tuna will be halved for the next five years due to Tokyo's overfishing, quoting a government official: A huge global appetite for fish, in which Japan's voracious demand plays a key role, has led to widespread overfishing and pushed many high-value species, including some species of bluefin tuna, close to the brink of extinction. In 2005, Japan exceeded its 6,065 ton quota of southern bluefin tuna by 1,500 tons, which a Fisheries Agency official said had helped contribute to the decision that cut Tokyo's quota to 3,000 tons for five years from 2007. "There is also a possibility that Japan may have overfished a bit in other years besides 2005 as well," the official added, citing surveys by fishing experts. "Therefore we had no choice but to accept the decision." South Korea and Taiwan also saw their quotas fall. Japan tuna quota halved for the next five years (Photo: Gr

Dark Side of the Moon

Found these SIX videos that just are so marvellous, from the 2003 documentary of the making of Dark Side of the Moon. I had to share them with everyone. "The sun is the same, but you are one year older..." Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 (Voted number one best album to make love to in 1990 by Australian radio listeners!) And, as a bonus, Pink Floyd performing Atomic Heart Mother live in Japan, August 1971 at a music festival at Hakone Aphrodite: Part 1 Part 2

Shakira "chemistry" in Japan!

Great artist from Colombia, do watch her song Ojos Asi from her September 2006 performance in Japan. And here is "Whenever, Wherever", a Shakira bonus video brought to you by Kurashi News From Japan. Have a great weekend!

Avoiding trans fatty acids in Japan

I got a few questions about trans fats and how to avoid them. Dr. Oshimi Takayuki in the city of Ashikawa, Hokkaido, has written about this topic Here's a buzzword for you: Trans Fat . Here is an excerpt: Why isn't there any legislation regarding the labelling of trans fats in Japan? The risk of developing an artery-clogging disease depends on one's level of intake of saturated fats. In general, Japanese people consume far fewer saturated fats than western people. So, many food manufacturers insist they don't need to worry about the level of trans fats. But the [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that trans fats provide no known health benefits, so there is no safe level of trans fats, and people should consume as little as possible in order to maintain a healthy diet. With the level of trans fat in your food being undeterminable, what is there to do? Well, here are a few tips: * Choose reduced fat and fat-free products whenever you can * Avoid

Rokkashomura Rhapsody

Rokkashomura Rhapsody is a Japanese documentary by Koizumi Shukichi and Kamanaka Hitomi. It deals with Japan's nuclear reprocessing plant in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture. Watch the movie at 11AM on 21 October (Saturday) and 22 October (Sunday) at the Pore Pore Theatre in Higashi Nakano, Tokyo. There will be a talk with activists who are opposing the plutonium plant, as there are fears that this will lead to Japan going nuclear in the future.

Kyoto charity concert

There will be a charity concert in Kyoto on 28 October in support of AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe. For more information on the recipients of the funds raised, please go to the The Zienzele Foundation website. The price of one ticket to this event will pay (roughly) for one AIDS orphan to attend school for a year. Now there is a really good reason to get your dancing shoes on (not compulsory) and come on down! Details of the event below: Saturday October 28th, 5.00pm - 9.00pm Club Metro - Keihan Marutamachi station (exit 2) Kawabata/Marutamachi 2,500 yen (including one free drink) Student price: 2,000 yen (including one free drink) show student ID at the door Food available at reasonable prices, courtesy of TOMS Cafe Musical line-up will be: Navegante - African drum and dance group - great sound of Africa Stephen Burns - keyboardist/vocalist - smooth and soulful Chappy and P.I.M.P - Funk and soul band - boogie on!!

Eco-products at Tokyo Big Sight

Eco-Products Exhibition 2006 Meet the future of Eco-Product Development The Eighth Annual Eco-Products 2005 Exhibition will be held from December 14th to 16th at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center, or Tokyo Big Sight, in Ariake, Tokyo. Its aim is to accelerate the expansion of green markets by exhibiting environmentally friendly products and services. Eco product is used to denote environmentally friendly products and services. The Exhibition is organized by NEDO, JEMAI, and the Nikkei Shimbun, with support from METI, the Ministry of the Environment, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and many others. * ENGLISH GUIDED TOURS of selected exhibitors (Eco-Products 2006) Dec 14 (Thu.) - 16 (Sat.) Fee: Free Place: Tokyo Big Sight - Tokyo, Japan At this exhibition, Japan for Sustainability (JFS) will hold an English guided tour of selected exhibitors specially designed for foreigners who need a language assistance. The tour will guide you through the exhibition and assist first-

Reducing trans fats

The Korea Food & Drug Administration has announced revised food labeling standards which make it compulsory to show the amount of trans fats in processed food such as bread, candy, chocolate, noodles and beverages starting from Dec. 1 2007, according to Chosun Ilbo: "We completed an investigation of some 500 kinds of food including snacks and fast food children enjoy last year before implementing the measure,”said the director in charge of nutritional evaluation at the KFDA Park Hye-kyung. We notified each food company of the result and are looking at whether they are improving. Inspections will continue until artificially produced trans fats are gone completely.” Japan needs to start moving to protect consumers from synthetic fats, but there has been little discussion so far. The World Health Organization recommends that trans fats should not make up more than 1 percent of total calories you take a day. Without labels, consumers have no way of knowing if food companies a

2006 Nobel Peace Prize to Grameen Bank

The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh and Grameen Bank ”for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.” The Norwegian Nobel Committee said, ”Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.” The unique bank lends money to some of the poorest people in Bangladesh and helps them start their own businesses.  

Light blogging ahead

I'm heading back to Sweden for a week so the blog will be rather less lively than usual. I have visited almost 30 countries since my first trip with Iceland Air to the U.S. via Reykjavik in 1984. I do dislike the long-haul airtravel routine with crappy meals inside a noisy cabin, but I have always loved looking out the windows gazing at the upper surface of clouds. And the CO2 emissions are going to be great. A couple of tonnes of CO2 just to go home and say happy birthday to my father and fix a leaking roof... The European Parliament has debated aviation CO2 emissions : Commercial airplanes fly at a height of between 8 to 13 km where they emit the gases which alter the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. The higher the plane flies, the more difficult it is for CO2 to break down in the atmosphere. Plane emissions are at present just 3% of the EU total but growing rapidly. If no measures are taken by 2012 “increased emissions from aviation will neutralise more that a

Shodoshima in the news

The death of about 500 fish in a pond in a nature preserve on Shodoshima island, Kagawa Prefecture, in the Seto Island Sea, has prompted islanders to conduct a clean-up campaign on September 8, according to the Yomiuri , as 60 volunteers removed garbage from the main roads: "Holidaymakers visit our island, hoping to enjoy its beauty," said a Chugoku Electric Power Co. employee, who took part in the cleanup. "Abandoned trash undermines the pristine image of the island." "We'll continue our annual island-cleaning campaign in the hope it'll help raise awareness about public manners among the residents and visitors," Kunihiko Saegusa, an association manager, said. In summer, the chief of an environmental group on the island picks up waste in and around the beaches, as well as planting flowers almost every day. Asked why his group is named "One Droplet," Shigekazu Mori said: "Each of us is as small as a droplet of water. But droplet