Showing posts from June, 2011

No To Nuclear Plant In Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi

Japan is going through amazing changes right now. The controversial proposal to build a new nuclear plant on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, Yamaguchi prefecture, has just been stopped by the governor of the prefecture, Sekinari Nii. NHK notes that Chugoku Electric Power Company was seeking to construct two reactors in the town of Kaminoseki, with a launch scheduled for 2018. The governor says the central government has failed to properly outline Japan's future nuclear power policy and specific measures about nuclear power plant safety. He says the feasibility of the nuclear plant project itself has become vague. NHK World: Yamaguchi Governor suspends nuclear plant project Mainichi has more : In a meeting with reporters following the session, Nii reiterated that the prefectural government will not extend permission under the current circumstances. "Chugoku Electric should continue its suspension of the reclamation work. As long as the current situation continues, we ca

Major Media In Japan Starting To Get Very Concerned About Energy Issues

With no prospects that nuclear energy will provide Japan, the world's third largest economy, with enough power, all eyes are on oil and gas. Wedge , a Japanese news magazine, notes that the country's power plants will have to be moved away from dangerous areas. All nuclear plants may be shut down by the spring of next year , they note. What will be the damage to Japan's economy? Also, Friday and Gendai, Kodansha's "big hand media magazine" (oote media, 大手メディア)are suddenly concerned what will happen if more nuclear reactors are shut down, but they still show more naked female flesh... Yet in the past few weeks, lots of facts about what is going on at Fukushima Daichi... Reducing energy consumption is at least on the main-stream media agenda. Sunday Mainichi is showing the devastation in Tohoku to remind people that this is going to be a very unusual summer. Meanwhile, of course, there are immediate global repercussions (but NHK does not mention that incr

Israelis, Please Consider Helping Minami Sanriku Town: Listen To The Voice Of Endo Miki

Japan still needs lots of help for the Tohoku region. I was moved to tears again tonight reading the details about the Minami Sanriku town that I visited last weekend . From wikipedia (thanks for adding this): Miki Endo (远藤未希), a 25 year old employee of the town's Crisis Management Department, was hailed in the Japanese news media as a heroine for continuing to broadcast warnings and alerts over a community loudspeaker system as the tsunami came in. She was credited with saving many lives. The three-storey headquarters of the department remained standing but was completely gutted, with only a red-colored steel skeleton remaining; in the aftermath of the disaster, Endo was missing and was later confirmed to have died. Photos show the roof of the building completely submerged at the height of the inundation, with some persons clinging to the rooftop antenna. When we visited, we placed flowers and burned incense at the make-shift altar that have been placed in front of the remains

A Song For Japan

Trombonists from Japan and around the world perform for charity and to maintain awareness of the on going efforts to recover from the tragedies of March 11. "A song for Japan" is a beautiful piece, I think you will agree, written by Belgian trombonist Steven Verhelst. Enjoy. Whether you play trombone or not, be sure to visit the website for more clips, information, free downloadable sheet music, t-shirts, artwork and tools to help you contribute to the cause through music. All profits go to the Japan Red Cross. Special thanks to my high school buddy and fellow trombonist, Larry, who sent me the link.

Milky Way

Have you ever looked up in the night sky and seen the Milky Way? I was watching a few videos on YouTube and it suddenly dawned on me (excuse the pun) that most people have never actually seen the stars, as the "light pollution" totally blocks the view. Here are a couple of videos of what our night sky really looks like, if we don't have city lights shining all the time, and no "light pollution" to obscure the beautiful view (this is what the ancients would have seen all the time, no wonder they had amazing stories about the universe). I liked some of the comments: Yep. It's also known as "light pollution", whereas light in urban areas actually ends up shining outward, towards the sky, rather than downwards, where it's needed. This obscures almost all the stars visible from Earth. It's actually quite difficult to get shots like this. You need absolute darkness, no moon, and you need to be there when the Milky Way actually "rises&q

Smart Grid Electricity Supply In Japan

Smart Grid is a concept that has gained some popularity, as many people are concerned about their electricity supply. Rather than just relying on a huge utility so provide your home or office with power, you could actually be a part of the supply system, if you have solar panels on your roof, for example. Not so easy in Japan. There has been such a monopoly on electricity supply, that almost no discussion on Smart Grid has taken place, until of course now, when TEPCO is in dire straits and can no longer rely on nuclear power reactors to keep Tokyo's bright lights shining, and cannot even assure the public that their plan will work to cool down the destroyed Fukushima #1 reactors. Smart Grid for Japan? Well, some people have tried to envision such a system, for example in Yokohama, a rather progressive city. Yet, it seems to be moving very slowly, with only 900 units of photovoltic systems installed by 2009, although they plan to install some 2000 ten years later, according to N

No Nuclear Power In Japan By 2012?

Something extraordinary is happening in Japan, one of the world's most pro--nuclear power coutries. Of the nation's 54 reactors, only 19 are currently up and running. The rest are either shut down for maintainence, check-ups or other regularly scheduled repairs. Or wrecked by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. NHK notes that during the next few months, 5 more reactors will have to be shut down ahead of regular inspections, and if the utilities decide to keep these 40 reactors offline for the time being, Japan will have about 75 percent of its reactors shutdown this summer. NHK World: 35 Japanese reactors are soon to be out of line But that is not all. The Daily Yomiuri has looked at the schedule for the up-and-running reactors around the country, and notes that they also are about to be shut down, one by one, according to the safety rules that require inspections and maintainence. Thus, by next summer, Japan may have gone non-nuclear by default: Japan has 54 nuclear reac

124,000 People

NHK says 124,00 people are still displaced by the March 11 disaster in Tohoku. As noted in my post about the Kurushii visit to Tohoku , there is lots and lots to do. NHK: March disaster displaces over 124,000 Japan's Cabinet Office says more than 124,000 people were displaced by the March 11th disaster and the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The office says the displaced were living in more than 1,000 municipalities across the country as of June 2nd. More than 41,000 were in emergency shelters, and about 32,500 were living with relatives and friends. Around 50,000 were living outside the 3 hardest-hit prefectures --- Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. Nearly 80 percent of them were from Fukushima.

Coastal Area In Tohoku Still Needs Lots & Lots Of Help Part 1

I went up to Fukushima and Miyagi prefecture this weekend. 4 vans and 11 people, lots of boxes with donated clothes, food, rubber boots, books, manga, toys, candy, umbrellas, ladies undergarments; no gaudy colours or "posh frocks" please, but aprons, summer trousers, hats, gloves... Mostly all new stuff, as this team from Hanno, Saitama has been up there before and knows exactly what the requests are. Miyagi in particular has a large number of small villages with different needs along the coast. While we all know the tsunami was as big as 20 meters or more in some areas, the debris still left after three months tell the real story: the tsunami was relentless, it came in and out, again and again, sweeping houses off their foundations, boats up on land (and up on roofs of buildings), and back into the sea again, mixing with all the debris. There are cars everywhere as if thrown around by the huge hand of a giant. Some 30,000 people dead/missing. We got an early start around

Anti-Nuclear Demonstrations June 11 All Over Japan

I can't count the number of anti-nuclear demonstrations going on today all over Japan. There are 2 big events in Tokyo, there is a "Peace Walking" parade in Date, Fukushima, as well as large events in Sapporo, Fukuoka and Yokohama. And many more places - I'm following a few of them as they use Twitter and upload photos. Live-blogging from your event? Let me know! Those who have organized anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo and the organizations called e-shift and Fukushima Genpatsu Jiko Kinkyu Kaigi (Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Emergency Congress) are jointly calling citizens of not just Japan but the world for the action against nuclear power on the day of the three-month-anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. What is “e-shift”? (A society to fulfill denuclearization and new energy policy): In the wake of the nuclear accident at Fukushima 1st plant on March 11, 2011, this society was established with groups and people who decided to fulfill den

Small Efforts Can Make A Huge Difference For Tohoku

I wasn't sure about this, but for a local effort here were I live, I was able to raise over 180,000 Yen from a Swedish tour company, and we are of course happy to receive more. I just want to make sure you, dear Kurashi readers, long-suffering as most of you most likely are, do NOT think I am suddenly using this blog to ask for money. In fact, most of you who live here have probably already put a couple of coins in the local 7-11 box. From what I hear, every Yen matters. The good people at Peace Boat will help you if you want to personally go on a few days of journey to Tohoku. There are other ways you can help, of course. From abroad, the Japanese Red Cross is still the best option, do ask your local/national Red Cross chapter how that works from where you live. The Japan Red Cross has a long history here, and they may be a bit slow, but if that is the best option, rather than going for some unknown entity, then you will at least rest assured that your contribution will reach