Showing posts from August, 2011

Fukushima Film Project/100,000 Years

A lot of interesting documentaries right now, one is the film from Finland about their 100,000 year storage project, yet to be finalized, about dealing with highly radioactive waste. How can we, who have only a history of buildings, like the pyramids, that date back some 5,000 years, even start to consider a time-frame of danger of 100,000 years? The film is showing in Tokyo in August. Catch it at Tokyo Northern Lights Festival in Shibuya. Schedule (JP): Tokyo Northern Lights Festival Our mankind exists 50,000 years. 我々人類誕生から5万年。 The pyramids are 5,000 years. ピラミッドらが5千年。 Nuclear waste is toxic for 100,000 years. 放射性廃棄物の毒性は10万年。 To protect ourselves. それらから我々を守る。 We try to build a storage. 我々は貯蔵施設の建造を試みる。 It must last 100,000 years. 10万年後まで(毒性を)封印する必要がある。 Construction has begun... 建造が始められた...。 Into eternity. 永遠に。 Another film, a Japanese production, is not yet ready, but seems very beautiful. Totecheeta Chiquitita is a very moving project. Scheduled to

Japan's Huge Energy Crunch

With fewer and fewer nuclear power plants up and running, Japan has just barely made it through summer without power outages or black-outs. Thanks to millions of people reducing their electricity consumption, the worst case scenario has been avoided. The energy crunch is far from over, though. There is virtually no hope of "renewable" energy making up for the huge loss as 39 nuclear reactors are off-line, with huge doubts if they can be restarted at all in the cases where they were not destroyed. It is worth noting that Tokyo and the entire Kanto region will not be back to "normal" again, ever. As we take stock of events since March 11, 2011 there is now also news that oil and coal plants, (also known as "thermal" power plants) are suffering glitches and trouble. While such issues can be resolved much more easily than the emergencies due to the earthquake and tsunami, they still make for a tense energy environment. Add to that the upheavals in the

Baseball Banter: Giants vs Carps

My brother was visiting briefly this week before a conference in Hong Kong. What to do on a very hot day in mid August? Tom, frequent commenter and old friend from London, suggested - baseball! I would rather have gone sailing with Pandabonium, but as I checked out the game, it all made sense. 45,000 fans at Tokyo Dome, for a fun event (I watched the Carps beat the Giants in Hiroshima in May) so I got the tickets. What a good call that turned out to be. Baseball fans in Japan are the best, with brass bands, drums, and good manners. When the home team is batting, only the home team fans will cheer. Then, when the away team bats, their fans get to lift the roof. Johan, an avid Malmö FF football fan, noted that there was no hatred, no firecrackers, no violence. Check one for team sports, Made in Japan. We have a lot to learn in Europe. He also liked how they serve beers and while not cheap (800 Yen) it is the Real Deal, no imitations. A big cheer for the young ladies running u

Children Visiting Tsunami-struck Miyagi Prefecture

I really think this is an excellent idea. School kids are given an opportunity to visit the coastal areas of Miyagi prefecture, that were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami on march 11, 2011. I hope more kids get a chance to participate. Asahi has more: This summer, tours of the areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake are bringing students from other prefectures to observe first-hand the damage done by the quake and tsunami. Although some adults had concerns about whether the reality would be too shocking, the children who have visited appear to have taken something back with them. The Chikyu Genki Mura (Global energetic village), a nonprofit organization based in Saitama, began a three-day bus tour of the disaster-stricken areas from July dubbed "Gareki no gakko" (School of rubble). The participants in the first tour were 10 children from Tokyo, Saitama and Yamanashi prefectures, along with eight parents. One participant, Yuki Abe, 13, sa

Trying To Land Your Jumbo Jet In Japan On March 11, 2011

Global Voices writer Takashi Ota has pieced together an account of a Delta Jumbo Jet trying to land in Japan on March 11, 2011. Clearly this was a difficult call. Around 3PM, just after the large earthquake, there was massive turbulence and problems at a number of airports at Narita, Ibaragi, Fukushima, Sendai, which would affect air traffic everywhere else in the Japanese airspace. On March 11, 2011, a Delta airplane pilot approaching Narita airport described his experience of an emergency landing. It was a vivid description that his record rapidly spread across the blogosphere. This particular jet was able to land at Chitose in Hokkaido: Suddenly ATC comes up and gives us a vector to a fix well short of Chitose and tells us to standby for holding instructions. Nightmare realized. Situation rapidly deteriorating. After initially holding near Tokyo, starting a divert to Nagoya, reversing course back to Tokyo then to re-diverting north toward Misawa, all that happy fuel reserve t

Coastal Area In Tohoku Still Needs Lots & Lots Of Help Part 3: A Town That Was Just Swept Away

I just got back from my third trip to disaster-struck areas in Miyagi prefecture. I saw amazing efforts to clean up the huge amount of debris. I saw green fields, some farmed, some just filled with strong weed, with potential. Most of Minami Sanriku is still a mess. There is no re-building in the hard-hit towns, and perhaps it will be impossible. There are new gasoline stands, with very friendly staff, the first signs of civilisation. Huge respect. We had run out of petrol on our long drive from Hanno, Saitama and were delighted that the stuff was available. The people in Miyagi have ambition. This is such a beautiful area with so much to gain from investments and help. It is like remote coastal Oregon or Washington state, or Scotland or even more to the point, Yorkshire & the Humber. But, what can you do? It has to be said, if you just lost half of your family, or all of them, the thought of "rebuilding" is remote or not even there. March 11 not only killed some 30,000

The Good Life

Food and energy, energy and food. And some humour. Then we're happy, basically. Here is an episode from the UK comedy show The Good Life, in which Tom and Barbara deal with self sufficiency by turning pig manure into methane gas, that can be used to produce elctricity. From their basement. Using a very dodgy machine. But it works. Happy 1970s when this kind of show could be made for the masses. If we don't get food and energy (and humour)? Well, people tend to protest, complain, suffer. We really are rather spoiled. I think I prefer trying to do something about my situation, rather than blaming others. Not easy, but infinitely more fun.

No Radiation Found In Shizuoka Rice

Rice harvesting is starting in Japan, and there is concern that some regions in Tohoku may be contaminated. The government has ordered 14 prefectures to test rice, according to NHK World: If the amount of cesium in the post-harvest test exceeds the government-set safety level of 500 becquerels per kilogram, shipments of rice from that area will be banned. Farmers will be obligated to dispose of the banned rice. Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is to pay compensation to the farmers. The government says 14 prefectures from northeastern through central Japan will be subject to the inspections. Tests will also be carried out in areas where more than 1,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram in the soil or more than 0.1 microsieverts of atmospheric radiation have been detected. Other municipalities will be asked to refer to the government guidelines when carrying out tests on a voluntary basis. In Shizuoka prefecture, south wes