Showing posts from September, 2013

Stop This Right Now!

Climate change, heat, cold, we are all wondering what is going on. The Hamaoka nuclear reactors south west of Tokyo are a no-go as far as I am concerned. This was before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit Fukushima. I was working on this very topic back in 2005-2006 over at Japan Offspring Fund . Junichi Kowaka noted : Of all the 52 active nuclear reactors in Japan experts agree that the 5 reactors in Hamaoka are the most dangerous.  Hamaoka sits directly over a subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates. The ground is not solid rock, but sand.  This area is in fact overdue for a major earthquake. When the radioactivity is released, it will be much worse than if an atomic bomb was dropped in the region.   At Japan Offspring Fund, we are concerned with safety issues, and we would like to provide advice about what you can do to escape, when such earthquake happens. I like how the Calvin and Hobbes creator dealt with this issue, from the point

Address by H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Energy technologies? So, dear readers of this long-suffering Kurashi blog, what do you think of Mr. Shinzo Abe's comment? [Energy technologies] You (Americans) live in a country that is very lucky indeed, enjoying tremendous economic power through shale gas and shale oil, which will also lower your fossil fuel costs. Japan is not so fortunate. But it is exactly because we lack this good fortune that we have become masters of innovation. Compared to 1973 when the Fourth Middle East War erupted, Japan's energy efficiency has improved by some 40 percent. Japan's petroleum-equivalent energy consumption per thousand dollars of GDP is now a mere 0.11 tons, in contrast to 0.17 tons for the United States. China's is 0.6 tons, showing how Japan's highly advanced energy conservation technologies outperform the rest of the field by a wide margin. Herein lies an opportunity for Japan to grow -- and an opportunity for you to invest. Some 70 percent of the wor

Recepie For Duty Of Care

Add one spoonful of Abe Shinzo's speech to Wall Street , including his weird reference to that 1980s movie character, Gordon Gekko: Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful to have this opportunity to speak to you today. Wall Street, an entity that moves the global economy-- when I hear the name, my mind turns to Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. In the original film in 1987, the words "Nikkei Index" appear. Japanese businessmen also take the screen and the film reminds us of the era in which the Japanese economy was regarded as a juggernaut. However, in the 2010 sequel, the investors that appear are Chinese and it is not Wall Street but London where Gordon amasses his wealth. Japan is conspicuous only in its absence. Just as the title, "Money Never Sleeps," indicates, the principle that money flows to wherever the profits are is decidedly severe. It is certainly true that after the bursting of its bubble, from the 1990's Japan was mired

Generic Medicines, In My Mailbox

MSF Urges Countries Not to Trade Away Health as Trans-Pacific Trade Pact Negotiations Intensify August 22, 2013, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam  - The far-reaching Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) should be a force for improving health outcomes for the more than half a billion people in twelve countries affected by the pact, but instead negotiators are moving towards finalizing a deal that in fact would restrict access to affordable medicines and constrain governments’ ability to protect the health of their citizens, warned Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). “Despite more than 18 months of persistent opposition from its trading partners, the U.S. government has refused to back down from its demands for intellectual property (IP) rules designed to impede timely access to affordable generic medicines,” said Leena Menghaney, MSF Access Campaign Manager, who is attending the negotiations.  “The U.S. is keen to block developing co

Access to Life-Saving Generic Medicines Threatened by Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

Japan Must Consider The Impact of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on Access To Medicines In Developing Countries Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) JP   The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has the potential to greatly diminish access to affordable medicines for millions of people in parts of the developing world, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today. As Japan nears a decision on joining the TPP negotiations, MSF is concerned that discussions in Japan have failed to take into account the impact that aggressive intellectual property provisions proposed by the US could have on access to medicines in countries where MSF works and beyond. “Our experience around the world shows that MSF's treatment programs – and our patients’ lives – depend on the availability of quality and affordable generic medicines,” explains Eric Ouannes, General Director of MSF-Japan. “If Japan does not properly conside

Got Asthma? TPP Is Not Going To Help

Trade agreement threatens access to affordable medicines Access to affordable medicines is threatened by the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, according to the New Zealand-based leader of the Global Asthma Network, Professor Innes Asher. Media Release The University of Auckland 20th September 2013 Trade agreement threatens access to affordable medicines Access to affordable medicines is threatened by the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, according to the New Zealand-based leader of the Global Asthma Network, Professor Innes Asher. The US-driven trade agreement is designed to promote the interests of the pharmaceutical industry to the great detriment of public health, says Professor Asher from the University of Auckland. “A lobby group influenced by the pharmaceutical industry is seeking to eliminate therapeutic reference pricing and introduce appeals processes that will allow pharmaceutical companies to challenge formulary listing and pri

Tokyo Autumn Festivals

Shitamachi Tokyo. This is one city where people do like to party. If you are thinking of going to Japan, late September is a great time. This weekend, we had the Nezu Shrine festival, and to the east of Nippori station, a full weekend of fun. Do get lost in this part of Tokyo, enjoy the small shops and cafes and shrines and temples... Yanaka is that kind of place. And there is so much going on! Here is a short video of the dance in Nippori on Sunday night:

Coal Mine Dance in Nippori, Tokyo

This weekend the Nippori Marche will feature guests from Kyushu, who will perform their traditional Coal Mine Dance. The market is on the east side of Nippori station. The tankobushi dance is a chance for everyone to join a classic Kyushu event, right here in Tokyo. Saturday: 18:00 Sunday: 15:00 contest (best costume) and 18:00 (big final event) Plus lots of local foods from farmers who take this market seriously, for 3 years now (and counting). Details from Nippori Yume Donya (J)

Autumn Full Moon

Enjoy the exhibition of ukiyo-e at the small Ota Memorial Museum in Harajuku. Woodblock prints by Hiroshige depicting views of the autumn full moon. More: Moon Phases Calendar for September

Tropical Storm Man-yi, a.k.a. Typhoon 18

Watch out for more heavy rain both today Sunday and tomorrow, as we have a direct hit over the Kanto region, including Tokyo. The Kinki region including Osaka and Kyoto will get up to 600 mm of rain. Take good care. Tropical Storm Man-yi, a.k.a. Typhoon 18 will hit land at around midnight or early Monday morning, so there goes the "Respect for the Aged" holiday down the proverbial drain... JMA Tropical Storm info (English) Top image borrowed from Mainichi (J) UPDATE 1: At 14:00 on Monday, September 16, the tropical storm is passing Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture. NHK is reporting strong rains and winds, and JR trains are not running. The storms appears to be heading almost straight for the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. Image (right) from NHK at 13:53 on Monday and bottom from JMA . UPDATE 2: The worst damage so far seems to be in parts of Kyoto, with huge areas flooded on Monday, forcing some 150,000 people to move to emergency centers.

"Danger Of TPP Exposed"

Yoshiko Matsuda has been reporting on the risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks through a Facebook page, based on information she gathered from people worldwide. Matsuda says she wants to inform the public on the need to oppose the TPP agreement, using various kinds of ways. She consistently checks the homepage of the United States Congress and other overseas sources to gather information on the TPP talks, and conveys it directly to members of the Japanese Diet as well as posting it on the Internet. In May, she translated into English the resolutions adopted by the committees of the upper and lower houses of the Diet and the Liberal Democratic Party regarding the TPP negotiations, which urge the government to protect the five key agricultural products including rice and wheat, and sent them to all the members of the U.S. Congress. Cooperating with Japanese women living in the U.S., Canada and Australia which she became acquainted with through the I

Olympics In Tokyo 2020?

Nice video here with all the announcements and the recent winning cities (including Nagano for the 1998 Winter Olympics). I think Tokyo has a very strong and safe bid and hope everyone will be with us here. In a few hours we will know. Remember 1964? Tokyo had been awarded the Olympics in 1940 but the war in China meant events had to be cancelled. Imagine the joy in Tokyo 24 years later in 1964... Sweden did not do too well, only a sailing gold in Zushi, Kanagawa. After that, two terrific Winter Olympics (Sapporo 1972 and Nagano 1998) so this should be Tokyo's opportunity to once again welcome a lot of people to this amazing city. Japan enters at around 1:40 here: Update: And I could remove the question mark in the title. Congratulations Tokyo! Update 2 : Andrew DeWit has an interesting take on what is in stall for Japan over the next 7 years. DeWit wonders if this will be the "Green Olympics" we are hoping for. He spotted a remarkable sentence lat

Summer Dance

Obon Odori is held in many local places in late summer, an if you are in Tokyo, do catch the dance in Nippori, Tokyo on September 21-22 with the Coal Miners Dance. Check out Nippori Yume Donya for the schedule. So, why do young guys in Malaysia dance the Obon Odori? "Girls, pretty girls in kimono!" Meanwhile in Seattle: Meanwhile in San Diego : The Bon Odori continued into the night for a total of 20 dances, including “Bon Odori Uta,” “Tohoku Ondo,” “Ichi Tasu Ichi (One Plus One) Ondo,” “Tanko Bushi,” “Sakura Kappore,” “Memanbetsu Bayashi,” “Shiawase Samba,” “Mottainai,” and a Japanese version of “Beautiful Sunday." Meanwhile in Argentina: Yo voy a seguir subiendo videos :) asi q si quieren miren en mi usuario ^^ me alegro q les haya gustado, la verdad s q fue una noche muy linda :D saludos :)  Meanhile in London, UK: Meanwhile in Malaysia: Date: 20th July 2013 Time: 6.00pm- 11.00pm Organizer: The Consulate-General of Japa

The Flight of the Swans

Set in British Malaya and India, The Flight of the Swans is an expansive family epic with a war theme revolving around the vision of a flight of swans or a bird in solitary endeavour that signals a cursed Captain and his family's hurried escape from the hands of the British. This, to face hardships in another land as well as hopeful dreams. Family upheavals, mangled from a wounded political and historical landscape as well as sibling rivalry for the hand of a beautiful courtesan, hold reflection on a new brand of literary Indian writing in Malaysia that rests on ambitious history and vivid description of lives lived and lost through circumstances and bad decisions.  This is a story that deals with the beautiful, the exotic and the tragic. The Flight of the Swans by D. Devika Bai In her debut novel, The Flight of the Swans , Malaysian author, D. Devika Bai has painted a richly de

South Chinese Sea/West Philippine Sea

While everyone seems focused on Syria, there is a much more important dispute concerning Communist China and its neighbours in the South China Sea, involving The Philippines , Vietnam, and a host of other small countries. India is also involved, as there may be oil and gas in the area. My advice? Stay calm and do not let daily news rock your boat. We have more important issues to deal with, such as energy, food security, democracy. Mark Valencia over at The Japan Times has done a stellar job at uncovering the legal/international law issues. Over the past few years, the Philippines and China have engaged in a series of increasingly dangerous incidents stemming from their conflicting claims in the South China Sea. On Jan. 22, a potential watershed date in the politics of the South China Sea, the Philippines, with tacit U.S. support, filed a complaint against China with the Law of the Sea’s dispute settlement mechanism — the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ba

Ask This of Rikyu (2013)

The Japanese film "Ask This of Rikyu" received an award for Best Artistic Contribution on Monday, at the Montreal World Film Festival in Canada. Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo plays the main character of tea master Sen no Rikyu. The story is set in the late 16th century and is based on the novel "Rikyu ni Tazuneyo", which won Japan's literary award Naoki Prize in 2009. Here is a trailer: A writer and poet, the tea master referred to the ware and its relationship with the tea ceremony, saying " Though you wipe your hands and brush off the dust and dirt from the vessels, what is the use of all this fuss if the heart is still impure? " Many of the prescribed behaviors used in contemporary Japanese tea ceremony were introduced by Rikyu. Some of his contributions include: A tea house that can accommodate five people, A separate small room where tea utensils are washed, and Two entrances, one for the host and one for the g

Do You Care About Online Internet Consumer Protection?

Updating the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection for the Digital Age Tags UN Guidelines Why amend the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection? Download the book to read more Because digital consumers are being treated unfairly Did you ever purchase a movie from overseas, only to find it wouldn't work on your player back home? Do you hate having to click “I agree” to pages of legalese that could be taking away your rights? Would you like to be able to freely transfer e-books between your devices and to share them with family members? Our amendments will give you the same rights whether you buy digital or analogue, online or offline. Because your privacy matters Are marketers tracking you across the Web without your permission? Are you worried about how securely your personal data is being kept online, and what recourse you might have if it leaks out? Can you easily move the documents, photos and videos that y

Consumers Union Of Japan At The TPP Round In Brunei

Image <= This is where NHK World had a video about the events in Brunei, but it has now been taken down. In their infinite wisdom, I suppose. Good thing we still have blogs to spread the word.