Showing posts from August, 2014

Eco Links For August, 2014

Last days of summer, with a hint of autumn in the air already? I went to the Farmers Market at United Nations University in Tokyo , and here are some photos of that happy event. Very nicely managed with white tents and wooden crates for the produce and preserves. I hear it is rather expensive to have a stall here (12,000 yen per day compared to, for example, Nippori Market at 5,000 yen per day) but many of the vendors come back weekend after weekend, so they must be doing well! Asahi reports that this summer has been tough on veggie farming and that prices are going through the roof: Vegetable prices are soaring due to the summer's heavy rains and a lack of sunshine across the nation, making for poorer growing and harvesting conditions than in usual years. These unusual weather phenomena are causing shortages of vegetables and showing up in higher prices in supermarkets across the nation. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the retail price

Tesla Electric Car In Tokyo From September 4

And now for something completely different... I did my democratic duty over at the Swedish Embassy in Roppongi, and voted in the Swedish elections. Then walked back towards Shibuya since the weather was ok, just a light drizzle, but after the heat we had (global warming/climate change/weird weather, anyone?) it is so nice to be able to spend some quality time outdoors again. Then in Aoyama, I noticed a camera crew, and a small showroom, and a car. The all-electric Tesla is in Tokyo, and events will start to take off from September 4. I think I may have been one of very few in Japan who got to sit in a Tesla, today! Took some photos too. Yu Yamasaki, product specialist at Tesla, was more than helpful. I don't own a car and don't intend to, and yet, if you really need mobility of this kind, the Tesla could very well be a good option. Rather this than some awful SUV. I don't think there is much of a future in private car ownership, but hey, I've been saying t

Kasumigaura Lake, NHK World, And The Usual Rant From Kurashi

Wonderful, wonderful program from NHK World about a lake just 60 km north of Tokyo, probably not very well known to Tokyoites, but it has its charms. Lake Kasumigaura is actually an ancient lagoon but the current lake was created some 50 years ago when a dam helped set the borders of what was to be water, and what was to be land. However, that also changed the conditions of the area, a lot. NHK World shows wonderful, wonderful lotus plantations, and fishing experiences in the old style Hobiki-sen boats... Just an hour or two from the nation's capital. Wonderful, wonderful... NHK World: Journeys in Japan However, (Kurashi taking a deep breath...) NHK World fails to take any notice the huge environmental issues that this lake, Japan's second largest after Lake Biwa, continues to face. Why gloss over the realities? Why NHK World producers, and foreigners participating in this game, cannot raise even the most simple questions about what ordinary people here in Japan on

Protest Meetings Against Linear Shinkansen

The good people trying to stop the Maglev train line between Shinagawa and Nagoya are holding several large meetings this fall, starting on August 30 at Wako University in Tsurukawa (Odakyu Line). The theme is to learn from the network that protested against environmental destruction near Mt. Takao in Tokyo, and the experiences from the lawsuit against the Ken-O Highway construction. On September 13 a symposium will be held in Yamanashi, and on October 13 in Tokyo (with long-term Japan resident Arthur Binard, activist and poet from the US). The Linear Citizens NET is a group with branches in all the affected prefectures (J).They are concerned about the environmental destruction, the threat to water resources, and other pollution concerns (such as the huge amounts of trucks that will be needed to remove gravel during the tunnel construction). Also, there is much doubt that there will be any financial gains at all for the people affected. Construction is expected to continue we

Permaculture, A Story

I have been hearing good things about permaculture but I'm less inclined to agree that animal husbandry can be integrated in any such endeavor... Ken sayz… Personally for me permaculture is about just enough and finding contentment, not exerting energy to make money. I like that it’s focused on rebuilding the top soil and growing perennials and growing food and transforming yards into useful spaces, making everything have multiple functions. To me permaculture is not just about making it in the current economy, it’s about planning for a future economy after unsustainable practices fail and leave us with nothing but the more sustainable ones, which is something that I think young adults today will see as they grow old. Which made me come up this story, or parable, or fable, of our times: Once upon a time... there was a city boy in his early thirties who moved to the hills to farm with his young wife. They started small and that all went well for a while. Th

No Red Meat Diet - The Harvard Version

Harvard doctors have some good news for you: the magic number you should be aiming for is five servings       What you should be eating to lower your blood pressure   5 healthy fast food swaps      Why you should eat beans, lentils and peas to lower bad cholesterol      5 lifestyle changes to improve your heart’s health “It is possible that the digestibility of fruits and vegetables and the availability of nutrients and other bioactive compounds of these foods may have reached a plateau at five servings for most people,” Dr. Frank Hu , Harvard School of Public Health professor, told Health Day . If you live in Japan and still eat red meat, you are contributing to a way of life that supports impo

Silver Spoon

I should have posted this, they made a regular movie out of the anime Silver Spoon... So Hachiken, this regular Tokyo city kid goes to agricultural college in Hokkaido, and learns to love animals, and the rest that humans do to them... He reluctantly finds out what most people prefer not to know about, like how eggs are "made" or what happens to cute piglets when they get big and fat and... Well, if you read Kurashi, you most likely know the rest of the story! Enjoy... if that's the word ;) Music by Sukima Switch 銀の匙 Silver Spoon 2014 映画 予告編 I kind of prefer the anime version, though! 銀之匙 片尾曲 - Hello Especially 

Want To Grow Vegetables? JA Youth May Be Able To Help? "New Farmer" Trend...?

Some of my veggies did good this summer, in spite of the insane heat due to the typhoons in early August. Now, things are back to normal, somehow. Climate change indeed, I don't remember typhoons in August when I first arrived on these shores. Warm, yes, but not so hot and humid. My corn was alright, very sweet and lovely after a 10 minute boil. No salt needed. But I did really well with the purple cabbage/cucumber/carrots while lucking out in the ruccula department - they just self-seeded since last year. Bitter, tasty, my new favourite greens. With a drop of vinegar, if you must :) Even if you just have a balcony, do try to grow something. You will learn the basics, know when to water, and look forward to the harvest. Write a poem, enjoy the change of seasons. Simple as that. I'm sad to see new houses being built with ample parking space for cars, and no garden. Bad. We need to quit the asphalt and go for the soil and compost. Learn to live with your own ve