Tag Archive: Japan

Dec 24 2015

Christmas In Japan: Hundreds queue outside of KFC branches in Tokyo

Though Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, it has become a celebration of all things western

Nov 26 2015

Colourful Japanese Manhole Covers

                             

Nov 07 2015

Late Night Music From Japan:Slash – Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix Tribute); Body Count – Hey Joe

Nov 17 2014

A-C Meetup: Poor Lovers Like Us–Illusion, Japan, and the Wholly Walton Empire by Galtisalie

Some illusions are not good. Keeping up appearances can be dangerous. We should have the courage to admit that we or those we love or should love are in need. A political party that is too afraid to speak this message is nearly worthless.

I love the honest moment many critics hate in Akira Kurisawa’s One Wonderful Sunday (1947) when the director, through the female co-lead, confesses the act of creating for the public good by turning to us, the viewers, and begging for help for the poor lovers of post-WWII Japan: “There are so many poor lovers like us.”

Generations later, the Japanese left is by and large retaining its moral courage against a denialist onslaught that would have fit right in with Fascist days gone by. In a vicious campaign of moral inversion that would make Karl Rove proud, those who dare to stand by the historical veracity of the exploitation of “comfort women” are themselves scandalized. The current conservative Japanese effort to expunge from history the Japanese military’s mass brutalizing of women during WWII is, needless to say, itself deeply shameful. But this need for maintenance of societal illusion is by no means a new creation. Nor can the U.S. exempt itself from criticism with respect to its own deep and wide illusion at home and abroad, and in particular with respect to Japan.  

In these sad days it is difficult to remember except with sadness that not too long ago a first term presidency was won on a simultaneously discomforting and audacious vision

The title of The Audacity of Hope was derived from a sermon delivered by Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright had attended a lecture by Dr. Frederick G. Sampson in Richmond, Virginia, in the late 1980s, on the G. F. Watts painting Hope, which inspired him to give a sermon in 1990 based on the subject of the painting – “with her clothes in rags, her body scarred and bruised and bleeding, her harp all but destroyed and with only one string left, she had the audacity to make music and praise God … To take the one string you have left and to have the audacity to hope… that’s the real word God will have us hear from this passage and from Watt’s painting.”

While “her” audacity is commendable, where is “ours”? Can we look on at a person in such a condition and not ask why and then do all we can to change those conditions?

This vision, which was ultimately an appeal to honestly assess the requirements of justice in the service of love, has been diminished through a societal psychosis brought about only in part by an opposition party strategically incapable of telling the truth on anything serious. The Republican Party is built on lying, to be sure. But it has received decades of assistance from the pathetic unwillingness of the U.S.’s so-called liberal party to have the audacity to honestly call even for old time liberal religion and from the pathetic unwillingness of the so-called liberal media to have the audacity to expose lies on a prolonged basis except of the inconsequential variety–such as the covering up of the pathetic sex life of a president with a consenting intern. While I hope most of us would agree that Bill Clinton was a putz, our collective political lives should not turn based on what he does with his. Had he turned to the camera and said “There are so many poor [so to speak] lovers like us” we all should have clapped, laughed, or yawned, but certainly immediately moved on.

It is worth pondering who is really running this sickly thickly syrupy daytime theatre of life in the U.S.–so comfortable with societal psychosis once reserved for dreams of a heavenly one–while we put on our daily generally modest costumes. We have lost the will to pray, oh Lord, for a Mercedes Benz or even a new pickup, although we may still feel this unexplained ungratified compulsion to purchase new gizmos with whatever is left over after the tank of gas that will get us from our trailer to our part time jobs if we can get them.  

It can sometimes be difficult, however, to tell the actors from the playwrights, for even the playwrights have to play dress up, or, more typically, dress down. When you are an imperial family, it is important to look the part, which will vary according to the needs of the occasion. If your power is mainly cultural, with pretentions of divinity, your plumage may need to be bold. While living large you may feel compelled to use your women and children more like props than actors on the stage of your pampered world.

If your power is economic, you may need to dress like regular small business folk on the way to the quaint grand opening of a new five and dime, complete with soda fountain. Your appearance should reflect the business needs of your milieu, even if that means you too must look like you eat tons of that processed corn-shit you sell to us at everyday low prices.

Before I come back to them, I want to mention the customers. You may wholly or partly not realize it, but, if you are reading this, you are likely sitting or standing (pray not driving) in the Wholly Walton Empire. You won’t actually get to “[m]eet the 6 Walton Heirs at the [t]op of the Walmart [e]mpire,” but it is important to their tight hold on power in the U.S. that you and hundreds of millions of species-beings like you remain alienated and not develop class consciousness of them and moral consciousness of the ends and means of their empire.

Now back to our story …

The Walton family are just regular folk, plus lots of money and power. They are at the pinochle of a homestyle capitalist family built on the illusion of choice. They are mere country vendors.

Other small town folk make the stuff that they vend, which we stuff into our bodies and souls to the limit of our credit and physiological and psychological capacity to intake stuff.

These ultra rich “regular folk” use slick mercenary politicians from both U.S. ruling parties to carry out their policies in exchange for chump change and neoliberal-circumscribed political power implemented through the kabuki theatre of “aw shucks, pass me them taters” known as U.S. “democracy.” A broad spectrum of “regular folk,” sometimes already wealthy but usually not “ultra rich,” compete within this mercenary class. Enter folks like Jeb (make no mistake, Jeb does not come to Arkansas because he cares about education)

and “our” very own HRC.

Now what in tarnation does this have to do with Japan?

Sep 03 2013

Fukushima Disaster: Worse Than Reported

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is getting worse and everyday there seems to be another report that the public has been not told the full truth of its impact or what is actually being done to contain it.

Fukushima’s Radioactive Plume Could Reach U.S. Waters By 2014

by Jeremy Hsu, Huffington Post

A radioactive plume of water in the Pacific Ocean from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, which was crippled in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, will likely reach U.S. coastal waters starting in 2014, according to a new study. The long journey of the radioactive particles could help researchers better understand how the ocean’s currents circulate around the world.

Ocean simulations showed that the plume of radioactive cesium-137 released by the Fukushima disaster in 2011 could begin flowing into U.S. coastal waters starting in early 2014 and peak in 2016. Luckily, two ocean currents off the eastern coast of Japan – the Kuroshio Current and the Kuroshio Extension – would have diluted the radioactive material so that its concentration fell well below the World Health Organization’s safety levels within four months of the Fukushima incident. But it could have been a different story if nuclear disaster struck on the other side of Japan.

Leaky Fukushima nuclear plant raises seafood poisoning concerns

by John Rch, NBC News

The 300 tons of radioactive water leaked to date from a storage tank at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan is raising new concerns about the safety of seafood from the region, according to scientists.

Highly contaminated water from the newly reported leak is seeping into the ground, officials with Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters Tuesday. They do not believe the water has reached the ocean, given the distance of the tank from the harbor. Still, it is likely only a matter of time before it does, said William Burnett, an oceanographer at Florida State University, who studies environmental radioactivity. [..]

The new tank rupture is the latest in a string of incidents to raise concerns about radioactive material from the damaged nuclear plant reaching the ocean. Earlier this month, a government official estimated that 330 tons of contaminated water was leaking into the ocean every day from the plant near the reactors (though not all of that water is as radioactive as the contents of the latest storage tank leak).

Fukushima radiation levels 18 times higher than previously thought

by Justin McCurry, The Guardian

Operator of Japanese nuclear power plant claims there has been no leak but has yet to discover cause of radiation spike

Radiation levels 18 times higher than previously reported have been found near a water storage tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing fresh concern about the safety of the wrecked facility. [..]

Japan’s nuclear watchdog confirmed last week it had raised the severity of that leak from level 1, an “anomaly”, to level 3, a “serious incident”, on an eight-point scale used by the International Atomic Energy Agency for radiological releases.

Earlier, the utility belatedly confirmed reports that a toxic mixture of groundwater and water being used to cool melted fuel lying deep inside the damaged reactors was seeping into the sea at a rate of about 300 tonnes a day.

Experts said those leaks, which are separate from the most recent incidents, may have started soon after the plant was struck by a powerful tsunami on 11 March 2011.

And in a “you’ve got to be kidding me” moment.

High radiation spreads at ruined Fukushima plant, Japan vows aid

by Sumio Ito and Mari Saito, The Sydney Morning Herald

High radiation levels are spreading at the ruined Fukushima nuclear plant, its operator said on Monday, and the Japanese government prepared to offer more funding and oversight to try to contain the crisis.

Japanese authorities were seeking to address criticism that Tokyo Electric Power Co has bungled the response to the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. [..]

Japan’s nuclear industry, which once provided a third of its energy, has ground nearly to a halt since the earthquake, causing reactor meltdowns. Restarting Japan’s idled reactors, and reducing its reliance on foreign energy supplies, is a central element of Abe’s economic growth plans.

Japanese officials also fear that international attention to the Fukushima crisis could threaten Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, a decision set to be made by the International Olympic Committee on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

The Japanese government’s response to this disaster has been wholly inadequate, often refusing to accept help or advice and hiding the critical facts from the public. While the US and world governments are so concerned over the use of a chemical weapon in Syria, willing to ignite the region in a full blown war, this crisis which will have deep impact on the environment and a major source of the world’s food supply is virtually ignored.  

Mar 11 2012

Remembering Japan

A Peaceful Journey To The Other Side

Japan Finds Story of Hope in Undertaker Who Offered Calm Amid Disaster

KAMAISHI, Japan – Amid the grief of finding her mother’s body at a makeshift morgue in this tsunami-ravaged city last March, Fumie Arai took comfort in a small but surprising discovery. Unlike the rest of the muddied body, her mother’s face had been carefully wiped clean.

Mrs. Arai did not know at the time, but the act was the work of a retired undertaker well-versed in the ancient Buddhist rituals of preparing the dead for cremation and burial. The undertaker, Atsushi Chiba, a father of five who cared for almost 1,000 bodies in Kamaishi, has now become an unlikely hero in a community trying to heal its wounds a year after the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged much of Japan’s northeastern coast a year ago Sunday.

“I dreaded finding my mother’s body, lying alone on the cold ground among strangers,” Mrs. Arai, 36, said. “When I saw her peaceful, clean face, I knew someone had taken care of her until I arrived. That saved me.”

An small act of kindness in the midst of chaos. Blessed Be

The Wheel Turns

Sep 20 2011

Typhoon Roke: More Bad News For Japan

Keeping our brother mishima, his family and the Japanese people in our hearts. May they all stay safe from harm.

Typhoon Roke Tracking Map

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You can follow Roke’s track at the Weather Underground

1 dead, 2 missing, over 1 million urged to evacuate as typhoon nears

More than a million people in Japan were warned to leave their homes on Tuesday as an approaching typhoon brought heavy rain and floods which left one person dead and two others missing.

Typhoon Roke, packing winds of up to 144 kilometers an hour near its center, could land in central Japan Wednesday and move northeast, possibly towards the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the Japanese weather agency said.

“While keeping its strength, the typhoon could make a land fall on Wednesday,” an official with the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a televised news conference.

“We ask that the highest level of caution be used because of the heavy rain, strong wind, and high waves.”

The city of Nagoya issued an evacuation advisory to some 1.09 million residents at one point because of worries that rivers might burst their banks.

The advisory was lifted from parts of the city, but landslide, flooding and tornado warnings affecting over a million people were still in place as night fell.

Typhoon Roke Hits Japan on Track for Leaking Nuclear Power Plant

Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) — Typhoon Roke brought evacuation orders, downpours and fears of floods to southern Japan today as it began to traverse the country on a course towards the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

More than 400,000 people have been advised to evacuate because of Roke, public broadcaster NHK said. That’s in line with evacuation numbers for typhoon Talas earlier this month, which dumped record rainfall on southern Japan, causing mudslides and floods that killed 67 people and left 26 missing.

The eye of Roke, which is categorized as “strong” by the Japan Meteorological Agency, was about 1,016 kilometers (631 miles) southwest of Tokyo at 1 p.m. local time today and packing wind speeds of 40 meters per second. The typhoon is forecast to take three days to pass over Japan and its storm warning area is due to cover most of the country in that time, according to the meteorological agency’s website.

Jun 25 2011

Japan Stupid Is As Stupid Does

With the resignation of Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the horizon the political idiots who run this country are maneuvering to further their political power while Northeast Japan is mired in a recovery so slow that only time-lapsed photography might notice any movement. People left homeless are forced to endure a lottery system to be placed in temporary housing. TEPCO continues to misinform and lie about the health risks posed by the disaster at the Daiichi-Fukushima power plant but what the real condition of the four damaged plants remains a mystery even though they keep insisting there will be completely transparent  

Taking a page from America’s Republican party the Liberal Democratic Party has decided to hold hostage the implementation of a third supplementary budget or an extension of the current Diet session needed to  pass funding for earthquake recovery.  

So, as these fools argue over when Kan will resign and who will fill the power vacuum people in the stricken area continue to suffer from a lack of recovery effort and a complete lack of leadership from any quarter.

Mar 26 2011

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – “I Have Here in My Hand a List of…”

Note: I kept getting errors about text being corrupted while trying to post the complete diary.  This is only half the diary.  There are many more sections and editorial cartoons in this diary that I posted over at Daily Kos.

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma



Peter King – Ghost of Hearings Past by Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

Mar 17 2011

A Beautiful Day To Die

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The earthquake and the tsunami and the nuclear event have finally shut me up.  I haven’t been able to write. I don’t have anything clear or witty or insightful or clever or new to say about these events.  I am avoiding the talking heads on TV, and I’m reading as little as possible about the event on the Internet, and I’ve been absent from this blog. Why? Because I have no confidence at all that what I’d hear or read would be the truth. And I have the dreadful thought that the situation in Japan is far, far worse than what we are being told. I have no proof for the last sentence other than the plethora of contradictions I find in the news stories. And a tight feeling in my heart and chest and stomach that warns of impending, large scale disaster. I hope I’m wrong about this, but alas, I don’t think I am.

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