Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sunflower Ville

An impromptu day trip to Yamanashi prefecture. We left early in the morning and drove. After some konbini stops, car sleeping, and conversation, we arrived at the flower park.

The seven of us who went are here in their own unique poses.
There I am.
There James is.
There Subaru is.

There's crazy Chizuru.
There's Riya, who dug in the flower and found a sunflower seed.
There's Emi and Michael.
There's a bee having some lunch.
And now we're having some lunch. (Mmmmm, nasu pasta and free soup and salad bar!!!)
James and Emi in the "JUST MARRIED" pose.

Don't forget the Sunflower flavored soft cream! (like i did)

Now, for some videos of playing in the park.


Chizuru Ride

Emi's Ride

James' Ride

Subaru's Ride

Michael's Ride

Toby's Ride



There's a bus from Nirasaki Station, which is only 2 stations from Kofu, the capital of Yamanashi Prefecture.

Here is the exact location of the park.

9:00am – 6:00pm (April 1st – July 20th / September 1st – November 20th), 9:00am – 9:00pm (July 21st – August 31st / November 21st – December 27th ), 9:00am – 5:00pm (January 2nd – March 31st)

For more details, consult the information website here.

While you're in Yamanashi, check out some of its famous foods. ほうとう, or hottou, is a delicious soup with the fattest noodle available, the hottou noodle. It's made with mountain vegetables and a miso broth. It's really delicious!

Yamanashi ken is also famous for a variety of fruits. If you happen to be there during peach or pear season, then you're lucky. Eat some of that.

Also, basashi, or raw horse meat, is popular in this area around Yamanashi's capital.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Once in a Blood Moon

I was visiting my childhood home in Commerce, CA. Our family hasn't lived in that house since the early nineties, however, this past year, my mom and stepdad have moved back in. When I came in, the first person I wanted to meet was my parent's new son who was born while I was away living in Japan. He's already two years old, and this is the first time I'm meeting him. He's absolutely darling with a round, fresh face and charm that oozes out of him. In fact, when I was down on the floor, playing with him below the flat screen TV in the living room, I had a wave of jealousy. Why does my mom get to have this darling charmer of a child, when she said that she was done having children, yet I can't have one? I wanted to steal him. I was seriously considering it.

After spending some time playing and talking to him, I noticed two very particular things about this little fair-faced boy. First, that he was of above-average intelligence for a two-year-old child who was able to have full conversations while we were playing with the tiny cars on the floor. Second, he touched on a bit of macabre topics, wanting to crash the cars, cut open the cars with the jaws of life and chew on the bodies inside. I was a bit grossed out by his descriptive play and didn't think that was very normal for a little kid. HOW did he LEARN that kind of language, I wondered. I considered chalking it up to poor television censorship on my mom's part, but decided to go and talk to her about it.

I found her in the bedroom folding laundry and I lied down in a comfortable talking position, because I thought it might take some time to make my point. Surprisingly, all I had to say was "Mom, have you ever felt that something's not right with the baby?" She stopped folding and looked down at me, looking so sad and said, "yes, yes there is. He's got PSPT Syndrome. I didn't know what that was, but I decided to pretend that I did and figured I'd just Google it later, after she told me what happened. She didn't get a chance to tell me anything though, because somebody called her outside and she scrambled to look for her phone, then asked me to borrow mine. Her voice was urgent, so I just obliged. I didn't follow her out, and instead wondered what PSPT syndrome was, and was thinking about how I can figure it out before she came back to talk about it. I wondered what was going on outside, so I wandered out there.

I heard my name and my mom handed me my iPhone, and her face looked pissed off. Deciding that asking her what was wrong might warrant a long list of complaints, I decided to keep quiet for a little while. However, she couldn't hold it in. "Why do you have me listed in the Do not reply list? I was confused, and still am. I didn't know then, nor now what the "do not reply" setting on the iPhone meant, nor why my mom was added to that list. I told her that, but she didn't believe me. She wasn't yelling, but I could tell by her tone and facial expression that her feelings had been really hurt by finding out her status on my cell phone. As I was fiddling about with my phone, trying to figure out what that stupid "do not reply" check box even meant, as well as how to uncheck it. While messing around with my phone, I noticed the list of dialed calls that my mom had made when she was borrowing my phone. There were 2 calls to, and 4 missed calls from a Bellevue Mental Hospital. At first I thought it was some kind of trick, joke or mistake because I don't even think that mental hospitals are called mental hospitals anymore.

Anyway, I also saw a message sent to them, and I opened it. It had an attachment file, which I also opened. It was a help request form and had a bunch of boxes. It took awhile for my eyes to adjust to the format of the boxes and to figure out what it was. It was written in my mom's writing style describing an incident where the baby was found outside in the backyard fucking a cat. I was horrified and shocked by the words, so much so that I dropped my iPhone in the rose bushes, and I couldn't find it in the darkness, as it blended with the black soil. I again heard some commotion as well as cars parking in front of the house and I decided to find my phone afterward, and go see what was going on.

I walked in after my mom, some doctors who were dressed more like dog catchers, actually, they were wearing shirts that looked just like the Kuroneko worker's uniform.

I ran in behind the group and went the opposite route as them into the living room, since there's another entrance that wasn't blocked with people. As I was walking I heard the doctor shouting, "hey, how's the baby? I've missed the baby. Haven't seen him in a while." While he was saying those words in a loud, semi-condescending tone he looked toward my brother, Ricky, to guide him to the baby's whereabouts. Without a word, Ricky pointed to the closed closet doors. The doctor opens the door suddenly, and the baby runs out, holding a giant cooking knife, swinging it at the doctor, trying to slice his knees, shins, and stabbing down as if to pin the doctor's foot to the floor. Within seconds, the doctor successfully subdues him, pulls the knife from his grubby little hands and hands it upside-down to my mother who's standing by his side.

She takes it from him, and the doctor kneels to the ground, holding and calming the boy. My mom starts reprimanding the baby for his actions. "You're a bad boy! Bad boy!" And just as sudden as the child bolted out of the closet doors, my mom swipes the knife down very quickly as if to swipe it against his skin. At first, it seems like a very small cut. I'm extremely shocked by my mom's behaviour, of physically reprimanding the baby in front of the hospital staff. But suddenly, the wound is found to be bigger than expected. Suddenly the small line of blood leaking from the fissure turns into an all-out gushing wound, immediately covering his tiny body with blood. My mom, shocked by what she has done, grabs him from the floor by his neck, the way mommy cats do to their kittens. And that was the point, when I saw her running past me, with a dying bleeding baby in her hands, with me soooo sad for the baby, crying "don't let him die, don't let him die", when I woke up with a start.

My heart was racing. I was so scared. I felt vulnerable, that I could be stabbed at any moment, and wondered if I had locked the door. I woke Chu up. She quickly went back to sleep. I walked around the house, making sure nobody was inside, and I locked the door, and woke up Chu again. I told her the dream, but realized halfway that she went back to sleep again. I was so scared. So scared and bewildered, that I even considered Skyping home to my mom to tell her of this freaky ass dream that I had about her. It was 2;47am when I looked at the clock, which would be around 9-10am in the morning. But i decided against it, I had to work in the morning.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chicken Taquitos

In order to make some flavorful chicken breast, boil it with water, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. If you have extra chicken, you can keep some of it for chicken soup, or even tortilla soup. Feel free to add carrots, green pepper, corn or potato.

After the chicken is cooked, pull out a few pieces and shred it with a knife, or pull it apart using your fingers.

Place the chicken in the center of a corn tortilla.
Corn tortillas can be found at any Kaldi shop, but if you're lucky to live near a Costco, they're very cheap at Costco in the refridgerated area. For a list of stores in your area, visit this website. Kaldi Coffee Shop is located in many cities around Japan. It has many varieties of coffees, wines, and other foreign foods and snacks. In Shizuoka, there's a few Kaldi in Hamamatsu, Iwata, Shizuoka station, and Fuji. Check the website to find where they are.

Roll it up and place it in a pan of hot vegetable oil. If the taquito seems unstable, feel free to use toothpicks to close the edges shut, and to keep it tightly rolled.

After they have browned and turned crispy, pull them out using tongs, shake out excess oil, and roll them around on a plate covered by a paper towel. The towel will soak up the extra oil. Feel free to put a little salt on the top while they're still piping hot.

You can make tortilla chips like this as well. Cut them into triangles and throw them in the pan. You can also make tostadas by throwing a whole tortilla into the oil. Make sure to keep an eye on them and turn them over so they can cook fully on both sides. Place them on a paper towel, and salt or squirt some lemon for taste.

Whip up some guacamole and salsa, and you've got some yummy dinner action.

In Japan, it's difficult to get certain items, for example, chili. I make my salsa using a california red pepper, tomato sauce, garlic, salt, pepper and onion. Very simple, although, I do have to ask nicely for friends at home to bring them whenever they come to Japan from California.

Chipotle is also very yummy.

Finally, finding sour cream is very difficult in Japan, however I have found that using plain yogurt is an awesome substitute. This is the one i use.

Finally, if you still have some chicken left, you can serve with a little bowl of chicken soup. However, if you've used all the chicken, you can put the broth and veggies in a bowl, throw in a few triangular tortilla chips, and some shredded cheese, and you've got yourself a bowl of tortilla soup.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to have a box of fresh, organic, local vegetables delivered to your doorstep

This Autumn, I am planning to do a raw food cleanse in order to rid my body of all the toxins from this summer's junk food and beer-drinking. Since vegetables and fruit shopping can be a bit expensive in Japanese supermarkets (for example 200 yen for one zucchini, 2000 yen for a watermelon, 300 for a few eggplants), I decided that I need to find some other option.

When I worked in Yokohama, a vegetarian co-worker used to have his vegetables delivered to him from a farm in Ibaraki. That was before the earthquake when radiation fears frightened people from produce grown in the northeast part of Japan. At that time, he gave me the website to the farm, where you could order and pay from your boxes through a form on their website for their farm, called Mananouen . I was very impressed.

He used to bring a beautiful and healthy bento to work everyday, full of colorful vegetables which were in season at the time. After browsing the website's pictures of sample boxes during each season, I noticed some vegetables which I couldn't recognize. I asked him how he was able to use the vegetables that he wasn't familiar with. He answered that he would merely look it up on the internet and search for recipes on how to prepare the mystery vegetable.

Autumn is often regarded as the most delicious season in Japan. Since this is the time when many vegetables are harvested, it's probably also the best time to start up your farm fresh vegetable box delivery system. I figured that it would be cheaper and fresher to search for a farm within Shizuoka, preferably in a city close to mine, where I might even be able to pick up the box. After searching the kanji 農園の有機野菜 + prefecture's name in kanji
農園 のうえん nouen---farm, plantation 有機 ゆうき yuuki---organic 野菜 やさい yasai---vegetable

So for example, I searched for 農園の有機野菜 静岡県.

The one I liked the most because of the proximity to me was:

To inquire about how to set up the delivery system, send them an email


The email that I first composed was the following.

Afterwards, I asked somebody to check it, and they corrected it to this. I had made some grammar mistakes, and there were some things that were a little too difficult for me to ask.

野菜のセットに興味があります。I am interested in the vegetable sets.
たとえば、セットBとセットCの中身は何ですか?For example, What is inside sets B and C?
ABCのセットの野菜は全部静岡県からですか?Are all of the vegetables in sets AB and C from Shizuoka?
そろそろ秋になるので、どんな野菜がありますか?Since it will be autumn soon, which vegetables will be sent?
そしてその野菜のセットはどう注文したらよいでうか? Also, how do I order these boxes?
振込みで買えますか? Is it possible to pay via furikomi? (bank transfer)
農場に直接買いにいくことはできますか?Is it possible to pick up instead of home delivery?
毎回違うセットを注文することができますか?Is it possible to order different sets each week?
以上が質問です。Those are all the questions I have.
よろしくおねがいします。Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu (the thing you say when you're asking for something to be done, such as for them to answer these questions)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kittydioms (猫の慣用語)

My favorite book at the moment is 2001 Japanese Idioms.
It accompanied me to our camping trip to Lake Aoki.
We met a new feline friend at the campsite, which ended up coming home with Ko.
I found the idioms about cats quite fun. So here we go.

literal: 文字通り
idiomatic: 慣用語句

Japanese Idioms

猫 ねこ cat

1) 猫も杓子も(ねこもしゃくしも)
文字通り意味:literal meaning: the cat and also the ladle
慣用語句意味:Idiomatic meaning: every Tom, Dick, and Harry
Everyone, or everyone and their mother.

Recently, everyone and their mother is learning Japanese.
These days, every Tom, Dick and Harry is learning Japanese.

So I don't know how "everyone" can be compared to a cat and ladle, or soup spoon. Sounds funny, but I am reminded of how English translates "everything" to "everything and the kitchen sink".

There are two idioms that English speakers use to express this Japanese idiom about the cat and the ladle. An older way is to say "every Tom, Dick, and Harry"....which are common boys names that were popular when the idiom was invented. It's saying that every common person is doing this thing.

The other is "everyone and their mother", which suggests that not only everyone is doing this thing, but their mother too. It's a sarcastic way to say that everyone is doing this thing.

I wonder if the Japanese idiom is has the same sarcastic meaning. What do you think?

文字通り意味:Literal meaning: give coins to a cat
慣用語句意味:Idiomatic meaning: give a present to someone who can't appreciate it or isn't interested in it
Giving him a book is like giving coins to cats. (he doesn't like to read)

There's another idiom that is the same in both Japanese and English. It is "like giving pearls to swine". In Japanese, it is said (豚に真珠). This idiom suggests that giving pearls to pigs is wasteful and they have no use for it, just like cats don't have any use for coins. Often, in Japanese, the 2 idioms are said in unison.

3)猫の手も借りたい (ねこのてもかりたい)
文字通り意味:Literal meaning: to borrow even a cat's paw
Idiomatic meaning: wish you had an extra hand, extra time, or to be two people (said when you are REALLY busy)
When I moved yesterday, I was so busy that I wished I could be two people.

I think this idiom is quite cute. The idea that someone is so busy that they'd even borrow a cat's paw, which wouldn't be very efficient at all, considering cats don't have any fingers or opposable thumbs.

English Idioms

1) to let the cat out of the bag
意味:口を滑らす (くちをすべらす)
英語の意味:to tell a secret

On the day before the surprise party, I let the cat out of the bag.

Okay, who let the cat out of the bag?

2) to look like something the cat dragged in
英語の意味:to look dirty and yucky like a dead mouse

She didn't bring an umbrella and she got all wet. She looks like something the cat dragged in.

3) when the cat is away, the mice will play. 
英語の意味:when nobody is watching, people will act normally and sometimes break the rules

As soon as their boss left for the day, everybody relaxed took a break. When the cat's away, the mice will play.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Camping in Aoki Lake, Nagano

Another of my favorite summer pastimes is camping. This year, we visited Aoki-ko in Nagano. This lake is near Hakuba, the famous skiing spot in Nagano, where the 1998 winter Olympics were held. However, this city also has great summer attributes as well. Lake Aoki, being one of the top 3 clearest lakes in Japan, does not allow motorboats on the lake. It's a beautiful place to go swimming and is the perfect temperature for such activities during summertime.

This campsite, which was recommended by our camping veteran friends, isn't listed on any internet website, is only 800 yen a night, and is very clean, small and private, with an excellent swimming area.

The nature around this place was astounding and the local area of Hakuba is convenient and foreigner friendly.

The area is full of beautiful scenery and nature.

We had a very good time.

Here are a couple of photos of where this great site lies.

Atami Summer Hanabi

Fireworks, or hanabi in Japanese, are one of my favorite things about summertime in Japan. This year, I watched the Atami Hanabi from the roof of Dominic and his friends' hotel in Atami. It was 30 minutes of firey coolness. There are still more chances to watch these fireworks. Here are the details.

Summer Schedule (From 8:20pm – 8:50pm):

Thursday, August 18
Sunday, August 21
Wednesday, August 24
Saturday, August 27

Autumn Schedule (From 8:20pm – 8:45pm):

Monday, September 19

Winter Schedule (From 8:20pm – 8:45pm):

Sunday, December 4
Sunday, December 11
Friday, December 23

For more information (in Japanese):

View Google Map
Atami Kaijo Hanabi Taikai

Below: The city of Atami

Photo's from the roof

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Chinese Inspired Breakfast Fritatta

Yesterday, I was hungry in the morning, and besides that, I had quite a few veggies to go through before leaving for camp. Inspired by a breakfast once made by my Chinese-Japanese friend, Subaru, who made dish from egg and cooked cucumber, I decided to try that cucumber in my usual Fritatta style. With the lack of zucchini's availability in Japan (and when you do find it, it's almost 200円 for one, cucumber makes an excellent substitute. I was quite surprised when I saw Subaru throw the cucumbers in the pan for the first time. But after tasting the end product, I was amazed at its yumminess.

First, I sautéed the onion in a bit of vegetable onion. Then I added the eggplant and cucumber. Since these three veggies have different cooking times, allow about 3 minutes between the onion, then eggplant, then cucumber.

I seasoned the veggies with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Another option with seasoning is something I learned from my friend, Dave. He likes to put a miso soup packet (not the powder kind, but the one with actual miso)into the beaten egg mixture. The taste was fantastic. Feel free to try it sometime.

After you spread the vegetables around the pan evenly, pour the eggy mixture over the vegetables. Keep the pan on a low to medium heat. You want the egg to cook slowly. After it hardens a bit, slide your spatula around the sides to check its firmness. After it's stable, try to flip the whole thing like a pancake. It's quite difficult, and if you can do it on the first try, then you are a born chef.

As you can see, I failed in this attempt to flip it like a pancake. I am not a natural born chef. Enjoy!

Friday, August 05, 2011

66 years later

Today is the 66th anniversary of the morning the Americans dropped the bomb on Japan. As I wrote that line, I realized how ingrained it is to use the passive voice when talking about that event. "The bomb was dropped on Hiroshima."

This year the reminders of the past have a new significance. Anti-nuclear activists are using the powerful emotions of this day to rally in Hiroshima, as well as Tokyo against nuclear power in Japan. The movement has become a lot stronger than it was a few months ago, directly after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. Before that, nuclear power was hardly protested against at all. I listened in on a conversation between some advocates who approached us at a "Save Shizuoka"rally. The Hamaoka reactors are just almost as old and built quite similarly to the Fukushima plants. Also, they are a similar proximity to the coastline, and finally, local residents had been protesting it's existence due to some malfunctions and safety readings around the plant. I listened to an activist explain to Chu that nobody would take their flyers while trying to talk about dangers, but now, things have changed and people approach him to learn more about it.

Many people have begun to reconsider their opinions on whether nuclear power is needed, and if so to what degree, cost, consequence.

Even the Prime Minister, Kan, talked about the nuclear power today here.

I'll admit that I've jumped on the same bandwagon that many others did after the Fukushima meltdown. Part of the reason for that was my own proximity to the plants (a.k.a. same country, coastline). However, this does not compare to what life was like for those who lived through the atomic bombings during the final days of World War 2. After visiting Hiroshima, and the peace museum, where a collection of stories and relics from the attack are on display, you can get an idea of the aftereffects of our decisions to use the highly dangerous materials we've invented to harm ourselves and our environment.

The below link is a blurb I wrote after visiting the Peace Museum in 2007.

A visit to Hiroshima Post

Thursday, August 04, 2011

My Japanese Homework for Tonight

Below is an article that caught my interest on a friend's facebook. I was very curious to know everything it said, so I decided I'd translate it for homework tonight.

The original article location Page 1
Page 2

「千年に一度の巨大地震の世紀」 東海・東南海・南海3連動と首都圏直下型地震も 平安時代に匹敵と地震考古学の研究者
2011.8.3 00:59
Japanese archaeology researchers, "Huge Earthquake Era happens around Every Thousand Years", Similar to the Heian Era (794-1135), Focused on the 3 major faults, the Tokai, the Tonankai, and the Nankai fault.
written Aug. 3, 2011

According to archaeological studies, the Heian period was heavy in seismic activity. In the Jougan years, specifically in the year 869, there was a huge earthquake quite similar to the size and location of the Hanshin Earthquake in the 1990's. These scientists are warning that Japan has once again entered the once every thousand years, "earthquake age", and that it's highly probable that many large earthquakes will happen along these three conjoined faults.

寒川氏は、古代以降の文献史料とともに、各地の遺跡で発掘された地割れや液状化現象による噴砂などの地震痕跡を調査。9世紀前半に関東北部や東北などでマグニチュード(M)7前後の地震が相次いだ後、貞観地震が発生していることを確認した。From literature and historical data from the past, after the large earthquake, several earthquakes around magnitude 7 occurred around the Northern area of Japan.
Archaeologists are able to study earthquakes from the past through the excavations of historical ruins and studies made in the fissures of the ground surrounding it, along with traces of liquidated ground

 貞観地震は当時の歴史書「日本三代実録」に、「海は猛(たけ)り吼(ほ)え、津波が怒濤(どとう)のように多賀城下に押し寄せ、千人がおぼれ死んだ」と記述。当時の海岸から約5キロ内陸の多賀城跡(宮城県多賀城市)周辺では道路が寸断された跡が見つかり、仙台市などでは津波で運ばれた堆積物もあった。According to 日本三代実録, the sixth of six Japanese historical textbooks, The huge Jougan earthquake caused the ocean's waves to advance upon the city in huge multiple waves and 1,000 people nearly drowned. The ruins of Taga Castle showed that the waves advanced 5 kilometers inland. Ruins from the city, castle and roads were found on the outskirts of the town carried by the tidal wave.

 878年には関東南部でM7以上の直下型地震が発生。887年の仁和地震では、日本三代実録に「都(京都)の建物は倒壊し、圧死する者多数。海岸には海潮(津波)が押し寄せ、無数の人がおぼれ死んだ。大阪湾岸も津波被害が甚大だった」と記録。東海から四国にかけて甚大な被害があったという。Quotes from these history books recount that in the year 878, the southern part of Kantou was hit by an earthquake greater than magnitude 7. In 887, records say that the capital building of Kyoto collapsed, crushing a large number of people, and soon after giant waves rolled in from the sea. Tsunami from Osaka bay also created a lot of damage. From that earthquake, there was even great damage in the Tokai area and Shikoku.

 寒川氏の分析によると、最近数十年間に秋田などで死者100人以上を出した日本海中部地震(昭和58年、M7・7)や阪神大震災(M7・3)、新潟県中越沖地震(平成19年、M6・8)など各地でM7前後の地震があり、その後東日本大震災が発生した点が、平安時代の状況と共通していると指摘した。According to one scientist, Mr. Kangawa, he wants to point out the similarities between geological activity during the Heian period, to what has been happening within the past 20 years. He starts with a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in Akita that killed over 100 people in 1984, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, the Great Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, the 6.8 occurring off the coast of Niigata in 2008, and now the Great East Japan earthquake measuring a 9.0 in 2011.

首都圏直下型地震や東海・東南海・南海地震について寒川氏は、いずれもフィリピン海プレートの影響下にあり関連が深く、過去の首都圏直下型や仁和地震に匹敵する3連動型地震が発生する可能性が高いとした。It is highly probable for a shallow earthquake to hit in the Tokyo earthquake because of the strain from the Phillipine plate which connects to the other three fault lines right below the capital city.

 また、6月30日に長野県中部で起きた震度5強の地震は、千年あまり活動がなかった牛伏寺(ごふくじ)断層付近で発生。7月5日にも和歌山県北部で震度5強の地震があったことからも日本列島が活動期にあることが改めて浮き彫りになった。Based on the fact that there has been earthquakes even in areas that rarely get activity, such as the center of Nagano and Wakayama (both had magnitude 5 quakes), it shows that Japan has once again entered an earthquake age where all the plates and fault lines are readjusting.

 一方、古代以降、M8・2程度の元禄関東地震(1703年)や3連動型の宝永地震(1707年)があった「18世紀初め」、安政東海地震(1854年)や、高さ9メートルの津波が襲ったという翌日の安政南海地震、死者1万人といわれる安政江戸地震(1855年)が起きた「幕末」にも巨大地震が集中したが、三陸沖では東日本大震災に匹敵する地震はなかった。On the other hand, since the earthquake age of the ancient times, there was another period where a large amounts of earthquakes happened during a short period of time. An 8.2 magnitude earthquake in Kantou in 1703, a big earthquake in 1854 that caused a 9 meter tall tsunami. The recent 20 years of large earthquakes also resembles that 18th century cluster of connected earthquakes, however during that time, there wasn't any activity in the North-East area of Japan.

 寒川氏は「東日本大震災では『想定外』という言葉がしばしば使われたが、文献史料には過去の巨大地震が詳しく記されており、決して想定外ではない」と話した。The words "this disaster was beyond our greatest expectations" have been used again and again by various people. However, according to literature and historical records, earthquakes of this magnitude have been described in great detail. "This disaster was by no means "beyond anyone's expectations", says Mr. Kangawa.

 古村孝志・東大地震研究所教授(地震学)の話「これまで、江戸時代以前のデータは不確かさがあるということで防災対策などでもあまり注目されなかったが、今回を教訓に文献史料などを見直さないといけない。東日本大震災後の余震は以前より落ち着いてきたが、陸のプレート深部はまだ動いており、バランスをとるために再び大地震が発生する可能性が高く、対策が急がれる」It has been said by those in charge of disaster prevention that the data from before the Edo era was unreliable. However, Mr. Takashi Furomura, an earthquake research professor of seismology at Tokyo University, says that we should learn from this experience and take a closer look at the historical records of the past, that have been discredited up until now. He also goes on to warn that the aftershocks from the Great Eastern Japan earthquake have calmed, BUT that the chances for major earthquakes are still quite high, in order for the plates deep in the earth to find a balance.

"I put [YMCA] in queue for karaoke.....Doesn't everyone like that song?"

A friend, Tomo, put this up on her facebook status yesterday. Well, it entertained me...

What he talks about: Questions that he gets asked from breeders
What he doesn't talk about: Why he's shirtless

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down (Making up for the seriousness of the other posts)

At the Stonewall Group B get-togethers on Monday and Tuesday night, I was able to meet a bunch of fun and happy new JETs just thrilled to be in Japan. We got on the topic of blogs, and two girls recommended some that they liked. I had a few beers in me, and knew that i'd definitely forget the names of them. Luckily, I that has happened to me wayyy too many times, so I made a note in my iphone, and checked it out tonight.

I enjoyed their Osusume.

The blog is called Dear Coke Talk

Some of the highlights that I enjoyed:
Do you think a pro-choicer and a pro-lifer could ever date?
Sure. They'd better use condoms, though.

Do you think Sarah Palin is truly an idiot (which isn’t hard to believe), or that she’s secretly an evil genius? It’s three in the morning, and it’s really scaring me.
She’s not an idiot, nor is she a secret evil genius. Sarah Palin is mundane and middling, a paragon of American unexceptionalism. It’s her mediocrity that should terrify you.

Does kissing have a more romantic connotation than sex?
Kissing costs extra for a reason, darling.

Another site recommended was It's like post secret, need I say more? Some of them are a bit immature, but some of them are interesting, funny and occasionally raise interesting questions.

Hope you enjoy them! It was nice to have something new, halarious, but light to read now and again. Thanks girls, I'd give your names, but perhaps you'd prefer to remain anonymous. Well, that's why I'm not posting the pictures of our fun time out at Nicho, btw. I really wanted to, though! Everyone looks so happy!

The medicine (What's gonna solve this problem?)

I had to take some time off from reading about Fukushima things. However, after a 6.1 jolt in the bay where my town sits, I'm ready again to keep current on the stressful news and conflicts coming from Fukushima and the government's handling of the problem.

I've been reading the Facebook stati of the new JETs, I was shocked that they were shocked that they were feeling earthquakes. I surely thought that the subject of aftershocks and radiation concerns would be high on the lists of subjects talked about in the various orientations. However, when I asked about it, one girl answered that nobody mentioned almost daily aftershocks. I'm not surprised as the JET Program is sponsored by the Japanese government. But not only that, I had read this article about Japanese government hiring private contractors to cleanse the internet of bad Fukushima radiation news. The article mentions that certain blogs and tweeters in Japanese have already had their service interrupted.

What does this have to do with Fukushima, radiation concerns, Hamaoka nuclear plant concerns, contaminated beef, rice, tea, seafood, vegetables from Northern Japan? Well, it has to do with lies that preserve the appearance of tranquility, while later you find out that things are not entirely how they were presented to you. And since the government is not doing enough to protect its people, it means that everyone needs to be aware of what's going on.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are playing in the waves in Southern California beaches. One of the biggest reasons that I loved living in Shizuoka, was the proximity to beach parties. However, I have barely stuck but a foot in the beach that's a 10 minute walk from my house. A friend of mine said to me "radiation in the sea, that's so March!". Ya, he's a funny guy, and he's cool with going in the water. Perhaps it's my own fault for having too many activist friends who consistently post news stories, videos, and translations of twitter accounts from Fukushima victims. Perhaps the daily reminders of how the problems from March 11th are affecting my opinions and actions during daily life too much.

But, i know it's not only me. At Fuji Rock, Kazuyoshi Saito performed his anti-nuclear song "Zutto Uso Datta", not once, but twice, just to make his point more clear. Zutto Uso Datta.

There are Youtube videos with pleas from the local people in Fukushima who are reporting the conditions of their daily lifes, and are seeking support from both the national and international communities. In this one, a mother talks about how the children are overheated in the classrooms without air-conditioning, and the school does not let them open the window.If you'd like to read a closer explanation of the video, please read the article Distressed Fukushima Citizens Issue Global Appeal to Support Evacuation Plea

I was a little weary of this video that has been passed around my friends on Facebook. I didn't pass it on, because I felt there wasn't enough background information to fully understand the context of this conversation. I felt it was sensational, and a bit extreme. However, everyone is able to make their own judgments about what they watch and read.

Prof. Kodama Angry about Japanese Gov.'s Gross Negligence (Part 1)

What's "late" when coming out?

According to a status post from my friend living in Liverpool, it's pride week this week, and there are some themed films accompanying it. She posted a link to this movie called Jan's Coming Out. The link is to the trailer.

It's about a woman who was married, with 3 children, who didn't realize she was gay until watching some episodes of the L word. I haven't seen the movie, but i'd like to, as it documents her journey from coming out at 50, and exploring all the events and situations that come with that. I love hearing about people's experiences and feelings about their journeys through this event.

I was reminded of chatting with a girl at the Stonewall dinner, who felt that coming out now, at 22, was "late".
I, of course, didn't think it was late. In fact, I think that after coming out, everyone wishes that they had done it sooner. It's not fair to compare your life's stepping stones to the lives of others.

Life flows naturally, and timing is everything. The time you come out, is just that, a time in your life, a step, an experience, a lesson, well, it's just life.