20/07/2011

The curses and blessings of typhoon Ma-on.

Typhoons are common this time of the year through out Asia and here in Japan they are seen as part of life just like earthquakes and tsunamis are as well. The country is well prepared for natural disasters and most people do not really worry nor concern them self with any of those natural occurrences . Through out their lives they have been put through countless drills , those especially during their school years from elementary through high school.
Even though all are well prepared and always ready, every now and then nature still comes up with the unexpected, such as the March 11th earthquake, that in it self did cause only little damage. It was the tsunami that followed which devastated the East Coast region of Japan with a force and height that Japan has never seen before nor expected to be possible. The present typhoon, "Ma-on" is also one of these exceptional powerful forces with 1170 millimetres of rain in Shikoku leaving one dead, three missing, fifty nine injured and hundreds evacuated. The town of Odai in the Mie prefecture received 1000 millimetres of rain which flooded 900 residences and caused some land slides. Here in the Kanto area up to 600 millimetres of rainfall are expected in the next twenty four hours, since Ma-on is now headed our way. So far the Kanto area received 80 millimetres of rainfall due to this typhoon and another 600 millimetres will flood some lover areas and a land slide warning was issued by the Japanese meteorological agency as well as a coastal warning since the weaves can reach 12 metres high now. This typhoon has already caused power outages and left much damage behind. The roofs that where covered with blue tarps and sand bags due to the March 11 earthquake are now seeing further damage broth to them. The sand bags are no match for a typhoon. I put steel rims from old tractors on our roof, each weighing 40 kilograms, those spread along the entire roof at half a metre from each other and attached with steel wire to the roof and the tarp. They just got lifted up by the powerful winds that managed get under the tarp and propelled those rims into the air breaking the wires and landing them tree metres from the roof as if they where merely toys. Fortunately no was was close by at the time. The tarps are gone from many roofs now and some put new tarps up but this time inside their houses to cover furniture and other belongings. Nevertheless, the centre of the typhoon is still approaching and may cause more damage. The temperatures fluctuated greatly as well, from plus 32 degree Celsius down to 18 degree Celsius with in minutes. It is as if the elements where playing roller-coaster. However, there is also a good side to all this, the air is crisp and clean, the toxic fumes from farmers burning their plastics after harvesting their vegetables and this on an almost daily basis in this area are gone now due to this storm, nor can they burn more plastic at the moment either, which I welcome. Even though the plastic has to be recycled by law it is still being burned by way to many and those toxic fumes are just as bad as the radiation emitted by our nuclear power plant since the melt down of three reactors last March. I do enjoy the clean air for now and try not to worry about my roof any longer. I think it may be time to give up on the roof and figure out a cheep way to tear down the building and recycle as much material as possible.    

10/07/2011

Another strong earthquake strikes the Japanese East coast.

"The Meteorological Agency lifted tsunami advisories for coastal regions of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures before noon."


We where just struck by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 this Sunday July the 10th at 10:15 local Japanese time. A Tsunami advisory has now been issued as well.

The Japanese meteorological agency issued tsunami advisories for coastal regions of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures at 10AM.

The region was devastated by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

Tremors with an intensity of 4 on the Japanese seismic scale of 0 to 7 were felt at around 9:57 AM.

Japan's Meteorological Agency says the quake had a focus off the coast of Sanriku, at a depth of 10 kilometres.

The agency observed the first wave off Miyagi Prefecture at 10:28 AM. It estimates 50 centimetre tsunami will hit coastal areas.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has found no problems with its Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear plants as a result of the quake. It says it ordered its workers to move away from the coast.

7.1 

09/07/2011

Japan, Is the unsinkable Titanic sinking?

By, Uwe Paschen.
Since the triple disaster that hit Japan on March the eleventh 2011, the country has been thrown into limbo. No longer knowing which way to go.
Even though this state of paralysis especially in our political affairs is nothing new, it has reached its extreme now in manner of speaking.
Since WWII and especially since the recession that hit Japan in the 1980th the countries sociology has been  one of resignation even self defeat. In part maybe because Japan has not yet digested the shock of the foreign invasion in 1945 which was the first time in over a millennia that any one managed to invade the Japanese main Islands. Still this can not explain today's mind set that causes the countries politics, businesses and people alike to be unable to break free from this down ward spiral in which all seem to be engaged.
It is almost as if an entire nation has put its heads into the sand becoming paralysed of sorts and unable physically has well as sociologically to face reality and adjust allowing them to the facts at hand.
Subsequently making the decisions needed to readjust the course of this massive ship called Japan. Many hopped that after this catastrophic disaster that cost so many lives and caused such great damages, the countries institutions, politicians and businesses would finally wake up and allow the country to cease those devastating events and turn them into opportunities for a rebirth of this nation through a massive change of course all the way embracing a green revolution of sorts.
Wile many people took to the streets over the past three month and demanded such changes, which in it self is some thing rather remarkable for this country since people in general are rather quiet when it comes to politics and other such matter. Yet, we saw great demonstration and many stood up demanding radical changes.
However, nothing happened still. In stead politicians are still turning in circles causing a downward spiral of sorts. It is pathetic, frustrating and even infuriating to witness. Nevertheless, Japanese remain mostly quiet and take their fate with resignation almost.
The hopes are now fading and the people are going back to bury their heads into the sand. Hoping for a rebirth in another life time perhaps.
The real victims here are the upcoming generations that will inherit their parents and grandparents mismanagement of the country as well as that of the environment. Now is the time to make the needed changes and failing to do so will cause a much greater disaster down the road whose price tag and impact could not possibly be handled nor absorbed by any one.
"It is far better to have an end with great suffering than a great suffering with out end." Japan needs to suffer now and change course or it wont be able to live even less survive down the road. We need to exit nuclear power and all other fossil fuels now, and we need to implement renewable energy sources along with fair social policies and a restructuring of the work force to move that one from an outdate mind set to an innovative one.
Japan is well positioned to successfully achieve this transition, since it has the technology, the know how, the skilled labour force, the resources and nature it self at its disposition. From volcanoes to hot springs and to the sea, this country is field with untapped energy sources, allowing it to not only become energy self sufficient. Moreover, Japan has the potential to export energy produced from renewable sources to China, Russia and others has well, in form of electricity or Hydrogen fuel.
Will we do it though? We may need a green revolution to achieve it. For the mighty Oil and nuclear industries do not want to give up their monopolies readily. It will have to be pried away from them. In part because the main industries are scared of nothing more then the decentralisation of energy, since who ever holds the control over that energy, also has the power over the big players such as Monsanto, Toyota and others. They would have to deal with the masses now rather then with some monopolies in wish they have friends and relative. The people producing and selling renewable clean energy would also gain control over the big corporations that need the power to produce and sale their goods.
The people need to wake up and take control over their future and that of there descendants.  The time to change is now, for this may very well be our last chance to do so.
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