Saturday, 8 October 2011

Radiation 4

A map of caesium levels from today's Japan times-
the headline of the article was "Okutama cesium
levels seen spiking" Okutama is in the far west of
tokyo.  It's a pity Gunma, Ibaragi, Saitama,
Chiba, Miyagi  & Tochigi as well as fukushima
get lost in  Tokyo's quest to preserve itself....
I had planned to write a radiation 4 because radiation 3 ends with the sense that I am not concerned.

That's not  actually true. I am concerned, my concern though is less about the food as it pertains to my health but more about 
1) the regions that are most affected - the risks Tokyoites face pale into significance against the situation in Fukushima and   
 2) vested interests corrupting and distorting information, and so few checks on whether people are endangering others in efforts to profiteer.   The incentives for selling goods suspected to be contaminated are high, the ability to police people doing so are very low.

I'd really like altruism to shine through, but it's not going to happen. Perhaps some on a small scale, but not systemically.  It's not the way the world works, despite my naive hopes to the contrary.

I have too many things I have to write for uni at the moment to be able to take the time to do justice to the thought bubble though....


benjamin said...

Hey ! Nice blog ^^
Since you seem to be living in Japan, I would like to know if you or readers of this blog are interested in writing about the way you have personnally experienced the Northeastern Japan Earthquake (if you know people who have experienced the earthquake in Japan, it'd be great if you coud let him/her know about this).
Tokyo Room Finder Short Essay Contest is an online project to gather heart-warming experiences following the earthquake in Japan. We strongly believe that sharing those experiences will give people hope and revitalize Japan.
We also offer 2 tickets for Tokyo Disney Resort to each of the winners.

For more details :

Mark Pendergrast said...

Hi -- I just published Japan's Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World as a short ebook and hope you will take a look at it. A paperback will be available soon. For info, see I could email you a review copy. Here's an overview:

Japan's Tipping Point is a small book on a huge topic. In the post-Fukushima era, Japan is the "canary in the coal mine" for the rest of the world. Can Japan radically shift its energy policy, become greener, more self-sufficient, and avoid catastrophic impacts on the climate? Mark Pendergrast arrived in Japan exactly two months after the Fukushima meltdown. This book is his eye-opening account of his trip and his alarming conclusions.

Japan is at a crucial tipping point. A developed country that must import all of its fossil fuel, it can no longer rely on nuclear power, following the massive earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011. Critically acclaimed nonfiction writer Mark Pendergrast went to Japan to investigate Japan's renewable energy, Eco-Model Cities, food policy, recycling, and energy conservation, expecting to find innovative, cutting edge programs.

He discovered that he had been naive. The Japanese boast of their eco-services for eco-products in eco-cities. Yet they rely primarily on imported fossil fuel and nuclear power, live in energy-wasteful homes, and import 60% of their food. That may be changing in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Maybe. But as Pendergrast documents, Japan lags far behind Europe, the United States, and even (in some respects) China in terms of renewable energy efforts. And Japan is mired in bureaucracy, political in-fighting, indecision, puffery, public apathy, and cultural attitudes that make rapid change difficult.

Yet Japan is also one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with friendly, resilient people who can, when motivated, pull together to accomplish incredible things.

As an island nation, Japan offers a microcosmic look at the problems facing the rest of the globe. And as Japan tips, so may the world.

Mark Pendergrast, the author of books such as For God, Country and Coca-Cola, Uncommon Grounds, and Inside the Outbreaks, entertains as he enlightens. As he wrote in Japan's Tipping Point: "The rest of this account might seem a strange combination of critical analysis, travelogue, absurdist non-fiction, and call to action. It might be called 'Mark’s Adventures in Japanland: Or, Apocalyptic Visions in a Noodle Shop.'"