Monday, 30 July 2012

Back in the shops - Fukushima veges

For the first time in months I've seen Fukushima veges in a supermarket near us.In Akihabara there has been a dedicated Fukushima shop with Fukushima veges, but most regular shops err on the side of caution when it comes to perceptions of consumer safety and opt not to stock food stuff sourced from Fukushima.  (The food service industry is a totally different situation; no requirements on labelling the origin of foods mean  particularly at the cheap end of the spectrum, there is strong incentive just to source what is cheapest.)

It's been very tough on farmers in the area. One of Hiro's uncles is involved in fruit and vegetables in Ibaraki. At New Year when they came to Akita they were talking about the irony of "Ganbarou Tohoku" when so many former customers wouldn't touch food from Ibaraki, let alone Fukushima (though some parts of Ibaraki are closer to the plant than some parts of Fukushima.)    The graph below shows the lack of accuracy in categorizing food by political boundaries -  prefectures isn't an accurate way to avoid food from areas that have high levels of cesium.

MEXT via the Japan Times
Cesium readings Sept 2011.

Though the colouring used looks  dubious if you refer to this website, but on the other hand the difference in the scale of the map  distorts the picture as well.  

Yesterday we biked to Ibaraki and talked to the same uncle.  He said things are much better there now. He was showing us the piles of documents that certified products as cesium free, and he was saying things have recovered for them now - people are buying Ibaraki products again.  I didn't get a chance to ask him about how the testing is conducted, where and by whom, but it was obviously a great relief to him that they were testing cesium free. (They were testing cesium free from the outset, but it took some time for customers to return.)

The testing will continue for years, as much for gathering data generally to interpret nuclear accident as it is for protecting consumers.  Norway is still having problem with animals over the maximum allowable level of   Incidentally, I read recently that the Scandanavian cesium limits are 5 times higher than Japan.

People have to make their own decisions about what to eat and what not to, but I was glad to see the tomato and cucumber and bought a packet of each.

A sign in Ikebukuro advertising the fukushima
market in Akihabara.
Cucumber from Fukushima - the precture name is written on
the second line down in small letters.
Cucumbers and tomato from Fukushima.


Rurousha said...

Where's that shop in Akihabara? I'd like to support them. (The photo of the sign isn't displayed in my browser.)

You biked to Ibaraki? From Tokyo? (@_@)

Cecilia said...

Motor bike!! Much easier :) Motor biked to Ibaragi had lunch - unaju - with Hiro's aunt and uncle and cousins and from there biked to Tochigi to see another of Hiro's aunts and have chuuka dinner.

Back to Tokyo fat, hot and tired. It's very hot on the expressway on a motorbike. But, always good to get out of Tokyo!

Strange that the Akiba pic isn't showing - it's showing on mine - will take a look tomorrow after I restart the computer. It says that it was just for a few days which are over. But I have seen on in Akiba several times - trying to remember where exactly - on a street inside the Yamanote line, inside Chuo dori, in a street that runs perpendicular to the Keihin Tohoku sen. It's north of Laox but not so far from there... it sounds like a great excuse for a wander.
Outside St Mary's Cathedral in Meguro there is someone that comes to sell veges from Fukushima on a Sunday. It's just near Chinsanzo. I am not sure if he is still there. If you haven't been to St Mary's it's quite impressive architecturally.

Cecilia said...

I'm getting vegies at Hanamasa these days. They may have fukushima vegies in their Akiba store, though I'm not sure. I don't think they do in their Yotsuya one.

Rurousha said...

Oh! DUH! Motorbike!

Am I allowed to blame the heat for my brain seizure? As you know, I don't use air con. :p

OK, I'll go walkabout in Akihabara. That's always fun.

PS: I don't think Four Seasons Chinzanso is in Meguro. I think it's in Bunkyo. :D

PPS: It's the heat. Definitely. It does that to your mind.

Cecilia said...

Oops that was meant to be mejiro