Tag Archives: nuclear

Selfless heroes

2 Jun

Maybe you’ve heard that two members of the original Fukushima 50 who have been working inside the nuclear plant since the day it became damaged have been exposed to amounts of radiation well above the limit that the government set for the emergency workers.

It is for reasons such as this that Mr. Yasuteru Yamada, a 72 year old retired engineer, and a group of other retirees have announced their desire to replace the current younger workers in the damaged nuclear plant.

Yasuteru Yamada

The group consists of retired men with a variety of skills and knowledge that would be helpful in repairing the plant…such as retired engineers, university professors, military, crane operators, construction workers, welders and so on.

Mr. Yamada said that it’s not right for young people still have many years ahead of them, and may have or want to have small children to raise, to risk their lives when he and the other retirees who have decades of related knowledge and experience and have already lived most of their lives are willing and able to do this dangerous work.

I was impressed with their selfless willingness to sacrifice themselves to help others. Most of his group signed up without hesitation as soon as they learned about this group.

“We shouldn’t leave a negative legacy for the next generation.”
— Yasuteru Yamada

Towers around the world to be illuminated for Japan

4 Apr

Towers and skyscrapers around the world will be illuminated in white and red to show their country’s support for Japan’s recovery from the disaster of 2011 March 11.

At sunset tonight (Monday, 2011 April 4) in each country’s local time, the Empire State Building in New York City, America, the Sky Tower in New Zealand, the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malayasia, the North Tower in South Korea, the CN Tower in Canada, the Macau Tower in China, the John Hancock Observatory in America and the Spinnaker Tower in England will all be lit up in the colors of the Japanese flag.

the Empire State Building in NYC, America illuminated in the colors of Japan's flag.

Do you live near any of these towers? Did you know they will be illuminated in white and red for Japan today?

In honor of the modern day Samurai

25 Mar

Have you ever heard of the 「福島50」 (“Fukushima 50“)?

After the explosion at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan that was caused by the tsunami on 2011 March 11, all of the plant workers were evacuated…except fifty.

These fifty brave men stayed behind, despite the extreme risk to their lives, to try to bring the nuclear plant back under control.

Due to the health risk of prolonged expose to the radiation, a few hundred more volunteers came back to the plant so that they could work to repair the plant in shifts in groups of fifty men each.

The "Fukushima 50" working to bring the plant back online.

I saw an interview on TV with the teenage daughter of one of the Fukushima 50. She said that her father said after the accident at the plant that his experience was needed there and he knew he had to go. She said that she was proud of him for risking his life for the good of the rest of us.

That’s how everyone in Japan feels about all of the Fukushima 50. We are all grateful for their willingness to give the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Here’s an excellent video that someone made and posted on YouTube as a tribute to these modern-day Samurai:

Have you heard about the Fukusima 50 on the news in your country?

Japan is putting aside materialism for Sendai

23 Mar

Do you know the “Ad Council“?

The Ad Council (of America)

If you’re not American, you probably don’t. Even if you are American, you may know their TV ads but not recognize the name.

The Ad Council puts public service commercials on TV. Not trying to sell anything…just addressing a problem in society.

When I lived in America, their most well-known commercials were probably the “Crash Test Dummies” that were used to try to convince people to fasten their seat-belts when they were in a car and anti-drunk driving ads with the catch-phrase “Drinking and driving can kill a friendship“.

The American Ad Council “Crash Test Dummies” seat-belt ad:

The American Ad Council “Drinking and driving can kill a friendship” ad (you can tell it’s from the ’80s…Michael Jackson’s music was playing in the background:

The Ad Council is in Japan as well.
Here it’s called 「社団法人ACジャパン」 (“AC (Ad Council) Japan Association“).

AC Japan logo

The ads by AC Japan are quite different from America’s Ad Council commercials. Rather than car safety the ads here mainly focus on manners.

If you’re in Japan now and you watch Japanese TV you’ve surely noticed that ever since the 2011 March 11 earthquake the commercials on TV here have been almost exclusively AC Japan ads.

This is because it would considered poor taste and a bit rude to show commercials for beer, fast-food, cars, or other materialistic goods when so many people in 東北地方 (the Tohoku Region) have lost so much and are in need of basic necessities.

So, to fill the time spaces in pre-recorded TV shows that are normally for commercial ads…all of the TV stations in Japan put messages from AC Japan in their place.

The ads extol the virtues of reading, recycling, and being polite.

Here’s one that I occasionally saw on TV a couple of years ago but since March 11th, I’ve seen it countless times. It has a good message though…my translation of it would be something like: “No one can see your heart, but everyone can see how you use your heart. No one can see your thoughts, but everyone can see your compassion.”

They also have one titled 「魔法の言葉で」 (“The Magic Words”).

Not easy to explain, but this ad has characters named after some basic Japanese “magic words” of basic manners. The names are a play on words in Japanese…but when translated into English, the word-pun is lost.

"Arigatousagi" ("Thank you Bunny")

"Itadakimausu" (The "Let's Eat" Mouse)

"Gochisousamausu" (The "Thank you for the meal" Mouse)

"Ittekimasukanku" ("I'm Leaving Skunk")

"Konbanwani" ("Good evening Gator")

"Konnichiwan" ("Good Afternoon Doggy")

"Ohayounagi" ("Good morning Eel")

"Oyasuminasai" ("Good night Rhino")

"Sayonaraion" ("Farewell Lion")

"Tadaimanbou" ("I'm Home Sunfish")

See? The names are cute play on words in Japanese…but kinda odd in English.
But you might enjoy the TV ad anyways:

Besides these TV ads in place of regular commercials, other noticeable differences in Tokyo since the disaster of March 11th are shops opening later and closing earlier everyday…and using only the bare minimum of lighting necessary. All shops and places of business are doing it.

This is to conserve electricity since the nuclear power plant disaster. It’s a bit surreal to see the usually well-lit and neon Tokyo nights so dark these days.

Also, the trains in Japan usually have poster ads on the walls and hanging from the ceiling…but, for the same reason as the eliminated TV ads, these days the trains have very few poster ads.

But soon, I’m confident, Japan will be back to normal.

(By the way, if you want to see my post about Japanese train and subway “manner posters”…click here and here.)

65 years ago in Nagasaki

9 Aug

Today is the sixty-fifth anniversary of the atomic bombing of 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan).

Last year I wrote a post (click here) about the peace memorials in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And three days ago, I wrote a post about the 65th anniversary of the attack on Hiroshima.

In Nagasaki today there will be a peace ceremony just as there was in Hiroshima last Friday.
I believe the U.S. ambassador to Japan will attend this ceremony just as his attended Hiroshima’s ceremony.

After the atomic bombing of Japan in August 1945, many U.S. military soldiers and marines were stationed in Japan for the U.S. occupation of Japan that lasted until after the Vietnam War.

One of those U.S. Marines was Joe O’Donnell.

Have you ever heard of him?

He was a photographer in the U.S. Marines and was stationed in Japan to photograph Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings.

What he saw there deeply affected him and convinced him that the atomic bombing of Japan was a mistake.

For many years after he returned to America, he tried to forget what he saw in Japan.

But finally about twenty years ago he decided to share his photos with the world so that maybe the mistakes of the past won’t be repeated.
He showed the photos he took to his son, who then had them published in a book and he also started a MySpace page for his father.

He 1995, Joe O’Donnell was interviewed by Japan’s NHK TV station for a documentary about the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings. (I remember watching that interview on NHK fifteen years ago).

In that documentary, Joe O’Donnell apologized to the people of Japan, especially the victims of the bombings and their families.

…I want to express to you tonight my sorrow and regret for the pain and suffering caused by the cruel and unnecessary atomic bombings of your cities…No more Hiroshimas! No more Pearl Harbors! No more Nagasakis!

—  (Joe O’Donnell, 1995)

This boy in Nagasaki, Japan is carrying his dead younger brother on his back and he's standing at a cremation pyre, trying to prepare himself to cremate his brother. (photo by Joe O'Donnell, 1945)

These three brothers were orphaned by the bombing of Nagasaki. (photo by Joe O'Donnell, 1945)

As fate would have it, Joe O’Donnell died three years ago today. On 2007 August 9th…the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki!

原爆記念日

6 Aug

Today is the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan).

And every year on August 6th in Hiroshima and August 9th in Nagasaki, there are peace ceremonies to remember those who died in the bombing and to hope for a future with no more nuclear weapons…or even war.

But today’s peace ceremony in Hiroshima and the one in Nagasaki on next Monday will be different because the American ambassador to Japan will attend the ceremonies…which will be the first time an American government official attended them.

A photo of the floating lanterns at the Peace Ceremony in Hiroshima a few years ago.

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In other news, a Japanese version of the Hollywood hit movie “Ghost” (that starred Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze) is due to be in theaters in Japan this coming November.

A promo poster for the original U.S. movie "Ghost".

The Japanese remake movie will be titled “Love And Soul” and will star Korean actor Song Seung Hun and Japanese actress Nanako Matsushima.

Song Seung Hun and Nanako Matsushima

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And also, the Japanese college national baseball team traveled to America to play the U.S. college national team.

The U.S. team beat Japan with a score of 4 – 2.

Leaders first meeting

26 Sep

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, went to New York yesterday and had his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama and U.S. President Obama

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama and U.S. President Obama

For the U.S., the issue of Japan continued help with the “War On Terrorism” is of top concern.
For Japan, it’s the issue of reducing the number of the U.S. military stationed in Japan…and abolishing nuclear weapons in the world.

But for this first meeting, the only major issue raised was about ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
Both Hatoyama and Obama said that they’d like to see an end to the nuclear threat in the world.

As the only country that has ever been attacked by nuclear weapons, this issue is important to Japan.
Prime Minister Hatoyama reiterated Japan’s stance that all nuclear weapons should be abolished and invited the the American president to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki when he comes to Tokyo next November.

No U.S. President has ever visited Hiroshima or Nagasaki .