Elderly Helping Clean Up Fukushima

Today Today I would like to talk a little bit about the volunteer efforts made by the Japanese public; more specifically by the elderly. In Japan, many citizens were volunteering to help clean up after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

After March 11th of last year, Japan called on the Japanese public to help with the clean up. What was surprising to me is the fact that many elderly answered the call. The citizens were warned that it was dangerous and that there could be side effects from working in an area with so much radiation. Hearing this many elderly came to help.

Their reasoning why it was more sense for them to help than for younger people to volunteer is that they said that they were already towards the end of their lives, so if any of the side effects happened to get to them, they wouldn’t be wasting their whole lives. Also, one man made a group of volunteers, compromised completely of the elderly, to help with the Fukushima clean up. The group currently has around 400 members. The leader, Mr. Yamada said that it makes more sense for the elderly to help because by the time the aftereffects set in, their time could already be up. He also stated that it was the duty of their generation to help the next generation live in a safe environmentI would like to talk a little bit about the volunteer efforts made by the Japanese public; more specifically by the elderly. In Japan, many citizens were volunteering to help clean up after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

After March 11th of last year, Japan called on the Japanese public to help with the clean up. What was surprising to me is the fact that many elderly answered the call. The citizens were warned that it was dangerous and that there could be side effects from working in an area with so much radiation. Hearing this many elderly came to help.

Their reasoning why it was more sense for them to help than for younger people to volunteer is that they said that they were already towards the end of their lives, so if any of the side effects happened to get to them, they wouldn’t be wasting their whole lives. Also, one man made a group of volunteers, compromised completely of the elderly, to help with the Fukushima clean up. The group currently has around 400 members. The leader, Mr. Yamada said that it makes more sense for the elderly to help because by the time the aftereffects set in, their time could already be up. He also stated that it was the duty of their generation to help the next generation live in a safe environment

Elderly Helping Clean Up

By mollyinjapan

Hanami (花見)

In the spring, most Japanese celebrate by doing “Hanami”, which is basically having a picnic beneath cherry trees.
Hanami has been a Japanese tradition for centurIn the spring, most Japanese celebrate by doing “Hanami”, which is basically having a picnic beneath flowers. The word “Hanami” comes from the two words for “flower” (花=Hana) and the word “to see” (見る=Miru). Most people go with their friends or if they have small children, with their children and find a place to sit under the cherry blossoms, which are the most famous kind of tree in Japan during the spring. Many desserts and drinks are cherry blossom flavored in the spring.

Usually when you do Hanami, you have to get to a park early if you want to have a good spot underneath a good cherry tree. The parks are usually crowded for about two weeks in April when all of the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. We went to Osaka Castle for Hanami. We had to look around for about half an hour for a good spot to put our blanket out. There were thousands of people in the park outside the castle. People also set up booths with food like you would find at a fair. Lots of fried treats and ice cream and the like.

Hanami has been a Japanese tradition for centuries, since around 700 AD. Originally it was just for the royal family and other important higher up people in the Japanese society, but gradually became a practice for all Japanese people. Now, pretty much every Japanese person does Hanami every year. ies, since around 700 AD. Originally it was just for the royal family and other important higher up people in the Japanese society, but gradually became a practice for all Japanese people. Now, pretty much every Japanese person does Hanami every year.

By mollyinjapan

Japan’s “Super Cool Biz” Campaign

Recently in Japan, the weather has been heating up. However, no matter how hot it gets, schools and businesses are not turning the air on. In my university (Kansai Gaidai) we were alerted that the air conditioner would not be turned on until the first day of May. Even though air conditioning will be available from the first of May, the lowest setting will be 28 degrees Celsius. In Fahrenheit, that is 82.4 degrees. Why is this?

It is part of Japan’s “Super Cool Biz” campaign, which is all about saving energy. Right now in Japan, they are only using about 30% of their nuclear power. Japanese people are coming together to use less energy and to help Japan get back on it’s feet after last year’s events. Students at my university have been advised to keep the weather in mind when coming to school. Also, bringing water bottles and fans has been strongly encouraged. Teachers are also able to take advantage of the campaign. Any office worker is allowed to dress down for work. Instead of the usual suit, they are able to wear less layers and more casual clothes, as long as they still look office-appropriate. Polo shirts and sneakers are acceptable and in some cases even jeans and sandals are acceptable.

The campaign was actually started in 2005, but has only recently caught on because of March 11th. The Japanese government has requested that Japan cut down on it’s electricity use by 15% of what it was before the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. If Japan is not able to cut down it’s electricity usage, there may be rolling blackouts in places like Tokyo, Osaka, and other major cities. There is simply not enough nuclear power in Japan available right now to support the luxury of every household turning their air conditioners on. Many families, on the chance they do use their air conditioner, only use it to cool one room; usually the living room. The family will all gather there until it is time to sleep. Then the air conditioner will be turned off for the night.

Leaders of the movement insist that this should not just be a temporary change, but should be a new way that Japanese society should live. Conserve as much as possible. I think there are a few things we could learn from Japan this summer as we sit in our air conditioned houses and offices.

By mollyinjapan

Philosopher’s Path

In Japan right now, it is “hanami” season. Hanami comes from two words: “hana” which means “flower”, and also “miru” which is the verb for “to see”. Basically this is when groups of friends or families will go to a park or somewhere else and have a picnic under the trees. I will talk about hanami later in another blog.

My friends and I decided that since all the flowers are in bloom, that we should go and hike what is known as the Philosopher’s Path. The Philosopher’s Path is located in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. It is a hike, that has many shrines along the way. We hiked through the hills of Kyoto and got to see a lot of old shrines, many pretty flowers, and even an old cemetery. Philosopher’s Path

Going to shrines is something about Japanese culture that anyone can enjoy. Many people go there to pray to the Gods or for spiritual cleansing. A lot of people also go for sight-seeing. We went to the shrine and prayed. There is a special way of praying at a shrine in Japan. Usually you go to the front of the shrine and there will be a place to the side with water and ladles. First, you wash each hand with the ladle. Then you pour some of the water into one of your hands and drink once. Then you can proceed to the shrine. Once you are at the front of the shrine, you throw a 5 yen coin into the designated area. Then you clap two times and bow and pray.

We spent all day walking this trail and we ended the night at another famous temple in Kyoto: Kiyomizudera. Kiyomizudera also has a place at the top of the temple where there is a love shrine. Many young people go there to buy love charms and also to try the “love stones”. The love stones are two stones that are a few meters apart from each other. There is a legend that if you are able to walk between the two stones with your eyes closed and no help from outsiders, that you will be able to realize the love of your life.Kiyomizudera

It was a very interesting day and this just shows that there are still a lot of cultural things to to in Japan that you would not be able to experience anywhere else. Philosopher’s Path Photos

March 11th….One Year Later

Last month was the one year anniversary of the tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear disaster that struck Japan. In the areas that were most affected, clean-up is still going on. I visited my previous university (Tsukuba University) and they are still rebuilding also. Tsukuba is in Ibaraki Prefecture, near Tokyo. The damage there wasn’t near as bad as places like Sendai or Fukushima, so I can only imagine what kind of situation those areas are in.

Since it was the one year anniversary of the catastrophe, some of the major corporations in Japan raised funds. Johnny’s Entertainment (an all-male idol entertainment company) held a free concert in the Tokyo Dome and took donations. They ended up raising a total of 826,553,991 yen (approximately $10,020,051 U.S. dollars). All the donations were sent towards children funds established by Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima. AKB48 (an all-female idol group) and their sister groups also held a free event on the 11th to raise money. They managed to gather over 2,00,000 yen all together (~$25,000 USD).

At 2:46 PM, all over Japan, there was a minute of silence to show respect for those who lost their lives in the tragedy of March 11, 2011. Many people lost loved ones, homes, offices, and much more that day. It is something that weighs heavily on the hearts of most Japanese citizens. However, the Japanese are very optimistic people and words that were said at all of the events that day were words of hope and rebuilding. Japan still has a long way to go, but the attitude of the people here makes it much easier to get things done. A movie that was released this year shows just how hard the Japanese people are working to rebuild and stand together to get things done. Here is the link to the trailer: Trailer

By mollyinjapan

Introduction~

Hi everyone~

My name is Molly and I am currently a student at Kansai Gaidai university in Japan. I am using this blog to show what Japan is doing right now to help with the efforts of cleaning up the Tohoku are after March 11, 2011. Also I would like to blog about what Japan still has to offer. I want to show people that not all of Japan was affected by the earthquake/tsunami/radiation, and that it is still a culturally rich and wonderful place to study abroad.

By mollyinjapan