Sunday, May 29, 2011


Out today into the wet, windy face of the lowering hurricane to get some water from the spring, stopped along the way at the country store for Echo to copy some documents on their old copier, and while I waited in the car all sealed up against the rocking wind and rolling rain I saw through my rain-jagged window an old farmer come out of the store with his purchase of a few packs of smokes, he must've been in his 80s, completely rain-garbed like farmers do when they harrow in the rain, but with his wife's shopping slippers on - men do that in Japan, put on whatever's handy in the genkan - and with a few weeks growth of beard, he shuffled along the storefront to the store ashtray, a smoke on his mind from the eager look of him, probably been out of cigs for a time, he slowly plumped himself right down onto the ground beneath the store eaves beside the ashtray, cracked a new pack of smokes, hung one between his lips and flamed it, took a big puff and breathed it away, relaxed back to the max, feet stuck out in the rain, wet slippers who cares, what the hell, rice is in the ground, everything's wet anyway except the cigarette, and that’s the thing right now, few pleasures remain at this age, during a hurricane...

Strange version of joy he was there in the blown rain, puffing away alone beneath the eaves, staring out into the storm, chillin' to the brim, both feet into the downpour.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Latest family news: Kasumi and the girls will be leaving Ibaraki and coming to live near us later this week! Yay!


Japanese superquake moved ocean floor 79 feet sideways and 10 feet up - and new data shows region is under more strain


Fukushima Station Considered as Site for Nuclear Graveyard

“Tokyo Electric would need five years to complete decontamination of the reactors [that's expensive too!], which includes removal of hydrogen to prevent explosions, he said.

Building storage for radioactive waste at Fukushima could take at least 10 years, said Morokuzu, one of 50 people on a cleanup panel that includes observers from Tokyo Electric and the Trade Ministry. Tokyo Electric would need five years to complete decontamination of the reactors, which includes removal of hydrogen to prevent explosions, he said.
Japan’s three storage facilities for highly radioactive waste are at Rokkasho, at the northern tip of the country’s largest island of Honshu, and a nearby site at Sekinehama. The third site is at Tokaimura in Ibaraki prefecture, near Tokyo.”

But... but... what about all those experts, green and other colors, telling us for all lately  that nuclear power is so CLEAN! (You there, Sierra Club?) But it isn’t, is it it!!  And so CHEAP!! But it isn’t, is it!!! (Did you guys include the kind of actual econophysicopsychocosts we're seeing here and will see for the next decade and beyond? (Did your cost projections include sickness, death, loss of homes, loss of livelihood, emotional stress etc?)  And nuclear power is non-polluting!!! So why is it so expensive and toxic, deadly for children and everyone else, and why is it so what-the-hell-are-we-gonna-do-nowish? Why the silence?



Nuclear plant workers suffer internal radiation exposure after visiting Fukushima

"The government has discovered thousands of cases of workers [nearly 5000 so far!] at nuclear power plants outside Fukushima Prefecture suffering from internal exposure to radiation after they visited the prefecture..."

This is the first public mention of INTERNAL RADIATION [pdf] (the far more important kind) that I've seen in the media here; external radiation is minor in comparison. You leave external radiation behind; internal radiation becomes part of you. No wonder the nuclear powers that be never mention it; whole nations of formerly trusting subjects might seek residence elsewhere...

Which makes the following all the more egregious:


Outrage as Japan lifts radiation limit for kids

"The new regulation means children can now be exposed to as much radiation as a German nuclear worker. 
The government argues the change is essential to keeping schools open in the Fukushima region.
According to Nobel Prize-winning group Physicians for Social Responsibility, the new limits mean exposed children now have a one-in-200 risk of getting cancer, compared with a one-in-500 risk for adults.
The decision provoked outrage from within Japan's government, with the prime minister's chief scientific adviser resigning in protest.
The government says it had no choice but to raise the legal exposure limit, saying about three-quarters of the schools in Fukushima have radiation levels above the old safety level of one millisievert.
The vast majority of schools would have closed, putting the education of hundreds of thousands of children on hold."

Apparently the Japanocracy feels that for children, higher risk of cancer is better than lower exposure to institutionalized, age-segregated education.

In such a malignant situation, subjecting the helpless children of un/misinformed parents to no choice at all could turn out to be a crime against humanity.


Here's an alternative almost nonexistent in Japan, where authorities feel a more malignant future is better for the kids:

My top 16 tips for beginning homeschoolers


And why could not Japan, with all its hot springs and active volcanoes, make use of this on a large scale?

Five hot, rockin’ geothermal companies


The sun sets on Japan's nuclear age

"Furious parents from Fukushima Prefecture this month dumped irradiated soil from school playgrounds on the desks of government bureaucrats. More protests are planned in the sweltering summer months, when looming power cuts and leaking radiation from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi power plant will make life very uncomfortable for citizens in this densely populated, sprawling metropolis."

Hope this is true; be great never to set mind on Monju again...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Out in the garden this morning fiddling with the firewood, moving some last year's wood to the top of a less-old stack to consolidate my equity in more manageable form - energy is one commodity sector to go for in the foreseeable investment future-- where was I - oh yes, fiddling with the firewood, when I heard an odd rustling over in the far corner of our bonsai 40 acres. I looked up, focused into the shade over there and could finally make out the shape of the young scion of these parts, heir to the Baronial estates, the as-yet unnamed teenager too new to know how things work around here, unlike his father the Baron (wonder where he is?)... 

As the noble youngster strolled elegantly into the sunshine and my clear sight, still munching some of the mitsuba that he loves and that is wildly plentiful on our property, I was standing upwind of him so he could smell me, but to be sure there were no surprises at this proximity I clunked a couple of  pieces of dry cherrywood together (great sound) to let him know I was in fact physically there and was looking at him so I knew he was there too. In response he raised his head and looked at me, his young punky horns still velvety-knobbly (a scientific term), but those eyes were not at all punky.

They were more like soft, dark and unreadable. The strong, silent type. Wild. So I raised my hand and waved goodbye at him as a hint that he should depart. My deerese is poor, plus deer grammar is so dense and the inflection so subtle, he'd probably just chuckle at my efforts in that subdued deery way. I just said "Sayonara!" in the polite Japanese version of humanese, and he - understood! He paused a moment - to assert his dignity, like any teenager - then headed down the stone stairs, out the gate and across the road, where his friend the German shepherd lives and the grass is excellent. No mitsuba there, though, so it is a step down from these royal gardens, where the gardener also raises lettuce and spinach just inside the fence that one time had an open gate...

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Since 11 March 2011, a different kind of toxin began making its way through the veins of common food sources after TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) completed a planned dumping of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean at the site of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  Spinach and other green leafy vegetables, milk, and water have been found to have iodine-131.  Fish, cows’ milk, and water have been contaminated with cesium-137.


As the Japanese government and TEPCO struggle to bring the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant under control, a group of pensioners has decided to put their lives at risk to save younger people from radiation.


TEPCO has finally admitted that Reactor #1 has experienced a meltdown event that may have breached the primary containment vessel. Further, truly alarming levels of radiation are now being reported in and around Tokyo.


Infrared emissions above the epicenter increased dramatically in the days before the devastating earthquake in Japan.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I was going to go out and do some gardening this morning, maybe clean the rain gutters in anticipation of rainy season but then I remembered the world is going to end today.

Apocalypses happen here first of course, where the days begin, so I figured I might as well go buy a big soft couch and a few six packs, some cigars and potato chips, nachos, Oreos, ice cream, chocolate - my inner list is long - then make some pies and brownies, lots of different kinds of cookies as the end unfolds (cherry pie!), with some acid rock blasting to drown out the sound of the crumbling earth and the roar of the rising seas, not to mention the crackling of eternal fires drawing nearer and nearer for those not qualified to be raptured or whatever the silly term is; no, I would definitely (and gladly!) be among  the folks left behind who always took care of their own damn raptures (dance on yr own 2 feet for godsake), so I'd just invite my friends and spend the final day porking out and getting wasted (apocalypses make you feel like you're 20 years old again).

But then I remembered that all this folderol had come from a topically insane individual who'd been wrong about the previous apocalypse because he'd forgotten to read Jeremiah among other things (fancy forgetting to read Jeremiah in this day and age!), so he recalculated the whole thing for several years, on a generous emolument, based on the length of Noah's nose and a few other cryptobiblical dimensions to which only those with that bovine look have access, so I looked in the mirror and didn't have that look, couldn't even dredge it up, really - not that I want to, who wants to betray their natural birthright this late in life - so I just went out into heaven and did some gardening; later, maybe tomorrow (inyerface, Harold), I'll clean the rain gutters here in paradise.

 As for now, I'll just put my big list right where I can find it in case there ever is an apocalypse worth my time...

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Out in the garden this morning, pausing in my work to wipe the old brow and have a sip of water, I happened to be standing before the armspread profusion of the bean plants reaching, in all their white, pink and purple emotion, for what was out there. They were in love with the air, with being all there is to be, right now, just like we humans try to do in our better moments - reaching for the light - and I just had to hunker in their shade to admire.

As I did so, a green arm offered me a fresh beanpod so I took it, popped it into my mouth and we started talking together the old language of bean and tongue, a language we both know well, of nourishment and primal flavors, existential nuances that beans and bodies have worked out together over the eons that got us here, in great part on bean nourishment.

It was good, that little miracle right then, me and the bright plants hunkering there, sharing a delve into the deep history pertaining between that crisp green gift, stemmed from soil, rain and sun upon a seed, and this tongue, practiced middleman for the bean-body relationship.

It was rich in countless ways, our little get-together-- bean and tongue conversing in crunches and savorings of matters far older than either of us, bean becoming the man who plants the bean, when another kindly offered me a fresh beanpod, in which there were savors of the earth, and water, and growth - the past was there too, in summer mornings... and the hint of tomorrow...

So there we were for a time in the morning, ancient familiars, conversing once more on the Big Subject...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011



“The fact that reactor three used MOX fuel has prompted a Russian Chernobyl expert to even assert that ‘(the) release of plutonium will contaminate that area forever and…is impossible to clean up.”  [emphasis mine - RB] 
via reddit

[Surely officials of other nations would never do the same??]

   "Although the predictions sound eerily like the sequence of events at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the lawsuit was filed nearly a decade ago to shut down another plant, long considered the most dangerous in Japan...
   The lawsuits reveal a disturbing pattern in which operators underestimated or hid seismic dangers to avoid costly upgrades and keep operating." 



Jinzaburo Takagi

(In case you thought that this was all so unexpected:)
   In 1995 Jinzaburo Takagi (1938~1995), who received the Right Livelihood Award "...for serving to alert the world to the unparalleled dangers of plutonium to human life,”
“blasted the government and power companies for ‘refusing to consider emergency measures in the event of an earthquake because they assume nuclear power plants will not break down in an earthquake and have stopped taking further steps at all.’
   He also argued that the Great Hanshin Earthquake was a wakeup call for getting nuclear power facilities ready for emergencies, such as being ‘attacked by a tsunami along with a quake.’
   ‘Discussions on the safety of nuclear power plants or disaster preparedness measures on the assumption of those situations occurring have been shunned, on the grounds that it is inappropriate to make such assumptions or such discussions have some ulterior motive,’ he said.
   The paper [Nuclear Facilities and Emergencies - with Focus on Measures against Earthquakes, 1995] cited Fukushima Prefecture's Hamadori coastal region as one of the areas with a concentration of nuclear facilities that could face a situation ‘beyond what has been imagined’ if a major earthquake strikes. The region is home to the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants run by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
   Tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 is also referred to in the paper as an ‘obsolete [in 1995! - RB] nuclear power plant that raises the greatest concerns’ and requires holding concrete discussions on its decommissioning.”
[emphasis mine - RB]

Stated by an expert almost 20 years ago!

I wonder if anyone else
thinks of this
profound infliction
from earth and sea
as partly a matter of

(via Ken Elwood)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I've been having some rather unexpected success in my latest onion experiment, most of it due to the sudden extreme lack of monkeys for no reason I can think of-- maybe karma applies to hairy red-faced beasts? Maybe there is a just god? You take a guess, I'm busy. Anyway, of my couple dozen experimentally planted onions, all were bulbing, only a few had toppled and only one was about to flower; the others were looking good-- I might actually get to enjoy a full grown onion of my own nurturing!

It was in that general state of mind, onionwise, that on Sunday morning I was on my way to get some new goya plants to replace the now patently inferior ones I'd gotten under the old "a goya is a goya is a goya" fallacy, and was not thinking at all about monkeys (unusual for me) as I neutraled down the hill from the house toward the tunnel, where I saw two adult monkeys (there are always more in hiding) ambling out of the tunnel looking as they always do like they owned the place, scanning here and there the particulars of their realm, as though my garden and its onions were nowhere on the pinpoints of their minds.

Monkeys are terrible liars (lying takes intelligence!) and know nothing of nonchalance. I could see them looking upward out of the corners of their beady eyes and consulting their navigation tools saying Yeah, looks like the onion place, must be just up there, it's called the Brady Place on the map... must be a foreign name... So I speed-reversed the car back to the house a la any old US police procedural, yelled to Echo as I ran out back that there were monkeys on the way! Coming up the hill! (Direction is key) Keep an eye peeled!

Out in the garden, with ruthless tears (I've been burned before by the I'll Let Them Grow Until This Weekend Syndrome), pulled up the onions, put them in a basket and brought them into the house (Do not leave rescued onions on deck!), then took off on the goya mission. Came back later, goyaful, saw no signs of monkey frustration, asked Echo if she'd seen any monkeys, of course she hadn't. She hadn't because they knew-- the simians knew-- they'd seen me running out back, they'd smelled the scent of pulling onions and from their leafy vantages they'd seen the smirk on my face as moments later I whizzed by in pursuit of goya, at which point they said: too late; let's forget the Brady Place, he's been burned too often-- maybe next year -- let's go visit the neighbors' nice dog, he likes monkeys, maybe he has onions, do dogs have onions? He didn't last year, according to the Onion Hunters Guide, but these lesser species do evolve; look how far these humans have come...

Monday, May 16, 2011




come up with a new plan by Tuesday!

One month earlier...[1:16 video clip in English]

Friday, May 13, 2011


"One of the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant did suffer a nuclear meltdown, Japanese officials admitted for the first time today, describing a pool of molten fuel at the bottom of the reactor's containment vessel."

Monday, May 09, 2011


Caring about everything except monkeys can be a pain. But even excluding monkeys, 'everything' is a large category. It naturally includes turtles, who carry their houses wherever they go, so they don't care about much other than sandbagging until the next meal comes around. And under the Big Law of caring about almost everything, it goes without saying that sooner or later a turtle will show up.

In keeping with the Fine Print, I was driving up the mountain road when I came around a curve and there in the middle of the way was a big old turtle, named Shelby as it happens - must be some international history there - enjoying a sandbagging interlude on his way to a session of heavy-duty sandbagging somewhere on the mythic other side of the road. He was just sitting there like a -- sandbag. Midroad was a good clear spot, warm, in the sun, lotta space around, kick back,, chill,,, hang loose,,,, why not,,,,, what’s the hurry......

His naturally selfish location forced me to pull over to the side of the road to get around him, which I was doing when I thought: if he just stays there, some car or even worse truck is gonna come zipping along in meteoric human time, so I'd better get him to move. I pulled up and stopped with my window right above him, rolled down the glass and gave him a few considered words about how he should hightail his molasses before somebody heedless comes racing up the road in a big turtle squasher.

Shelby turned his head to look up at me with a reptilian onyx eye, in a "What the..." kind of look. I'll bet it was the first time in his long and carefully considered life that he'd ever seen a talking human head sticking out of a big red turtleshell way up in the sky, so far above him that it must be a Turtle God. He seemed to take my words to heart, for in turtle haste he began to maybe lift possibly one leg with the distant intent of perhaps one day arriving at the wayfaraway side of the road for some world-quality sandbagging. Since at that speed he would likely never arrive alive, in a louder, more Godly voice I told him to hotfoot it and he did, in his coldfooted fashion.

He reached the roadside in what must be a Turtle Olympic record of just a few minutes that will likely stand forever. While he panted his way across with my encouragement, I stayed in place so that any car coming up behind me would have to wait, but none came. None came because some real Turtle God up there cares about caring about almost everything, though you never know this until you join the club. To say nothing of the chance to become part of Turtle Mythology... They've been around way longer than we have, so we're talking Big Time here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


I was outdoors just now hanging some CDs over my strawberries. I do this because of the hiyodori. That's the brown-eared bulbul, who with his small tribe has been ravaging the tsubaki flowers for the past couple weeks there beside the garden, where he can keep a good beady black eye on my strawberries as they flower and swell into the sweet redness that he so loves.

He got squawkingly upset when he saw me doing something near his strawberries: I was putting up some old CD copies to dangle spinning and flashing in the breeze above the deluxe fruity enjoyments that are in fact as mine as anything can be that does not involve monkeys (regarding whom all bets are off when it comes to outdoor mineness), but this was the hi-tech, teachable me vs. a one-track bird who, working on this small portion of my vast ignorance, last year got my strawberries.

This year will be different. He can't read worth a damn of course, so for all he knew this could be anybody from Dylan to Beethoven to Miles Davis to Frank Zappa to Lou Reed; this could be Fiddy Cent, this could be Lady Gaga. Take that, bird. Boy did he screech, so clearly not knowing which was what.

My strawberries look sweeter already...

Monday, May 02, 2011


What They're Covering Up at Fukushima


" ...if you are so sure that they're safe, why not build them in the center of [Tokyo],
instead of hundreds of miles away where you lose half the electricity in the wires?"


Government Adviser Quits Post to Protest Japan's Policy

on Radiation Exposure for Fukushima Schools

Unsafe at Any Dose

"Nuclear accidents never cease. We’re decades if not generations
away from seeing the full effects of the radioactive emissions from Chernobyl."
she makes a VERY important point [emphasis mine]:

"Still, physicists talk convincingly about 'permissible doses' of radiation. They consistently ignore 
internal emitters — radioactive elements from nuclear power plants or weapons tests
that are ingested or inhaled into the body, giving very high doses to small volumes of cells.
They focus instead on generally less harmful external radiation from sources outside the body,
whether from isotopes emitted from nuclear power plants, medical X-rays,
cosmic radiation or background radiation that is naturally present in our environment."