power

J-Village is former soccer training center now nuke clean-up base

What was I expecting? Somehow these white suits and the plastic booties on top of the worker’s New Balance tennis shoes don’t seem nearly protective enough for nuclear power plant cleanup. These photos are from J-Village, a soccer training camp converted into operations base for cleaning up Fukushima. I worry about these men at this toxic disaster that used to power Tokyo.

Keeping track of the nuclear leakage

Even in Japan, there is less daily news about the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. That’s why it’s lovely to see this Asahi newspaper chart that keeps us up to date. I like the top row visuals which help you remember which reactor is which (this power plants is blessed with six reactors in a row).

If you’ve seen me in the past month, you know I have a serious fetish over the blue and white abstract pattern that once covered these toxic time bombs.

The other rows provide updates on current temperatures, water levels, whether robots have been sent in yet, and, at the bottom, the expected date when the new replacement cooling systems will be installed (May, July and July).

Much moe at anti-nuclear demo in Koenji

Yesterday’s anti-nuclear demo (原発やめるデモ) in Koenji far exceeded my expectations. About 15,000 marched through the streets from Koenji to Omekaido Douri seeking the end of nuclear power. There were also young men on stilts and silver foil outfits, shirtless punk rockers with tattoos and huge hair, a seemingly random boy band in matching yellow track suits and geometric hair styles. All in all, it was very earnest and carnival-like. It made me feel better about my neighbors and Tokyo’s future.

Trash-talking king of Japan’s boy bands

Trash-talking king of Japan's boy bands

Could Johnny Kitagawa, the mastermind of four decades of Japanese boy bands, be hiding some dark secrets? A recent Guardian newspaper article accuses the creator of SMAP and Mokun of exploitation, deceit, monopolization, and abuse. With hints of ties to the yakuza. Johnny, almost 80, wields such power in the Japanese media that few in this country dare challenge him. One particularly randy quote:

Kitagawa claimed he works only with boy bands because they are “easier to handle”, which would be fine if he didn’t mean it literally.

I am torn between mindless consumerism and moral concern. On the one hand, he has brought Japan (and the world) a never-ending parade of big-haired boys as objects of feminine lust. On the other hand, maybe he is not a nice person. What do you think?