Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rice shipped from Fukushima Prefecture

So they have decided to resume rice shipments from Fukushima. Why?

To scare the public? To cause people to horde rice from other prefectures? To kill off the restaurant industry?

No one will want to eat outside their homes for fear of where the rice came from.

They say they tested the rice twice for radioactive cesium.

Moshi Moshi, uh,....Hello!

There are a lot more elements than that, that need to be checked if we are going to put it in our bodies.

What about Strontium 90, or Iodine 131?

Safe to say too, that with governnment decisions like this, no farmer in Japan, whether they be from Hokkaido, Kyushu or Okinawa (far from the reactors), will be selling any farm produce outside of Japan. No one will be buying Japanese produce because of ill-thought out decisions like this.

News Story Follows:

Rice shipped from Fukushima Prefecture

National Aug. 30, 2011

Japan Today —

Rice was shipped from Fukushima Prefecture on Monday for the first time since the March 11 disaster. The rice was tested for radiation and got the all-clear, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said. Read More

Monday, August 29, 2011


John B. Cobb, Jr.

I was born and spent most of my childhood in Japan. The two cities in which I lived were Hiroshima and Kobe. Both have suffered terrible destruction: an atomic bomb and an earthquake. Now Sendai has experienced an even more violent earthquake. These evils are problems for everyone, but for those who think there is some basis for justice in the world, whether it be Karma or God, there is added a special problem. Does the occurrence of a devastating evil at a particular place mean that those who suffer from such catastrophes in some way deserve their suffering or that it somehow serves a greater good?

Process thought has its own way of responding. We do believe that there is God, and that God cares for all creatures. We understand the question, why does God cause these calamities or at least allow them? But the question has assumptions that we do not share.

Read More

Read about Living in Japan

How to teach English in Japan

The House that Ikumi & Kevin Built



階段用の松の木と桜の木の板、これらはクローバーデイルにあるウェストウッドという会社からです。 Read More

Part 2 is Here

Greenpeace: Fukushima schools unsafe after clean-up

(Reuters) - Greenpeace said on Monday that schools and surrounding areas located 60 km (38 miles) from Japan's tsunami-hit nuclear power plant were unsafe for children, showing radiation readings as much as 70 times internationally accepted levels.

The environmental group took samples at and near three schools in Fukushima city, well outside the 20 km exclusion zone from Tokyo Electric Power's stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in Japan's northeast.

"No parent should have to choose between radiation exposure and education for their child," said Kazue Suzuki, Greenpeace Japan's anti-nuclear project head.

Read More

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog

Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog


Editor's Note: This is part of IEEE Spectrum's ongoing coverage of Japan's earthquake and nuclear emergency.

An anonymous worker at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has written dozens of blog posts describing the ups and downs of his experience as one of the lead robot operators at the crippled facility.

His blog provides a window into the complex and dangerous work environment faced by the operators, a small group of young technicians who, like other front-line personnel, must approach areas of high radiation, deploying remote-controlled robots to assist with efforts to further stabilize and shut down the plant’s four troubled reactors. Read More

Read about Living in Japan

Read about Teaching English in Japan

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Immense Cost of Japanese Dams and Dam-Related Landslides and Earthquake

The Immense Cost of Japanese Dams and Dam-Related Landslides and Earthquakes*

Masano Atsuko

Translated by Aaron Skabelund

It had been three months since the Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku Earthquake struck northern Honshu on 14 June 2008, triggering a huge landslide above Aratozawa Dam. The area hit by a landslide has been further carved by snow and rain, and trees and other vegetation are in disarray. The site looks like the day after a wretched barber had just given it a bad haircut. For the earth, this must be an embarrassing appearance.

According to the National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management (Kokudou gijitsu sou-kenkyuusho; NILIM), the epicenter of the 7.2 magnitude quake was near Mt. Kurikoma on the border between three prefectures--Miyagi , Iwate, and Akita--and in the close vicinity of 15 dams (one which is still under construction) including Aratozawa to the southeast.

In this landscape carved by rivers, a landslide with an average depth of 55 meters, a width of 810 meters, and a length of 1400 meters slid as far as 140 meters off the side of the mastiff and into the back of the lake formed by the dam.

A few days after the earthquake, Tokyo University Professor Konagai Kazuo appeared on NHK television’s “Close-up Gendai” special, “The Mountain that Disappeared: The Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku Earthquake,” and explained that because ground water near the dam was high and because snowmelt had permeated the ground, the violent shaking of the earthquake had caused the massive landslide. Read More

Time in Japan - a Question from a Canadian Reader

Time in Japan, Kevin a question for you:

I keep reading in alternative news sources how the radiation leaks are worse than what the government is saying. I've also read that radiation is being detected on the west coast of North America. I know my Japanese friend says he is fed up with the lies and just wants to get out now. Are you concerned about all the radiation?

--S.O., in Canada

Read More

Japanese Government to Monitor Online Discussions About Fukushima

Japanese Government to Monitor Online Discussions About Fukushima

What do you think of this?

I think the government wants to have a handle on public opinion so they can address the concerns that are going viral. I think that is good overall. I don`t feel scared about it.
Alex Jones and his website is partly about government control and wrong doing. However in this case, the monitoring might be a good thing.

I have less problem with this monitoring and more of a problem with security cameras in public areas, as I feel they could be abused. Plus people can be falsely identified. ie) look like a criminal.

News Story Follows:

Asahi Japan Watch
Aug 26, 2011

While the government defends its new monitoring program of online postings concerning the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to stem the spread of “inaccurate” information, critics say it harkens back to Big Brother.

The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said tweets on Twitter and postings to blogs will be monitored for groundless and inaccurate information that could inflame and mislead the public.

The agency said it is trying to “track down inaccurate information and to provide correct ones instead.”

But critics are skeptical about the agency’s motive, especially because the government has been under fire for failing to provide an accurate picture of what has been occurring at the plant and the spread of radioactive contamination.

The cost for the project was earmarked in an extra government budget to finance the rebuilding of northeastern Japan ravaged by the March 11 disaster. Read More

For More on Japan Living

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kevs Twisted Humor

Kevs Twisted Humor
Welcome to Kevs Twisted Humor!

Who the heck is Kev? And why is he twisted?

I don`t know why I am twisted. It may be growing up near Vancouver. That DDT spraying they did on the fields in Delta decades ago? Having a liar, ....oops, I mean lawyer for a brother.

Having a skin doctor (who would experiment on,...oops treat his children),for a father, and a comedian/housewife for a mother.

My other brother is a very funny doctor. I mean that in a good sense.

It could have been that pop I drank. (Soda) for the Americans.

Kevs Twisted Humor - A Little Kev History

All about Japanese Origami

The art of paper folding, commonly known as origami, started in the 17th century AD and was later on popularized outside Japan in the mid 1900s. Some historians and scholars would say that just like much of Japanese culture and tradition, origami originated from China. The word origami came from the Japanese word “Ori” which means folding and “Kame” which means paper.

Read More

Japanese Instruments

Japanese Instruments

Japanese Instruments, what you may not know

by Lyanne Thomas

Traditional Japanese musical instruments are comprised of a wide range of string, wind (mostly flutes) and percussion instruments. Let me mention the most common Japanese musical instruments:

Percussion Instruments

Drums: Taiko, literally known as great or big drums. There are many big drums in Japan and most of these great instruments have 2 membranes that are either nailed or laced and are struck with sticks. Most of these big drums such as the Odaiko are usually used during Japanese festivities and celebrations. A famous taiko perfomance group known as Kodo hosts an annual earth celebration. The Earth celebration is a festival of taiko drumming where people from around the world come to Japan to witness the celebration. Read More

My Trials and Tribulations of Starting the Tokyo Comedy Club

Pictured: Some of the funny English you see in Japan, this time at Boozer House in Odawara

An article came out in Japan Zine, acknowledging me as one of the co-founders of the Tokyo Comedy Store. I just want to say thank you to the Tokyo Comedy Store for doing that!
--Kevin R Burns

Kevs Twisted Humor
These days I ply my comedy trade at my website, Kevs Twisted Humor.
Check it out!

One of the great things about being an expatriate in Japan is that there are so many unique opportunities for us here. If you are willing to take the time to go to the audition or job interview, you have a shot at many interesting jobs. As well, if there is something you want to do, but this organization or club doesn`t yet exist, if you start it, they will come. So often there are others like you, waiting for someone to start a club or group they are interested in.

I have lived here a long time, I`m a good organizer, so I have started many groups over the years. One of them was the Tokyo Comedy Club, which is now known as The Tokyo Comedy Store. I still have a little pride in knowing that I started the whole thing! Maybe someone would have done it eventually, but I did it! Read More

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cute Japanese Girl Warning!

"Many otherwise perfectly good international relationships have ended instantly, when the Japanese partner opened up and started to eat the squid jerky! If you have never smelt squid jerky, it beats natto hands down, natto is for wimps. Squid jerky can be used by butt cleavage showing car mechanics as a paint solvent at car repair shops, it will singe your nostrils, and coat them with a fishy smell that will last for days."

--Kevin R Burns (the Japan Guy not the MMA guy, this websites guy!)

Read More:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Japanese Body Art

Japanese Body Art - This art also known as Irezumi or horimono, otherwise known as Japanese tattoo art or body art has a very long history.

It is said that the early Japanese people or Ainu decorated their body with paint and used facial tattoos. This was done by the Ainu people for social and decorative purposes, however scholars also believed that these tattoos were not only to represent one`s social status but claimed that it had some spiritual purpose.

Read More:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Former U.S. envoy critical of Japan's nuclear crisis response

Kevin Maher, a former State Department official, says the U.S. worried about Prime Minister Naoto Kan's lack of leadership after the earthquake and tsunami led to a nuclear crisis.

By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times

August 20, 2011
Reporting from Seoul—
Relations between the United States and Japan, already strained over the delayed relocation of an American military base on Okinawa, received no help this week when a retired U.S. envoy publicly criticized Tokyo's initial response in March to the nation's nuclear crisis.

Comments by Kevin Maher, a former director of the State Department's Japan Office, shed light on Washington's mind-set during the early days of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Maher said U.S. officials worried about the lack of leadership shown by Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami led to partial reactor meltdowns at the coastal plant.

At one point, Maher said, the Obama administration considered a worst-case scenario of evacuating tens of thousands of U.S. citizens from the Tokyo metropolitan area.

"There was nobody in charge," Maher said Thursday at a speech at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. "Nobody in the Japanese political system was willing to say, 'I'm going to take responsibility and make decisions.' " Read More

Friday, August 19, 2011

Living in Japan

What is a Japanese apartment like?

To make living in Japan fun and not unbearable, you need a decent if not a nice place to live. Where you live of course, makes a huge difference in how you feel about wherever you live, but especially in a foreign country like Japan. Your Japanese apartment should be as much of an oasis as you can make it.

A Japanese apartment is different from what you can expect back home. The amenities are few if any. You will need to furnish it from the top down, including the light fixtures!

Read More

Japan Update - News on Japan

Japan Update, today`s news from Japan

Tell us your stories about living in Japan, or about the news from Japan below!

A former resident of Japan states this on the Disaster in Tohoku:

“There is always a lot of hype and misreporting in these situations. There is only a need for people to move from affected areas, not the whole country. The same thing happened when I lived in Indonesia and the bombings happened in Bali. There was so much misinformation, misreporting and blatant lies just to milk more from the pain of those suffering. The media can be so heartless while appearing to be caring…there has been quite a disparity between some reports here and what I’ve heard from people who are there. Why can’t the plain truth be told? Crazy, eh.”-JP

Read Today`s News from Japan

Han`s Rosling on History

Kurt K. Billie In Trouble with the Law Again

This time Billie has been arrested in the USA.

Billie was tried and convicted in a Japanese court after being found guilty of burning seven restaurants and bars on Okinawa in two separate arson attacks in January 2001 when he was a 24-year-old Marine lance corporal stationed at Camp Hansen.

Read More

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Walking around Yokohama recollecting the big quake

The last time I was in Yokohama was back on March 11th when the big quake hit and I had walked this same way to Landmark Tower. I remember the huge after shocks while I was walking and the crowds of people that were slowly making their way from Sakuragicho Station to Yokohama Station. So today, I was a little bit wary of hanging around too long inside the shopping mall, although of course it was my paranoia taking over me. The ironic thing back on March 11th I was also out in this area shopping for a hat. This time I was shopping for slacks so I came out of this day’s Yokohama experience safe.

Read More of this Blog

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Two Looks at Beautiful Nagasaki

Nagasaki is located on Japan`s southern isle Kyushu, a paradise that boasts green fields, forested mountain sides and beautiful beaches.

The famous city of Nagasaki is the capital and likewise the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture. The city is not only historical but attractive with some tourist attractions captivating the hearts of many foreigners such as:

Read More

Richard Schwartz says:

"All of Kyushu Island too is semi-tropical, lush green, and has beautiful beaches. Nagasaki is one of Japan`s most beautiful, interesting and of course, historic cities.

The people of Kyushu are more easy going than their counterparts in Honshu, Kyushu people brag. All in all it is a nice place to visit or live in, so I recommend travel in Japan-Nagasaki!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lee Urges Japan to teach correct history

I have always said this was important. If you don`t know your history well, you do not know yourselves. Japanese authorities are hurting the children of Japan.

News Story Follows:

President Lee Myung-bak said Monday Japan should teach its future generations a correct history amid heightened tensions between the two countries over Tokyo's attempts to renew its territorial claims to South Korea's easternmost island of Dokdo.

"Japan has a responsibility to teach its future generations a correct history," Lee said during his speech on Liberation Day, marking the end of Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Japan's attempt to lay claims to Dokdo has long been a thorn in relations between the two countries. South Koreans see those claims as a sign that Japan has not fully repented for its colonial rule of Korea.

South Korea has rejected Japan's claims over Dokdo as nonsense because the country regained independence from the colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, including Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula. Read More

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Drug Problem in Thailand

Provinces of Thailand, sandwiched between the converging frontiers of Laos, Burma, and Thailand is an area known to the world as the Golden Triangle. Populated by hilltribes, the region has enjoyed the dubious distinction of being one of the world`s major opium growing centers. Politics and economics have contributed to this status. The hilltribes, with few alternatives to the easily grown opium poppy, have traditionally practised slash and burn agriculture, planting their opium fields in the soils of the northern hills.

Read More

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mask making in Thailand

Photo Gallery: Mask making in Thailand

Traditional khon mask making is a dying art in Thailand.

Prateep Rodpai, one of Thailand's last traditional Khon mask makers works in his outdoor studio in Angthong, Thailand. The paper mache Khon masks, are part of the ornate glittering costumes used in the stylized classical Thai dance form known as Khon. Prateep sells his handmade masks for $50-120 US, it can take around 10 days to make one. The Khon tradition was originally imported from India around the 10th century. The painted Khon masks are essential to conveying the characters and moods of a Khon performance. See the Masks

Read about teaching, Living and Touring Thailand

Bangkok`s Parks

Pictured: Krabi, Thailand

Bangkok`s Parks

I love working in Japan and earning such a strong income in a very strong currency, then traveling to Thailand and spending it on the beach or in Bangkok. What a life!

Bangkok with its many markets, interesting old neighborhoods, temples and waterways, is sadly lacking in public parks and gardens, although the Thais are great lovers of flowers and plants.Thailand is after all one of the world`s largest exporters or orchids and has developed several species unique to the kingdom.Visitors interested in plants native to Thailand and exhibits from abroad will find no better place than the new Rama IX Park on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Read More

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tips for Effective Resume Writing

Tips Effective Resume Writing, you have about 30 seconds to a minute to make an impression on the personnel manager. Make the first impression a great one!

Have a great looking resume. Either make it yourself or have a professional service type one up for you. Make it look professional as schools, institutions and universities here are trying to hire professional people.

Read More

The Real Feel Termperature of your Japanese City

This site gives you the real feel temperature. You can search your city by entering it in the top left hand corner of the site. International city names are okay.

AccuWeather.com - Global Weather - Your Local Forecast
World weather from AccuWeather.com including local weather forecast for international cities and global weather information.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Once settled in, chances are you'll have to pay to stay

Once settled in, chances are you'll have to pay to stay
In Japan, property rental renewal fees can cost around one month's rent per year. The question is: What is it tenants are paying for?


In 1946, Japan was in ruins. The housing shortage was severe and inflation was high, so the government issued a directive to freeze rental fees. To make up for the perceived loss of income, property owners came up with supplemental fees — renewal fees, called koshinryō, and "gift money" or reikin, a mandatory gratuity that new renters paid to landlords for the privilege of moving in.

Though the purpose of these fees may have been obvious at the time, they became arbitrary once owners were allowed to set rents freely again. Yet many landlords continued to demand them simply because they could, and they still can. Read More

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Star of New Brunswick and a Former Chunichi Dragon hangs up his glove

Matt Stairs retires from MLB

Stairs was given permission by the Montreal Expos to play in Japan, where he suited up
for Nagoya`s profession baseball team the Chunichi Dragons. After his stint in Japan,
he returned to the Expos.

CBC News Follows:

Matt Stairs is retiring from Major League Baseball after almost two decades. Matt Stairs is retiring from Major League Baseball after almost two decades. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press)

Matt Stairs, New Brunswick's biggest baseball star, is ready to retire after almost two decades playing in Major League Baseball.

Stairs, 43, hasn't made the official announcement yet but he told CBC News in an interview on Wednesday that his playing days are now done.

"I'm not sad. I had a great career, a long career," Stairs said.

"And it's one of those things where I can walk away today and not be sad about it."

Read More