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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


In the transition from Nagasaki to Hiroshima on Day 19 of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Catastrophe, I was reminded by friends to mention three films:

  "Rhapsody in August" with Richard Gere,

  "Black Rain," no, not the Michael Douglas version, but the Japanese movie directed by Shohei Imamura, and

  "Record of a Living Being," with Toshiro Mifune.

Worth a few clicks.

This blog started out only reporting on Planet Earth and Humanity, revolving around my books:

Today, the Huffington Post published:

At last check, there were only two comments, and one was mine.  Symptomatic of this disinterest, about four months ago, I wrote:

As renewable energy, climate change and peace are too, too boring, I wonder if I change my blog title from PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY to THE SIN, RELIGION, NATURAL DISASTERS AND CLONING POST, there will be an uptick in readership?

I was kidding, of course, but it is true that people rarely remark about my energy/environment posts, but tend to like my food and travel reports.  Thus, when I roam the globe, I write about those places, especially what I eat.  So, today, let me say a few things about Nara.

But before doing that, let me bring you up to date on Day 19 of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Cataclysm.  Radioactive materials are leaking from the reactors.  From plutonium found in the soil around the Fukushima reactors to Vancouver, BC detecting Iodine-131 in their seaweed and rainwater, the crisis appears to be getting worse.  There always is, of course, that obligatory, "but this is not harmful to humans."  Yet, I'm more and more seeing blog-level speculations suggesting that the truth is not being shared, and Japan could well be in real trouble.  Maybe time for me to go home.  If you owned Tokyo Electric Power Company stocks, you have lost 80% of your value since March 11, a 47-year low, as the drop today was 18% after investors worried that privatization might be necessary.  

But today, at least, I'm in Nara, like Kumamoto and Nagasaki, the name of both the prefecture (state, poulation 1.4 million, with 1200 deer) and city (nearly 400,000).  Ancient Nara is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Their flag to the left and symbol on the right.  Amazingly enough, the annual average rainfall is twice that of Hawaii.  It has three sister cities in Japan, and one is Obama, yes, that Obama, which is now famous.

Last year, the city residents celebrated their 1,300th anniversary when they became the Imperial Capital of the country.  They lost this status in 789 AD.

Nara Women's University is one of only two imperial universities for females (the other is Ochanomizu in Tokyo).  Interesting that the president of Nara is Kenji Kume, which is a male name.

I'll continue this in a couple of days.  Tomorrow, I train to Hiroshima.


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