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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TODAY IN JAPAN

My Japan Railway trip to Jindai Botanical Park follows at the end.  I'll begin by summarizing what is happening in Japan today:
  • The Nikkei is tanking, partially as a response to the recent sales tax increase from 5% to 8%, but the problem is deeper (there was a further 50 point drop yesterday, but recovered +87 today):
  • Yikes, the bird flu is here in southern Kyushu.  I was supposed to be in Miyazaki in four days, but decided not to go so far south on the Shinkansen.  In Kumamoto, 112,000 chickens were destroyed, as two farms were suddenly struck by an H5-type Avian Flu Virus.  Authorities have no clue how these birds were infected.  How dangerous is this virus to humans?  Not at all, it turns out, for only birds are affected.  There has never been even one case of avian flu in Japan, ever!  Here are 400 workers culling the flocks.
  • Kyushu Electric's Sendai (I'll be in Sendai in a week, but that is another Sendai, although it is indeed ironic, but my Sendai hotel is located only a few miles from Fukushima, scene of that nuclear catastrophe) nuclear plant in Kagoshima has tentatively been selected as the first to be fast-tracked for re-start, probably in August.  The local populace is rallying for nuclear, as they badly need this economic stimulus.  The two reactors are located right close to the open ocean.
  • I've long been anti-Abe, but here is another reason why.  His energy policy now touts COAL as a desirable fuel for electricity.  Japan has run a trade deficit for 20 consecutive months since the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, mainly because of fossil fuel importation, and mouths statements of clean coal to neutralize global warming arguments, while turning its back on the Kyoto Protocol for which it was responsible.  This is part of the tragedy of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Jindai Botanical Park is next to Jindai Temple, or Jindaiji, built in 733.  Soba (cold buckwheat noodle) at Yusui is a big attraction.  This was the first botanical park in Tokyo, and is noted for its variety of sakura and giant azalea colony of 12,000 plants, but is also known for dogwood trees, roses, wisteria and irises.  There are 100,000 of them in 4,500 varieties, each identified with a label.  Many endangered species are kept here, where slips can be purchased to take home.  It costs about $5 to enter, $2.50 if you're old.

Well, here are the best of my photos today:


I arranged with Keio Garden Place for a lunch of chu-toro sashimi, sushi and soba.  And…that is not water in what looks like a water bottle.  The cost above, around $50.  I had lunch at the bench to Pearl's right:


I was sitting under budding Wisteria trees.  The back view shows the sculpterer, Bussi, 1961:


"Pearl" is located between two acoustical features.  To the right are chimes that play Japanese music once an hour, while in front are 33 fountains which constantly provide relaxing sounds.  I met with the staff of the garden, and these two ladies promised to seek out the name of the model:


The cherry blossoms were two weeks beyond the peak, but there is so much variety, that the spotted scenes still were spectacular:


The azaleas were at peak:


In case you didn't know, rhododendrons are azaleas.  Ot course, there were many other colors:


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1 comment:

Ulisse Di Bartolomei said...

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