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05 August 2012

Japanese film "THERMAE ROMAE" meaning Roman Bath in Latin

Japanese actors playing Roman people in Hadrian era of Roman Empire.

One Roman architect of the bath time slipps to modern Japan and experience modern style bath.

All dialogues are done in Japanese except some short Latin dialogues. 

Interesting thing was viewers could learn how Roman Empire functioned. How Roman viewed other parts of the world, and how slavery functioned. How important it was for the Emperor Hadrian to be deifeid after retirement.

One of the shocking thing shown was Emperor Hadrian had a boy lover and he was very much saddened by the boy's death. It was very openly depicted in the film maybe because it was Japanese film. In the West, such depicting would be very controversial.

The film was in fact, comedy. But it can be great textbook to learn Roman Empire stuff. Since it is made by Japanese from Japanese perspective, portrayal of Roman people looked very neutral. Not too religious and not too ideological. Hope the film will be released in Italy and other parts of the world.

 

21:48 Posted in Film, Italy, Japan News | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: history, gay

08 July 2012

Why we protest Restart of nuclear power plant

On July 1, 2012 one nuclear reactor, Ohi No.3 located in Ohi town in Fukui Prefecture was restarted. It was first time re-operation of nuclear power plant in Japan since 311 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The government says it was to prevent blackout in case of energy shortage in heated summer. But the truth is to help electric power company from financial crisis. That is why so many people protesting the restart. More than 100 thousand people gathered in front of Prime Minister's House and Parliament building to shout "No Restart!" on the eve of restart. 

In Ohi, local town of the nuclear plant, 7 hour bus ride from Tokyo, hundreds of people gathered at the entrace of the plant.

nuclear power nuclear power

 

The problem is the plant had no safety measures to counter what happened in Fukushima. No wall to protect from tsunami, no filter ventilation, no earthquake resist building.

Even after a terrible disastor happened in Fukushima, there are people who want to forget about Fukushima and restart nuclear business.

In last two months, electricity was provided all over Japan without nuclear generation. That proves we never needed one. Japan has only relied 20-30% of energy on nuclear even before 311. It is easy to supplement that portion by other methods.

What we have to do is keep shouting protest against nuclear energy which is not only dangerous but cost-inefficient, harmful to the environment and human health even while regular operation. It consumes so much water and oil to dig and transport. Many got sick while digging uranium and maintenance. So much money is needed to operate including subsidies to local towns' poor budget in order to obtain approval for acceptance.

Stupid! We have to stop such stupidity.

21 May 2012

Solar Eclipse seen in Tokyo

In the morning of May 21, Monday in Tokyo, from the balcony of my place, I saw beautiful solar eclipse. Of course I used sun glasses dedicated for this event.

sun eclipse

I did enjoy it. Once solar shading started, the whole view from the balcony got darker and the temperature got colder.

After a few minutes, the sun became like golden ring from what I saw through the glasses.

Thank you, God. It was in fact the most beautiful show I saw in my life.

 

This show was actually seen not only in Japan but other parts of the world, California and Northern Texas.

The map and timetable is as follows.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/05/solar-eclip...

 

Location

Start Partial Eclipse

Start Annular Eclipse

Max Eclipse

End Annular Eclipse

End Partial Eclipse

% of sun diameter covered

Hong Kong (AM)

5:08

6:06

6:08

6:10

7:16

94%

Taipei (AM)

5:07

6:10

6:10

6:11

7:23

94%

Tokyo (AM)

6:19

7:32

7:34

7:37

9:02

97%

Crescent City, CA (PM)

5:07

6:23

6:26

6:28

7:35

97%

Albuquerque, N.M.

6:29

7:33

7:35

7:38

8:36

97%

Redding, CA

5:11

6:26

6:28

6:30

7:36

96%

Zion National Park

6:23

7:31

7:34

7:36

8:37

96%

Lubbock, Texas

7:31

8:33

8:36

8:38

9:34

96%

Lake Tahoe

5:15

6:29

6:31

6:32

7:37

95%

Chico

5:13

6:28

6:30

6:31

7:37

95%

Eureka

5:09

6:25

6:27

6:29

7:36

95%

Grand Canyon

5:25

6:33

6:35

6:37

7:38

94%

Yosemite Village

5:18

 

6:33

 

7:39

92%

Sacramento

5:15

 

6:31

 

7:38

92%

Las Vegas

5:23

 

6:35

 

7:39

92%

San Francisco

5:15

 

6:32

 

7:39

90%

Monterey

5:18

 

6:34

 

7:41

88%

Palm Springs

5:26

 

6:38

 

7:42

86%

Lancaster

5:24

 

6:37

 

7:42

86%

Downtown L.A.

5:24

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Malibu

5:24

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Griffith Observatory

5:24

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Burbank

5:24

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Woodland Hills

5:24

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Chatsworth

5:24

 

6:37

 

7:42

85%

Santa Monica

5:24

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Alhambra

5:24

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Arcadia

5:24

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Rowland Heights

5:25

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Ontario

5:25

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Anaheim

5:25

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Oxnard

5:25

 

6:38

 

7:42

85%

Long Beach

5:25

 

6:38

 

7:42

84%

Redondo Beach

5:25

 

6:38

 

7:42

84%

Palos Verdes

5:25

 

6:38

 

7:42

84%

Huntington Beach

5:25

 

6:38

 

7:42

84%

San Diego

5:27

 

6:39

 

7:43

83%

In fact, 18 years ago, when I was a college student in California, I tried to see it but it was a cloudy day so I couldn't see it.

Interesting thing is Japan has a legend of Sun Goddess. Japan is a nation of the Sun Goddess. That means I saw it in the nation of the Sun.

03 May 2012

Book "Memoir of a Trustbuster: A Lifelong Adventure with Japan

A story of an American economist named Eleanor M. Hadley who contributed to Japan's post-war democratization, especially in the field of redistribution of wealth of the nation.

She visited Japan before the war between the two nations started. She was an exchange student and studied Japanese. During the war, she studied economics in Harvard. After the war she was hired by US Occupational force, so called G.H.Q.

The book described her life experience in Japan. She toured Japan and witnessed severe poverty in rural areas. In those days poor peasant families had to sell their children to prostitutes, Geisha or servant house to earn living.

After second world war, what she was involved in was dismantling of Zaibatsu (Corporate conglamour) such as Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Mitsui, and Yasuda. She, her colleagues and her superiors thought that was best way to rebuild Japan's economy. Pre-war time Japan was much like Plutonomy. Small portion of the population dominated most of the wealth. Dismantling of Zaibatsu was to hike tax on the rich and dissolve their share-holding companies to re-allocate the wealth to number of people in the country.

The below is photo of former residence of Mitsubishi Zaibatsu family.

DSCN0416.JPG

It was like "Gone with the wind" for the family. Actually their residence was even occupied by the Yankees. They lost huge part of their asset by post-war economic reform. They did protest that but G.H.Q. actually did it with her advice.

Interesting thing is that kind of reform was even objected within G.H.Q. because this type of reform was more like communism. Forcibly taking away wealth from the rich, did not match with US free market economy ideology.

She and her colleagues were later dismissed from public office on suspicion of communist activity and treason. Her name was cleared 20 years later.

Thanks to G.H.Q's reform, Japan has become relatively egalitarian society among advanced nations. Ironically the U.S. at present has become plutonomy society. That is why "Occupy Wall Street" movement occurred. Only top 5% of the population dominates 60% of the nation's total wealth. Top 400 richest households wealth is equivalent to that of bottom half of the population.

The rich can do anything they want in the world's most democratic nation because they finance President, Senators, and Congressmen. They can even control media to shut down unfavourable information for them to manipulate mass-population. 

Recent Micheal Moore's film described how plutonomic American society is and in contrast the film showed President Roosevelt's proposal of Second Bill of Rights during second world war.

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

 

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

Micheal Moore said it did not come to realization in the U.S. because Roosevelt died before the war ended. In fact Japan acquired the above rights. They are written in Japan's post war constitution.

Article 25. All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.
In all spheres of life, the State shall use its endeavors for the promotion and extension of social welfare and security, and of public health.

Article 26. All people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided by law.
All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law. Such compulsory education shall be free.

Is it because of G.H. Q. people including Ms. Hadley?

If so, we should be thankful to her and the U.S.

I recently come up with the idea of my new novel. The title would be "Second Bill of Rights." The main character is a son of Japan's notable Zaibatsu family. Before the war he met a brilliant young American woman who was an exchange student like Ms. Hadley in Tokyo. He and she became good friends discussing arts, culture, politics and economical system of Japan, U.S. and rest of the world.

After the war, his family ruined. They saw each other again in Tokyo, this time she was a G.H.Q's economist. But the two got deeper relationship than pre-war time.

Doesn't it sound interesting?