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16 May 2018

My Dark Tourism

Have you heard of the term "Dark Tourism"? 

This is the tour to spots in which historically or even recently terrible incidents happened. It is not a travel to have fun. Rather it is for travelers to study the past and present for the better future.

I recently found I have done that many times for many years. Actually I've written about some of such trips on this blog. 

But here I present photos and name of sites, year I visited. 

Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, the site the Japanese military attacked on US Naval Force on 7 of December 1941

history

Nanjing China September 2004, the site of Rape of Nanjing in 1937, where the Japanese Imperial Army mass-murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese including civilians. 

history

Auschwitz, Poland 2008, Holocaust Death Camp established by Nazi-Germany during the second world war

history

Hacksaw Ridge, in Okinawa, July 2017, A steep cliff, a big battle site between Japan and US during the second world war, where US forces climbed up to the Japanese Imperial Army Base  

This incident was adapted to the 2016 film "Hacksaw Ridge." I joined a guide tour of viewing the site where the battle took place.

history

The below photos are taken at The Former Navy Underground Headquarters, which I took in September 2013.

history, war, Okinawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trace of suicidal bombing by a cheif commander inside the headquarter in the end of the battle.  

history, war, okinawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year's March, 

Execution site of 26 Christians in Nagasaki, late 16th century, 

history

Half blown Torii Gate by the Atomic Bomb dropped on 9 of August 1945

history

A-Bombing dome in Hiroshima, near Ground Zero of the atomic bomb dropped on 6 of August, 1945

There I met a survivor of the bomb and a German tourist and had local specialty food Okonomiyaki together at a restaurant nearby. I would like to write a mock-documentary script based on that experience. 

history

As for the recent matter, gate of Evacuation zone of Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants that was destroyed by the earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011. I visited there last year's March. Radiation Measure indicated twice higher level than normal. It is like another tour to Chernobyl. 

history

Some claim, visiting those places should not be regarded as Tourism. But I believe this is something we all have to do. Because we are living in a world such things can happen again anytime. 

Later I want to show another type of Tourism, which I call "Hot Tourism." Another Study Tour but what you see is currently happening and can join the incidents if you like. 

30 April 2016

5 Years On from Fukushima-Daiichi, 30 Years On from Chernobyl

March and April were the big months for anti-nuclear movement of this year. 5th anniversary of Fukushima Daichi nuke plant's accident and 30th anniversary of Chernobyl nuke accident.

Since 5 years ago, Japanese public opinion has turned out to be mostly anti-nuke generation. Before that, survey results are usually pro-nuke generation.

Since that time, terms such as sievert, becquerel, caesium, iodine, plutonium, strontium, thyroid cancer, china syndrome, and etc have become very familiar. Not just with experts but ordinary citizens.  

Fukushima Prefecture still suffer from radioactive released from the crippled plants.

I went there last month. I saw the radioactive-level measurement machine in front of railway station located 45 km away from the plant. Neighboring area of Evacuation zone.

 

That level is double the normal level before the accident. Radioactive still remains.

It is reported that tens of times of higher percentage of thyroid cancer cases are found among minors in Fukushima. That level is similar to Chernobyl which was estimated to release 10 times more radioactives to the environment.

Currently only two plants out of 50 in Kagoshima Prefecture are being operated. Last month two plants in Fukui Prefecture were shut down due to the court order after citizens filed lawsuit against the power company.

In Tokyo, on 5th anniversary day, citizens gathered at prime minister's residence to show their protest.

nuclear power

In a corner of a ministry building which is in charge of nuclear energy administration, protestants set up occupy tents to show their will since September 2011. It was modeled after Occupy Wall Street movement.

nuclear power

Kan Naoto who was a prime minister at that time interviewed by Asahi Newspaper recently claimed there was a possibility that whole Tokyo area would have become evacuation zone. It was a kind of miracle that it did not go so terrible. It may be attributed to God (or Buddha).

I remember that 5 years ago, I was working and emailing with a client who said the job we were dealing could be worthless because we never knew how our society would have become.  

In Chernobyl another centuries are needed to completely dismantled the crippled plant. Thousands years to recover the area to get back to normal zone. As Einstein claimed, humanity and nuclear can never coexist.

Renewable energy has been booming lately. In next decades price of renewable energy will be much lower than nuclear energy.

Nuclear age is coming to end. We must end it!

Not just that, we must change our lifestyle so that we do not need so much energy that we have to rely on such hazardous energy source.

31 July 2014

Puff the magic dragon, lived by the sea, in the land called "HENOKO"

I saw the dragon there, in Henoko, Okinawa prefecture, southernmost chain of the islands in Japan.

You might not believe that. This is the proof.

dragon,

Yes, it looked like rainbow. But the sea is known to be sacred place for the dragon. The locals worship it and established a shrine on the sea coast.

military, okinawa,

Recently the dragon seems not very comfortable living there because of construction project going on his or her place. On the sea coast is US Marine training camp base, Camp Schwab. There is a plan to expand the base by reclaiming the sea where he/she lives.

 

The locals oppose the plan because their environment would be deteriorated as well. However, US military and the Japanese government never mind local resisitance movement.

 

Will he/she leave as the things are? I doubt it.

 

The sea reminds me of what I experienced 3 years ago in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi prefecture in the mainland of Japan. Actually I learnt about that town when I joined environment activists meeting in Henoko. I met Kaminoseki activists who protest the construction project that reclaims the sea to build nuclear power plants there. They did the same things as locals in Henoko do, kayaking the sea to prevent construction work from proceeding.  

military,okinawa

So I visited Kaminoseki later. There I saw the same scene.

Activists on the beach calling for the halt of the project but the authorities and power company never minded their voices. The project was about to be proceeded and the beach might be destroyed sooner.

military,okinawa

I felt something when I was on the beach. I sympathized, and then prayed to call for the help.

 

Two weeks later a big earthquake and tsunami occurred in Fukushima. 4 nuke plants were destroyed by the nature and massive radioactives were released to the environment.

 

Now the construction is halted in Kaminoseki (not yet terminated.) No nuke plants are operated in Japan at present.

 

In that town, there enshrined the sea dragon.

 

Was it just an coincident? I just don’t think so. That is why I’ve been feeling fear.

 

04 March 2014

Very homosocial and divine experience in Fukushima

Not homosexual, homosocial! I joined naked men in thong festival in Hobara town, Date-city, Fukushima Prefecture.

You may feel familiar with Fukushima. Yes, that is in the same prefecture in which that severe nuclear accident occurred after the earthquake and tsunami hit the nuclear plants 3 years ago. Hobara is 50 kilometers away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants.

On 2nd of March, I traveled to Fukushima from Tokyo. I brought my gaiger counter (radiation level measure).  This was my 5th trip to Fukushima since that disaster. My purpose this time was my third time participation in the festival as naked man in thong walking and running on the street. Other 2 times I joined radiation clean-up mission of the town.

What my gaiger counter indiated at the Tokyo Railway and Fukushima Station were very similar.

radiation

radiation, Fukushima

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 years ago, it was different. The below is what I took in Hobara Station July 2011, 4 months after the accident.

radiation, Fukuhshima

As you see, the counter needle went more right. It was over 0.1 Rem. More than 10 times of normal level.

However, it went down but still radiation level is higher than normal.

On that day I went to the gathering place near the Itsukushima Shrine in Hobara town to put on thong.

Fukushima

Over there around 70 men gathered to prepare for the participation. All guys became naked and bathed in hot water tub and after that they got themselves in thongs by local festival staff. Naked guys waiting in a room holding thongs in their hands. Talking about their bodies. Someone joked about that. (See the photos on this Japanese site which were taken 3 years ago) The thong contains cup to hold guys' private thing. After it was tightened by the staff, it was like being chained on your ass to hips. Kind of extra-ordinary feeling.

fundoshi, thong

It is called, Fundoshi or Mawashi in Japanese. Sumo wrestler wear that. In the old days, it was maily used as underwear or swimwear for all the men in Japan.

The festival is named, Tsutsuko-hiki Festival. It literally means pulling the Tsutsuko, divine rice in a big straw bag which weighs 800 kg. To wish for rich harvest and health of the localies. By pulling the bag from all the direction the rice turns out to be soft and sweet rice cake. If you eat that, you can stay healthy all year around.

I learned about this festival when I joined the radiation clean-up mission. Then I decided to join the festival every year to wish for betterment of the town's environment. Only God can change things better, I guess.

After dress-up of the thong guys had to wait for the main event for 1 to 2 hours. Until then other things such as performances or children sports event went on outside.

During that waiting period, guys chatted each other drinking sake (Japanese alchohol beverage) and eating foods in a small room. It is the very men's world. Talking about life, sex and etc. I hesitated to talk about nuclear things because it was too serious for the localies.

Guys were mostly from Fukushima. One young man was from Australia. He said that he now lives in Iwaki-city in Fukushima as translator. He said that he enjoyed wearing Fundoshi. That amazed me. Only one caucasion young man among 70 Japanese men. It was like the short novel I wrote on this blog. A foreign guy experiences very traditional thing which modern Japense do not any longer.

After an hour long talk, I found myself very drank. The main event started and I ran with other guys to the shrine. Guys transported Tsutsuko on the carrier shouting "Wasshoi." After transporting it on main streets of the town, we placed that on the road. Then we, guys pull and bang that on the road shouting.

Later we transported that back to the shrine and the Tsutsuko bag was cut to open. Rice cake in it was divided and handed to participants and gallery. I enjoyed this festival last year and two years ago. However, this time I got too drank to remember what exactly I did.

I just hope things are getting better in Fukushima, Japan and the whole world.    

 

 

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