Koriyama City, November 2019 (Part One)

Over the weekend, I went to Koriyama City (south of Fukushima City) to have lunch with the Koriyama City area women. I took a local train. (There is also a bullet train, but it’s expensive.) It takes about fifty minutes to get from Fukushima City to Koriyama City by local train.

I thought that the postures of the people sitting across from me were very interesting. I didn’t want to take their photo because it would be rude to do so. Instead, I sketched a drawing of them.

Population-wise, Koriyama City is the largest city in Fukushima Prefecture. They were having some sort of classic car festival that day.

What a cutie! Half-Chihuahua and half-Miniature Dachshund.

I will be honest. Two years ago, I couldn’t tell a Porsche from a Kia. However, there are fast cars in the manuscript I’m currently working on. So I’ve learned about sports car through research.

What’s the red car?

It’s a classic Porsche!

We don’t see classic cars in Japan much because the rules are quite strict regarding pollution, car insurance and so on. People tend to find it cheaper to upgrade to a new car rather than keep a really old car. these car owners must be real classic car lovers to have kept these cars in great shape over so many years.

Happy Halloween, 2019!

Thriller Restaurant is one of the most popular series for elementary school students here in Japan!

Every Thursday, I do library volunteer.

The following photos are from this morning. I read the English version and a Japanese volunteer read a Japanese version of the picture book to the children in the class.

The following two photos from last Tuesday. I was on the train bound for the small town (south of Fukushima City) where I teach English to kids.

My costume is really hard to guess. I was dressed as an urban legend in Japan: “Toire no Hanako San.” (Hanako the Ghost of the Toilet)

If you are familiar with the Harry Potter series (by J.K. Rowling,) you know that a toilet ghost (Moaning Myrtle) resides in pipes of a girls’ restroom in Hogwarts.

Hanako predates Myrtle by many years. I like to think, though, that they are friends in the ghost world, zooming through pipes to gossip with each other.


Here is a link comparing Moaning Myrtle and Hanako. http://anitasnotebook.com/2017/09/crying-ghosts-in-the-girls-bathroom-shoutout-this-week-to-missy.html

By the way, I personally do not believe that Rowling copied Myrtle off Hanako. Here are my three main reasons:

Number One: She has proved that she has more than enough creativity to think of a toilet ghost on her own.

Number Two: I never see anything from Japan in her writing. Rowling knows a lot about European legends, cultures, tales, etc. but I don’t think she was aware of anything at all from Japan.

Number Three: Coincidences happen.

 

 

 

The Abukuma River, the part near my home….

The Abukuma River flows from south to north through Fukushima Prefecture.

It starts in the mountains of southern Fukushima Prefecture. It flows through the big city of Koriyama, the smaller city of Motomiya, and the big city (but smaller than Koriyama) of Fukushima* and then flows further north into Miyagi Prefecture and then into the ocean.

The recent typhoon of October twelfth brought heavy rain and caused devastating flooding to many parts of Japan. (Not just Fukushima Prefecture.) Yesterday we also had heavy rain all day long.

In Fukushima Prefecture, the Abukuma River overflowed in Koriyama and Motomiya. Its tributaries overflowed in the southern part of Fukushima City. (There was also flooding in Iwaki City.) I myself have not been affected by flooding.

Today, though, it’s a lovely day so I rode my bicycle to the part of Abukuma River that is closest to my house. Here are my photos:

The following link is to an NHK article in Japanese. It’s about the flooding of the Abukuma River in Fukushima Prefecture.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20191021/k10012142801000.html

Here is a link to a Mainichi article in English about the recent flooding of the Abukuma River:

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191019/p2a/00m/0na/003000c

*Remember that Fukushima is like New York. There’s Fukushima Prefecture (like New York State) and Fukushima City (like New York City.) It’s very confusing to those outside of Japan, especially since people outside of Japan often say “Fukushima” when they are actually talking about the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant—which is an incorrect thing to say.

Hello, three photos.

Yesterday, due to the typhoon, the JR local trains were out of service in our area. So instead of heading to work by train, my boss picked my up and drove me there.

damage from the typhoon on the side of the (low) mountain, thus covered with blue tarp.

Even though I did not see flooding from the car (along the highway,) there were areas that had flooding. One of my students told me his family had to evacuate because of flooding. 😦

Helicopters have been out searching (I presume) for flooded area, victims, etc. especially in the rural (and in Fukushima Prefecture, that probably means mountainous) parts of Japan.

Our festival in Fukushima City, 2019

The typhoon passed through Japan on Saturday, causing devastating flooding in many places. Fukushima Prefecture had flooding, too, but fortunately my neighborhood did not have any damage.

The city’s Inari Shrine kept to its plan of having its festival on Sunday night. (Its festival is always this weekend in October.)

Here are some photos from the festival:

Even the dogs were dressed up!

CTV video from Youtube—about first moments after quake, before meltdowns began… (Commentator is discussing the threat)

This CTV video from Youtube—about first moments after quake in March of 2011, before meltdowns “officially” began and were being reported.

WOW! WHAT FUN! WOULDN’T IT BE FUN IF THE WORLD ENDED!!!!!!!!!!! NO PESKY ADULTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I’m looking at you, new TV show about how fun nuclear war is. I won’t say the name of this TV show and give it free advertisement. But its tagline is:

“You say apocalypse like it’s a bad thing.” While showing a photo of a very happy teen boy and his skateboard and his….samurai sword?

For the record, apocalypse is a bad thing.

I like a good joke like everybody else, and I’ve watched and read dystopian fiction, but the mixture of “Fun” and “Apocalypse” aimed at a young audience makes me worry.

Cuz we all know what’s gonna happen.

When the doody hits the fan, and there really is a nuclear war (or other apocalyptic tragedy,) kids are gonna be like, “Hey, wait. This isn’t like on TV. This sucks.”

(Furthering it. Kids will not even be saying that. In a true apocalyptic scenario, kids and adults will be both be in extremely intense shock and grief, unlike the world has ever seen. Nobody will be saying much of anything. There’ll be too much shock and sadness and attempting to eek out one’s survival.)


Oh, and do the creaters of this show realize that Trump and Kim Jung Un will probably watch it? Especially Kim, he’s reputed to love American movies. Trump will be thinking, “Oh, nuclear war looks neato.” Kim (he’s probably hooked up to South Korean TV) will be thinking “Nuclear war looks awesome.”

And they’ll do it.

Yay.

Cemetary in Southwest part of Fukushima City

I was riding my bike in the southwest part of Fukushima, an area I don’t normally hang around in. From the road, I happened to see something interesting…

What is it? I decided to check it out.

(By the way, the houses are very typical of the sort of houses that people live in around here. I imagine my protagonist, Haruka, lives in a house like these. That is, she lives in a recently built house that did not suffer damage during the 2011 quake. When she returns home, her house is standing. Fukushima City is not on the coast, so the tsunami did not strike her house. She’s still affected by the tsunami, though because her mom had gone to the coast for work and is missing. And later, she meets a girl whose parents were killed by the tsunami. Does this sound like a book you would want to read? I hope so. I’ve put my heart into writing it.)

It seems to be a very old cemetary.

My shadow. It was late in the day.

Something I like about Japan is that I discover little surprises tucked away into secret corners. That’s one reason I like riding my bike. It’s so easy to stop and explore!

 

 

Kansai Electric Power Company Scandal…..

It was learned last Friday (Sept, 27, 2019) that executives at the Kansai Electric Power Company have been receiving substantial gifts from a person outside the company.

Kansai is an area of Japan.

The map above is a map of Japan. The colors delineate the regions. Kansai is the light green part of the map. (For reference, Tokyo is in Kanto–the lightest blue area on the map. My home of Fukushima in Tohoku, the medium blue part.)

Kansai is the part of Japan where Osaka is. Osaka is a big city and consumes a lot of electricity. Kansai is also home to the smaller (but still quite large) city of Kyoto.

So according to news reports, twenty Kansai Electric Power Company (KANDEN) executives received “318.45 million yen worth of gifts” from a mayor of a town in Fukui Prefecture (a rural prefecture, it’s located in the darker green section of the map.) This town is the site of a nuclear power plant owned by KANDEN.

I plugged 318,000,000 million into an online converter from yen to U.S. dollars (using today’s exchange rate.) That’s almost three million U.S. dollars.

The following links are to online articles I found about this topic. (If you click on them, you’ll see the photos of three KANDEN executives who received the gifts. There are actually twenty KANDEN executives who received gifts, but the public does not know the identities of the other seventeen. Their names are–at this writing–being kept confidential.)

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190927/p2g/00m/0bu/001000c

and

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/09/795bc0f2c793-urgent-kansai-electric-top-executives-received-payoffs-from-local-official.html

and

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191001_31/

and

https://japantoday.com/category/national/Kansai-Electric-admits-execs%27-acceptance-of-gifts-president-won%27t-resign

The Companies which provide electricity in Japan…

To tell the honest truth, most people on the internet (especially those people who aren’t Japanese or don’t live in Japan or haven’t studied the situation intensively) don’t know much about the meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi Power Plant, and the situation surrounding them.

One basic thing I repeat is that Fukushima Dai-ichi Power Plant was owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO.) The plant supplied electricity to the Tokyo region. So why is the plant called Fukushima Dai-ichi? It’s name came about because it was located in Fukushima. Most likely, it was built here in Fukushima probably because Fukushima is a rural area, because we’re not a rich area and people need jobs here, because…. Well, lots of reasons.

You can probably think of your own reasons why a huge city would put it nuclear power plants far, far away from the huge city itself.

We in Fukushima get our electricity from Tohoku Electric Power Company (confusingly, it also has the acryonym TEPCO.) Tohoku is the name of this northern region in live in. It’s “off-the-beaten-track” for tourists from the United States, definitely. I rarely see other westerners.


THIS IS A LEAD-IN POST TO TOMORROW’S POST. TOMORROW’S POST WILL CONCERN THE CURRENT SCANDAL AT KANSAI’S POWER PLANT.

I think the first thing to know is the names of all the regional electric power companies in Japan.

According to the Wiki article https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/日本の電力会社 these are the regional electric power companies in Japan:

My translation:

Hokkaido Electric Power Company

Tohoku Electric Power Company

Tokyo Electric Power Company

Hokuriku Electric Power Company

Chubu Electric Power Company

Kansai Electric Power Company

Chogoku Electric Power Company

Shikoku Electric Power Company

Kyushyu Electric Power Company

Okinawa Electric Power Company

 

The geography of these companies is from north to south.