Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tokyo 11:00 JST (today's rallies)

Morning!

Many rallies and gatherings against nuclear power plants will take place across Japan. In Tokyo, as far as I know, there will be two rallies: one will start at 14:30 JST at Shiba Park organized by the CNIC, No Nukes Plaza Tokyo (Tanpoposya), and the other groups; the other at 13:00 JST at Yoyogi Park, organized by Greenpeace Japan, Earth Day Tokyo 2011, and the other groups. I won't do "live report" today, but I just embed some channels here:

Shiba Park 14:30 JST-, Freelance Journalist Yasumi Iwakami's channel:


Live streaming video by Ustream

The CNIC's channel:


Live Streaming by Ustream.TV

Yoyogi Park 13:00 JST-, Earth Day Tokyo's channel (they've already started broadcasting):


Free live streaming by Ustream

Yasumi Iwakami's channel:


Live TV by Ustream

Hiroshima "One Million's Action" (14:00 JST- at Hannover Garden. Concerts have already started) Yasumi Iwakami's channel:


Online video chat by Ustream

save the children in Fukushima (it's official)

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Japan (MEXT) on April 19 noticed the educators in Fukushima Prefecture a set of new guidelines which allow school facilities including playgrounds to be used as usual as long as radiation levels in the air are limited to less than 20 millisieverts per year, or 3.8 microsieverts per hour, and that is stirring public anger. The environmentalists such as Greenpeace Japan, FoE Japan, Green Action, the Citizen's Nuclear Information Center, Mihama no kai, Fukuro no kai, and the parents condemn the government and demand it to retreat from such an inhumane decision, and also call everyone to send a message of protest to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Education Minister Yoshiaki Takagi.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan:
https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/forms/goiken_ssl.htm

Japanese Education Minister Yoshiaki Takagi:
https://www.inquiry.mext.go.jp/inquiry09/

Even the Japan's labor standards forbid minors under the age of 18 to work in an area one may be exposed to 0.6 microsieverts per hour. The guidelines force the children to be exposed to 6 times as high as such a level of radiation. Under the Japanese laws, a case, for example, a nuclear power plant worker is exposed to 20 millisieverts of radiation per year and later gets leukemia is regarded as an industrial injury and eligible for workers' compensation. Moreover, a German nuclear plant worker is allowed to be exposed to less than 20 millisieverts per year. In an article appearing in Die Spiegel, April 21, Edmund Lengfelder of Otto Hug Strahlerinstitut says that the government's decision obviously will cause an increase in cancer rates, and by the guidelines the government can avert legal responsibility for that, but not ethical one.

75 percent of school in Fukushima Prefecture are exposed to more than 0.6 microsieverts per hour and the 20 percent more than 2.3 microsieverts per hour, according to the civil servants of Fukushima Prefecture. Moreover, the guidelines consider only external exposure, but not internal (via ingestion and inhalation) one.

The groups mentioned above on April 21 had a session with the officials and asked for explanation how the guidelines were made, but the officials did not gave any clear answer. So the groups demand the authorities to disclose the names of persons in charge of the decision.

If you can read Japanese, see: the CNIC's news.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

thinking of starting a netlabel...

Today I don't go for politics, but for music, especially of netlabels. Talking about netlabels may still be in a way political, but this may depend on your way of viewing them. It is possible to say that netlabels are booming. Thanks to them, we now can listen to numerous creative and innovative music from all over the world for free. But this adjective "booming" may be not so good to describe this movement, since it is often used to describe an economic situation. Many of netlabels are non-profit and also non-commercial. It is basically an alternative way of connecting people via music.

But the reason they participate in this movement varies, since we are not living in an alternative world of Kafka's Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk, where, as Slavoj Žižek puts it, musicians are recognized, but not fetishized (in such a world the notions of work and value may be different from what we have now). Marc Weidenbaum's instructive post titled "If you're thinking of starting a netlabel" has gotten many responses. He describes how netlabels function:

Netlabels function in various ways: as standalone websites, as subdomains of prominent services (.soundcloud.com, .bandcamp.com, .blogspot.com), as side projects of traditional record labels, as thinly disguised podcasts, as fly-by-night operations, as slick enterprises with all the procedural rigor assumed of commercial businesses.

And then he calls for more devoted netlabels to come. He sees the future in this movement, and I agree with him. My idea at this moment is using some community radio stations. Though until the earthquake and the fucking nuke situation, I haven't really payed attention to the Japanese alternative media, while I've admired Resonance FM, Democracy Now!, and so on. Now I know a few good Japanese community radio stations.

Such a label I want to make is not for promoting my music. I would be rather comfortable with releasing mine via the labels run by someone else and letting the label work for the other musicians. For my self-promotion, SoundCloud alone works well. And I won't use this blog for the label, since this is rather for my personal notes and I've been avoiding to use this blog for curating.

It is fun to work with someone I don't know well. Wilhelm Matthies, a Wisconsin-based improviser and also an art teacher, plays his own DIY instrument called kokeka (see how it looks on his Flickr page). This can be played either as a string instrument or as a percussion. If you see his SoundCloud page, you may get an idea how it sounds. One day he sent me a track of his improvisation and suggested me to do something to it. I did. He named this track Inevitable Direction and it now appears to be more popular than my own tracks as usual on my own SoundCloud page.

Inevitable Direction by Wilhelm Matthies

thinking of releasing a limited-edition physical object

April 17, 2011--At this moment I'm thinking of making a limited-edition physical objects including these 7 tracks of electro-acoustic music I've made since 2002 to present. Though I like what I've made, I admit that if the album consists of only these tracks it'll be too depressive for my taste. So I'm planning to add some more brighter tracks in order to balance. I'll keep you updated on this project.

Drafting an Album by Yasuo Akai

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

good footage of the koenji protest

The You Tube footage uploaded by 410nonuke would give you an idea how the anti-nuclear power plant protest in Koenji was.


The female rapper says, "You tell us not to smoke this or that, but force us to inhale plutonium!"

The footage with a lot of close-ups below was filmed and edited by Hikaru Fujii, a visual artist.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

live from tokyo, it's a beautiful sunday (13:10 JST-18:23JST)

Two anti-nuclear power plant rallies have taken place in Tokyo. One started at Shiba Park and marched the area where the government buildings, Tepco hq, and the high streets are there. 2,000 reportedly showed up. The other is in Koenji, an eclectic downtown. The organizer says more than 15,000 eventually showed up.

These footages of the anti-nuclear plant protest in Koenji, Tokyo, are recorded by the journalist Yasumi Iwakami and his crew. Since the mainstream media don't report this kind of events, we rely on independent journalists like him.





And this footage shows the 'uptown' rally, recorded by Yasumi Iwakami's crew.


This time I try to keep you updated on the anti-nuke protests in Tokyo, but you have to reload this page to know the latest information. Uptown rally (the protest started at Shiba Park): the upper. Koenji rally: the lower. Update: 17:30 the upper streaming also is showing the Koenji rally. Update 19:00 I end my report, though it's still festive in front of Koenji Station.


Live streaming video by Ustream

Webcam chat at Ustream

18:23 The live streaming of the streets (the lower) has ended. The upper one still shows the view of in front of Koenji Station.

18:11 You may hear Derrick May.

17:57 This Koenji rally deserves more media attention.

17:48 NHK reports that the organizer of the 'uptown' rally says 2,000 showed up, but so far hasn't reported about this Koenji rally.

17:30 An organizer in Koenji appearing in the upper streaming says there are more than 7,000 people here. You may be underwhelmed, but I note that I've never seen a rally at this level in Tokyo.

17:21 Bob Marley's One Love is given a twist: "One Love, One heart, inochi o mamoro ("save life"), feel alright. Genpatsu iranai("We don't want nuclear power plants"), feel alright."

17:12 Kiyoshiro Imawano, a deceased rock singer, whose anti-nuke album was banned by Toshiba EMI, is remembered. I can hear his songs played by the protesters.

17:07 A placard says, "I have worked for a company working for Tepco, but I quit and hope my wife will forgive me!"

17:01 A man speaks to the camera: "I evacuated from the area within a 30-km radius from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. I thank everyone showing up here."

16:53 The female singer/rapper is called Rumi. She shouts "We want to eat fish!"

16:49 Amazing Japanese ska, or raggae.

16:42 So now we are focusing on Koenji. Some cultural information about Koenji: Japan Visitor says that Koenji is:

Center of alternative youth subculture in Tokyo
Large numbers of small bars, live houses, and ethnic restaurants
Full of second-hand clothing shops, as well as music stores, book stores, head shops, and tattoo parlors.
Has a red-light area very near the station
Home to many serene temples - and some shrines
Venue of the massive summer Koenji Awaodori Dance Festival, one of Tokyo’s Big Three Festivals
Koenji is in Tokyo’s Suginami ward. It is the area around the station of the same name on the JR Chuo line. Koenji is famous firstly as a center of alternative youth culture, in particular for its second-hand clothing stores: the most of anywhere in Tokyo. Within its approximately 2 km2 area are 18 shopping promenades.

16:35 The uptown rally appears to have ended, and the cameraman who have been reporting it is now moving to Koenji. Some people who have been in this rally may join there.

16:19 I've realized some bands are playing 'Yoitomake no Uta,' the 60s protest song which describes construct workers' plight.

16:03 In Koenji, ten thousand people reportedly show up.

15:53 The uptown rally: protest folk. Koenji: rock and free jazz.

15:51 The channel above restarted the streaming of 'uptown' rally.

15:43 Koenji protest appears to be festive. It's Sunday!

15:30 The protesters who gathered at Shiba Park are now in Ginza district. Koenji is more like Brooklyn. The rally in Koenji appears to be more spontaneous.

15:21 I've found the other channel streaming Shiba Park rally.


15:10 The streaming of the protesters who gathered at Shiba Park appears to be ended, but now they are reportedly in front of Tepco hq.

14:50 In Koenji jazz musicians are playing "El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido," and "We Shall Overcome."

14:45 Some cultural background: many musicians live in the area around Koenji and give concerts.

14:21 The other rally, which appears to be organized by young people and musicians, has started in Koenji.


Webcam chat at Ustream

14:12 The protesters who have gathered at Shiba Park mainly demand Chubu Electric Power Plant to halt the operations of the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant, which is deemed as the most dangerous nuclear power plant in Japan. This Al Jazeera's clip reports about the plant.


13:41 Someone is singing Japanese version of "We Shall Overcome."

13:10 (JST) As far as I know, two anti-nuclear power plant rallies take place in Tokyo today: one has just started at Shiba Park. The other will start at 15:00 in Koenji. This streaming shows what is going on at Shiba Park.


Live streaming video by Ustream

It's a beautiful day, and reminds me of an old song.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Joseph Stiglitz: "These people have an incentive not to see things accurately."

Joseph Stiglitz on Democracy Now! compares those two meltdowns: the ongoing nuclear situation and the financial one.


Here's excerpt from the rush transcript.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Yeah. Well, I just wrote an interesting article making a comparison between our ability to judge what are called small probability events, you know, rare—events that are supposed to be rare—those in the financial market said that the kind of collapse that we had should happen once in a thousand years, once in the history of the universe. But we had a collapse in the 1980s, we had a problem in the 1990s, we have them every 10 years. And that shows the models are very bad, our ability to judge rare events is very bad. Now, a lot of research in behavioral economics and psychology have explained why it is that these events that don’t happen very much, we don’t have a lot of experience.


But one of the points that I raised was that these people have an incentive not to see things accurately. You know, the nuclear power industry has an incentive to tell everybody, "Oh, don’t worry. Nothing—no risk there." The financial sector had an incentive to say, "Don’t worry about these derivatives, even if they’re already a quadrillion dollars. Don’t worry, because we can manage that risk. We have systems of diversifying the risk across the economy." Clearly wrong. So, you know, when there’s so much money at stake, people have a way of seeing—of discounting these risks, especially because those risks are borne by everybody else in our society.


And, you know, nuclear power is a really interesting case, because that industry has never been commercially viable. It has always existed on the back of a government-provided insurance, that we provide as taxpayers, that they don’t pay for. And we see now in Japan that, you know, they did the same thing, and we see the cost of that. The rest of society is paying an enormous price. There is no way that the slight savings in energy cost can make up for the loss to the Japanese economy that has resulted from the nuclear explosion. And the same thing could happen here in the United States.

"An interesting article" is here and also here.

Experts in both the nuclear and finance industries assured us that new technology had all but eliminated the risk of catastrophe. Events proved them wrong: not only did the risks exist, but their consequences were so enormous that they easily erased all the supposed benefits of the systems that industry leaders promoted.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

live from tokyo: protest against nuclear power plants (April 3, 14:00-17:00 P.M. JST)



Live Broadcasting by Ustream

Live Videos by Ustream

Started at 14:00 JST (GST+9) in front of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) head office, 1-1-3 Uchisaiwai-cho,Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. The protesters plan to go to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) building, 1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

(Update)15:18 The protesters are moving to METI.

Friday, April 1, 2011

there might be many a local victory

Excerpt from Jonathan Gordon-Farleigh, "A Preface," Stir Magazine, Spring 2011.

It is on this point, that Badiou's important intervention against Simon Critchley's claim that "all philosophy, political or religious, commences in disappointment" is very instructive. Badiou challenges the claim that political practice finds its origins in crisis by saying: "I think that we can have negative feelings, negative experience concerning injustice, the horrors of the world, terrible wars and so on. But all great movements in the political and historical field have been created, have been provoked not by that sort of negative feeling but always by a local victory. If we appreciate, for example, why we have during two years the great revolt of the slaves in the Roman Empire, under the leadership of Spartacus, it is not because slaves have the feeling of injustice....Because they always have that, it is their experience day after day. It is rather because in one small place, a small group of slaves finds new means, finally to create a victory. A small victory, a local victory."

Well then, what does a local victory look like? It is when academics publish their works in open access journals, it is when airport expansion is resisted and the threatened area is transformed into a community garden, it is when thousands of collaborators build a free software operating system, it is when those maintaining the commons from the intense privatization of our woods and forests defend them, as Edward Abbey always insisted, by using and enjoying it-cycling, walking, foraging. It is when medical researchers make their findings freely available by publishing under a creative commons license (Public Library of Science) that permits any company to manufacture generic reproductions of lifesaving drugs, it is when students find they cannot rely on suppliers to guarantee their food is ethically and locally grown so they teach themselves to set up member-owned and user-driven cooperative cafes that enables them to reclaim control over their food production, and when resident groups who are resisting energy monopolies find that the current legal system is inadequate to their problems and decide to create their own ordinance-a new Bill of Rights.