Archive for the ‘Environment & Nature’ Category

Talking with a cab driver.

I sometimes take cab to go back home after work. It is not because I am lazy to take a train, but I am just too late for catching a train after work… The day before yesterday, I took a cab from Yoyogi-Park area to Shinjuku station. A cab driver started talking to me.



We had about 39 or 40 degrees C again today here in Tokyo/Saitama. Train tracks on the Tobu Tojo line got warped about 5 cm due to the heat (metal expands) and about 2000 passengers got delayed. A few people have died too, as often happens, although I’m not sure if “heat” is really a cause of death in such cases.

Right now at 17:00 my room is a cosy 34 degrees, as the sun is setting, with the A/C on 26 and a couple of fans at full speed. The kitchen, where I do not have A/C is still above 37. That is HEAT.

I’m worried about global warming, this is just not NICE.

Incidentally, TEPCO, my electricity company, put a notice in my mailbox today. They are asking customers to save electricity as a result of the earthquake in Niigata prefecture in July. All seven nuclear reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station are shut down and that has created problems for TEPCO, who has had to secure power from other plants.

The leaflet explains that between 13:00 and 16:00, they are having trouble supplying the electricity needed, so please turn down the tempereture of your air conditioners, hang up curtains and blinds in front of windows, and turn off the TV if you are not watching.

I’m sure people can do more than that. Any good ideas, dear readers…?


(Photo from showing a fridge curtain, to save electricity when you open the door of the refrigerator on a hot day.

Earth Garden Summer

This weekend there is an Earth Garden Summer event in Yoyogi Park (near NHK) in Tokyo. Fleemarket, organic food, music and a chance to meet a lot of fun people…


I (heart) Eco!


Koen Dori in Shibuya, the main street from the station to NHK, will continue to have eco events until June 10. Here is the NHK Kankyo website. The tema is 明日のエコではまにあわない (“Eco tomorrow will not be enough”) or a sense that we had better start doing something today, or it will be too late. And June 5 is Environment Day in Japan.

I had a great time at the Eco Life Fair last weekend and took some photos which I put on my regular blog, Kurashi News from Japan. Hope you enjoy seeing what is going on here in Tokyo and Japan. This event was sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and some large companies, so it wasn’t as wild and crazy as for example Earthday. Having said that, I also felt Japan is indeed taking a lead in the field of sustainable development and environmental protection.

New month begins… rain brings beautiful changes in nature.

Believe or not, it is June 1st today. It is already the beginning-month of the half way of 2007!! At the end of March to early April, there are beautiful sakura that decorate leaves in many different kinds of pink. May is the month when all those pink flowers change into rich green leaves. June… the leaves deepen the greenness and there is new season of Japan, tsuyu/rainy season begins.

Some southern parts of Japan have already entered tsuyu; Tokyo has yet entered the season. However, last night heavy rain already reminded us all that thetsuyu season is about to begin. I bet many people would be rather annoyed with such heavy rainfall like last night that wet everyone’s clothes even having umbrellas; tsuyu season is also very beautiful and necessary for the agriculture and forestry of Japan.

Walking around my town today, I saw new lives coming out that are particular to this season. Earthworms are walking on the still wet road. Dokudami flowers flourish beautiful white flowers despite its rather strong smell. Don’t forget! This is also the time when mosquitoes start to annoy our peaceful lives with irritating sounds they make!!! Be ready to set akatorisenkou (A traditional Japanese item used to kill mosquitoes with the smoke that is created from the rounded green thing in the last pic.)




Eco Life Fair 2007

Here we go again, another Tokyo festival this weekend with the word “Eco” as the theme. This time the sponsor is Japan’s Environment Ministry and it looks huge, judging from the booths they have already set up in Yoyogi Park, in front of NHK Hall, in Shibuya. The event is Saturday and Sunday June 2-3. Also, NHK is promoting “Eco Style Street” this weekend.


Eco Life Fair 2007 is a very nice website, but couldn’t they have at least some information in other languages? I’m not saying English only, but how about Chinese, Korean…?

Lectures, music, booths and foods… Another fun-filled weekend ahead! If you are interested in what NGOs are doing in Japan, this is also a great opportunity to get information and make new friends. List of participating NGOs/NPOs with websites here.

Gasoline cost in Japan

I don’t own a car, so I usually don’t pay attention to the cost of gasoline. But with the intense debate about climate change this spring here in Japan, and the Iraq war not going very well at all, gasoline cost is a major issue that affects everyone. Also, there is the serious issue of “peak oil” – the fact that fossile fuels are getting less economical to pump up from oil fields around the world. Guys, we are running out of oil. A global decline in oil production will have serious social and economic implications…

Today, in Japan, gas costs about 130-140 yen per liter. That is around $4.50 a gallon. Compared to Northern Europe, that is a bit less: The Netherlands appears to have the highest cost due to taxes at $6.73 a gallon at the pump. The US average is $3.20 a gallon (Note that US taxes on gas have gone down from 32% to 14% since 2000 – who is paying for the war in Iraq?).

Tsutsuji/ Azalea… sign of spring

Tsutsuji, azalea in English is blooming all around my town. There are many kinds that have wide range of size of flowers and leaves as well as the color of flowers. Like cherry blossom, these different kinds of tsutsuji bloom at specific time of the year, starting in early spring to early summer. I remember I used to taste the sweet syrup of the flowers when I was in elementary school with my friends.

May is the month when the rainy season, tsuyu starts. As well as the beauty of sakura, there are many other beautiful trees and flowers that will be flourished and give us joys and comfort to our eyes. I hope to introduce some of those changes in nature in up-coming Metroblogging Tokyo.



Below is the information on azalea of Japan. It is in Japanese, so if you cannot read Japanese, I apologize. Though you can still enjoy the pictures!!

Change of Seasons… from Sakura


Japanese Sakura/cherry blossom is well known for its beauty. My young memory of sakura is the beautiful blooming flower at the gate of my elementary school. At the beginning of every school year, I remember it was so beautiful. It was almost the flower saying ‘Congratulations!!’ to start a new year.

On the other hand, sakura often comes with hanami (cherry blossom seeing). As I had long been away from Japan, I have never really had hanami that what seems many adults enjoy with a lot of food and alcohol. I mean people get really crazy at hanami. They start drinking before it gets dark and people often get totally wasted. It is not surprising to see police looking after such drunken people. Moreover, homeless people search for food and drinks after hamani people leave.

Three weeks passed since the blooming sakura, the beautiful pink flowers fallen on the ground and now it is all green. I have to admit that pink flowers are really beautiful, but the green leaves that come after the flowers are also unbelievably refreshing to my eyes. It is now that the color of greenness gets darker and darker and the parks once filled with beautiful pink flowers are replaced with deep rich green leaves.


Nearly Full Bloom

Tokyo Metblog
The Sakura are approaching full bloom in Tokyo. Pictured is Chidorigafuchi, one of the best spots for viewing Cherry Blossom. You can go boating under the trees and at nearby Yasakuni Jinja, the trees are lit up at night (from 1830-2200 until April 1st inclusive).

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