July 15, 2013
Japanese Americans all across the land from Vermont to Hawaii will celebrate the ancient Buddhist Obon festival in the coming weeks with joyous folk dancing, religious observances and traditional Japanese foods in what is the most authentic cultural event remaining in Japanese America.
Obon Festival season continues through August and marks the zenith of the Buddhist year. But more than just a chance to take colorful photos and eat Japanese comfort foods, Obon has been described as a physical manifestation of meditation or prayer through dance, a Buddhist teaching come alive.
Obon [ お盆 ] originates from the story of Mokuren, a disciple of the Buddha, who during a meditative trance saw his deceased mother suffering in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts (the Buddhist equivalent of purgatory). Greatly disturbed, he went to the Buddha and asked how he could release his mother from this suffering. Buddha instructed him to make offerings and to meditate on the life of his mother. Mokuren followed the Buddha’s instructions and he began to see the true nature of her past unselfishness and the many sacrifices that she had made for him. The disciple, happy because of his mother’s release and grateful for his mother’s kindness, danced with joy. From this dance of joy came Obon, which has been celebrated for thousands of years as a time in which ancestors and their sacrifices are remembered and appreciated.
~ Originally posted by “Yellowkid” in August 2009. H/T to Ms.Yuri (Yuri Yoshida Photography)
March 11, 2013
END THEME ~ Japanese director Shunji Iwai and middle school student-turned anti-nuclear activist Fujinami Kokoro survey the almost surreal devastation in the aftermath of the triple disasters that hit Iwai’s native northeastern Japan March 11, 2011. Music: “Breath” by alternative rock band Radwimps.
December 20, 2012
October 17, 2012
September 12, 2012
A gang of fleeing bank robbers decided to give the residents of South Central Los Angeles a bit of economic stimulus Wednesday morning by tossing wads of cash out of the window of their getaway vehicle, and although TV news anchors and reporters tried to put a socially acceptable spin the actions of the Robin Hood gangstas, those on the street saw it in a complete different light as many of them rushed into the street to scoop up the Benjamins. “Deshawn,” who said he did not grab any of the robbers’ stolen money, told KTLA-5′s reporter Elizabeth Espinoza he saw this morning’s shower of cash as “neighborhood stimulus.” Added Deshawn: “We all need it. If you had seen it, what would you do?” he asked the reporter rhetorically. “If you saw money flying out, you would do the same thing they did, especially if you’re in a time of need.”
[The following video runs 07:10]
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August 30, 2012
With the smell of backroom deals and corruption permeating the L.A. City Council chambers, residents and stakeholders of L.A.’s dynamic Koreatown/Wilshire Center community escalated their drive for increased self-determination and representation in city government by taking their demand to be made part of Council District 13 right into city hall.
About 200 Korean Americans wearing yellow t-shirts proclaiming “I (Heart) Koreatown” responded to a last-minute call for action to attend the morning council session only to be met with the oldest stall tactic in politics. Council President Herb Wesson, whose staff had been the target of graft and bribery allegations at L.A. Redistricting Commission meetings all last month, apologized profusely for having to delay the public comments 2½ hours until after several ceremonial presentations and perfunctory unanimous votes were finished.
However, despite their long wait, the Koreatown speakers thanked CD10 Councilman Wesson for the opportunity to speak and asked the council to rethink the redistricting body’s recommendation that their neighborhood be divided between two council districts. There was no chanting or shouting. Several speakers read passages from the Bible.
But the stick to the carrot wielded by Koreatown Wednesday is a plan to sue the city, alleging that the redistricting process has been illegally politicized. There is also talk of calling in the FBI to investigate charges made by Koreatown business owners of bribe-solicitation and shakedowns by Wesson Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Bai, a Korean American and a high-profile figure in the community.
As the 20th anniversary of “Sa-I-Gu” (the Korean American community’s cipher for the 1992 L.A. economic and race riots which decimated their businesses throughout the city) approaches, Koreatown is tired of pay-to-play, business as usual political corruption they have allegedly been subjected to by officeholders. After years of being represented by the controversial former 10th District Councilman Nate Holden (and his chief deputy Herb Wesson), Korean Americans, who supplied more than one-third of Holden’s campaign finances, are looking to eliminate the middle man, get more bang for their buck and elect a councilman of their own. Thus, the drive to be included in Councilman Eric Garcetti’s CD13.
Garcetti, son of former L.A. County DA Gil Garcetti, has already announced he will run for L.A. mayor in 2013. Political strategists say the election to fill the council vacancy created by a Garcetti victory next March would give a Korean American favorite son/daughter candidate a great chance to become the first Asian American on the L.A. City Council since Chinese American urban planner Michael Woo was elected over CD13 incumbent Peggy Stevenson 27 years ago.
From 1985 to 1993, Woo, the son of an influential Chinatown banker, was the first—and so far the only— Asian American on the L.A. City Council. Koreatown’s savvy new generation of political leaders are hungry and seem ready to make history, and nobody’s mentioned it yet, but it looks like the Holden-Wesson golden goose has flown.
February 17, 2012
February 15, 2012
Clueless TMZ producers pitch lame nicknames for NBA star Jeremy Lin.
September 29, 2011
September 23, 2011
NEW YORK (NHK)~A farmer from Fukushima Prefecture has urged people around the world to get rid of nuclear power plants, saying there is no such thing as safe nuclear power.
53-year Sachiko Sato from Kawamata Town spoke at a gathering in central New York on Thursday. The event, organized by a US anti-nuclear group, was attended by about 70 people.
Sato was forced to evacuate from Fukushima to neighboring Yamagata Prefecture with her family after the accident in March at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Sato called on people all over the world to work together to get rid of nuclear plants, for the sake of the children of the world.
Friday, September 23, 2011 09:30 +0900 (JST)
OH, WHAT A NIGHT! Typhoon Roke Tears Through Japan, FukuDaiichi Drenched and Shaken by 5.1 Aftershock
September 21, 2011
TOKYO [9:30 am, Thursday, Sept. 22 JST]~Typhoon Roke, packing 100 mph+ winds and torrential rains, swept the length of Japan from Shizuoka to Hokkaido. Seven are dead and evacuation orders were issued for more than a million people. From the Tokai region the Category 2 storm then headed northeast drenching Tokyo during the evening commute and disrupting public transportation. Roke then whirled its way toward the stricken Fukushima Daiichi reactors.
Workers at the now-infamous Tokyo Electric Power Company-operated nuclear facility had been scurrying to strengthen explosion-damaged reactor buildings, but TEPCO reported control buildings were leaking and that workers had to resort to using ropes to secure vital piping systems against Roke’s high winds. The measures seemed to be working, then at 10:30 pm JST Wednesday night a 5.1 earthquake struck in nearby Ibaraki.
Not to worry, Japan. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) is reporting that “no irregular activities” were reported following Roke’s glancing blow and the ill-timed tremor did not further damage the beleaguered complex.
After a long night, the typhoon cleared the Japanese archipelago, evacuation orders were being lifted, radioactive cooling water had not overflowed from FukuDaiichi.
Here’s NHK World’s report, broadcast Wednesday evening JST as workers at Fukushima Daiichi waited for the full force of Typhoon Roke. Hiro Morita is at the anchor desk.
(This report was prepared using Katsuyuki Ueno’s Yokosonews Twitter stream. Yokosonews is headquartered in Yokkaichi, Japan, a region that has taken big hits from the last two typhoons. Ueno is a former L.A. resident.)
Japan Marks Six Months Since Devastating Triple Disasters; Tohoku Reconstruction Slow, Workers Struggling to Bring Fukushima Reactors Under Control
September 11, 2011
August 23, 2011
Holy tectonic plate, Dr. Kaku!
August 17, 2011
TEPCO, Japan’s infamous nuclear power utility has begun releasing apology-filled video reports showing their workers battling to contain the ongoing radiation disaster at its Fukushima Daiichi complex. This vid is kind of encouraging, but is it a true depiction of the situation or PR? Ganbatte!
August 9, 2011
BBC presenter Fiona Armstrong was classically pwned by London activist-journalist Darcus Howe Tuesday as she tried elicit reactions on the fourth day of violence in the streets of London. With leading questions, Armstrong attempts to steer the West Indian former Black Panther Party member into rote answers, but Howe redirects the live interview to the root cause of the unprecedented violence from bands of underclass youth which first spread from London suburbs to neighboring cities and onto TV screens around the world. Listen to Armstrong, who, failing to get Howe to condemn “the rioting,” switches to a tack of condescension and defamation. Watch as Howe schools Armstrong on social conditions in the UK, on years oppressive police abuse and sums it all up by stating “I don’t call it ‘rioting,’ I call it ‘an insurrection’ of the masses of the people. It is happening in Syria, it is happening in Clapham, it’s happening in Liverpool, it’s happening in Port-au-Spain, Trinidad, and that is the nature of the historical moment!” WATCH, but more importantly listen.
July 30, 2011
Japanese awoke to this news update Sunday, July 31
In 1947, Nobel Prize winning novelist Pearl S. Buck published a children’s story set in a fishing village in coastal Japan. She called it The Big Wave.
In the book, Jiro, a fisherman’s son, tells his friend Kino that sometimes the ocean can be angry, and that sometimes the old ocean god rolls up in bed, heaves his head and shoulders and the waves run back and forth. Then he stands upright and roars and the earth shakes under the water.
Japan’s March 11 triple disasters have brought attention to The Big Wave, and the message it carries to children about life. Sales in Japanese bookstores have soared, with parents seeking out the little-known 64-year-old Buck story to read to their children.
Here’s NHK World’s Tomoko Kamata’s June 28 report on the book.
Fukushima Nuclear Workers in Race Against Time as Radioactive Water Levels Soar, Rainy Season Arrives
June 23, 2011
THE CRITICAL WATER DECONTAMINATION OPERATION at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor facility was still not underway early Friday, June 24 in Japan as Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) nuclear technicians wrestled with a glitches in a MacGuyver-like system aimed at lowering dangerous radiation levels found in pools of cooling water under the three reactors that suffered core meltdowns following March 11′s 9.0 earthquake and 38-meter-high tsunami wave that inundated the six-reactor complex in northeastern Japan.
NHK World Newsline reported late Thursday “there is still no prospect of resuming a system to decontaminate radioactive water due to a series of problems and errors.”
The amount of contaminated water on site is estimated to be 110,ooo tons and is growing by about 400 tons a day, as fresh water is injected into reactors to cool them. The rainy season threatens to raise the water levels further, and TEPCO has said if the decontamination operation is unsuccessful water could begin leaking from the reactor buildings as early as July 5. Leakage of highly radioactive water could also prevent reactor technicians from continuing their work to stabilize the troubled Fukushima Daiichi #1, #2 and #3 reactors.
The US-French decontamination process was begun last week but was halted after problems arose and high levels of radiation was detected. Incorrect valve settings are the latest problems with the system, TEPCO said.
June 22, 2011
Here’s raw footage of NHK World’s morning newscast on Thursday, June 23, 8 a.m. showing anchor Catherine Kobayashi informing Japanese viewers that the government had rescinded an emergency tsunami warning issued about an hour earlier following a 6:51 a.m. earthquake in coastal Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan. The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted its tsunami advisory at 7:45 s.m. In Tokyo, the morning commute was underway; business as usual. Whew…