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Stories from and

Non-Japanese Who Stayed in Sendai After 3.11 Earthquake Walk for Recovery

Despite being uncertain of what the future might bring, dozens of non-Japanese people decided to remain in their adopted home of Sendai, a coastal city located in the north of Japan hit by massive tsunami triggered by the earthquake of March 11, 2011.

Sharing the footsteps to recovery, those standing together with the locals will join the parade “Da-te-fes“, a walk  on September 28th with Sendai residents of ten different nationalities dressed in traditional kimono.

Participants will include geisha, a bride and bridegroom, and traditional dancers who succeed the moves from 17th century.

With support from Finnish Wellbeing Center Project in Sendai, the parade looks to boost the welcoming mood for upcoming UN  World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in next March, and let the residents know about the conference. 

Learn more about Sendai on Tourism Sendai's Facebook page.

Image of geisha walk. Photo provided by Yumi Nakano

Image of geisha walk. Photo provided by Yumi Nakano

VIRAL VIDEO: ‘But We're Speaking Japanese’

Screenshot of YouTube video "But we're speaking Japanese" by user name helpmefindparents

Screenshot of YouTube video “But we're speaking Japanese” by user helpmefindparents

video skit of a Japanese waitress serving a group of foreign-looking customers who speak Japanese has gone viral. The clip has resonated among many Japanese-speaking expats who occasionally experience how local Japanese communicate with foreigners based not on the language they are speaking but on how they look.

Watch the video (with English subtitles) below:

Japan's Citizen Media Meet at Mikawa Medifes 2014

第12回市民メディア全国交流集会 三河メディフェス2014のウェブサイトのスクリーンショット

Screenshot of the Mikawa Medifes 2014 website

Citizen media makers in Japan are gathering in the Mikawa region of Japan's Aichi prefecture this weekend for the 12th annual citizen media conference Mikawa Medifes 2014 [ja]. Dozens of sessions about civic media will be held at the Kariya City Cultural Center from May 3 to 5, 2014.

Themed in “the media near you”,  the conference counts the participation of local media makers such as Kariya's citizen broadcasting station Channel Daichi [ja] and community radio station fm838 [ja]. Participants will share their case studies and practices in areas such as film production, hyper-local media, online broadcasting, remixing newspapers [ja] and student-produced radio programs.

Over three days, the conference seeks to exchange ideas and information about the relationship between civic engagement and participatory media for the future.

The post was edited by L. Finch.

Manga “1F” Takes You Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Ichi Efu, by Kazuto Tatsuta.

Ichi Efu, by Kazuto Tatsuta.

A manga by artist going by the name Kazuto Tatsuta takes readers inside the crippled nuclear plant of Fukushima Dai-Ichi, or ichi efu (1F) – as insiders dubbed it – a place he himself worked in 2012, a decision he took in a period of financial struggle.

The graphic novel “1F: The Labor Diary Of Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant,” (いちえふ ~福島第一原子力発電所労働記~) offers a rare peek into the plant which was hit by one of the most powerful tsunamis in Japan's history on March 11, 2011.

The plant currently remains accessible exclusively to plant workers, employees of Tepco – the operating company – and few representatives of the press, on occasional tours.

In the pilot chapter, he describes the daily routine of the laborers, the different masks, layers of protective suits and clothing they have to wear every day, the use of an Active Personal Dosimeter which alerts them when they reach the daily radiation dose allowed, and their trip back and forth from the J-village, a former sports center that was converted into a residence for the laborers after the accident.

Tatsuta's manga won the 34th Manga Open award in 2013.

Join IGF Japan to Discuss Internet Governance

IGF Japan, the Japanese chapter of the Internet Governance Forum, where people involved in web come together to discuss Internet governance challenges, will be held on March 14, 2014 at Aoyama Gakuin University. Sessions cover topics such as personal data and privacy, emerging generic top-level domains in Japan, and global online trends.

China's National Mahjong Team Loses To Japan

Mahjong, originated from China is considered a national game. The fact that China's national mahjony team lost the the fifth Open Mahjong Championship in France and finished in 37th place out of 51 teams came as a shock to the country. Worse, the individual title was claimed by a Japanese competitor. Nanfang.com translated an article from New Beijing Daily on the reasons behind China's defeat.

Japan's Yu Terasawa Named ‘Information Hero’ by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders, a France-based non-governmental organization that defends freedom of information and freedom of the press, has for the first time created a list of 100 Information Heroes. From Japan, Yu Terasawa was among them. He is an investigative journalist and has written books exposing police corruption. 

Reporters Without Borders writes:

Yu Terasawa has few friends in the Japanese police. He was still a student when he began his career in journalism by exposing police corruption. More than 20 years later, about 100 agents and officers have been fired, prosecuted or subjected to disciplinary action as a result of the countless articles and books he has written on the subject.

[...]

Even among his own colleagues, not everyone is a friend… On 28 March this year, he launched legal proceedings against the government after a law on state secrets was introduced, a major attack on investigative journalism.

 

Remote Hubs in Asia for NETmundial Internet Governance Meeting

NETmundial logo

NETmundial logo

NETmundial, which will bring together people from a variety of backgrounds to discuss the principles of Internet governance, is set to be held in São Paulo on 23 and 24 April 2014. It will also have 33 remote hubs in 31 cities spread throughout 22 countries that will allow for real-time interaction with the event in São Paulo.

Hubs for remote participation in Asia includes five locations in India, one in Hong Kong and one in Indonesia. Tomoya Inyaku, the former director at Japan Computer Access Network [ja] which promotes empowerment through information and communication technology, lamented the lack of a hub in Japan:

NETmundial will be held in São Paulo on April 23 and 24 to discuss the future of Internet governance. They write that they will have hubs in 22 countries around the world. There will be hubs to participate in the discussion from Indonesia, but there is none in Japan. Wish I could connect to talk about rights online.

Lies and Falsehoods Keep the World Go ‘Round in Japan

Twitter user @suzaks1 criticized [ja] the amount of lies and inaccuracies that are making Japanese headlines:

[Japan is a] country covered in lies: fake ingredients on the menu of top Japanese hotels, railway gauges fabricated in Hokkaido, major symphony music by a fraud composer, and falsehoods continues to prevail in the nation's top-level research institute, as well as on doctoral dissertations. It's scary to see how this country is run by continuous frauds. No wonder the nuclear plant exploded. Even if the land ends up contaminated, they can just lie everyone and continue on with life.

VIDEO: Fashion Resistance to Militarism

The “Fashion Resistance to Militarism” [ja], a fashion show organized by Asian Women’s Association, a non-profit women's right organization to call attention to the issue of violence against women, took place on December 1, 2013. The full video is now available here.

Image captured from youtube video of Fashion Resistance to Militarism by the Asian Women’s Association

Image captured from YouTube video of Fashion Resistance to Militarism by the Asian Women’s Association

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