In Chapter 5, a team of hackers in Tokyo and Boston take radiation monitoring into their own hands, mapping the measurement levels across the entire country of Japan. Greenpeace and a blogging organic farmer join them in this civilian effort, and a government official admits that they need help.
Episode 4 of We Are All Radioactive is live!! And it’s super important: in this longer (9 minute) special episode, we go deeper with the characters we’ve gotten to know from Motoyoshi, AND we also meet nuclear experts from the US and Japan who help us make sense of the complex web of information out there concerning the threat of radiation in post-earthquake Japan. As you know, this week, Japan returned to nuclear power after a two-month break, and the parliament released an investigative report about the Fukushima disaster pointing out major human flaws in the handling of the disaster.
Since the 1990s, photographer Ahn Sehong has spent a lot of his time and attention shooting images of comfort women &mdash Korean women forced into sexual slavery in Japan during World War II who now live in China. He was slated to display his work in Shinjuku at the Nikon Salon from two days ago through July 9, but a few days before opening, Nikon said they were going to cancel the exhibition because it was too controversial.
Several months ago, I blogged about my high school friend Hiro Fujita, who is living with ALS in Japan. Next Wednesday, he's going to be giving a public talk at McCann Erickson Japan &mdash the ad agency he works at &mdash together with rapper Verbal and father-of-Harajuku Hiroshi Fujiwara. Through a candid conversation, the trio will be providing much-needed information about ALS to the Japanese public. Live tickets are limited, but it will also be streamed in real time on Kaikai Kiki's UStream channel if you want to watch online. More details here.
Ashima Shiraishi is a 4-foot-5 Japanese-American 11-year old girl who can kick anyone’s ass rock climbing. She grew up climbing boulders in Central Park when she was 6 – her parents came to the US from Japan in 1978 – and for the past couple of years has been dominating some of the hardest climbs in the world including the Crown of Aragorn, a V13 (do you know how hard that is??) near El Paso that most adult professional climbers can’t flash. Yes, she does have the advantage of being tiny. But that doesn’t make her any less badass.
At the fantabulous wedding of a childhood friend last night, the topic at one point turned to a vintage Japanese commercial about a 300+ year old seaweed + tea manufacturer called Yamamotoyama. Do any of you remember this commercial?
It’s from the 70s. Below, an updated one from the 90s.
The catchy phrase that you hear in both is their tag line, which translates as: read it from the top and it’s Yamamotoyama. Read it from the bottom and it’s Yamamotoyama.
You guys — take a moment today to think about all Asian and Pacific Islanders living with or who have died of HIV/AIDS. In addition to the physical effects of the disease, our communities deal with a lot of stigma, which often includes the inability to even mention it to our closest friends and family. Of course, that is counterproductive to the fight against the issue.
This post is a shout out to the A&PI Wellness Center, an amazing Bay area organization dedicated to this cause, and its Banyan Tree Project. The above video is part of Taking Root, a national digital storytelling advocacy initiative.
In Episode 2 of We Are All Radioactive, we introduce you to a fisherman who’s weaving a hammock out of fishing net rope. The Japanese artist Shigeki Fujishiro used a similar type of rope to make these awesome (but perhaps not very practical) bags.
I got a taste of Mitsuru Koga’s Inorganic exhibition at a little shop in Venice, CA yesterday. In the photo it kinda just looks like a pencil sticking out of a wooden block, but it’s actually really beautiful in a display case!
Salaryman Project is a new collection of iconic beautiful fun photographs of Japanese businessmen. Tokyo-based French photographer Bruno Quinquet is currently fundraising for the completion of his self-published book here.
In Chapter 2, a fisherman takes us on a journey around the world on his blue fin tuna boat, and a veteran surfer tells us how his uncle saved his entire family from being swept away by the tsunami.
WE ARE ALL RADIOACTIVE is a brand new crowdfunded online documentary film project created by me and TED film director Jason Wishnow. It’s about surfers rebuilding northern Japan after the earthquake and tsunami on 3.11.2011. New episodes are released only as they are funded.
Since 3/11, I’ve been really busy with the making of my first ever film project. It’s called We Are All Radioactive, and it’s an online episodic crowdfunded documentary about a community of Japanese surfers and fishermen who are trying to rebuild their community after the tsunami.
Episodes 1-3 are out already, and for some reason I have completely neglected to post them on TokyoMango until right now. Here’s Episode 1!! You can watch 2 and 3 on our Vimeo channel, or you can wait until I post them here over the next couple of days!
The most entertaining thing I saw on Japanese TV while I was back last week was a special that had the subtitle: The 48 different kinds of ojisan: What one do you like best? Apparently it’s trending right now to study the ojisan zukan (old man almanac). If you’ve lived in Japan, it’s hilarious because you know you’ve all met these old men before. Maybe he was sitting next to you on the subway. Maybe he is your dad, or your husband.
Hey guys – just a quick reminder to visit We Are All Radioactive’s crowdfunding campaign page, when you have a sec. As you know, this is an episodic documentary film that I’m making with TED director Jason Wishnow, and the *only* way you get to see new episodes is if you help us fund them!
Right now, we’re just a couple thousand bucks away from funding Episode 3. Episode 2 is in its final stages of post-production before it goes out to the world this Wednesday!! So get excited, and join us. We have some great perks lined up for those of you who do – special shout outs, signed copies of Jason’s amazing short film starring a potato and a tomato, and the ability to influence future episodes.
I just watched The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom, a beautiful Oscar-nominated short by director Lucy Walker. It’s a beautiful film that begins with some of the saddest raw footage of the tsunami I’ve seen yet . Walker interviews several survivors shortly after the disaster, juxtaposing their resilience against the power and flexibility of the sakura trees that survived and, despite being drowned in sea water, proceeded to bloom a month later. Watch the trailer here, and keep an eye out for screenings near you!
And, of course, while you’re on the post-tsunami film binge, don’t forget to check out and donate to my film, We Are All Radioactive.
Chapter 1 of WE ARE ALL RADIOACTIVE, the episodic online documentary that I’m making with TED film director Jason Wishnow, is now live. Please take a look!
Episodes of WAAR are only released as they’re funded. We’re just a couple hundred dollars away from unlocking Episode 2. Please visit our IndieGoGo page and donate to what we promise will be informative, beautiful, and engaging.
I just got back from a fabulous two-day trip to Austin, Texas for SXSW with Novmichi Tosa of Maywa Denki. Tomo + I went took him there as part of the IEEE contingency. He gave an amazing performance and debuted the Otamatone Deluxe, which goes on sale next month. (You can buy the normal-sized Otamatone on Amazon.) I’ve known him for years, but this was the first time I got to see him perform live. So great!