Taro Aizu’s Fukushima Gogyoshi


In honor of the continuing victims of the Japanese national tragedy in Fukushima (3/11/11), and on the occasion of National Poetry Month, here is a moving and sobering poem about those whose lives continue to erode daily from the effects of radioactive pollution.

Videos from Gogyoshi Art Project: My Hometown Fukushima
Read more about the Gogyoshi, a poetic form invented by Taro Aizu.

We eat our bagel and cream cheese


In Honor of the Third Anniversary of the monstrous tsunami that hit Fukushima Prefecture in Japan on March 11, 2011, I am re-posting this poem, which I wrote as soon as I heard the news. The tsunami leaves a lasting legacy of loss and radioactive pollution from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that was crippled by the enormous wave. This was my very first post on WriteWireless. Heartfelt love and prayers of comfort go out to all of the people affected by this catastophe.

We eat our bagel and cream cheese

We eat our bagel and cream cheese, thinking mildly…

From above, it looks like a Godzilla movie–the tidal wave filmed in miniature, the

…about carbs and fat intake…

cars being swept along under overpasses,

…and sip our freshly brewed coffee…

boats crashing into city bridges,

…wondering what we’ll write about today…

cars parked in lots swept along, buoyant like mini marshmallows in hot chocolate or like drowning ants

….or whom we can network with…

huge mases of splintered buildings, cars, people;

… What time is our interview?…

a burning oil refinery.

… What picture should we post on LinkedIn?…

It isn’t until the next day

… Should we look business-like or should we be casual?…

that the close-ups on You Tube are available

“What time should we work out today?…

and we see the huge buildings and cargo ships floating down the street

… Oh my God!…

and coming to rest with the cars and uprooted houses in heaps against the few structures that have stood their ground.

That night, we watch the nuclear plants begin to break down and release their poison into the air, land, and sea. The videos on Yahoo show clip after clip of people walking, dazed, past a car on top of a house, a huge ship standing up on land, nose poised over the water. Street after street of soggy rubble, not a house standing. Hiroshima and Nagasaki come to mind. The devastation is similar, especially on a human level.

On day 3, we see stacks of photos online: the land is reduced to a splintered wasteland. Brothers and sisters, lost, bereft, sift through mud to find a connection to a life so newly and brutally ripped from them. A grandmother finds a pillow, a mother finds a photograph, a boy finds a soiled school award. A grandfather wanders the wet ruins of his ancestral neighborhood. A father weeps, the reality of the catastrophe dawning on him. How many of his relatives were among the 10,000-plus who perished? Will he ever have dinner with his family again?

A hand pokes out of the rubble, motionlessly grasping for something that is gone.

Nobody in Hollywood or Toho wrote this script.

How can we ever know what it feels like?

Fukushima Aftermath

By Banksy
By Banksy

No nukes is good nukes.

Click here to read the unreported or underreported news about what is really happening to the people of Japan — and everywhere nuclear power is being used.

Here is an excerpt from Stephen Lendman’s article in the blog , “Fukushima’s Catastrophic Aftermath Continues” :

“Admiral Hyman Rickover (1900 – 1986) was the father of America’s nuclear navy. In January 1982, he told a congressional committee that until a few billion years ago, “it was impossible to have any life on earth.”

“There was so much radiation on earth you couldn’t have any life, fish or anything.” Gradually the amount subsided. “Now, we are creating something which nature tried to destroy to make life possible.”

“Every time you produce radiation, (a) horrible force” is unleashed. “In some cases (it’s) for billions of years, and I think the human race is going to wreck itself.”

“I am talking about humanity. The most important thing we could do is start having an international meeting where we first outlaw nuclear weapons to start off with. Then we outlaw nuclear reactors, too.”

“The lesson for history is when a war starts, every nation will ultimately use whatever weapons are available. That is the lesson learned time and again.” ”

Mee-Ow! Cat Cafes in Japan

Those amazing Japanese. They are in danger of losing their right to stroke cats in cafes after 8 p.m. First of all, this sounds like a reference to a play by Eugene Ionesco, one of the Absurdist movement’s poster children. Who would ever have thought of abrogating such a right? Apparently, with such abbreviated living quarters, most people in that country can’t own pets, and one of their favorite ways to unwind after a hard day at the office is to go pet cats at a so-called “cat cafe.” Customers are permitted to enter a room full of felines as they sip their favorite beverage, and they pay extra for the privilege. And why not? For years, we have known the therapeutic value of animals, such as dogs and other furry friends who visit the elderly and the hospitalized, in order to boost their morale. They have been said to lower people’s anxiety and bring about measurable health improvements. Animals have a way of putting people in touch with their inner calm, of grounding them when they have been spending too much time in their own heads, stressed by everyday life. But animal rights activists in Japan have declared that the cats themselves are getting stressed out, and that the number of hours (and the time of day) when the animals can be petted by cafe customers needs to be limited. Cat-petting clients are lamenting the loss of their favorite, peace-producing pastime. And who can blame them?

Now, to me, Japan doesn’t seem like the sort of place where people would deliberately abuse cats. It seems like an unusually law-abiding and respectful society, where people go out of their way to be polite, lawful, and considerate in their everyday dealings. We saw the incredible order and calm with which the Japanese citizens dealt with the tragic tsunami last year. Not a single instance of looting was observed or reported. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen in Japan. Neighbors helped one another, stranded dogs were mercifully rescued, and a feeling of compassion permeated the aftermath of the disaster. The amazing speed with which life is returning to “normal” derives from the diligence and cooperative spirit of that country’s citizenry (you can follow some of the recovery if you watch NHK television or other intermittent international broadcasts).

So I’m wondering: are cats in Japan’s cat cafes really being treated like overworked geisha girls, or do animal rights activists and law-makers have too much time on their hands?  What do you think?