Raised in the tumult of Japan’s industrial powerhouse, the 11 men and women profiled in A Different Kind of Luxury have all made the transition to sustainable, fulfilling lives. Based on Andy Couturier's popular articles in The Japan Times, this lushly designed volume has a wealth of stories about real people who have created an abundance of time for contemplation, connecting with the natural world, and contributing to their communities. In their success is a lesson for us all: live a life that matters. Read an excerpt of the book here or here. Read a review of the book here, here, or here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"They called us idiots" says Oizumi

Oizumi just said to me on the phone, "We all went to the Central Japan Power Company and asked them to  shut down the nuclear power stations, and they just laughed in our faces and called us idiots."  After a pause, he said, "People here have really lost their minds."

I asked Oizumi if people are running out of food.  "We here all have food, but in Tokyo, people have hoarded things, and there's nothing on the shelves, especially bottled water. It's not just Tokyo, but a lot of surrounding areas. People are hoarding things at their homes, and young mothers can't get any water for their children.  Right now it is the infants and the small children who are most in danger." [emphasis added]
San Oizumi, Anti-nuclear activist

I asked Oizumi what else he's been doing, and he said that he's been speaking at temples and rock concerts and in fact the local high school is planning a march to the nearby nuclear power plant in Hama-Oka to ask them to shut it down.  He also has just last night finished a third firing of his kiln since the earthquake. (He usually only does it twice a year.)  He'll be selling the pieces at an exhibition in Nagoya in May to raise money and awareness of the problem.  I'll try to put some photos of the new work up on the blog when I get them.  The name of the exhibition is "Too Late."

We just sent some geiger counters to Oizumi in Japan, and he's ordered about 18 more. (My partner Cynthia has been doing a lot of the work of finding the best ones, and finding ones that are still in stock.)  A few friends have sent some as well.  Please if you are reading this blog and have sent, or will send  Oizumi a geiger counter, send me an email to let me know at andy@theopening.org

Before we got off the phone, Oizumi added, "The ocean is getting very polluted from the Fukushima disaster.  They are pouring tons and tons of high level radiation in the water and that water is going to flow all over the planet and poison the oceans of the world for years to come." Can we pause to take a minute and think about this?

If you are wondering if this is a time to get active, I would say, Yes, it is.  You can expect the nuclear power industry to be cranking their PR machines into high gear.  Don't believe it, any of it.  The problem is not the design of this particular reactor, it's not Japanese political or corporate culture.  It's nuclear power in any shape or form.  And, it's our way of life.  Are there any appliances on that don't need to be?  Lights?  How easy it is to turn them off!

In relation to this, if you have a moment, read this very poignant piece of writing by my friend Jane Brunette.  It really speaks to our current situation, and what we are doing with our careless use of the earth.  Before I share a short excerpt from Jane's piece, I want to say there is a real alternative to our current way of life.  It's why I wrote A Different Kind of Luxury, to show that some people have been living for decades with less consumption, and a greater enjoyment.  If you haven't read the book, please consider it.  You can order it here.   And now on to Jane's beautiful piece of writing:
  —An old man at the evacuation shelter [in Japan] said, “What’s going to happen now?” And then a young high school boy sitting next to him said, “Don’t worry!  When we grow up, we promise to fix it back!”  While saying this, he was rubbing the old man’s back.

We promise to fix it back. That one really stung me. We have left behind nuclear waste and dangerous reactors, global weather changes, oil spills, and failing economic systems for our children to fix. I want to say to that boy and to all those who will be born in the future and inherit these things, “I’m so sorry.” Thinking of them now — the future children and the future flowers as well as the good hearts inside all of us who are alive now — I want to use this tragedy as the everyday people of Japan have been using it: to join with others and find a way to live that honors and cares for us all.   Read the whole post here.

1 comment:

  1. Andy, thanks for your note on my blog! I ordered the book this morning, can't wait to read it. I spent a rainy Sunday reading your blog and enjoyed it very much, I know the book will be even better. Very inspirational!