Hokkaido harassed

Shocking earthquake hits

the least likely of places –

Hokkaido stay safe!


Japan has really had every weather problem thrown at it this year, even the heat which killed a lot of people in Tokyo.   It was just too much for some people, mostly the elderly.  The latest up to today was the tornado Jebi that has ripped through Kyoto, Nara and Osaka.  Now another earthquake has hit Japan, only in the unlikeliest of places.

An earthquake measuring 6.7 has just hit Sapporo, and a neighbouring town called Atsuma, up in Hokkaido.  This earthquake has caused landslides, another thing you wouldn’t really expect in Hokkaido. To see pictures of streets in Sapporo covered in mud is just unreal.   I never thought Hokkaido would be hit by an earthquake.  I know aftershocks from an earthquake on the main island affected it in 2008 and who knows maybe aftershocks hit it after the earthquake/tsunami in 2011, but an actual earthquake and a pretty strong one at that.    I was not in Hokkaido on my recent trip as I wanted to visit a totally different – yet similar in one way because of its expansive green countryside – part of the archipelago but it will always be special as it was the first place I really explored in Japan and I plan to go back and explore a bit more of this wonderful island.

I hope folks in Hokkaido affected by this and the folks down in Honshu affected by Jebi are keeping safe.   I don’t know of any deaths yet caused by the earthquake /landslides but at least 11 have died because of Jebi.    I imagine people in far western Japan are still recovering from the hurricane and landslides a couple of months ago.   Let’s not forget people in other, poorer, parts of the world who are also affected by weather disasters.  Mother Nature of course is blind to rich or poor countries in wrecking her devastation and recovery can be tough everywhere (and people who have lost family members or homes deserve compassion wherever they live in the world).

Climate change and its strange consequences cannot be denied, whether or not a country, like Japan, is earthquake prone by nature.  Some countries have had unusually hot summers while other places have had unusually late starting or short summers.    Anyone who denies climate change has to be an idiot in the extreme.



Ainu People facing more trouble

The Ainu people 

have their work cut out getting

what they have rights to..


… returned to them, items which are being held in possession by a few universities around Japan but mainly Hokkaido University in Sapporo (Hokudai, as it is called for short).     These items are no ordinary items.  They are skulls, bones, and other bodily components belonging to their ancestors who had tests carried out on them by researchers from said university/universities.     It`s shocking stuff to read really – these researchers would go along to traditional Ainu villages and carry out tests on the villagers like measuring their skulls, their heights, taking blood samples etc.

Meanwhile, the current leader of the country that allows these universities to do this has come under the spotlight for his August 15th speech for the 68th anniversary of Japan`s surrender in World War II.     Leaving out any vow to avoid future wars which are usually included in this speech is just one major faux-pas.   He did not go to Yasukuni as promised but he did send a proxy who went in his name.  Hmmm.   Is he trying to cause outrage???






Snowdori Park

Ode to snow forms big

and small in Sapporo`s blocks-

long park – (sn)Odori.

I haven`t put a picture up in a while so, seeing as Sapporo`s Snow Festival has just kicked off as it does this time of year, I thought I`d add my own photographic memory to the blog.   Taken with my pre-digital camera – and I still remember the funny look I got from the person who took a picture of me in front of one of the sculptures – built yearly by members of the self-defense forces.   Who I assume don`t have much else to do.  Thankfully really because they`re often needed for disasters or issues with the neighbours – not that they can do much there – so building these may be a bit of a relief!!  By the way Asahikawa also has a winter festival for those of you who don`t know.    Most sections of this park are taken up with these sculptures but there`s also a section with an artificial ski-jump.  There was when I was there anyway.

I think the contrast between the snowy sculpture of the ancient Taj Mahal and the modern Japanese office block is interesting.