International or other matters


That long slender piece

of land called Italy has

been shaken again

The people of Japan and neighbouring regions, I’m thinking of China in particular, will understand how the people of Italy must be feeling and have been feeling for the last week or so, even months.  The central region of Italy has been hit by repeated aftershocks, – felt in Rome on one side of the country and towns on the Adriatic coast on the other side – of an earthquake in August.

So many old villages left in ruins and survivors left homeless.  It’s terrible.    I hope the survivors are keeping safe and I wish the disaster teams well in their work.

Though Italy has been hit in the past, they are saying that this is the worst succession of earthquakes/aftershocks in a long time – since 1980.   It’s hard to believe that there is a country in Europe so seismically active.

All the best to this country I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few times – and will again – and which is the home of some lovely Italians I know or have met in the past.

Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

5 years on

Life goes on over

in Japan but today brings

pain to so many


Today marks the fifth anniversary of the tsunami that destroyed a lot of the east coast of Japan and claimed so many lives and left many other people without relatives or homes.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about the situation 5 years on and about the states of the different nuclear generators.   It’s hard to know what to say if you don’t live in or have never lived in a country that suffers earthquakes but I think the folks in Japan are doing a good job of recovering, with or without help from their government.  It’s the people on the ground that do the most work.  The people who work so hard in the nuclear plants deserve special attention though for their life-endangering work which may prevent other lives being ruined in the case of another reactor meltdown. Let’s hope that never happens again, anywhere.



Haiku reflections on Japan

Nuclear plants and war pilots

Folks not ready to

return to disaster zone

makes you think of war

Well, I haven’t blogged in a good while so back I am again with kind of positive news.    Reading today that Naraha, a town in Fukushima Prefecture very close, if not the closest, to the nuclear plant has had its evacuation order, given 4 and a half years ago, officially lifted with people free to return to their original homes should they wish to do so.  It is the first town to get this order lifted and has served as the government’s test case for lifting these evacuation orders, and moving people back, for the last year but naturally people are apprehensive about returning, as much as they might like to.   53% are said to feel not ready or undecided.   Houses falling down or in disrepair and wild boars roaming around can’t be very inviting but obviously the health issue is the big one.     The government are being criticized for rushing the procedure of lifting the evacuation order(s) on that and other towns so they can showcase their so-called Fukushima recovery in time for the Olympics in 2020.    This government hasn’t dealt very well with the whole situation, with their secrecy and so on.   So they perhaps deserve a degree of criticism.

I see the word ‘nuke’ used a lot in relation to Fukushima.  I think it is misused as a ‘nuke’ is a nuclear weapon not a nuclear power generation plant.  Right?   The atomic bomb used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be an example of a nuclear bomb.    That brings me to another news piece I read this morning.   The US Army’s only Japanese-American to fly over Japan and the Pacific during WWII has recently died at the age of 98.  Ben Kuroki had to fight hard to even get into the army as, being Japanese-American, he was treated with suspicion by the army recruiters, one camp of recruiters rejecting  his and his brother’s application to join before they drove 150 miles to try at another camp where they were both accepted.  Later, after having earned the ‘Distinguished Flying Cross’, he asked permission to fly one of the B-29s over the Pacific and eventually got accepted, again after initial suspicion. The American War Secretary at the time granted an exception allowing him to fly given his service record up to that point (but no doubt used it as a propaganda device as well).  In 2005, he earned the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honour you can get from the US government for army service, and was recognised as simply American.     Whatever about your feelings about the US army and their various deeds around the world, he made history at the time considering all his compatriots were trapped in  glorified concentration camps throughout the US, and while he was not the only Japanese-American to join the war effort as a soldier nor the only one to do well, as I have covered in a different post,, and while other Japanese-Americans were later sent to Japan once the US had invaded it to act as interpreters and take up other roles, being allowed to fly over Japan as an American/enemy pilot was a whole other feat (just imagine what the Japanese military must have thought of that!).   RIP Mr Kuroki