I also discovered that Flickr has much improved since I last actively used it. I am able to blog right from Flickr, so I have also brought back to life my "Travel Tokyo" blog.If you are interested in some of my meandering thoughts on Tokyo (this is the my eighth visit since marrying 11 years ago), check it out.
We Are All Environmentalists
This week I saw a news clip about the new "green" Bible, published in an environmentally friendly fashion and highlighting environmental themes. The piece intimated there was some backlash about the edition (without actually quoting anyone upset by it), something about end-timers who think the earth isn't worth preserving because it's all going to burn anyway. That attitude by Christians has always bothered me, because it's pretty clear that from a believer's perspective, one of our purposes is to be good stewards of the earth, and for that matter, good stewards of anything we have.
Beyond that, environmentalism always seems to get muddied up. If not religion, it's politics. Japan, however, is a basically conservative country, with very strong environmental laws. Tokyo banned diesel engines. Water conservation is at a premium. Maybe its because there is less land to go around, or maybe it's because the Japanese value the collective society while we Americans focus more on individual rights.
One of the coolest things I've seen there - so cool that I had my aunt pose with her washing machine - is that even in high-end condos, washing machines are hooked up to use leftover bath water for washing clothes (also check out her great sweatshirt). Talk about conservation!
Imagining the Future of Transit
Driving is also a factor of where we live. I am able to easily take rail to work, and do. Going to visit my folks, on the other hand, requires quite a trek by car, one I don't think is even served by bus.
In Tokyo, where my in-laws are, I can not only run around the city on an intracate web of trains and subways, I'm able to go sightseeing and hiking right off the rail lines. There, the train is usually the fastest way from one point to another, and it's actually cheaper to fly than ride to some desinations because of that. Around train stations, there often far more bike parking stations than auto garages.
In the San Francisco, Bay Area, where I live, transit is generally patchy and often unreliable due to lack of dedicated routes. BART, the key commuter rail system, is actually considering a congestion surcharge to reduce peak ridership, if you can believe that. We have a long way to go.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial
"Five or six of us pulled a large cart to take NaomiÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs body back home. All the way back I was speechless, stricken by the horrible change wrought on her.
"Having fought many battles in China for four years, I thought I had seen the extremes of human misery. However, the heartrending sight of noncombatant women and children suffering tragic deaths was simply unbearable. The next day, in the midst of all the turmoil, we held a hurried funeral for Naomi in a crematory.
"We must swear in our hearts never to repeat such a tragic and pitiful war again."
On one wall inside an exhibit was this poem, "Flower of Summer," by A-b omb survivor Tamiki Hara (1905-1951):
|"This is a human being.
|Look how the atom bomb changed it.
|Flesh swells fearfully.
|All men and women take one shape.
|The voice that trickles from swollen lips
|on the festering charred-black face
|whispers the thin words,
|ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂPlease help me.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ
|This, this is a human being.
|This is the face of a human being."
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