Monday, 17 October 2011


Season of misinformation and mellow fruitlessness!
Close bosom-friend of the radioactive sum;
Conspiring with TEPCO's record to play on our fears
With Geiger counters round the thatch eaves run;
To bend with incompetence and doubt,
And fill all statements with suspicion to the core;
To swell the profit margin and plump the regulators
With sweet payoffs, to set budding more plants,
And still more, later poison for the generations
Until they think radioactive ash will never cease
For Fukushima fear has o'er-brimmed our clammy selves.

Original poem here. The rework was inspired by the bagging of the last of the persimmons from the tree outside Our Man's bunker. In previous years he would have distributed the fruit to friends and neighbours. The fruit is probably perfectly safe to eat. But "probably" doesn't cut it in these post 3/11 times.

As you were. 


BiggerInJapan said...

this one hit home hard... I just threw out this year's herbs.

Mark Pendergrast said...

Season of misinformation indeed! I just published Japan's Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World as a short ebook and hope you will take a look at it. A paperback will be available soon. For info, see I could email you a review copy. Here's an overview:

Japan's Tipping Point is a small book on a huge topic. In the post-Fukushima era, Japan is the "canary in the coal mine" for the rest of the world. Can Japan radically shift its energy policy, become greener, more self-sufficient, and avoid catastrophic impacts on the climate? Mark Pendergrast arrived in Japan exactly two months after the Fukushima meltdown. This book is his eye-opening account of his trip and his alarming conclusions.

Japan is at a crucial tipping point. A developed country that must import all of its fossil fuel, it can no longer rely on nuclear power, following the massive earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011. Critically acclaimed nonfiction writer Mark Pendergrast went to Japan to investigate Japan's renewable energy, Eco-Model Cities, food policy, recycling, and energy conservation, expecting to find innovative, cutting edge programs.

He discovered that he had been naive. The Japanese boast of their eco-services for eco-products in eco-cities. Yet they rely primarily on imported fossil fuel and nuclear power, live in energy-wasteful homes, and import 60% of their food. That may be changing in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Maybe. But as Pendergrast documents, Japan lags far behind Europe, the United States, and even (in some respects) China in terms of renewable energy efforts. And Japan is mired in bureaucracy, political in-fighting, indecision, puffery, public apathy, and cultural attitudes that make rapid change difficult.

Yet Japan is also one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with friendly, resilient people who can, when motivated, pull together to accomplish incredible things.

As an island nation, Japan offers a microcosmic look at the problems facing the rest of the globe. And as Japan tips, so may the world.

Mark Pendergrast, the author of books such as For God, Country and Coca-Cola, Uncommon Grounds, and Inside the Outbreaks, entertains as he enlightens. As he wrote in Japan's Tipping Point: "The rest of this account might seem a strange combination of critical analysis, travelogue, absurdist non-fiction, and call to action. It might be called 'Mark’s Adventures in Japanland: Or, Apocalyptic Visions in a Noodle Shop.'"