So at the beginning of the month I had the opportunity to travel to the Fukushima area in Japan to see some of the work and changes being done after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. For those who don't know much about it, or since it has been almost a decade already (Lord it is almost a decade already...I'm gettin old lol) March 11th 2011 is when a huge magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan causing a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Without going too much into the history of the disaster it called for an evacuation of over 30 km immediately, and other surrounding areas as the radiation and such in the air spread. Fun actually-horrible-and-low-key-evil fact, some parts of the area were told to evacuate within 3 days. Other parts...weren't told until a month later so just think what the families in those areas were ingesting or subjected to without knowing. Or even worse the effects it may have for generations to come from this, that could have been possibly averted. Also interesting to find out is that if the wind that day and the next or so was a south wind instead of west (or is it east...Japan directions confuse me lol), majority of the Tokyo area would have been directly effected, and that is a scary thought to have. Even though it's 7 years later, only now are you really seeing life come back to the area with just a few years ago lots of small towns or cities that were evacuated completely still empty being effectively ghost towns.
So how do you know when civilization comes back after years of abandonment and fear of radiation poisoning? Convenience stores an community centers. Seriously I spent a solid day in the area and the newest things that I saw with the most people even around were either 711s that were just built, and the community centers near or close to these 711s lol. Which makes sense if you really think about it since what's more common, safe, and everything is almost back to normal for people traveling through than convenience stores?
Yet for the people who live in the Fukushima Prefecture, whose livelihoods were heavily effected, families separated, and basically the Japanese people who lived in the disaster area and now have turned into refugees in their own country, it's not as back as normal as they would like. However, the hope of one day a new normal coming from this horror is apparent from those still in the area working to find a silver lining from all of this. One of the most awesome things to hear and see is that when a lot of the farmers, especially the cattle farmers, realized all this land they had was going to be useless in terms of how they used it previously, they decided to try something new with solar power energy. Which is genius and speaks on the people of Fukushima's resilience and hope. Right now the batteries can't hold enough of a reserve to be used as generators for the area, but they do use the energy produced and tie it to the electric company being able to have every huge panel setup work to give energy for up to 15 homes. Their hope is in 10 years at least not only will they be able to go back to farming their land but to continue the process of being more renewable energy and see how the old and new can turn into something really remarkable for the people of Fukushima.
So I'v been hanging out in Japan for a few months now, and while it's been a blast, spending this New Year's here was easily a top 5 memory of life. Like, never mind visiting Japan has been my number 1 bucket list since I was a lil jit wondering how I could find some ooze to turn my self into a Ninja Turtle (As a kid Mikey was my favorite, but the woke black man in me now understands Raph's anger in having to live in a sewer so he don't scare the white people just from being alive.) Bringing in a New Year while checking off a life time wish (seriously just all down here wish wise for me now folks), it just doesn't get much better. So being, the amicable vagabond I am I wanted to share some of the things I saw and did to ya'll
So Kyoto was mainly where I spent most my nights, and for hella good reason. Kyoto has a history of being the big capital before Tokyo and has kept the history of that look alive through a lot of its areas. Whole neighborhoods are still the same buildings, or close to for hundreds to even thousands of years ago. So when you walk down these streets and see bamboo wood buildings, kimonos, and even geishas (that's a whole notha story fam lol) it really feel like you in Ancient Japan with Samurai's and Shoguns right around the corner.
Osaka on the other hand, feels like fun laid back city. A lot of Japanese folks will tell you there's a big difference between Western Japan and Eastern Japan (they actually for awhile back in the day had beef like Pac and Biggie were involved) and they ain't lyin. Compared to Tokyo, even Kyoto Osaka folks seem to be having a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, and maybe not all the way there and in a good way lol. Fun fact a favorite dish in Japan is Okonomiyaki and Osaka is the birthplace, so if you get a chance try some out. Ooshii desu biiiihhh.
Japan while having lots of shrines, temples, and some castles, considers only 3 castles actually major. One is in Tokyo where the Imperial family lives, another is in Nagasaki, and there's one in Osaka. What's dope about this castle is since no one is currently using it, you can check out not only the surrounding areas but inside as well.
So Kinkakuji or the Golden Pavillion is in Kyoto, and is exactly what the name says. It's an all gold Zen Buddhist temple, sitting off a gorgeous pond with Bonsai like trees surrounding it. Even the inside is all gold. Needless to say the clout of the general who lived here was astronomical.
So one of the most famous locations in Japan, is the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. It's world wide known for the fact it has over 10,00 orange gates that you can walk through to reach the summit of the shrine at the top of Mt. Inari. Lemme tell you know..If you in Japan go do this. It takes some time to get to the top so be prepared for the hike since it can get pretty steep, and it's mostly thousand of year old one slip you can die stairs. But it's worth it. Unless you die...in which case what do I know.
Now I know what you're thinking. "All this awesome history and knowledge you droppin on us Jay, and you gonna end on a damn bottle of liquor?" YA DAMN RIGHT I AM. I ain't neva eva eva tasted sake this good. I didn't know sake could TASTE this good. It had flavors and aromas that made me finally understand why sake is well rice WINE. This bih chilled gonna have you ready to hop the next flight to Tokyo. Plus, just so ya'll don't think I'm a straight heathen, this is actually the sake the Prime Minister of Japan gave to President Obama when he first visited Japan as his belief as the best tasting sake experience to have. So get ya drunk and negro bougie on and find you a bottle or 2 lol
A Black hipster, trying to live a life of duality. Maybe he's working in a community working on social justice issues..or maybe he's laying on a beach somewhere doing slightly inappropriate things. You never really know.