Sakurajima & Kagosihma

It's been a fast week:
For the first time since he got sick a couple weeks ago, my 15-year old dog was back in his normal right-across-the-front-doormat-so-no-one-can-enter/exit spot and I had to lift all my suitcases over him to get out on the way to the airport.
(Man, I can never get over the views from the airplane window. Right after the sunest, when you're flying over a blanket of clouds that are lit from below, bright orange so it looks like the world is smoldering. . .)

Tomorrow I'll finally be back in Yakushima so I can find out what's going on and start being a hiking guide!

In the meantime, I'm chilling/playind kendo in Kagoshima, a beautiful coastal city with mountains . . .

bridge

. . .and an active volcano in the harbor, called Sakurajima.

Sakurajima

Around the volcano, the air is a bit dusty with ash, but the water is a beautiful torquoise. . .


water
boats
sunset


. . .and there is a public footbath!

feet

田根

田根は長浜市の小さな農業村です。

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部落全部合わせて人口は2000人だそうですが、山が多く、とっても小さく見えます。

毎年、MIT・慶應・同志社の学生・先生・OBがあそこに集まって、村の方々(子供たちも)と会って、ぶっちゃけ会話したり、村巡ったり、建築を見たり、高齢化などの深刻の問題を検討したりする。

今年は6年目ですが、私の初参考。

新しい刺激を受けました!

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田根は岐阜から息吹山の向こう側にあります。空気はいいけど、熱かったな。。。昼間は山の神社まで行って、杉と檜の香りを楽しんで、夜は開いた古い家でみんんなとBBQ。

こんなに沢山な外国人や学生をwelcomeして、家に泊めて下さった村の方々にとっても感謝。こんなに刺激になった2日間をorganize・可能にした方々や友達になった人に、とっても感謝。

岐阜の山県市を思い出すけど、私も、いつか、山の村に住むことができるかな、、♪



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さぁ、この足で帰国して、ビザの資格を待ちます。

Ranting about Science and Responsibility

The trail up to Jomon is closed today, so I thought I'd take a moment to rant. About Fukushima. About the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Mostly about popular perception of science.

It's easy to blame greedy industry and arrogant scientists. But it's our fault, the consumers who use things blindly, who rely on technologies we don't understand, who buy and vote and choose with the click of a button, because we can. (Descarte is rolling in the mausoleum.)

If you don't know anything about programming, how can you bitch when your computer gets a virus? If you don't know how your car works, how can you bitch about the mechanic that wants to charge you $500 to fix it? How can you quote statistics if you haven't thought about correlated factors, or if you play the lotto (or if you bother to vote in general elections for that matter)? Do you even know what it means for a condom to be 90% effective against pregnancy? (One out of ten people who use a condom will, at some point, get pregnant? Have sex ten times and your likely to get pregmant once? Do you know?) Can you get cancer from your cellphone? From your laptop? Oh how we abuse science!

Truth, unfortunately, is relative. It changes whenever there are new facts. Seemingly straightforward conclusions depend on the facts we start with, and the older information gets, the more likely we are to forget it. Citizens in the state of Florida voted long ago to prohibit drilling in the Gulf, but, at some point, we decided it was safe. Post-war Japan needed nuclear power, but given enough time, even very very very very very unlikely disasters are likely to happen. Now it seems that Japan is going back to oil, but is it safe to rely on Iranian oil? Are the alternatives like eyeless shrimp or dammed rivers better?

Let me ask you this: Are you in any position to decide if nuclear power is safe? If drilling is safe? If the manufacturing process of your computer is safe? If the factory where your socks were made is safe? If GM foods are safe? If insecticides are safe? If the organic food supply can feed a nation? Man, how do we know what to believe?

I'm not blaming you. Descarte is considered the last scientist who had a chance at understanding all available technologies from beginning to end, and -- just to clear things up because I was asked the other day -- no, I don't know how to biuld a reactor, either.

The problem is that we're hardly trying. When we don't know what information to trust, we're tempted to doubt all information and protest against technology in general. (Progress? Who needs progress?) Otherwise, we just jump on the what's-important-for-the-world-today band wagon and look for facts to back us up. There're plenty of alarmist websites that twist any new information to support their cause. There are plenty of big companies and lobbyists that do the same. Come to think of it, everybody does this; I believe it's called group polorization and that's how humans tend to work.

So what's the answer? As much as I hate the idea of mass-education, I think science education, like basic statistics and chemistry need to be stressed. And every opportunity should be taken to expose students to the world. What's the purpose of school if graduates don't have the knowledge to be held responsible for the decisions they make?

I'm not blaming liberal-arts majors and religious folks; the dichotomy between science and culture is an illusion. Science is part of our culture, and we need to make the basics available to everybody. If you hate science, then the educational system has failed you. And if Kansas schools want to teach creationism, whatever; I don't care about the 'facts,' I care about students' abilities to analyze the 'facts,' to decide what information can be trusted, and to draw conclusions by themselves and realize when they don't have enough information.

As I stated above, we can't expect everybody to understand everything, but I wish I could expect the majority of people to understand enough to be responsible citizens. I'm not saying I'm any better than the crowd -- this is something we have to do together, because it is the sum of all individual views that is important. It may be too late for my generation, and maybe education will always lag behind the times, but when we, the consumers, abuse science, we can't blame the scientists. Scientists will not tell you that a technology is 100% safe, because anyone who's ever worked in a lab knows that things do go wrong, but if we understand what/why/how things can go wrong, we can make informed choices, and only then can we use technology safely and responsibly.

Well, that's my rant. Next time I have a rain-day maybe I'll write about how this applies to Yakushima.


Issou

Scrapbook issou

in this picture: a peninsula thick with wild strawberries. a beach where they bring the elemetary school kids to play. an information booth reclaimed by plants. sandy coves and tidal caves full of rounded rocks and coral. sea glass and sea shells. a humble waterfall.

野生の苺。小学生が泳ぐ海。植物が生えってる案内所。潮により岩窪に挟まれてる砂浜。彩る貝殻とシーグラス。あんまり派手にみえない滝。

おお〜久しぶり

おお〜久しぶり!
皆お元気にしてるかな。早く会いたいな!

いよいよ日本に戻ってきて、今週すごく熱く濃く深く忙しく、、、精一杯生きてま〜す!
リュックに生活必要品を積んで、屋久島に来島。予定はただ一つの面接。!!!

民宿やキャンプ場に泊まったりたくさん友達を作ってます。みんな優しいな〜。でも山に入って誰もと会わない時も。腹を襲ったヒル、小屋で死にそうな一泊、ウミガメの足跡、ロケットの夜中の打ち上げ、しつこくにかん違う男子、1600メトルの小屋で拾った高校生の財布、envyを聞く時の寂しさ、涙を誘うほど美しい景色、稽古の見学などなど。
屋久島って、最近引っ越して来た人は多いな.私みたいかな。いろんな人達が集まってて面白くて、嬉しいな。以前の人達の文化も知りたいな。
Aaaa...
やっとここに来たよ。もう二度とうちのワンちゃん(私の年齢の半分)と会わない気がしますけど、やっとある夢の実現が近づいてきた。こんなに感情が湧いてくる最近、バイオリンをめちゃ弾きたい。

Scrapbook anbo

hanayama scrapbook

Scrapbook inakahama

Scrapbook miyanoura