Purpose one: writing a travelogue to describe my various trips.

Purpose two: muse.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Disasters and Heroes

The devastation in Japan is mind-boggling. I am sure you have seen lots of news reports on the carnage. I want to mention something positive about these events. What always impresses me is the heroic action of self-less individuals. For instance, 343 Firefighters died during rescue efforts after the 9/11 attacks. This time around, it is particularly the staff at the Fukishima plant that continually puts the safety of the public ahead of themselves. From the article:
"The longer they stay the more dangerous it becomes for them," said expert Margaret Harding. "I think it is a testament to their guts for them to say, 'We'll stay and if that means we go, we go.'"

Another thing I want to point out is that Japan provided awesome help after Hurricane Katrina.

Ronald Bailey writes a sober overview of the issues with nuclear power, from Fukishima to California.

I contributed to Americares.org. I picked them for two reasons: 98% of their funding goes towards programs, and just as importantly, 73% of their contributions come from individuals. I believe it is important for an organization not to be beholden to one or a few main contributors, whether corporate or governmental.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Scenic Temple

All the temples I have seen in Japan are in beautiful spots. Still, Miayjima, on an island outside Hiroshima, is situated somewhat perfectly between the lush hills, dramatic peaks and a blue ocean.

Miyajima is distinct for having its gate out in water. Believers have to pass through the gate when they pay their respects, they do not get a break just because you can fit a cruise ship between it and the sanctuary.

Some of the woodwork is centuries old. Notice the rice scoop with the inscriptions. I saw several of those spoons of many different sizes throughout the area. You would think there would be some ceremony or spiritual significance attached to them -- and so there is, but I was told the inscription is provided by a company that 'made a contribution.' Another sign that in the Japanese culture, there is no hard boundary between religion and commerce.