The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo is transmitting the following Travel Alert that was issued by the Department of State in Washington DC. May 16, 2011 This Travel Alert replaces the Travel Alert for Japan dated April 14, 2011. The U.S. Government is updating its recommendation on the safe use of the Tohoku Expressway and the Tohoku Shinkansen Railway through the 50-mile evacuation area. Using the same analysis we would use in a similar situation in the United States, the U.S. Government believes it is safe for U.S. citizens to use the railway and expressway for transit through the area. Other portions of this Travel Alert remain unchanged from the Alert published on April 14. This Travel Alert expires on July 15, 2011. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant The assessment of technical and subject matter experts across United States Government agencies is that while the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant remains serious and dynamic, the health and safety risks to areas beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone, and particularly to Tokyo, Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture), Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture), nearby U.S. military facilities, and the prefectures of Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Gunma, Iwate, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, and Yamanashi, and those portions of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures which are outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens. This analysis takes into consideration both various age groups and the classification of the severity of the situation at Fukushima Daiichi as a Level 7 event by the Government of Japan, which reflects what has transpired since the initial incident and the potential long-term effects in the area surrounding the plant. This assessment reflects inputs from our national laboratories as well as the unanimous opinion of the U.S. scientific experts on the ground in Japan. Furthermore, they are consistent with practices that would be taken in the United States in such a situation. Based on the much reduced rate of heat generation in the reactor fuel after one month of cooling and the corresponding decay of short-lived radioactive isotopes, even in the event of an unexpected disruption at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, harmful exposures to people beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone are highly unlikely, and there would be a significant amount of time to best assess any steps that might have to be taken. The situation at the plant is dramatically different today than it was on March 16, when we saw significant ongoing releases of radioactivity, the loss of effective means to cool the reactor cores and spent fuel, the absence of outside power or fresh water supply for emergency management, and considerable uncertainty about the condition of the site. Today, while the situation remains serious, and there is still a possibility of unanticipated developments, cooling efforts are ongoing and successful, power, water supply, and back-up services have been partially or fully restored, and planning has begun to control radioactive contamination and mitigate future dangers. Our coordination with the Japanese is regular and productive, and we have a greatly increased capacity to measure and analyze risks. On April 14, 2011, the Department of State lifted Voluntary Authorized Departure, allowing dependents of U.S. government employees to return to Japan. Out of an abundance of caution, we continue to recommend that U.S. citizens avoid travel within the 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. U.S. citizens who are still within this radius should evacuate or shelter in place. Though the U.S. Government is not currently making changes to its recommendation to avoid travel to the 50-mile radius, we are updating the recommendation on the safe use of the Tohoku Expressway and the Tohoku Shinkansen Railway through the 50-mile evacuation area. These transport routes are currently open to public use. The U.S. Government believes it is safe for U.S. citizens to use the railway and expressway to transit through the area. This updated decision is based on measurements taken by U.S. Government scientists; more information may be found at the Department of Energy website, http://blog.energy.gov/content/situation-japan/ .
Eastern Japan Support Fumi no Miyako Charity Concert Kodo x Siena Beat - Todokeyo Kokoro no Kodo (Let’s Send Our Heartbeats) - Bunkyo Academy Foundation has partnerships with Kodo and Siena Beat (Percussionists of the Siena Wind Orchestra) and will present a charity concert featuring both ensembles. Bunkyo Ward will send the full price of each ticket sold and all donations collected in the lobby on the day of the performance to the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake disaster area. Furthermore, while maintaining the artistic atmosphere, this concert will be presented using power-saving techniques. Date: May 28 (Sat) Venue: Bunkyo Civic Hall Dai-Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo Appearing: Kodo, Siena Beat Part 1: Siena Beat (30 mins) / Part 2: Kodo (30 mins.), joint performance. (Total: Approx. 90 mins. including intermission) Doors Open: 14:30 Start: 15:00 Price: 3,000 yen (Tax inc.) Seating Details: All seats reserved Ticket Availability: Tickets on sale May 2 (Mon) at 10:00 am. Civic Ticket Reservation Dial Tel. 03-5803-1111 (10:00 - 19:00 everyday incl. public hols., closed on May 15 only. ) *Operation times may be changed due to planned power outages and in case of earthquakes. *Limit of 4 tickets per order on the first day of ticket sales. Seat selection not available. Ticket Pia Tel. 0570-02-9999 http://t.pia.jp/ Access: [Tokyo Metro] Take the Marunouchi or Nanboku Line to Korakuen Stn. 1-min. walk from Exit #4b or 5. [Toei Subway] Take the Mita or Oedo Line to Kasuga Stn. (Bunkyo Civic Center Mae Exit). Connected by underground passage. 1-min. walk to the venue. [JR] 8-mins. on foot from Suidobashi Stn. on the JR Chuo & Sobu LInes Inquiries: Bunkyo Academy Foundation http://www.b-academy.jp/index_j.html
Ekikara Hiking (Hiking from the Station) events are one-day events starting from stations throughout the eastern Japan area that anyone can participate in easily. They consist of hiking while experiencing the historical buildings and abundant nature of the areas around the stations. Participation is free of charge. Participation in the Ekikara Hiking event is very simple! All you need to do is apply through this website and then go to the reception counter at the hiking spot on the day of the event! Web: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/hiking/omiya/
Pilot Bicycle Rental Projects Start in Two Cities near Tokyo Beginning in September 2010, pilot bicycle rental projects have been initiated in two Japanese cities in the Tokyo metropolitan area; Saitama City in Saitama Prefecture and Fujisawa City in Kanagawa Prefecture. Saitama City conducted a social experiment on Community Cycling from September 25 through October 22, 2010. In the experiment, users could rent and return bicycles at any of the rental stations established at multiple sites in the city. Pre-registered individuals were able to use bicycle at a lower rate. The project aims to promote use of bicycles as a part of city-wide efforts to develop a traffic system not excessively dependent on automobiles, as laid down in the Saitama City Comprehensive Transportation System Master Plan. Meanwhile, Fujisawa City started a pilot project on bike sharing on September 1, 2010, as a joint project between industry, academia and government. Similarly to the community cycle project, the project provides a system to share and use bicycles among multiple individuals. These programs are part of a recent trend in larger Japanese cities, where rental bicycles are increasingly being used as an alternative to automobiles. http://www.city.fujisawa.kanagawa.jp/press/page100354.shtml
Snow-Search Japan, the award winning guidebook to skiing and snowboarding in Japan by WSG Media, is now available to be purchased in Japan from Outdoor Japan Media, the exlusive distributor in Japan. The will soon be available in bookstores in Japan as well as a growing number of snow sports shops in resort areas in Japan. The book can also be purchased directly via Outdoor Japan Media. More details at www.outdoorjapan.com/snowsearch
Powder inna day, louder inna night! Snow Splash, Outdoor Japan's annual snow celebration, is back for 2011 in Minakami (Jan. 22) at Canyons Alpine Lodge and Hakuba (Feb. 26) at The Pub at the Mominoki with a great lineup of music and entertainment, once again bringing the music to the mountain! Don't miss the best weekends to be on the mountain this winter! This year's mountain music festival features the Shapeshifter DJ Set from New Zealand, DACHAMBO, Volgrooma, SKAFF-LINKS, Johnsons Motorcar, Arisa Safu & the Rovers and more. For more information on artists, ticket, tours and accommodation, visit www.outdoorjapan.com/snowsplash
Beaujolais for Books! @ Soleil Provence (From Alana & Michel) On Saturday November 20th, we will host our annual Fete du Beaujolais Nouveau at Soleil Provence. This time is extra special- it will be Shonan's first Beaujolais for Books! The Fete will support Room to Read, an organization that builds libraries and schools in S.E. Asia and Africa. We get to share our happiness with each other, and with the kids in these countries. So the more people who join on November 20th, the stronger the support will be. Please help us get the word out about Beaujolais for Books! Share this message with staff, team members, friends and family. And join us if you can. We'd love to see you again! Beaujolais for Books! @ Soleil Provence Saturday November 20th (18h30~21h30) in association with Room to Read Tokyo (Shonan Group) Every glass of Beaujolais gives the gift of a book to a child.RSVP by replying to this email, to Facebook or via Soleil Provence. For more information: http://www.soleilprovence.com/blog/2010/10/14/beaujolais-for-books-nov-20/ (English) http://www.soleilprovence.com/blog/2010/10/09/beaujolais-for-books/ (Japanese) http://www.soleilprovence.com/blog/2010/10/22/fete-du-beaujolais-20-nov/ (French) Facebook http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168364009841778 http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=151727454869225
Winter Sports Injuries Seminar Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 Location: J Sekka Kushi Bar (www.j-sekka.com) Time: 7.00 p.m. Cost: Free (purchase of drink or food appreciated.) Niseko Physio will provide a free seminar on winter sports injuries. The seminar will cover common injuries, injury prevention and helpful hints on what to do if you, a friend or customers has an injury. The seminar will be presented by Bevan Colless, who has worked as the principal physiotherapist in Niseko Physio since 2006, seeing hundreds of injuries each year. Web: www.nisekophysio.com
Japanese Company to Inexpensively Convert Gasoline Vehicles into Electric Vehicles Hyakkado, a Japanese company which manufactures and sells electric vehicles (EVs) and their parts, announced on July 14, 2010, the start of a service to convert gasoline vehicles into EVs. While a new EV costs nearly four million yen (about US$45,000), the new service offers consumers an EV at an investment of less than 1.5 million yen (about US$17,000). The company makes an EV by converting the client's existing car. Unnecessary parts, including the gasoline engine, exhaust pipe, and fuel tank are removed from the vehicle, and an EV motor and a battery are installed in their place. Operating and travel devices are retained. Although the cruising distance varies depending on driving conditions, the test vehicle ran for 45 kilometers on a test run on a public road. The company is mainly targeting vehicles used for short-distance pickup and delivery within the local community. The service costs 1,298,000 yen (about US$15,000) including tax. It is offered as a package which includes the conversion parts kit, vehicle conversion work, all associated paperwork up through obtaining a vehicle number, and driving and maintenance workshops. The company started this conversion service for 15 vehicles per month at its factory in Tokyo, planning to increase the number to 100 in a year. For the time being, this service is intended only for stick shift light vehicles.