Category Archives: Thinking Green

Thinking Green – Living Green, protecting the environment and the future. Tips and ways to organize to save the future and stall global warming.

Dance Walk Japan!

We rented bicycles to tour the island, stopped in front of the torii...
We rented bicycles to tour the island, stopped in front of the torii…

This year I discovered the pleasures of `dance walk` as a way to travel in Japan. It has become my favorite means of transportation and has taken me to visit one of Japan`s World Heritage sites, as well as to explore the area around where I live in southern Japan, and to see things with a new sense of discovery.

I would like to share a mini-`how to` manual with you so that you might try it too in Japan or wherever you are! I will also show you a few of the sites in Japan I have visited through this combined means of exercise and expression.

For dance walk travel, you don`t need much. I recommend these basics:
1. a backpack with easy-to-move-in light clothes for dancing,
2. an i-pod with music you might like to choose in advance to go with the mood of the site and what you wish to express
3. a video camera so you can share the experience
4. a friend or collaborator who shares your enthusiasm and openness, who is not shy to be with you as you will be dancing through the trip!

camera ready

5. (optional) Yoga Mat for stretches in your room and a small overnight kit if you will be staying overnight

take some time to stretch in your room...
take some time to stretch in your room…

As the idea of dance walk is discovery, it is best to travel with an empty mind and an open heart. Every site has its own special nature, so the first thing to do when you arrive at the site is to `greet it` with your movement. Breathe in the sights, the architecture, the sky, the trees, the flowers. If the moon is out, what luck you are in! Greet the moon with your gestures, connect with the sun…feel into your breath, and whenever you are ready turn on the music, begin to listen and feel your own rhythms, listen to your body, and let yourself move–in all directions— from the heart!

I learned in a dance workshop about `greeting` a site and asking its permission. Just as you would to a dance partner, when you dance walk in a site, it is a beautiful thing to `ask` if it is o.k. for you to enter. This can be done through gesture, breath, a short meditation or a simple offering of something you bring from nature or from your heart.

I recently went to Miyajima, one of Japans National Treasure sites located a ferry ride from Hiroshima, to do a dance walk by the famous orange torii gate and Itsukushima Shrine. You may know of this site famous for the shrine that appears to float in the sea at high tide.

The video of the dance walk became seven segments, starting in the morning hours before sunrise (the ocean tide and tide and travellers had not yet come in) where me and my video collaborator were the only ones in the site; to the sunset hours where we met some travelers who shared a dance with me in front of the Itsukushima Shrine

I also had a chance to dance with deer who roam the island, but as enthusiastic as I was for the chance to meet them through my dance, they showed indifference. Still those moments when I sat on the grass face to face with a deer were amazing memories for me!! They are part of the dance too. You can see the segment that has my `dance` with the deer here:

Part one starts with greeting the famous torii here and continues here as its power and the power of the tides bring me into both backwards and spinning movements that brought me a deep reverence for the site.

Whether it is a famous site, or a backstreets road, allow yourself to connect with the surroundings and be open to new movements and experience. Don`t hold back! Enjoy the movement! People might think you are a little strange, but the beauty is, people might think that anyway so it gives you a little freedom to go the extra step, to add a little shimmy or sway into your walk, and hopefully to connect with people heart to heart on your travels.

Other dance walks I have done this year include a Cherry Blossoms Dance Walk, and most recently a Rainy Season Dance Walk to dance by a pond of lotus flowers but it rained so hard I just got a short scene! My dream is to go to a dance walk on Mt. Fuji! And little by little to have others join with me in the dance through Japan…
Next time won`t you dance with me!

My dance walk in Miyajima begins here:

and you can find an assortment of dance walks here

Joanne G. Yoshida teaches Shake Your Soul/Kripalu Yoga Dance in Oita, Japan, where she has lived with her husband and daughter for fourteen years.
Feel free to share your comments and questions about her Dance Walk Japan or any of your dance walk plans!! Like Joanne`s Yoga Dance Walk on Facebook HERE.

miyajima peace statue

Energy Policy Chief Makes Remarks on Moving Toward a Nuclear-free Japan

The nation’s new energy policy goal should be to no longer depend on nuclear power, national policy minister Motohisa Furukawa said Tuesday.

Furukawa told reporters this means Japan would have to embark on a broad quest to become totally nuclear-free. His comments could spark a backlash because he chairs the government panel that this month must unveil the nation’s future energy mix.

His remarks came as he announced the government will convene a meeting of experts Wednesday to study public opinions it collected during the course of hearings on the future use of atomic power. Furukawa said the government will reflect the results when drawing up a plan that will wean Japan off nuclear power.

Read the rest of the story: Energy policy chief inclined toward nuclear-free Japan.

Japan to Combine Emission Credit Programs to Improve Efficiency

Japan will combine two emission credit programs as the government seeks to improve efficiency in the country’s efforts to curb production of greenhouse gases.

“It’s important for Japan to keep promoting measures to cut and absorb emissions,” a study group set up this year to review the country’s incentives said today in a report. “We need to keep the credit programs for fiscal 2013 and after.”

The industry, environment and agriculture ministries began a program in 2008 to spur low-carbon energy investment by small- and medium-size businesses by offering larger companies credits in return for providing their smaller peers with financial and technical help.

Read the rest of the story: Japan to Combine Emission Credit Programs to Improve Efficiency.

Anti-nuclear Campaigners Launch Japans First Green Party

Anti-nuclear campaigners in Japan have launched the countrys first green party, more than a year after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi power plant created a groundswell of opposition to atomic energy.

Greens Japan, created by local politicians and activists, hopes to satisfy the legal requirements to become an officially recognised political party in time for the general election, which must be held by next summer but could come much earlier.

The party said it would offer voters a viable alternative to the two main parties, both of which have retained their support for nuclear power, particularly after the recent decision to restart two nuclear reactors in western Japan.

Read the rest of the story: Anti-nuclear campaigners launch Japans first green party.

Sky Solar Japan to Start Construction on Solar Power Stations

Since Japan formally implemented new Feed-in-Tariffs for the photovoltaic (PV) industry in July 2012, it has seen an overwhelming response and injection in the market. It is expected that with electricity prices of 42 Japanese Yen (approx. 3.36 Chinese Yuan) /kWh, internal rates of return of around 20% can be given to investors. This level of IRR has attracted and tempted many companies to invest in the PV industry either through development or through mergers and acquisition.

As a professional global PV developer, investor and IPP, Sky Solar finds itself in a strong position as the Japanese market strives forward due to years of hard work, commitment and preparation. Sky Solar is now in a position to seize this opportunity and has announced the successful development of several large solar power plants through its Japanese subsidiary, Sky Solar Japan.

Read the rest of the story: Sky Solar Japan to Begin Construction on PV Power Stations.

Japans Hitachi in Deal with Britain for High-speed Rail Project

Japans Hitachi will supply nearly 600 train carriages for Britains inter-city high-speed rail project in a deal worth £4.5 billion, the company and the British government said Wednesday.The giant conglomerate won the project along with British partner John Laing in 2009 but negotiations had been delayed after a change of government in Britain.The firms will supply 92 complete trains — comprised of 596 carriages — to replace the ageing fleet on Britains inter-city rail networks, with Hitachi holding a 70-percent stake in the consortium while John Laing has 30 percent.

Read the rest of the story: Japans Hitachi inks British rail deal.

Japan’s Tsunami Towns Create Jobs by Going Green

Rikuzentakata, like many towns on Japan’s rugged north-east Pacific coast, was in decline even before last year’s tsunami killed 1 700 of its 24 000 inhabitants and destroyed most of its downtown buildings.

With two-thirds of the remaining residents homeless, mayor Futoshi Toba questioned whether the town could recover. Damage to infrastructure and the local economy, he said, would force people to move away to find jobs.

Sixteen months later, the town is trying to rebuild in a way that Toba says will reinvent the region and provide a model to overcome obstacles that have hobbled the Japanese economy for more than 20 years: the fastest-ageing population in the developed world, loss of manufacturing competitiveness to China and South Korea and reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s tsunami towns go green to create jobs, bypass nuclear .

Thousands Protest Nuclear Power in Japan

Tens of thousands of people crowded into a park in central Tokyo on Monday to protest the use of nuclear power in Japan, highlighting the growing opposition to atomic energy in the country since the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

The peaceful demonstration took place on Japans national day in an area the size of a large sports field in Yoyogi Park, near the bustling shopping and nightlife district of Shibuya.

The event attracted so many people on a hot July public holiday that many spilled out into the surrounding streets, unable to enter the main area. It brought together a broad mix of Japanese people, from seasoned environmental activists to families who hadnt participated in a protest before.

Read the rest of the story: Tens of thousands demonstrate against nuclear power in Japan.

Japan’s Modi Corp Unveils Do-It-Yourself EV – Pius

Modi Corp, a Japan-based company that prototypes vehicles, announced that it has developed a built-it-yourself micro electric vehicle (EV).

The EV, “Pius,” is a single-seater and can be registered as a class-1 motorized bicycle in Japan. The company expects that the EV will be used as an educational tool for learning the basic functions and structure of EV. It is scheduled to be released in or after the spring of 2013.

Modi aims to sell the Pius to educational institutions such as universities, colleges of technology and car mechanics’ schools. Also, it offers a service of embedding components that its customers use for research and development in the EV so that they can use the vehicle for the evaluation of the components. The price of the EV has not been decided yet.

Read the rest of the story: Japan-based Firm Unveils Built-it-yourself EV.

Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff Era Begins in Japan

The feed-in tariff system for renewable energies entered into force Sunday to help promote their use and cut Japan’s dependency on nuclear power.

The system requires utilities to purchase all electricity generated through solar, wind, water and geothermal power, among other eco-friendly sources, at fixed rates for up to 20 years. The costs will be passed onto consumers.

The government’s generous tariff rates have created considerable interest in the sector, with companies rushing to build massive solar and other power plants based on renewable energies.

Read the rest of the story: Feed-in tariff era gets under way.