Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Shoot, "The Fallout", and "The Japanese People"

The Shoot

I am just back from shooting the 6th episode of my television documentary program, "Tadaima, Ian Desu!" (more on that here and here). It was beautiful weather in Tochigi Prefecture, which is located just south of Fukushima. There has been a lot of negative impact on the area as a result of radiation fallout, with some farms going bankrupt and the tourism industry suffering falling numbers of visitors.

My program, however, focuses on the local people and their stories (the concept for it was conceived prior to March 11), so the filming for me is a welcome relief from the work I am doing in Fukushima. It isn't that we ever forget what has happened or is happening... it's just that we still have hope.

The opening of this month's program was filmed at a Meiji-era (late 1800's) wooden elementary that has now been turned into an art museum (more on the current exhibit here and more on the museum's mission here).

The second segment we filmed was with author and cancer-survivor Fujita Katsuko at her beautiful home in the mountains. Katsuko-san wrote an inspirational book about her fight with cancer. Cancer-free for over 15 years now, she is more active than ever- playing tennis, taking art and tea ceremony classes and hiking in the mountains every week!

After the interview, Katsuko-san honoured the four-person film crew with a traditional tea ceremony in her garden overlooking the beautiful rice paddies and mountains of Nakagawa Town.

I am already looking forward to next month's escape to Tochigi to film with more beautiful people in the gorgeous countryside.

"The Fallout"

This week's recommended reading on the nuclear situation here in Japan is this article from the New Yorker (via @HirokoTabuchi). Please lick on the article to go the New Yorker website to read the article and see the accompanying photo essay.

"The Japanese People"

This week's recommended viewing is this video called "Nihon Jin" (The Japanese People), a ten-minute documentary about Japanese people working for Honda at their facility in Alabama (via @hikosaemon)

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