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2015-07-13: Premiere in Fukushima

At Saturday, 11th of July, I (Michael) have been invited by the Japanese-German-Society in Iwaki / Fukushima / Japan to present and sing our new song "Schwing Dein Tanzebein". That was an adventure!

Mr and Mrs Kamata, Michael
Mr and Mrs Kamata, Michael

Many thanks to Mr and Mrs Kamata, who did not only make that happen, but also took great care of me, and have shown me much of the region; traditional Japanese dishes, bathing culture (Onsen), and much more - we even drove through the forbidden zone, at which border the town Iwaki lies.

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Through the Forbidden Zone

Iwaki itself lies outside the forbidden zone. Mr Kamata had organized a Geiger counter from the German embassy. In Iwaki and its surroundings, we measured normal values from 0.13 to 0.15 micro-Sievert per hour (µS/h) gemessen. Surprisingly small numbers! Because according to maps of the Safecast project, I expected at least 0.21 µS/h. Towards the forbidden zone, the values rose; 0.21, then, in the forbidden zone up to 0.45 for a while, then the first alert at crossing 0.50 µS/h. Later, a sudden rise to 1.93, 2.21, and finally over 5.00 µS/h for a short time. But what do these numbers mean? Not much, when just driving through. It is said, that in Germany, the average dose would be around 2.50 MILLI-Sievert per year. That is 2500 µS per year. So, 5.00 µS for some minutes should not matter. If the workers and policemen on the street are afraid, I wonder. How long would they be allowed to be exposed to that radiation each day? Refugees would be allowed to get to their houses only for two or three hours, to fetch some of their belongings, I am told. For living there, the radiation would be unreasonably high. More than 30 times the radiation as in Iwaki - or Kassel, my hometown in Germany.

What is it looking like, in the forbidden zone? Empty houses, ghost towns. Parked in the landscape: tons of black sacks holding contaminated things; soil, trash. Next to them: bulky waste, such as bikes, no one would ever ride, again. Spooky. Out of respect for the workers, I did not take any photos. And to not confuse the oncoming traffic. To my surprise, quite many cars are passing the zone, coming from the north. I did not expect that. I though, the whole area would be left - expcept for one man, but more about him in later articles. On the way back, we took the highway. Digital displays informed about the minimum and maximum radiation levels to be expected on the way. Regularaly, more displays informed about the actual radiation along the highway. The displayed values were sometimes twice as high as our Geiger counter measured, in the car. 5.00 µS/h have been displayed as highest actual value outside; plausbile, since in the car, our Geiger counter measured around 3.80 µS/h in peak on our way.

Back in Iwaki, everything felt normal. Only the flats and containers which have been set up as new homes for the refugees, reminded me as a foreigner, that the region still suffers from the nuclear catastrophe from March 2011.

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"Even Under Radiant Skies I Wanna Be Happy!"

Zur Vollansicht anklicken:
Michael springt in Band-Uniform ins Meer
Place: Nakoso in Fukushima/Japan,
rear left: Gas-fired power plant of Ueda,
rear right: Coast of Iwaki,
Distance to the destructed nuclear power reactors Dai-Ni in Futaba and Dai-Ichi at Tomioka 50 km, respectively 60 km, air line northwards at the coast, from here right "behind" Iwaki.

Back in Nakoso. The hotel lies directly at the beach. Looking to Iwaki; on the left hand side, the gas-fired power plant of Ueda can be seen. On the right hand side, the coast of Iwaki can be seen, about 12 km air line away. On good sight, the Iwaki Marine-Tower / いわきマrンタワー can be recognized, on top of a hill. Here at the beach, breathing fresh marine air, hearing the swoosh of the Pacific waves, watching the surfers, I can hardly believe that just 50 km air line north, in the reactor Dai-Ni, nuclear fuel-rods are still active. Cooled and under control, though, they cannot simply be shut-down, if I grasped it correctly. A bit more distant, 60 km air line from Nakoso, lies Dai-Ichi; the first reactor, or, actually, its ruins. This reactor exploded at the catastrophe in 2011.

I am glad, that the disastrous reactors are not visible from here, from the beach of Nakoso. So that the inhabitants, especially the children, don't have the calamity before their eyes, all the time. Still, the region would have many problems - but also laughing children, youngsters and adults - and maybe laughing tourists, soon, as well? After all: At the train station, I have met a girl from Taiwan. She moaned about her friends not wanting to come to Fukushima for holiday, because they were afraid of radiation. So, she traveled alone, enjoyed her holiday, and took photos, which she wanted to show her friends at home, as proof of what they missed. Hats off! Maybe we meet again, in Fukushima - next time with your friends :D

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Ausblick 07/2015

August: Pre-release of WAR GAMES + Music Video: JAWOLL FRAU KAPITÄN!
September: CD-Release, German Version (English Version to follow)

Until then, more news will come about the new drummer Jay, our honorary member on the violin Professor Hartmut Hillmer - and about the new song "Schwing Dein Tanzebein!" - stay tuned! :D
Cheers, take care - またね。 笑
~ Michael / ミハエル

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