To help transition Japan to a peace promoting post-carbon country while enjoying every step of the process.
僕のビジョンは、祖国日本で、平和文化を育みポストカーボン(Post-Carbon) 社会を促進してゆく事です。

Thursday, June 23, 2011

May in Pictures Part 1

Bullocks Permaculture Summer Camp
for young adult misfits who love food and community.
Here is the first half of the May digest.
I want to give a special thanks to all the creatures that enrich our life on the homestead.
Unfortunately, those primitivists and won't be reading any blogs.

Waffle Wednesdays are back!
Nothin' like fresh hot waffles on a farm.
Right now we are using preserves and commercial maple syrup
but come fall, our waffles will be crowned with a melange of exquisite fruit.
We could also tap the nearby big leaf maple for some maple syrup too.

Canoeing to Yellow Island
We had a caravan of two canoes and two kayaks with 10 people total.
Its something I haven't experienced much,
but I really enjoy being on the water with a bunch of friends.
What a different experience from being on land.

Wild flowers on Yellow Island in the San Juans.
Buttercup (yellow), camis (blue), Indian paint brush (red).
What a spectacular sight!
I feel truly blessed that I live in a world with flowers.

Johanna and Timbah in the hoop house transplanting a North American native,
Hardy Maté (Ilex Vomitoria).
It related to Yerba maté, a plant used for tea in South America.
I read that Hardy Maté was used by Native Americans as a caffinated tea,
and the fruits are a good bird food.

A close up of Pernettya

King of the Compost Mound.
How fun it is to have ducks hanging out,
claiming compost piles.
They can do damage to the gardens though.

Sam preparing a planting spot on the edge of the chinampa causeway.
The plant will be sitting in a nest of prunings and branches right above the marsh water.
I find it extremely fascinating to not only construct chinampas,
but to also utilize the edge it creates, and plant in a naturally hydroponic enviroment.

Jane handles a garter snake as she plants out a perennial zone.
Snakes are celebrated here.
The rock work provides habitat,
and the snakes love the compost piles.
The Bullocks say that the garter snakes eat slugs,
who are the creatures that we have most difficulty with in the garden.
Thanks snakes!

Nursary day!
A huge group effort to pot up the bareroot fruit trees to prepare for the coming season. Its interesting to think about how many plants pass through our hands and minds.
Plants are so cool!
What a healthy way to live.

Wild duck posse.
Mama duck and her dozen ducklings.
Its a tough world out there though,
I think she is down to about 5 ducklings now.
Death is a daily event, and so is life.

Sundays are potluck day!
What a beautiful scene of community.
I love potlucks!
The two women in focus are the moms of the homestead.
Yuriko, the eldest on the farm, and Flo, the mother of the Bullocks.
The Bullocks were some crazy kids.

All hands on deck.
Potato planting.
Its a lot of fun to work with this many friends....fellow bliss rangers and co.
My homestead mates.
I think it would be overwhelming to do these tasks alone.
COMMUNITY makes all the difference.

Sam performing a careful removal of comfrey in our far far field.
The comfrey had been rototilled by previous tenants,
and spread all over the far far field.
After clearing the comfrey roots (every piece),
we planted our nut seedlings.

Diggin holes for a dense chestnut seedling planting to size them up.
This is the area we removed comfrey from.

Monday night meeting food order.
A very big event where we decide on what foods to buy as a community.
It can be full of excitement, laughter, frustration, and disappointment.
Generally, food seems to bring people together and at the same time it can be the stimulus for powerful conflict. What we eat, how we eat it, how much we eat, etc.
Luckily and with some skill, we get through the food orders relatively quickly and peacefully.

Water fowl congregation at Sam and Yuriko's pond.
The geese are protecting the wild ducklings while mama is away.
How cool is that!
The colourful ducks are Muscovy ducks that we introduced and take care of.
Looks like they are all happily getting along.

Nico the machinist.
Looks pretty bad ass to me.
Could be an ad for the lawn mower.
Wait....the Bullock's use lawn mowers?!!
Thats not permaculture...or something.
Yup, we use mowers and weed whackers.
We even use roundup with our Monsanto corn.......just kidding.
It'll make sense if you come here and see how it is used.
Considering the scale of the property, the need for mulch that is not slug-friendly,
and the impact grasses have if they grow freely on our mobility, it seems like an appropriate use of this "transitional technology."
Its not a necessity but it does make life "easier" here.

Lily and the Bullocks nursery sanctuary at the farmers market on Saturday.
A beautiful arrangement of tasty fruit trees and useful ornamental.
Its a nice space of refuge and knowledge.
Good place to talk plants....because we are plant nerds or nerds-in-training.

There was a mead and wine tasting event that day
so Lily brought fruit and berry trees that are good for making alcoholic delights.
How wily.

Lily has been making an effort to host free permaculture workshops/discussions at the market.
Anything from preserving food, guild planting, grafting, to Transition Towns will be explored.
Spreading the abundance.

Rainy day wheel barrel maintenance.
Sam is wrestling with a lawn mower as
he, Doug, and Dave discuss the upcoming Intro Course.
Its empowering to learn how to fix stuff you use regularly.
If I could only figure out how computers work......Simon!

Michael harvesting Fuki.
Looks like a scene in the tropics.
What a trippy plant to have around.
You can use it as an umbrella like in Totoro.

Fuki and Rhubarb harvest.
I think we made fuki cooked in dashi (Japanese broth), soy sauce, mirin, and sake.
It has a nice texture and flavor especially when picked early in the season.
In some ways it reminds me of celery.
The huge leaves are edible too.

With the rhubarb I made a sour cream rhubarb cake.
I really enjoy baking cake with rhubarb and sour cream or buttermilk.
Both of these plants can shade out quack grass,
and serve as a delicious and fun weed barrier.

Work at the top of the hill.
Doug in the metal shop welding a piece for the gate as interns finish up pruning.

The departure of the house bus.
It was a beauty of a bus with a comfy bed, wood-fired stove,
benches, dining table, and beautifully finished interior.
The downside is that there is no insulation,
and the metal exterior felt like it sucked out heat from my body on cold days.
Its fun to have a house bus around though.

.....and the evil witch cast a spell on Yuriko,
that if she swears or makes a reference to the butt,
she would shrink into a cute little dog.

Hibaku Nation Japan 被爆国家ジャパン

I'm back!

I've been consumed by applying to the Graduate Program in Sustainability Sciences at University of Tokyo. Quite an interesting balance of keeping up with farm tasks, while sitting in front of a computer for long hours synthesising ideas. Its a hard choice between continuing an alternative lifestyle surrounded by nature and abundant with freedom, to living in Tokyo and studying in an rigid institution, not to mention the cost of just existing in Tokyo. But, I have a partner to get back to and I want to experiment with how alternative mainstream-Japan can go. What if mindfulness, non-violence, and ecological design became the cultural foundations of our country? Imagine how different life would be! More on that stuff as we go.


In the meanwhile, the news continues sensational coverage of Libya's revolution, Chinese human rights violations, hacktivists messing with Sony and the CIA, the US presidential election campaign reality TV show, and occaisonally some not so exciting Fukushima crisis updates.


One of the four essays I had to write for the graduate proposal had an interesting prompt,

A huge earthquake and tsunami hit the east part of Japan on March 11, 2011, seriously damaging the Fukushima Daiichi (No.1) Nuclear Power Plant. Since then the safety of nuclear power generation in general has become more critically questioned. Many countries, however, have established nuclear power generation as the mainstay of their energy policies.
If you were a candidate for a national election arguing in favor of nuclear energy policy, what kind of pledge would you make? Describe your pledge and your rationale.


What a question. It was hard not to argue with the question itself and unleash my anti-nuclear mindedness, but my dad encouraged me to widen my perspective and I though I would see how I could stay true to my values, be realistic, and answer the question as it was presented. I ended up proposing a democratic transitional nuclear energy policy, and focus on using existing nuclear power to develop renewable energy infrastructure (decentralised) while embarking on a public energy-literacy campaign. If the people don't choose to stop using massive amounts of energy, then we will make serious sacrifices for our energy extravagent lifestyles.

How would you answer that question for a graduate proposal to a sustainability program in 500 words?
While working on my applicaiton, I was sent several interesting articles about Fukushima and nuclear culture in Japan, so I thought I would share them. If we can really learn from the Fukushima, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Marshall Islands, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, etc., then maybe we won't go through this again. We can stop man-made disasters, if we really wanted to. Anyways, here are some articles to get more insight into the situation, your country may not be so different from Japan.

Huffington Post: Interview with Akira Tokuhiro, Nuclear Engineer: Fukushima and the Mass Media 原子工学者とくひろ・あきらさんとのインタビュー。「福島とマスコミ」
NY Times: In Japan, a Culture that Promotes Nuclear Dependency 原発依存症を促す日本文化
NY Times: 'Safety Myth' Left Japan Ripe for Nuclear Crisis  安全神話が日本を惨事に導いた

It seems like large-scale protests have happened which is really exciting in a country where protests are uncommon.


Fun fact, I read that the peace sign that we are all familiar with comes from the British nuclear disarmament movement. The symbol is comprised of the semaphore signals for the letters "N" and "D," standing for "nuclear disarmament".


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Quotes on Love

Hello friends,
I just got back from the Village Building Convergence and I am super-charged!
Such an amazing experience of permaculture, community and cultural revolution.
City Repair is definitely worth seeking out.
I have tons of pictures and videos but it will take a while to sort through :(

At the moment, I am composing a graduate research proposal
for my University of Tokyo grad school application.
I've been reading from a book that has been extremely thought provoking,
and I just came across a few passages,
in a chapter titled Consumption: A Symptom of Addiction,
about LOVE:

Love is one of those "things" that Fromm claims
we now seek to have instead of to be.

Loving takes commitment and much more;
it is hard work, and the results do not often show up immediately.

(from Sustainability by Design - John R. Ehrenfeld)

and here is one he included in a chapter titled,
A Radical Notion of Sustainability.

Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness
-Zhuang Zhou


Friday, June 3, 2011

6/3 Update announcement

I just posted an article about intergeneric/interspecies grafts,
but its filed under 5/18, when I started it.
See two articles below for some more awesome grafting ideas!