All this for no cover charge! But a portion of art sales and all donations benefit our return to Japan in March to capture the first anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and meltdown. If you’re coming, be sure to rsvp here or here.
Can’t miss the first half of the Superbowl? Not in Chicago? We still invite you to make a tax-deductible donation to fund the completion of the film.
Make checks payable to our new fiscal sponsor, Asian Improv aRts Midwest (AIRMW), c/o Japanese American Service Committee, 4427 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60640 (memo: Uncanny Terrain).
Fukushima farmers’ rice harvest sits in stockpiles, mostly unsold after radioactive cesium was detected in samples in and outside of the prefecture.
Unable to sell their rice, Fukushima organic farmers have become educators, promoting understanding among their customers about the interconnections of land use, energy consumption, and traditional culture.
Despite staggering odds, most of the farmers remain committed to preserving and recovering their land for future generations.
We return to Fukushima this March to capture the recovery efforts a year after the 3/11 tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster.
We produced this series of 15-20 second videos for Tokyo nonprofit Ganbatte 365, about Fukushima City bread maker and hemophiliac amputee Yuji Ohashi, whose company Ginray was one of the few reliable food sources in the area in the immediate aftermath of the 3/11 disaster.
During several nights of blackout, they baked and sold bread by car headlamps. Now he must seek organic suppliers outside Fukushima, even if local ingredients test negative for radiation. The videos will screen on electronic billboards in Tokyo and other cities.
Seiju Sugeno is an organic farmer in Towa, Nihonmatsu, 50 km from the failed Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The Abukuma Mountains partly shielded his rice fields from contamination, but runoff is an ongoing threat. Chairman of the Fukushima Organic Farmers Network, Sugeno works aggressively to clean his land and prevent his crops from absorbing radioactive cesium. He will work to reduce the contamination year by year, rigorously testing his yield and reporting any contamination he finds. His 23-year-old daughter Mizuho works with him. He hopes she can build a sustainable life for herself here.
Uncanny Terrain is a documentary about organic farmers facing Japan’s nuclear crisis, and an online community fostering dialogue on food safety, sustainable agriculture, alternative energy and disaster response. Please keep the conversation going by making a tax-deductible donation.
Yoshizawa at evacuated Namie's city hall-in-exile in Nihonmatsu, awaiting the results of his full-body radiation scan.
Yoshizawa displays the results of his radiation scan, which indicate he's been exposed to only .3 millisieverts since March. He's dubious of this figure, considering he was within earshot of the reactor explosion and has been returning to the evacuation zone weekly to care for his cows.
Iwaki hula girls perform at Nihonmatsu Candle Festival.
Giant dragonfly in Nihonmatsu castle park.
Bug in a well at Nihonmatsu castle.
Yoshizawa and Murata throw a barbecue to celebrate receiving half of their substantial compensation claim from Tokyo Electric Power Company for losses due to radioactive contamination of their cattle ranch.
A mother feeds her son at Yoshizawa's compensation party.
Revelers were eating this Wagyu beef raw at Yoshizawa's compensation party.
When the town of Towa was absorbed into Nihonmatsu City, they formed a nonprofit organization to preserve local culture and farming practices. A transplant from Osaka, Ebisawa is director of the group. He's been resurrecting Towa's ancient mulberry industry, and now he's running an active radiation measurement program.
Ohashi owns a successful baked goods company in Fukushima City. He has used grains from organic farmers in Fukushima Prefecture, but now he may have to look elsewhere. Even if the grains are uncontaminated, the stigma against Fukushima produce would likely hurt sales. Ohashi’s health is frail but he has no intention to leave despite typical background radiation here of 1 microsievert/hour. He says the disaster has strengthened local pride, and people here are learning to living with radiation.
A pair of comedians bartend at the Showtime bar in Fukushima City. I sat down with my camera gear and they kept calling me Michael Moore (pronounced mo-ah).
Sugiuchi was banned from selling his crops due to high contamination levels found near his farm in Haramachi. Now he’s researching soil remediation.
Mrs. Sugiuchi watches one of their greenhouses in Haramachi being tested for radiation.
.7 millirems (7 microsieverts) per hour on the highway in Iitatemura.
4.1 millirems/hour (14,350 counts per minute or 41 microsieverts/hour) on a mountain road in Iitatemura. The town is mostly abandoned but on Sunday there were some people around. They apparently came back to check on their property.