Fukushima Year Three: Renewal

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As we mark the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, we present the new trailer for our in-progress documentary Uncanny Terrain, following the organic farmers of Fukushima fighting for the right to cultivate their contaminated land and preserve their traditional communities.

We plan to return to Fukushima this spring to capture where the farmers are two years later, as they continue their efforts to rebuild their lives and restore their farms.

Please help us cover the cost of making this trip and completing the film, by making a tax-deductible donation.

One Year After the Meltdown

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Please join our IndieGoGo campaign to help Uncanny Terrain return to Fukushima.

To the East Coast and On to Fukushima

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Today Uncanny Terrain codirector Junko Kajino begins an East Coast mini-tour, presenting scenes from the in-progress documentary for schools and community groups. Please join her if you’re in the area.

Filmmakers Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski spent five months inside Japan’s nuclear contamination zone for our documentary Uncanny Terrain – living and working with the farmers, researchers and volunteers who have committed themselves to take the nuclear crisis as an opportunity to build a better society.  We’re going beyond disaster reporting, to show what it is really like for these people who refuse to bow to devastating odds.

Now we need your help to return to Japan and revisit those working on the front lines of the nuclear crisis, as they mark the one-year anniversary and the farmers prepare to plant again.

We need to raise $10,000 by March 31 to cover the cost of traveling to Japan and shooting there through the April planting. Please join us by donating to and sharing our new IndieGoGo campaign.  We encourage PayPal contributions because they are tax-deductible, and funds are available to us immediately. Thank you to everyone who has already supported  Uncanny Terrain. Please send this invitation to your friends.  Join the campaign on Facebook.

The organic farmers of Fukushima prefecture toiled for 40 years to grow safe, nutritious and delicious crops on their ancestral land while two nuclear power plants in the prefecture helped feed Tokyo’s increasingly voracious energy appetite.

Since the March 2011 tsunami triggered the meltdown that spread radioactive contamination on much of the lush farmland of Fukushima and eastern Japan, the farmers have been caught between a government in constant denial of the risks of radiation, and outraged citizens who brand the farmers “child murderers” for continuing to cultivate irradiated land.

But the farmers, researchers and volunteers are committed to building a comprehensive monitoring and reporting network to inform citizens about contamination levels in food, air, water and land, so families can make their own informed decisions; and advancing experimental methods to decontaminate soil or prevent crops grown on contaminated soil from absorbing radiation.

Fukushima has demonstrated the need for greater public vigilance to keep all our food and energy producers honest, not just about radiation but about all the potential contaminants that our collective appetites introduce into our bodies and our communities.

Please support Uncanny Terrain and help generate dialogue about these vital issues and assure that the struggles of people in Fukushima can stimulate positive change in the world.  Thank you!

 

Uncanny Terrain reception Sunday and more

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This is video we shot of the December performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago by Uncanny Terrain composer Tatsu Aoki‘s group Tsukasa Taiko Legacy at JASC.

Tatsu and his band The MIYUMI Project will accompany preview scenes from Uncanny Terrain with their fusion of jazz and Japanese classical music from 6-7 p.m. at High Concept Laboratoriesbenefit reception this Sunday, Feb. 5, 5-8 p.m. at 1401 W. Wabansia in Chicago.

Featuring art by David Tanimura, sushi by Chef Atsushi Iwamoto of Mizu Yakitori (thanks to Mayumi Miyazaki and Asako Hoichi), organic Daishichi Sake courtesy of JFC International, kurimanju and inarizushi by Jo Anne Yamamoto of Auntie Jo’s Yummies, and appetizers courtesy of Shino Tamura from Murasaki Saki Lounge.

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).

And we continue to accept online donations through our ongoing fiscal sponsor Ionia Inc.

Illinois Arts CouncilUncanny Terrain has been awarded a grant from the Illinois Arts Council‘s Individual Artist Support fund for media arts. Thanks!

Baking bread by headlight

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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.

Positive stories of post-disaster Japan for Ganbatte 365

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We’ve begun producing 15-second video spots for Ganbatte 365, a Tokyo-based startup that provides positive stories of post-disaster Japan for digital signs in Tokyo, Osaka, across Japan, and eventually international. Our first subject is our own documentary. We’ll be premiering more spots in the coming months. Here are four of the first 16. Because they’re designed to work with or without audio, the Japanese spots are subtitled in Japanese, the English spots in English.

Can’t sell rice, but has to grow it anyway

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Takahashi was banned from selling rice grown on his land in Nishigo Village, Nishishirakawa-gun, Fukushima, due to soil contamination from the nuclear disaster. But he was also told that to receive compensation for the lost income, he must grow the rice. So he’s planting the crop, expecting it will never be eaten.

Fukushima pride is strong close to evacuation zone

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