Japan Video Topics 2016-03 (DVD)

Smiles Again in Tohoku

The Tohoku region’s Miyagi Prefecture was one of the hardest hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Michinoku Sendai Orihime-tai is a popular Miyagi group who have been using song and dance to promote reconstruction efforts. These teenage girls formed their group immediately after the disaster out of a desire to do something to help the survivors. As they put on performances to cheer up evacuees living in temporary housing, they came to realize the importance of preparing for future disasters. This led to them taking part in a UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, and to their recent focus on raising disaster awareness among the region’s children.

 

Nishikigoi - Fish as Art

Nishikigoi are a type of Japanese ornamental carp, known for the brilliantly colored markings on their skin. Their name comes from nishiki, a word describing the gorgeous multicolored brocade patterns on silk fabrics. It’s said that Nishikigoi began from one fish, a colored variety that appeared among the black carp bred for food. The Japanese quickly became fans of this beautiful new fish, and over the years breeders developed techniques to produce better colors and patterns. Their success led to varieties of Nishikigoi that have become famous worldwide. We’ll meet one of the breeders who is continuing his family’s tradition of creating fish that are living works of art.

 

Tiny Bubbles with Huge Potential

Bubbles are in the news. But these are not ordinary bubbles – they are nano-sized: just one nanometer or a billionth of a meter across. When newly-landed fish are soaked at the market for just 10 minutes in water filled with these bubbles, they stay fresh enough to eat as sashimi for days longer than normal. The bubbles contain nitrogen, which prevent microorganisms from multiplying and slows the rate of decay. Water filled with nano-bubbles of oxygen has been found to stimulate plant growth and increase crops. And doctors have discovered that water containing ozone micro-bubbles destroys viruses and bacteria. These invisible, nano-sized bubbles are about to change our lives.

 

Para-Ekiden - A new kind of Relay

The world’s first ever Para-Ekiden race was held recently in Tokyo. This is a new kind of relay race, in which the teams consist of a mix of people with and without disabilities. The rules are based on the ekiden, a type of long-distance relay race created in Japan, which is hugely popular here. Instead of a baton, ekiden runners wear a kind of sash called a tasuki, which is passed between team members. In the Para-Ekiden, all competitors, regardless of whether they have disabilities or not, must complete the same distance and hand on their tasuki sash to the next runner. The appeal of this new sport is that it allows everyone equal opportunity to enjoy competing as part of a team.

 


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