First Bite in 40 Days

First Bite in 40 Days

Posted on July 23, 2011
Filed Under fast, relief & aid | 2 Comments

first bite after 4 day fast for tohoku reliefThere it is. The first bite of solid food in 40 days. How did it taste? Well…. to be honest it was somewhat of a let down. Of course over the last week especially, my mind has turned to food quite often… even in my dreams ; ) But perhaps because we taste buds were out of practice, there was not much sensory satisfaction…

However, I have perservered over the last few days to reclaim my once poor eating habits while at the same time thinking about ways to eat a bit more healthy. And quickly, the joy of eating has been restored.

I probably have over eaten a bit, seems I am a bit excited about eating after some 50 days with no food. Yes, actually it took some time to get organized for this fast so we actually started fasting a week or so before we actually announced it. Aways overworked, understaffed and consequentally disorganized…  ; )

I followed up in the morning with some miso and toast, then ate a HUGE salad at a restaurant called Friendly which has the child-like letters of the sign happily bouncing about. It was a pretty good salad bar with a light buffet selection including beef curry, fried chiken, sauteed veggies, egg folds(like a cross between plain omlettes n scrambled eggs),potato croquettes, various soups and of course salad fixins too. Probably the highlight was some marvelous Kale sauteed in butter with some ham slivers n onions which I then half covered with the egg folds… a Freudian slip, I just typed golds intsead of the folds… it was indeed ; )

I finally had some gyoza to round out the night and paid for it with a heavy feeling that lasted the whole night. In the end, I finished up with some Morning Mac the next day and felt…. well… just like always do in the mornings. Odd thing, that though it was a definite feat of endurance and will, it is now over with little more than a fleeting memory. I had fasted a few times in the past for one or two weeks for various reasons but hand never had any significant experiences. No wrestling with the devil, no tablets from heaven, no esoteric euphoric feelings like I have often read about. I guess that in the end, I am just a simple working man, working for simple goals and experiencing and enjoying the simple things in life ; )

Many people have asked me if we raised enough money. The answer is no, of course we did not. I want things to be better, for healing and restoration but he situation in Tohoku is pretty much stagnant with virtually no movement. There are still vast numbers of people homeless and the ones of resource that have connections and relationships found places to live soon after the disaster. The ones that ended up in the shelters were the ones of minimal resource, also the ones most at risk and most likely to not be able to survive the move to temporary housing without continued support.

There is still so much to be done, and the amount of investment both monetary and emotionally needed to bring the region back to some measure of normalcy is staggering and will take years…

I did however come to some clear conclusions after working for close to 5 months to bring as much aid as Kozmoz could, and thinking about what we can do to continue to help bring healing from here on out. I haven't touched on the issue with the ongoing radioactive contamination but I will touch on it for the first time here today as it is going to be critical with regards to rebuilding the region.

1.My initial reaction after the tsunami hit was to help rebuild houses in the region. After all, before I was a pastor/humanitarian/social engineer, I designed and built residential and small commercial properties back in Washington state. But after experiencing the devastation first hand and learning the history of the Tohoku region, we have decided that it would be absolutely foolish to allow residential building in the areas destroyed by the tsunami.

Those areas were destroyed in the Minami Sanriku Tsunamis of  1896 and 1933, both of which had tsunamis with hights near 100 feet.  In spite of the historic data and the inevitable recurring nature of such disasters regionally, the government allowed residential building in the area that was previously destroyed…. Dont we hire and train professionals to assure safe and socially relevant land use? We do, and allowing such land use in the clear face of danger ….  Even in the 1930's, common sense should have precluded rebuilding in the face of sure destruction. 

The solution? The government clearly has the right and responsibility to limit land use based on safety concerns and social benefit so the governenment should offer landowners a equa-area land swap with land as close as possible, preferably non agricultural land for land that was not used for agriculture, and of course agriculturally suitable land for land that was used for agricultural purposes. Remember that when I speak of the 'government' I dont speak of some nebulous shadowy group of people, I speak of us. I speak of a concerned society, invested and participating in the rule and administration of our communities and states.

The reclaimed land in the low lying basins would then be zoned for purely agricultural use and residential use would be prohibited. This would result in a net increase in the amount of arable land and at the same time be a definite plus for the costal environments especially if the agriculture usage was not rice based, but rotating crops and tree crops stabablizing soil, reducing the use of fertilizers and other agri-chemicals.

Of course there are fishing and industrial uses for land, especially shipping that will need to be located sea side but the risk to life and lively hood woulld be greatly reduced by eliminating residential use in the 'red zone'. It would clearly be the mark or a sensible and rational society.

2. Public health and protecting the food chain must be an absolute priority.  Certified and acurate testing for radioactive contamination must be conducted and maintained and the standards for contamination needs to meet at least minimally the INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION. Currently the Japanese government has INCREASED THE ACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION for food, including infant formula to a level higher than any other country on the planet. IN FACT, THE ACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION IN FOOD IS NOW HIGHER THAN THE INTERNATIONALLY ACCEPTED LEVEL FOR RECLAIMED NUCLEAR WASTE. Further, it is voluntary and manufacturerers and producers bear no legal responsibility to test food stuffs. Is that reasonable given the nature and current level of threat to the food chain? Absolutely not! 

Now, I love to indulge in a feast on Sundays at my favorite kuru kuru sushi shop but…. I have sworn off seafood unless it is a species that grows only in waters north of the 30th parallel or south of the 10th parallel… Seem extreme? Not when you consider the hopes and dreams I have for my babies. There is just simply no way of knowing where the fish on the rice came from… Even the fishermen in the north east region fear the safety of the catch from their newly reinstated industry…. But the government has not provided an alternative with regards to this wild card as THOUSANDS OF TONS OF RADIOACTIVE EFFLUENT HAS BEEN AND CONTINUES TO ESCAPE INTO THE PACIFIC…. Regardless of what the governments of the world establish as 'safe'… there is NO safe level of ingested alpha emiting radioactive particles. And in all the double speak, we need to understand that ingesting alpha and beta emitting particles is infinitely more dangerious than the gamma rays we experience when flying or getting an X-ray.

Fishing will simply need to be eliminated in many areas, and most likely permanently. As well as harvest of sea weed like Nori,Wakame, and Konbu as well as shell fish and other food products from the sea. Any one caught taking sea borne products from those areas must be subject to severe sanctions to assure the safety of the food chain. The area that has been poisoned may in fact be enormous and needs to be investigated quickly and effectively.

The same is going to be required for land based agriculture. Of course the most dangerous product is beef, pork and chicken because they eat enourmous amounts of unwashed feed to produce a single kilo of meat. And vegetables and rice are also potentially extremely dangerous depending on the amount of exposure and cellular integration. It is more than possible that areas as far away as Yamagata, Saitama, Chiba, Niigata etc will simply lose the ability to be used for food production. This is not just a problem of ambient radiation. We have completely melted down reactors with EXPOSED FULL AND PARTIALLY REACTING NUCLEAR MATERIAL THAT IS PRODUCING AIRBORNE IODINE, AND CESIUM PARTICLES THAT ARE BEING CARRIED ENORMOUS DISTANCES WHICH ARE INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS WHEN CONSUMED OR INHALED AND EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO DETECT AND MEASURE. The governent, and in effect all of us will be required to compensate land owners and business people for their loss.  

That may sound draconian but the apathy of our fathers and ourseives resulted in this situation and the health needs of the public simply outweigh the 'rights' of people to maintain thier local traditons.After all, our parents and ourselves as well have allowed these nuclear plants to operate knowing the potential for disaster. Now disaster has come and we have no choice but to accept responsibility. The alternative is to allow a health risk that will have far greater costs in the long term when we look at the potential genetic damage to future generations.

3. Both the Japanese government and the world governments as well MUST PROACTIVELY SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE RELOCATION OF THE CITIZENS IN THE AFFECTED AREAS. This includes not only monitary support for relocation but also foreign governments recognizing the citizens of the affected areas as REFUGEES and offering support and streamlined visa application and status to make it as easy as possible for people to relocate to areas of safety where they will have a fair chance of reestablishing a normal life.

Knowing the level of beauracracy here and abroad, I have no faith in that happening to any degree. The rational solution? It will be for each and every one of us to look deep into our resources and make committments to be the miracles that these people need. How many of us have an extra room full of excess furniture, clothes we will never wear and christmas decorations that we don't need. We could as a world, open our homes to these people and save a generation. The question is, will we?

4. Tokyo Power Company must be nationalized immediately and the handling of the nuclear emergency must be completely transparent and the handling directed and subject to review of a panel of international experts from the US, Canada, Germany, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel, France, England, China, and Korea at the very minimum. The cost for the clean up must be born equally by a minimum of all of these countires as they are all either direct benificiaries or part of the cause. i.e. the melted down plants were designed and built by US CORPORTIONS and the technology was developed and propagated by all the countries listed and more.

The resultant nationalized company must be broken up and the assets divided among the prefectures and the individual prefectural power administrations will be run by a public utility subject to public review assuring that overly risky and dangerous technology will be preventable by public referendum. Any further costs of cleanup or damage will then be borne by the prefectural governments and by the citizens. There would be cries of 'unfair to the stock holders!". No, it would not be unfair. Investors have not only the right but the obvious personal responsiblity to invest understanding the risks. What has happened is clearly criminal and losing their investment is just part of the game and in no way needs to be compensated. Conversely, it should serve as a wake up call for us all to invest wisely and not just greedily.

5. And finally, the survivors must be supported in both health and welfare because they were activly allowed and encouraged to take up residence and lively hood in the area benefiting not only them, but us as a nation at large as their contributions to economy benefited us all. Beyond that, we have a clear moral mandate to provide for these people. The current stance of the government, refusing to continue aid and support to survivors taking up residence in temporary shelters is absolutely unconscionable.  AS WE DO TO OUR BROTHERS, SO IT WILL BE DONE TO US AND OURS. We will never as a society exist at a level greater than the level that we allow the weakest among us to exist at.

Of course these things are far beyond the abiltiy of Kozmoz to acheive but by outlining this, we have a solid workable outline of what will bring both restoration and an environment of safety and accountability for the future. Please take these to heart just as I took the last 40 plus days to heart supporting the survivors and making sure the victims did not die in vain.

Contact your local representitives both in Japan and abroad. Demand transparency, accountability, and action both in Japan and abroad. Learn for YOURSELF the dangers of technology so we will not be easily fooled into allowing risks to health and welfare beyond what is reasonable and acceptable. IT IS BOTH OUR RIGHT AND RESPONSIBLITY AS CITIZENS OF OUR MUNICIPALITIES, COUNTRIES AND THE WORLD. TO ABDICATE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES, IS TO SHOW THAT WE PLACE NO VALUE IN RIGHTS AS CITIZENS OF OUR MUNICIPALITIES, STATES AND THE WORLD.



1. acceptable levels of radioactivity
2. food saftey concerns and breakdown in Japan




  1. admin on August 1st, 2011 12:32 am

    Thanks for keeping up on things. Oh yeah, now I am lean n mean for sure ; ) Still a healthy 90+kilos (200lbs or so) though… Bernie is fine and back to his jovial self and thanks you for asking about him!

  2. Megan on July 31st, 2011 8:11 am

    Wow, you got so skinny!
    We will continue to give when we can. No way have we forgotten about what is going on over there.
    I'm sorry to hear about Bernie. Is he OK now?

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