Saturday, August 2, 2014

Donald Wins Phoenix Cup

Luke Donald shot a 5-under 66 on Saturday to defend his title at the Dunlop Phoenix and earn his first victory of the year. 

Heading into the final round with a two-stroke lead, Donald had seven birdies and two bogeys at the par-71 Phoenix Country Club to finish at 14-under 270 in this most prestigious event on the Japan Tour. 

Hyung-sung Kim of South Korea finished second at 8 under after a final-round 70. Shingo Katayama shot a 65 to finish third, one stroke behind Kim. 

Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Japan's Shunsuke Sonoda tied for fourth.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Man Hijacks Bus In Miyazaki

A 45-year-old man who allegedly hijacked a bus because he wanted to visit his parents was arrested in Miyazaki Prefecture, police said Monday, after he let the driver go to the toilet.
The local bus was traveling from Miyazaki airport to Miyakonojo just before 10 p.m. Sunday, when Seiichi Sato threatened the driver and passengers with a pair of scissors, Jiji press reported.
“We received an emergency call at 10 p.m. from one of the passengers who said the bus had been hijacked,” a spokesman for Miyazaki police told AFP.
Media reports suggested the bus made a number of stops to let passengers off, before pulling over at a convenience store some time before midnight.
After a stand-off that lasted more than an hour, officers swooped when Sato let the driver off the bus, ostensibly to go to the toilet, media reported.
Sato told police he had hijacked the bus “to see my foster parents in Ebino city”, Fuji Television reported.
No one on the bus was injured, police said.

Friday, May 2, 2014

$3,000 Will Buy A Pair of Miyazaki Mangoes

A brand-name pair of mangoes from Miyazaki Prefecture fetch ¥300,000 ($3,000)  at the local central wholesale market on Tachibana Dori, setting an all time record for the Miyazaki grown fruit .
Mangoes sold under the Taiyo no Tamago (Egg of the Sun) label are selected under strict criteria including weight (each must weigh more than 350 grams) and sugar content, which must be high, according to the Miyazaki Agricultural Economic Federation.
Among the 231 two-mango cases auctioned on the day, the highest priced pair was to be airlifted for sale at a department store in Fukuoka, Kyushu’s largest city.
“Producers had a hard time because of the low temperature this year, but we are happy that the mangoes fetched high prices,” said Yasukazu Matsuda, a member of a local fruit growers association.
Miyazaki Agricultural Newsletter 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Miyazaki Looks To Improve Agricultural Techniques

From The Daily Yomiuri, May 9, 2012

Many trial-and-error projects are being undertaken to balance agriculture with the restoration and preservation of the environment throughout the country. These projects have not become widespread enough to rehabilitate the agriculture industry throughout the nation as a whole, but they present many opportunities for regions to develop unique practices. This ranges from traditional agricultural methods to innovative ones.
In Shiiba, Miyazaki Prefecture, slash-and-burn farming is still used.
This involves burning bushes and weeds before sowing the seeds of buckwheat and Japanese millet into a field. The flames kill pests and the ashes provide the soil with nutrients.
Shiiba is in the central part of the Kyushu mountain range. Slash-and-burn farming, which is no longer used in other regions, remains popular in this village because Shiiba has many bushes and limited arable land. The practice has been passed down from generation to generation.
In 2010, Masaru Shiiba, who runs the minshuku inn "Yakihata" in the village, began offering a course for visitors to learn about this method of farming. It includes lessons on how to burn fields and thresh foxtail and Japanese millet. Students can learn to make soba noodles using buckwheat harvested from the village.
About 300 people have completed the course. "Some people said they think this method of farming destroys the environment, but it actually helps reinvigorate forests and promote regrowth," Shiiba, 59, said. "For years, people in this village have performed [this method of farming]. Recently, we have been using it as a tool to invite people from outside as part of efforts to revitalize the village."
Organic farming and forest preservation activities are widespread in Aya, Miyazaki Prefecture, which is home to huge evergreen broad-leaved forests. The town has only experienced a slight drop in its population, from 7,700 in 1970 to 7,200 today. This is because it attracts many people from big cities around Japan who support the concept of environmental preservation.
In 1966, the town became more independent when it disagreed with a central government project to log the forests. While the project was supported by some residents, particularly those involved in the timber industry, then Aya Mayor Minoru Goda developed a policy to protect the forests, and warned that if the logging went ahead, "The town's assets would be lost."
In the following year, the town launched its "one-tsubo [3.3 square meters] vegetable garden campaign," which promotes a self-sufficient lifestyle through organic farming. The town distributed vegetable seeds to residents for free.
In 1988, the town created an ordinance to promote "natural ecosystem agriculture." Under the ordinance, which was the nation's first of the kind, the town certifies the safety of vegetables at three levels based on how farms are managed and their chemical fertilizer use.
The town said 387 farms were certified in fiscal 2010. As people have become more health-conscious, there are many cases in which farmers are directly signing contracts with consumers and retailers.
In the Katsunuma district in Koshu, Yamanashi Prefecture, which is well known for its grapes, there is an attempt to increase the profitability of agriculture while giving consideration to the environment.
Shikisai, an agricultural production corporation that grows tomatoes in the district, sells vegetables that are not normally offered by most wholesalers.
It is said that nearly 40 percent of fresh produce do not meet supermarket standards in terms of size, shape, color and taste. Shikisai sells this produce as a "substandard product" in different packaging than what is used for normal produce.
At a shop along a national highway where many tourists visit by car and bus, substandard produce sells well because it is cheaper than regular produce.
"As the number of public work projects is declining, I'd like to support the regional economy through agriculture," said Shikisai President Noboru Yamazaki, who previously worked in the construction industry.
Shikisai's projects breathe new life into the agriculture industry. One such environmentally friendly project is the creation of a system that uses geothermal heat to adjust the ground-level temperature of greenhouses so it remains at a level ideal for the growth of vegetables.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kyushu Electric Problem

While this reactor is in Saga Prefecture, any major problems would affect Miyazaki Prefecture, especially the northern areas around Nobeoka and Takachiho.

From the Asahi News website:

What if someone asked you for advice and then ignored it? And what if that person then pretended that they had listened to your advice?
Such behavior would be enough to infuriate anyone. It would imply that the person was only asking your advice in the first place to associate your name with their actions. It could only be called rude and disrespectful.
I am referring to the final report released by Kyushu Electric Power Co. concerning the "staged e-mail messages" about Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. The company ignored the results of the investigation by a third-party panel and did not acknowledge Saga Governor Yasushi Furakawa's active role in the scandal. The panel's assessment was that his remark had "a crucial impact."
Kyushu Electric President Toshio Manabe, who has also retracted his promise to resign, said: "I cannot falsely accuse someone who is innocent." The comment is tantamount to saying: "In order to promptly restart the nuclear reactors, I cannot criticize the head of the local government with jurisdiction over them." The panel chairman, lawyer Nobuo Gohara, whose name was used, was indignant and called the report "phony." Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano also expressed his displeasure, saying: "What nerve!"
Be that as it may, users cannot simply unplug all electrical appliances in their homes saying: "We won't buy electricity from such a company anymore." The self-righteous attitude seen in the report stems from the company's regional monopoly.
The accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused the public to cast a more severe eye on electric power companies. The right thing to do for a public-interest corporation is to repent and make a fresh start. Nurturing a cozy relationship with local governments which have jurisdiction over nuclear power plants is nothing but anachronistic. I find it hard to believe that the power company still wants to maintain the "murky relationship" criticized by the panel.
Having seen the proud faces of the senior Kyushu Electric officials, I want to ask whether they understand the crisis they are in. The company cannot oppose the ministry under whose jurisdiction it operates. Apparently, Edano's angry comment moved the company to consider rewriting the report. For better or worse, Kyushu Electric is "Kyushu's TEPCO."
In light of the weight it carries in the local community, perhaps the malady is even more deeply rooted.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 16

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Northeast Japan Quake And Tsunami

Thank you to all who have sent me an email asking how I am.  Miyazaki is very far from the area affected.  My family and I are safe, healthy, and happy.
Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been busy at work and with family obligations.
Please click on the disaster relief icon and make a donation to the Red Cross.  They are doing an awesome job.
Thank you,
Daniel Rea

Update: Japan Red Cross Link has been removed.  Thank you to all who helped with your prayers, kindness, and kind words of support.  頑張って日本。(May 8, 2012)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bird Flu Detected In Miyazaki

From  UPI:

MIYAZAKI, Japan, Jan. 23 (UPI)
The slaughter of more than 10,000 chickens was ordered Saturday on a Japanese farm after avian influenza was detected in six birds, officials said.
The prefectural government in Miyazaki also imposed a 6-mile quarantine area around the farm where the infected birds were found, The Mainichi Daily News reported. That means no eggs or birds can be transferred within the area until the restrictions are lifted.
Miyazaki on the island of Kyushu is one of Japan's major centers for poultry production with almost 20 million birds in the prefecture. There are 46 farms in the quarantine area with 1.5 million birds.
In 2007, almost 200,000 birds were killed on three farms in the area.
Authorities said that by Friday afternoon, 36 dead birds had been reported at the Mori Furanjo Omagari Nojo farm. Tests were done on seven and the H5N1 virus was detected in six.