"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cherokee's Memory Book, Chapter 3

      Something else I liked was anything little and soft. Like any baby I liked putting things in my mouth. Sometimes someone dropped a sock out of the laundry or left a slipper on the floor. It would disappear. I would pick it up gently and take it out through my dog door. Then I'd dig a hole and bury it.
     When your daddy proposed to your mommy he gave her a diamond ring. They were sitting in our living room and they were so happy neither of them noticed when I sneaked into the room, picked the ring box up off the coffee table, and tiptoed outside with it. Later Becky looked and looked for the little box. She finally found it in the back yard, half-buried in dirt.
     Pretty soon when Grandma Jessica or Grandpa Rick lost anything, the first place they looked would be the back yard. They found all kinds of things out there--Teddy bears and scrunchies and handkerchiefs.
     The best time of the year was Christmas. There were always Santa hats and cloth-covered decorations stuffed with cotton and Christmas stockings. All the little toys and dolls on the Christmas tree as high as I could reach and pieces of the Christmas puzzle.
Most of the time I could sneak these things  through my dog door when no one was looking. That was lots of fun.
     When Grandma caught me she would say, "Give" and hold out her hand. I would gently let go of my prize so she could take it and put it back where it belonged.

    I also liked to steal food whenever I got the chance. I figured if it was down on my level it was supposed to be for me and if it wasn't on my level I could always stand on my hind legs and then it was on my level or I was on its level and then it was for me. 

     Ben was especially helpful because he would put a plate of food by the couch and leave it there while he checked on his laundry or watched TV.
I got lots of treats that way. At Christmas, I could usually find his mug of eggnog and finish it off for him. (Katherine, while reading this to me: "Mommy, you've gotta see this picture! It's hilarious!")
     One day day Grandma and Grandpa left some slices of bread on the kitchen counter.
     They wanted the bread to dry out a little so it would make good French toast. But the bread kept disappearing. Grandma thought Grandpa had taken it, although she couldn't understand why. So she put out some more. That disappeared, too. Grandpa thought that Grandma had taken it though he didn't understand why so he put out more. I ate almost a whole loaf of bread before they compared notes with each other!
     Here I am right before the New Year's party trying to figure out how to get the sandwiches and cookies down to my level.

Today I am thankful for parties.

--EPA/FDA Latest update on radiation levels in U.S.  
--Plutonium still measurable from nuclear tests decades ago

EPA/FDA Update on radiation levels in U.S.

I have found a helpful site which provides updates on radiation levels in the U.S. At the bottom of the current update (the online version only) is a link to another informative site, their FAQ.  I understand now why the results of tests on samples are delayed; some of them take three days to process.

This update came to my inbox yesterday:

JOINT EPA/FDA STATEMENT: Update on Ongoing Monitoring
WASHINGTON – In response to the ongoing situation in Japan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken steps to increase the level of nationwide monitoring of milk, precipitation, drinking water, and other potential exposure routes.

EPA conducts radiological monitoring of milk under its RADNET program, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has jurisdiction over the safety, labeling and identity of milk and milk products in interstate commerce. States have jurisdiction over those facilities located within their territory.

Results from a screening sample taken March 25 from Spokane, Wash. detected 0.8 pCi/L of iodine-131, which is more than 5,000 times lower than the Derived Intervention Level set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children. Iodine-131 has a very short half-life of approximately eight days, and the level detected in milk and milk products is therefore expected to drop relatively quickly.

“Radiation is all around us in our daily lives, and these findings are a minuscule amount compared to what people experience every day. For example, a person would be exposed to low levels of radiation on a round trip cross country flight, watching television, and even from construction materials,” said Patricia Hansen, an FDA senior scientist.

EPA’s recommendation to state and local governments is to continue to coordinate closely with EPA, FDA and CDC. EPA will continue to communicate our nationwide sampling results as they come in.

EPA: http://www.epa.gov/japan2011


Plutonium still measurable from nuclear tests decades ago

      I found this admission two mornings ago significant, though it was buried in a news update which can no longer be found at the link I have for it: "Tokyo Electric Power Co. official Jun Tsuruoka said only two of the plutonium samples taken Monday were from the leaking reactors. The other three were from earlier nuclear tests. Years of weapons testing in the atmosphere left trace amounts of plutonium in many places around the world."

     This may be the first official acknowledgement 1) that nuclear bombs and nuclear reactors both produce the same deadly side-effects, and 2) that nuclear tests (most of them from the 1950s and 1960s and NONE of them by Japan) contaminate the world for decades with measurable amounts of radiation.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cherokee's Memory Book, Chapter 2

Hanging out with Uncle Tim
     Grandma and Grandpa named me Cherokee the Chow because it sounded noble and because the Cherokees are red people and I am red. One friend, Marvin, said Cherokee was too long a name for a dog. He always called me Rusty.
     Everybody liked me, even people who usually were scared of dogs because I was always so gentle and friendly. One couple, Tom and Bonnie, liked me so much they went out and got two puppies for themselves, even though the wife had never liked animals before.
     I loved everybody. Most chow-chows are one-person dogs. That means they love and protect their owners but they are mean to everyone else.
     I didn't see anybody as a stranger or an enemy. Grandma joked that if a burglar ever sneaked into our house, I would probably put my paws on his chest to greet him and say, "Would you like the TV? How about the VCR? Help yourself."
Carol, who had cancer, found me comforting
     Whatever the action was, wherever the people were, that's where I wanted to be. I'm a people dog! Besides people I liked going on walks and going for rides in the car. Whenever Grandma and Grandpa started out the front door for a walk, picked up the car key to go for a drive, even the grocery store, I wanted to go along. Remember how I said I could talk with my eyes? I had big, beautiful brown eyes that looked like they had eyeliner highlighting them. If I saw someone start to leave the house without me, my big fluffy tail would drop down and I would look at them with my big beautiful brown eyes until the person said I could go, too. It almost always worked.

     Sometimes Grandma even let me drive the car. Just kidding.

Today I am thankful for wheels.

--U.S. MILITARY HEROES IN SENDAI: Toys, chocolate--and an airport!
--HEROES: Sending socks to Sendai
--Radiation sickness: symptoms

U.S. MILITARY HEROES IN SENDAI: Toys, chocolate--and an airport!

Operation Tomodachi (Friends)
From Tokyo Five, a post by an American man living with his Japanese wife and three children in Tokyo: . . . Since America has sent over 18,000 American service-people from the bases around Japan to help with the rescue and rebuilding of the Sendai area and also helping to cool down the nuclear plant in Fukushima, the people of Japan have seen the U.S. military at their best. And they’re quite good!
     The U.S. military has named the work they’re doing “Operation: Tomodachi.” They have a patch on their sleeve of the Japanese flag with the Japanese character 「友」 which says “friend” in Japanese. And 「がんばろう日本」 which means “We can do it, Japan!“.
     The TV news program I saw showed the U.S. Marines giving bottled water, food and blankets to the people left with nothing since the tsunami. But it also showed them giving American candy and toys to the children who lost everything they own. Toys and chocolate may seem unimportant… unless you saw the big smiles of those children. It was very heartwarming and thoughtful of the Marines to remember to bring something for those kids.
     But the most impressive things I saw the U.S. Marines do in that report was when they quickly restored electricity to a town that was without power since the earthquake two weeks ago. And also, the Sendai Airport was such a mess and covered with so much debris since the tsunami that the Japanese authorities believed it would take too long to clear the runways for the airport to be of any use to bring much needed relief to the city…but the Marines got busy clearing the mess as soon as they arrived in Sendai and later the same day, the runways were cleared enough to be used!
Even the people who would like the U.S. military to not be stationed in Japan are extremely impressed and grateful for their help!
      Thank you U.S. military. You really are a 「友だち」 (tomodachi)!


HEROES: Sending socks to Sendai

Vicky writes an update about her husband Seiju: "He's a liason officer in 'real life' and that is his job now. He spends a lot of time either in and around the gym that is now their base, or travelling to different towns to assess need and listen to requests from the city officials. He's tired, bad tempered and has a cold. He says everyone is tired, bad-tempered and have colds right now!"
     Please pray for stamina and health for Seiju and the 300 other men helping with this project. 

She also posts about socks: "I spent part of today packing up a box of socks for Japan. A group in Honshu [main island of Japan" have been driving truckloads of socks packed in single pairs into ziplock bags, and including a personal message.
There have been some naysayers who criticized this project, saying it's a waste of resources to buy socks made in China, sent to other countries, bought in small amounts and sent on to Japan. This may be true from an economics point of view, but from a human point of view, that kind of attitude stinks. The fact is that many people were forced to run from their homes with no shoes on, or had their clothes and shoes ripped from them as they were caught in the waves. Even if they arrived at the evacuation centres fully dressed and dry, they have now been over two weeks with no change of clothes. I can tell you from my four days in Frankfurt airport that when I finally got my feet into a pair of clean socks, it was a little piece of heaven.

Add to that the personal touch that a note gives, and it's priceless. Right now in the evacuation centres there is not a lot to do, so there is a lot of time to sit and think about the huge hurdles ahead. If by sending a box of socks to pick through, and a letter to read and compare with your friends, that brings five minutes of brightness into an otherwise long, cold day, then I think it's a project well worth supporting, don't you?

If you would like to send some socks, please do so. They are taking socks of any amount from any country. One or two pairs would not cost much to send. You can write a note in English or Japanese. I included a lot of photos in mine but anything goes. A bright postcard with a simple one line note would be fine. I've linked the site at the top of this blog post, so go and have a look for ideas if you'd like to take part. It's a small, practical way to help.
     Please pray the thoughtful gift of socks as well as the personal notes with them will communicate love and caring to the refugees. 


Radiation sickness: symptoms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Acute radiation syndrome

A Japanese girl recovering from the effects of radiation sickness.
(I post this not because I expect we in the United States will develop these symptoms but so  we can pray for the Fukushima nuclear plant workers who will certainly develop them and for the Japanese people downwind of the nuclear plant, who may develop them.)

Acute radiation syndrome (ARS) also known as radiation poisoning, radiation sickness or radiation toxicity, is a constellation of health effects which occur within several months of exposure to high amounts of ionizing radiation.[1][2] The term generally refers to acute problems rather than ones that develop after a prolonged period.[3][4][5]
     The onset and type of symptoms that develop depends on the dose of radiation exposure. Relatively smaller doses result in gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting and symptoms related to falling blood counts such as infection and bleeding

     Chronic radiation syndrome has been reported among workers in the Soviet nuclear program due to long term exposures to radiation levels lower than what is required to induce acute sickness.[6] It may manifest with low blood cell counts and neurological problems.[6]
     Radiation exposure can also increase the probability of developing some other diseases, mainly cancer, tumours, and genetic damage. These are referred to as the stochastic effects of radiation, and are not included in the term radiation sickness.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cherokee's Memory Book, Chapter 1

     I don't remember my first home. But when I was six months old I ran away and got lost. I ended up in a big cage at the pound.
     When people came through the pound looking for a dog to adopt, all the other puppies jumped up against the cage and made a lot of noise, saying, "Take me! Take me!" I just stayed on my all-fours and said, "Take me!" quietly with my eyes.
     One day a man and a woman came into the pound. They looked at all the other dogs and then stopped at my cage. I could tell they liked me. "This one is so pretty!" said the woman. "And she is so quiet and well-behaved!"
     When the woman squatted down and reached through the cage to touch me I licked her hand. "She's really friendly for a chow!" she exclaimed. "I want her." I found out her name was Grandma Jessica and her husband's name was Grandpa Rick. The pound would let me be adopted in three days.
     I was so excited when that day came!!! Grandma Jessica was, too. She was afraid someone else might want me too so she might not get me, but no one else did. If no one wanted me at all, I would have been put to sleep but Grandma Jessica and Grandpa Rick wanted me! So the pound keeper attached a rope to my collar and handed it to Grandma Jessica.
     Oh my! I was so happy to be out of that cage I forgot all about being quiet and well-behaved! There were so many wonderful sights and sounds and smells to check out, I took off running. I nearly pulled Grandma Jessica over! She could barely keep up with me! When we got to her car she helped me scramble up into the back seat.
     A car ride! That was exciting too. When the car started moving, I raced back and forth from window to window. I wanted to see everything. While driving, Grandma Jessica turned around to be sure I was all right. She was startled. She couldn't see me anywhere. Then she looked up above the back seat and there I was, right in the window! People in the cars we passed laughed and pointed at me because I was so cute! They thought I must be a stuffed animal.

     When we got to Grandma and Grandpa's house, Grandma let me out of the car. I ran into the house, tearing through every room looking out the windows, trying to see everything at once. Suddenly I had to go potty. I hadn't gone potty before I left the pound and I had to go NOW. By the time Grandma caught up with me, I had made a big puddle on the living room carpet. I mean, BIG. Grandma had to mop it all up with lots of towels.
     But she didn't scold me. So I didn't care. I kept exploring. I found a pet door I could use to go out into the back yard where there were lots of bushes and grass. That's where I should have gone potty. Oops!

     I ran back inside and found Grandpa Rick resting on the living room floor. I was so glad to see him I jumped on top of him and he played with me. I wanted to check out the upstairs but Grandma and Grandpa said no. They had a cat who was scared of me. When I moved in she ran upstairs and never came down. I was NOT allowed to chase our cat but sometimes I did when no one was watching.
     That first night I felt so safe and comfortable I slept in my favorite position, on my back. I liked being at the foot of the stairs. If anyone walked past, came in the front door, or went up or downstairs I would know about it and could protect my new family. That's what a good watch dog does, even if she's upside down.

Today I am thankful for castles.

--HEROES: Prayer for Naoyoshi Sato
--PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Mopping up after Niigata tsunami, 1964


Japan Relief


A. Orthodox Presbyterian Church
This site includes detailed, informative updates about Christian pastors mobilizing and taking aid to isolated communities within a day or two of the disaster. In Update 10 (March 25) Cal Cummings writes, "On Wednesday, my sons Caleb and Luke and I drove up to Ishinomaki  to contact and volunteer at several shelters, seeking to build ongoing relationships. What an unbelievable scene! I have never seen or imagined such massive destruction. The chaos of the deep seemed to have been vomited up everywhere. . ." Read about lots of heroes here!

B. Youth for Christ International is asking for funds specifically for bicycles and tents with cooking supllies for Japanese made homeless by the earthquakes/tsunami--some of them still commute to their jobs. NOTE: When giving to organizations, you can trust those with the seal of  the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA).

1. Bicycles – Due to a major fuel shortage and damage to the roads and train tracks, people are unable to travel by train or cars in the affected areas. Youth for Christ will purchase a number of bicycles that have cargo capabilities to be able to transport the sick and injured to clinics and hospitals regardless of the condition of the roads. They will also provide people access to food and water.

Donate a cargo bike like this including delivery to the affected area for US$220 each

Donate a cargo bike like this including delivery to affected areas for US$370 each.
2. Tents – Many people have been displaced from their homes. The majority have been relocated far from their place of origin, families and work places. Youth for Christ will purchase tents for those who find themselves homeless or those who have been relocated but would like to be situated much closer to their work or families. The tents purchased with your donations come with sleeping bags and cooking facilities.

C. Christian Life Charity, mentioned on my blog yesterday in the letter from Marjorie Mizuno, is now up and running. Their bank information is below:
 Intermediary Bank : Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas NY
 Intermediary Bank SWIFT Code : BKTRUS 
 Bank Name : Japan Post Bank
 Branch : Head Office
 Bank Address : 3-2 Kasumigaseki 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
                      100-8798  Japan
Beneficiary Bank CHIPS UID : 427593
Account Number : 00800-7-214328
Account Name : Christian Life Charity
Address : 4-64 Akasaka-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi
             464-0094  Japan
Phone : in Japan......052-721-7831
         : from overseas: 81-52-721-7831

HEROES: Prayer for Naoyoshi Sato

From: Norma F Norell [mailto:normanorell@juno.com]
> Sent: Monday, March 28, 2011 11:27 AM
> Subject: Naoyoshi Sato: Pray and Intercede
>      We have to get every Christian on this earth praying for Naoyoshi
> Sato, the Christian the Japanese Government put in charge of the
> emergency response team at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear complex. In
> a country where less than 1% of the population is Christian, God has
> performed an incredible miracle by having the Japanese Government
> appoint this person, a Christian, to be in over all command of the
> nuclear emergency response team.
      The Lord has also given us an equally
> incredible opportunity to pray and intercede for Naoyoshi Sato and
> everyone under in his command at the nuclear complex who are risking
> their lives braving high and potentially deadly radiation levels to
> bring the nuclear meltdowns under control and shut down the release of
> radiation from the reactors. One or more of the nuclear reactor
> containment vessels may be cracked or ruptured. This is an absolute
> worse case scenario. This is what happened in Chernobyl and the
> radioactive smoke that escaped rendered large areas around the
> reactors uninhabitable for decades.
>     But with God all things are possible. The Lord is omnipotent and all
> capable. Jesus can bring this nuclear nightmare under control; if we
> obey his command to intercede for Japan and its people. Jesus said
> that if we love Him, we will obey His Commandments. And He commanded
> us to intercede by the power of prayer to save those who do not know
> Him.
>      If God can miraculously annoint, enable, guide and empower Naoyoshi
> Sato and everyone under his command to bring the nuclear catastrophe
> under control before something like Chernobyl happens to Japan, then
> Naoyoshi Sato can appear on global television and tell the world that
> it was Jesus that performed the miracle and guided and gave his men
> the ability to shut down the escape of radiation from the reactors.
> Millions in Japan might come forward to accept Jesus as their Savior.
> Millions more around the world might accept Jesus as their Savior as a
> result.
>      What has happened in Japan is having a devastating effect on a global
> economy that is already in grave trouble of collapse for other
> reasons. The entire world is at risk. But the Lord can turn this
> situation around. He can turn it inside out and use it to bring about
> the salvation of many people worldwide.
>      Heavenly Father, we exalt you for causing the Japanese Government to
> put a Christian, one of your people, in charge of the nuclear disaster
> in Japan. Now, Father, we ask that you use this person, Naoyoshi Sato
> and all those under his command in a truly miraculous way to bring the
> deadly radiation at Fukushima under control. Lord Jesus, use Naoyoshi
> Sato as a witness to the entire world that You are Lord, that you are
> God, that You are the Savior of our souls, of the entire world. Give
> Naoyoshi a testimony about You that the entire world will hear.
>      Lord Jesus, Franklin Graham speaking on TBN about the disaster in
> Japan said that You died on the Cross to save the Japanese people. You
> did. Franklin Graham said that You died on the Cross, Lord Jesus, to
> save the entire human race. You did.
>      We ask you Jesus to use Naoyoshi Sato and all the rescue workers under
> his command in a way which is Miraculous, Divine and Heavenly. And if
> we want You to do this, we must intercede for them and hold them up in
> prayer, for this is what You have commanded us to do. Let every
> Christian on this planet do so.
>      We glorify You Lord. You are a God of Mercy, of Compassion, of Grace.
> You bled to death on Your Cross so that we who are Adam's sinful
> children could be saved, redeemed and be brought back to grace. You
> saved us from the curse by the Blood that You shed. Save the Japanese
> people Lord. Save the entire Human race.
> Heavenly Father,
> in Jesus Name,
> Amen


PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Mopping up after Niigata tsunami, 1964

     I had been saved only 4 months and was living in Hiroshima when a 7.5 earthquake hit Niigata, northwest of us. The tsunami which followed totally destroyed Niigata's port.
     "Lord," I prayed, "send Christians to help these people!"
     Immediately the thought came, "Okay, go!"
     It has been over 40 years now but I seem to remember getting on the train alone and only meeting other volunteers when I got there. They included an American missionary couple with four little children who were already living in Niigata and who became some of my lifelong friends. 
     Frankly, there wasn't much we could do. Nearby oil tanks had burst and the tsunami had swept oily black water into houses along the coast. We wandered up and down stricken streets and when we came across men and women salvaging belongings from their homes, we rolled up our jeans and waded over the doorstep to help sweep water back over the threshold and drag saturated mattresses outside. It took several people to move one mattress and sometimes when there weren't enough of us, we couldn't drag them very far.
     But the appreciation was immense. It seemed to blow these people away that foreigners--or anyone--would come from other parts of Japan to help them when we didn't know them and didn't have to. They would ask us why. Then we would just say whatever came to mind, like "Jesus loves you. He sent us."
     That comes back to my mind when I hear the same appreciation voiced to volunteers in Sendai. Why would you come all this way to help us?
     Because ultimate reality is Personal--a Person named Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God. He loves you and He sends us.

Monday, March 28, 2011

DOGS: Cherokee's Memory Book - Introduction

--HEROES: "God is with us, Mom. We will be okay."
--YAHOO: Tsunami orphans
--INTERACTIVE MAP: Earthquakes in NE Japan March 11-27
--Geologist Jim Berkland and the Ring of Fire

See Cherokee the Chow and Cherokee: Not as big as she thought she was on His Scribe.

     When we had to put Cherokee to sleep after 14 years of life, our then four-year old granddaughter Katherine was devastated. She loves animals and this was her first death. Her mother said she cried at the news. Often afterward while playing she would go silent and kind of wilt and tears would begin trickling down her face as she remembered the gentle, noble dog.
     So I took a pack of spiral-rule index cards and glued photos of Cherokee on each top card, with Cherokee telling the story of her own life on the card below. I mailed the flip-book to Katherine and next time we talked on our Ojo videophones, she held it up, beaming.
     That was a couple of years ago. The other day when we talked, Katherine pulled the little book out again. This time she could read it herself and she read it to me. Parts of it made her giggle. She'd turn to her mother, who was out of my sight, and say, "Mom, listen to this! This is hilarious! 'I made a BIG puddle on the carpet--and I mean BIG!'"
     Parts of it made her cry.
     There was something so moving about her reading back to me what I (I mean, Cherokee) had written--and being delighted by it. It touched deep grandma chords in me, gave me a precious sense of generational continuity. I have seldom, if ever, had such feelings evoked by someone's response to my writing. It was a sweet time together.
     I have decided to post the pictures and the story for you over the next few days.

Today I am thankful for all furry pets except tarantulas. 

HEROES: "God is with us, Mom. We will be okay."

Taking the high road saved Yukie Otomo and her two sons
A Japanese pastor’s wife and all 40 members of their church in Togaji miraculously survived the March 11 tsunami, but many of them have relatives who are still missing. Mrs. Otomo asks other Christians to pray for her country and their small Baptist congregation.


YAHOO: Tsunami orphans

Tsunami orphans face uncertain future


INTERACTIVE MAP: Earthquakes in NE Japan since March 11

Watch chronological "fireworks" show of all earthquakes since March 11th. Incredible! Copied from today's post on blog "Hyotenka."


Geologist Jim Berkland and the Ring of Fire

The extremely clear March window has a 90% chance of producing the following quakes: with at least one meeting each of the following criteria:

(1) 3.5 - 7.0M within 140 miles of Mt. Diablo
(2) 3.5 - 7.0M within 140 miles of Los Angeles.
(3) 3.5 - 7.0M with an epicenter located in Washington or Oregon.
(4) 7.0 + M major quake globally, probably in the Pacific Ring of Fire. 

     Geologist Jim Berkland predicted a major earthquake on the west coast of the United States between March 19 and 26. Well, March 26 is over and to my knowledge the only earthquake on the west coast during that week was a 3.3 in Malibu.
     Still, I think there may be something to Berkland's theory. It is based on a lot of scientific data dating as far back as the 1700s. The factors he claims seem to come together before major earthquakes--changes in the magnetic field, tides and tidal flooding, lunar perigees, alignment of earth and sun, , strange animal behavior--may be predictors whose inter-relationships may not be fully understood yet.
     He points out that since last year earthquakes have been following the "ring of fire"clockwise around the Pacific Basin from Chile (2/27/10) to New Zealand (2/22/11) to Japan (3/11/11). He said there was a 90% chance that during this (now past) week there would be 7.0+ quakes in Washington, Oregon, and/or California.
     But he also said there was a 90% chance of a 7.0+ earthquake somewhere along the Ring of Fire.  Look at  Berkland's actual prediction (pasted at top of this post).

     The fact is, there was a major earthquake this week: 7.7 in Burma. I'm not sure how far inland the Ring of Fire goes; does it encompass Burma? If so, wouldn't that earthquake meet Berkland's Criterion #4? 
     In the embryonic science of earthquake predicting, one out of four ain't bad.
     One fulfilled prophecy out of four merits further study of the predictors.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

YAHOO: International aid arrives in Japan

YAHOO: International aid arrives in Japan (video)


HEROES: East Japan Relief Trip # 2: 7 churches, 2 trucks to ISHINOMAKI

Sent: Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:26 AM
Subject: Fwd: East Japan Crisis Relief Report - 3/26

I am writing this report from Shiogama, Miyagi, Japan, a city hit hard by the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that have shaken Japan and affected the world. We are a team of 14 from the Tokyo area.
     We left on our second relief trip (3/24-26), with 3 trucks loaded with 6 tons of food, clothes, cold medicine, house-cleaning equipment, baby goods and emergency supplies. We also had an 8-passenger van and a 5-passenger SUV to complete our caravan.

Left: Pastor Shirahata (with cap) brought many goods to our church. Right: We loaded up 3 trucks with relief goods. Because we were registered as emergency vehicles, all 5 vehicles were able to use the expressway up to Sendai free of charge instead of paying the normal 7200 yen ($90) toll. As on our first trip a week ago, we stayed at Shiogama Bible Baptist Church, pastored by Yukikazu and Yukimasa Otomo. After our morning orientation on Friday, 3/25, we divided into 2 teams, one to do house cleaning and the other to distribute goods.
Left: Pastor Yukimasa Otomo.             Right: Planning how to distribute the relief goods.
I went with the team to deliver goods. The city we chose to go to is called Ishinomaki, Miyagi, reputedly one of the hardest hit by the tsunami. The spectacle that awaited us was overwhelming – crushed houses, cars on roofs, debris scattered everywhere. 
     We pulled into an open space next to a building and began distributing goods to the 200 or so who gathered. They had not received any outside aid like the people in shelters because they were living in their own homes and were left on their own. Because the tsunami had left layers of mud in their houses, they quickly depleted the limited number of shovels, brushes, rubber boots and other cleaning tools that we had brought. Many also wanted gas cookers, thermos bottles, and of course fresh fruits and vegetables, which many had not eaten since the earthquake.
Left: Smashed houses and cars everywhere.                            Right: How did this car end up this way...undamaged?
     After the crowd disappeared, because we still had lots of goods, we moved to another location, the parking lot of a large supermarket. When word got around that free food and goods were being given away, 1000 people appeared out of nowhere and quickly got in line. We limited the number of articles each could take to 10 items. Of course, baby diapers, toilet paper, underwear, and all the food items were popular and went quickly. People came in worn-out clothes. They looked haggard. We saw a young woman with only house slippers on her feet! This is unheard of in a country where
people never wear slippers outside. We were able to give her a pair of shoes. People were so thankful; many asking who we were and where we had come from. Many said they had not received any relief supplies and that this was their first. We continued giving away what we had until it got dark, we had almost nothing left, and the line finally dissipated.
     At the end, as our team gathered in a circle to pray for the people we had served that day, we felt a great thankfulness to God that we could offer a little encouragement to a people fighting hunger and hopelessness in the midst of such great devastation. And we also vowed that we would return to show these people that they are not forgotten.
Left:1st distribution site at Ishinomaki city.                                      Right: 2nd site where 1000 gathered.
     Thank you all for the great response of support and love that is being poured out to Japan from all over the world. We have gotten emails from Singapore, Africa, India, Brazil and Hawaii of teams coming to help. Many cannot come, but are praying for Japan. Thank you so much. Our God does answer prayer! Also, many are sending donations to buy needed supplies for the disaster victims. A heart-felt “Thank youâ€� to you. We are using 100% of the donations for relief goods and transportation costs only. And we are doing our utmost to find the unreached people with the direst needs to offer them hope. Some of the other teams we have contact with are going all over East Japan, to hospitals, orphanages and shelters and delivering much needed supplies. We are all working together – Christian organizations, churches, individuals, NPOs, NGOs, volunteers, self-defense forces and government offices – all bound together with the singular goal of helping the stricken in this crisis.

 Left: Their smiles and thanks make it all worthwhile.       Right: Many shops were totally destroyed.
    I salute the members of our second trip team. They worked hard and displayed great spirit under trying living conditions.
     The team members were:
Pastor Toru Majima and Atsushi Kawashima, Takuma Hirako, and Matthias Buerki (Swiss) of New Hope Yokohama Church in Yokohama, Kanagawa
Kazuyoshi Iizuka, pastor of New Life Family Church in Iruma, Saitama
Tsugio Takahashi, member of New Hope Narimasu Church in Tokyo
Pastor Yong Kyu Lee and Yong Keon Kang of Central Gloria (Korean) Church in Tokyo
Pastor Shizunori Sumiya and Jun Suematsu of New Hope Chiba Church in Yachio, Chiba
Ryo Sakamoto, an English school teacher from Nagoya, Aichi
Shiomi Sasanuma, Director of Happy Birthday Foundation, and a member of New Hope Tokyo Church
And me, Elmer Inafuku, pastor of Shinjuku Shalom Church in Tokyo

Left: 14 members made up our 2nd trip team. Right: Thanks to those who lent their trucks & vans.
     The 3 trucks were provided by New Life Family Church, Central Gloria Church and Jun Suematsu.
We also rode up in two vans, provided by Central Gloria Church and Tsugio Takahashi.
We are so grateful for their generosity and willingness to help. What a great caravan we were!

Please continue praying for:
1)  The Fukushima Power Plant to be brought under control and radiation damage kept to a minimum.
2)  All unreached and needy survivors be located and helped.
3)  Many grieving hearts be healed from the pain of losing loved ones, businesses and all possessions.
4)   The entire East Japan region be able to rebuild their cities and farms.
5)   Many precious souls be able to find spiritual strength in God that will help them overcome in the midst of this tragedy.
6)  Better prevention of damage from earthquakes and tsunamis be instituted in Japan and the world.
7)  The right solution for the issue of whether nuclear power plants should be used or not be given to all governments.
 Left: It looked like a bomb had dropped here.      Right: The tsunami showed no respect for the dead as it swept this trailer into a graveyard.
     For those who would like to partner with us in sending relief aid to East Japan, you may send contributions to:
Bank:        Mizuho Bank 
Branch:    Shinjuku Shintoshin Branch
Swift ID:     MHBKJPJT
Acct. name:     Shinjuku Shalom Church Elmer Inafuku (no dots or hyphens)
Branch no.:     209
Account no.:    3717160

Our bank address is as follows:
Mizuho Bank Shinjuku Shintoshin Branch
1-25-1 Nishi Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
163-0676 Japan
Tel. 03-3345-1221

My church, Shinjuku Shalom Church's address is listed below.

My cell tel. no. is: 080-6787-0007

Praying for East Japan!
Elmer Inafuku

Shinjuku Shalom Church
7-9-7 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
Tel 81-3-3371-7558 (Church)

May God's Shalom be with you!

HEROES: Missionaries, pastors, bus driver, volunteers

     Higher Ground by Jamie Dean is a good summary of what Christians have been doing for the remote pockets of Japanese survivors in Sendai. Read about the separate efforts of missionaries Luke Cummings, Matt Clark, Woody Lauer, and Michael Oh--plus an anonymous kindergarten bus driver.
     Remember early on when I wrote about CRASH: Christian Relief, Assistance, Support, and Hope? I told you Christian volunteers, trained to mobilize and respond to disasters, were already on the ground in Sendai, helping their neighbors. I encouraged you to donate money to CRASH for things like satellite phones during the interruption in communication and services.
     Apparently they were deluged with offers of help because they posted a request to stop volunteering! They were so busy with the emergency itself they had no one to answer questions or sign people up. More recently I noted that their website seems to have been abandoned, probably for lack of time to respond. I started to wonder whether they hadn't had sufficient base to do what needed to be done on the scale required, wondered whether I had steered readers wrong in suggesting you support them. 
    So I was relieved to read in Dean's article, "One key local focus for relief efforts in Sendai is CRASH . . . The group maintains a network of 1,400 churches across the country, and . . . volunteers are working with 40 churches in the disaster zone to deliver supplies to needy populations. Less than a week after the quake, the group established a base in Sendai."
      Dean goes on to say, "That base has become a hub for other Christian groups and churches working in the area: Samaritan's Purse delivered 93 tons of supplies to the CRASH headquarters at a local school in Sendai. Other Christian organizations—including Churches Helping Churches, World Compassion Network, and Acorn International Ministries—sent staff to the CRASH base to assist. Feed the Hungry announced it would donate 500,000 meals for distribution through the site."
     That is so encouraging!
     Read the rest of the article for the accounts of the individual heroes named above. One of those wanting to continue humanitarian and spiritual outreach to survivors is Korean-American missionary Michael Oh, who heads both a church and the Christ Bible Institute south of Tokyo. His people recently purchased a 9,600-square-foot building for ministry space. Now they're exploring the possibility of turning it into a shelter.
     "In one sense, I would say the general populace is not aware of its need for the gospel," said Oh. "But when the ground beneath you shakes, and the air that you breathe may contain nuclear radiation, suddenly all the technology and financial wealth that you may have relied upon becomes unreliable."

From worldmag.com: Today's news, Christian views



News that radioactive water 10 million times higher than normal was "almost certainly" seeping from reactor core, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, has been superseded by news that the reading was inaccurate. A few hours later, TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto said a new test had found radiation levels 100,000 times above normal.

Update March 27, 3 PM PST

GOOD ARTICLE on nuclear power plants by Ralph Nader

Nuclear Nightmare


RADIATION: Iodine rich foods

     With the hopes you will never need to know this, I am passing on to you what I have learned about protecting oneself from the effects of nuclear radiation, specifically iodine-131:

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has a good discussion of how to prevent radiation-induced thyroid cancer and a list of  iodine-rich foods which I've pasted below.

Disease Prevention: Radiation-induced thyroid cancer
Radioactive iodine, especially 131I, may be released into the environment as a result of nuclear reactor accidents. Thyroid accumulation of radioactive iodine increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer, especially in children. The increased iodine trapping activity of the thyroid gland in iodine deficiency results in increased thyroid accumulation of radioactive iodine (131I). Thus, iodine-deficient individuals are at increased risk of developing radiation-induced thyroid cancer because they will accumulate greater amounts of radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide administered in pharmacologic doses (50-100 mg for adults) within 48 hours before or eight hours after radiation exposure from a nuclear reactor accident can significantly reduce thyroid uptake of 131I and decrease the risk of radiation-induced thyroid cancer (24). The prompt and widespread use of potassium iodide prophylaxis in Poland after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident may explain the lack of a significant increase in childhood thyroid cancer in Poland compared to fallout areas where potassium iodide prophylaxis was not widely used (25). In the U.S., the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires that consideration be given to potassium iodide as a protective measure for the general public in the case of a major release of radioactivity from a nuclear power plant (26).

Food sources
The iodine content of most foods depends on the iodine content of the soil. Seafood is rich in iodine because marine animals can concentrate the iodine from seawater. Certain types of seaweed (e.g., wakame) are also very rich in iodine. Processed foods may contain slightly higher levels of iodine due to the addition of iodized salt or food additives, such as calcium iodate and potassium iodate. Dairy products are relatively good sources of iodine because iodine is commonly added to animal feed in the U.S. In the U.K. and northern Europe, iodine levels in dairy products tend to be lower in summer when cattle are allowed to graze in pastures with low soil iodine content (6). The table below lists the iodine content of some iodine-rich foods in micrograms (mcg). Because the iodine content of foods can vary considerably, these values should be considered approximate (30).

Food Serving Iodine (mcg)
Salt (iodized) 1 gram 77
Cod 3 ounces* 99
Shrimp 3 ounces 35
Fish sticks 2 fish sticks 35
Tuna, canned in oil 3 ounces (1/2 can) 17
Milk (cow's) 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) 56
Egg, boiled 1 large 12
Navy beans, cooked 1/2 cup 32
Potato with peel, baked 1 medium 60
Turkey breast, baked 3 ounces 34
Seaweed 1/4 ounce, dried Variable; may be greater than 4,500 mcg (4.5 mg)
*A three-ounce serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.

Another source listed cheddar cheese, condensed milk, eggs, fish, fish oils, malt bread, sea salt, trifle and Naan bread as iron-rich foods. TRIFLE? A trifle, to the British, is "a cold dessert made with sponge cake spread with jam or fruit, soaked in wine or sherry, covered with a custard sauce and cream." Why eat seaweed to stave off radiation poisoning when you can eat trifle? Just asking.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Andy-dotes - ages 6-20

Age 6 (1997)
     During the last two weeks we were in England, the extended family (Marge, Linda, Mark, Andy) was in Alaska. While they were gone, a neighbor fed their goldfish. He's a man who has tried to befriend Andy and he told Linda when they returned that he was giving up. He had greeted Andy light-heartedly with, "Your [plastic] dinosaur ate all the fish!" Andy responded scathingly, "That dinosaur doesn't eat fish. He's a herbivore."
     Linda bought Mark the latest in a series of racing car videos called, "They Walked Away From It," for his birthday. Andy watched it one morning and Linda told him to leave it out, so they could keep it separate from the ones like it they hadn't yet seen. Instead, he tossed it into the cupboard with the others and Linda scolded him, "Now we won't be able to tell them apart!" Andy wasn't perturbed. Linda saw him reach casually into the cupboard and waft his hand over the videos without even looking at them.
     "What are you doing?" she asked, more irritated.
     "Feeling for the warm one," he said coolly--and pulled it out. "Here."
     Linda reported this to us with the comment, "Andy hasn't made me look foolish for a long time."

Andy (15) and mother Linda with Pomeranian Keno, 2006

For Keno and the Coyotes, see His Scribe, May 22, 2010.
Andrew (18) and Keno, 2009

HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY, ANDREW! Today I am thankful you earned your GED! 


HOW TO HELP: Offer homestays to Japanese refugees

This comment appeared on one of my recent posts:
Does anyone know if there is a refugee program or who to contact, to be able open up our home to any Japanese kids or families needing help?
Please let me know.
Pastor Kip

     I want to know, too! I suggested contacting Red Cross/Japan.  

NOTE (4-13-11): To date, CouchSurfing has turned out to be no help at all.
     Then, providentially, I came across another option called CouchSurfing.org. According to their website, CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.

     I've signed up and am still checking out how it works. The blogger who wrote about CouchSurfing in her post Doing. . . something. . . (on Okaasanandme) wrote: "I've been trying to help the Couch Surfing website, of which I am a member host, make itself usable to non-English speakers and first time visitors. Japan hosts (and amazingly even people in other countries!) have formed a sub group on Couch Surfing - over ONE THOUSAND offers of accommodation, ranging from futons on the living room floor to apartments and unused houses." She is working to get CouchSurfing in the U.S. to join in this effort by creating a special "Japan Crisis Housing" box on the top page of the website but hasn't heard from them yet. She writes, "I've drafted a press release for the Japanese media about these offers. But until the website is evacuee-friendly there is no point in promoting it."
     I think there is. People in other countries are offering "homestays" to the refugees. Maybe we can encourage CouchSurfing to make this possible for Americans, too.


GOOD RESOURCE: Center for Radiation and Public Health (RPHP)

     There are a number of excellent books and scholarly articles on radiation and nuclear accidents available at http://radiation.org. You can read articles online which have been published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The International Journal of Health Services, Environmental Health and others. 
     Titles include: "Three Mile Island: Health study meltdown," "Rising Child Leukemia Rates Near U.S. Nuclear Plants," "A Short Latency Between Radiation Exposure From Nuclear Plants And Cancer In Young Children," "Improvements in Local Infant Health After Nuclear Power Reactor Closing," "Cancer Mortality Near Oak Ridge, Tennessee," and "Chernobyl Emissions Linked to a Variety of Adverse Health Effects in the U.S."


Updates from bloggers living near disaster area

http://hyotenka.blogspot.com/Hyotenka (Life in small town Hokkaido) (Northernmost island)
Vicky's husband Seiju and team of 300 left home March 12 with 300 others on a search and rescue mission to Iwate near the Kuji River. On March 22, they cleared roads in the village of Taro. Vicky writes, "This town built a huge ten metre sea wall to defend itself against tsunami, but the wave that came last week was at least 20 metres high, and the wall did nothing. Seiju said he saw a house on top of a house today, and ships in the main street. He also said he has seen these junior high school boys who carry stuff to the shelters each day. Good boys!" She posted a video of the boys, which I copied to my blog as HEROES: Junior high boys help homeless recently.
     On March 25, Vicky posted a video of the 9.0 quake, taken at a supermarket in Sendai. The shaking lasted over 3-1/2 minutes! 

okaasanandme.blogspot.com (Okaasan means mother, in this case her boyfriend's mother)
This British blogger has lots of posts describing every day life in Hokkaido during the crisis. Like many others, she feels guilty that things aren't so bad where she is and concerned about those more seriously affected and like others, she has shipped off care packages to those she knows who are in need.
     On March 16, she posted pictures of "a silly, silly woman becoming 50 years old on Saturday night... How's THAT for inappropriate behavior while thousands die and are homeless? Life in Hokkaido is very strange at the moment."

Cecilia is a history teacher in Tokyo. I think she is from Australia. She has had interesting daily posts about the disasters and their aftermath, several of them on Sanriku, which is where the Justinianos have been delivering aid. Lots of photos.

The Buddhist Blog
James Ure calls his blog "a journal of my humble travels as I try to follow the middle path of Buddhism. Take my hand and walk with me for awhile. I have a university degree in U.S. History with a special emphasis in African history. As well as a minor in World Geography." I don't think he is Japanese but he understands the Japanese spirit. He wrote a moving post,
"A wish of comfort for the Japanese people" (March 17)

From Japan With Love
This blogger writes, "While we are safe it has been just heartbreaking to see the news....to hear the stories. I finally got in touch with a friend in Tokyo...she is ok as is her family in Chiba but they live near the oil refinery that was on fire so they had to evacuate for a while.
     It sure makes me grateful for everything/everyone in my life. I've been hugging my husband a lot and didn't let him out of my sight on Saturday as I have to admit I was/am a bit freaked out by it all.
     My mom, needless to say, is freaked out not only by the earthquake and tsunami but also because of the nuclear reactor issue going on. We are far away but still....and also by the volcano that went off on our island-we are also safe from that but it is all a bit much for her.
     I repacked and added to our earthquake bags we have prepared (since the earthquake we had here a few years ago). I hope we never have to use them but I sure felt better after I added more items to them.

Queen B
Bryn posted that hilarious, bittersweet video, "Nuclear Boy." I'm afraid Nuclear Boy may have passed more than gas this time.

Illahee's blog
Illaee describes herself as "just a bewildered american woman stuck in japan with a husband, a boy, a girl and another little boy. if you find my sanity, you can keep it. i don't think i would know what to do with it now!"
Gaijin Housewife in Japan (Gaijin means "foreigner")
Don't know her name but Gaijin Housewife and her husband DH drove from their home in Iwate in devastated northeast Japan to Tottori, down near Osaka. But she is pregnant and nervous and things are in short supply there, too, so she is going to fly back to her home in New Zealand for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile her husband is filling their car with containers of water where none is yet available and is heading back to Iwate, where his work resumes Monday. Their son Sebastian will stay with his father and Japanese grandparents.

Gaijin Housewife leaving Japan for home country

Katy at Gaijinwife 
Katy is also from New Zealand and married to a Japanese man. They have 3 children. Katy's writing is raw and sarcastic, riddled with expletives, but she has a wonderful heart. She had just finished helping raise funds for her hometown Christchurch after their earthquake when the Sendai one hit. Now she is raising funds for Japan.
     This is from News and Bum Bullets, posted on by gaijinwife:
     Sitting watching the morning news. We started with news on radiation levels on a variety of green leafy vegetables, milk through to fish and squid. Low levels of radiation were found in the Tokyo water supply and other areas. They had a chart explaining what you could do and be safe – let your fish swim in it, water you verandah vegetables with it, drink it and not pass any on through breastmilk to your baby etc etc.
    A woman is at the moment going through her daughter’s office – or what’s left of it. She hasn’t heard from her husband or daughter since the 11th. She doesn’t have hopes for their life but she was hoping to find some physical object. Another woman, has come home from delivering their daily delivery of bread to people that can’t make the drop and in walks two relatives – they hadn’t heard from them in 13 days and didn’t know where they were or even if they were OK. Hugs and tears all round.
     God it’s heartbreaking. People crying because they found a photo album washed up in the remains of their house, 100 meters away from where it used to stand, and I sit here with my wide screen TV on, a warm cup of coffee, the internet obviously, and family whom are all safe and accounted for. I’m procrastinating hanging out the washing when these people would be joyous to have the chance to a) do a load of washing and b) have a nice clean set of clothes to put on afterwards. . .
     Part of me wonders when these reports will stop being on the news – it’s heartbreaking. But the other part of me knows that for people unaffected physically, like me, having these reports is a constant reminder that thousands of people up North are roughing it (I know that’s not a good way to say it, seeing as people have lost family, homes, their way of life and aren’t just stuck out in the bush without a tent) and we need to continue to do our bit. Even if that is just turning out the lights, not having the rice cooker on all night, putting on a jumper instead of the electric heater, putting our change in the donation boxes set up at just about every counter of every shop.
Not spending so much time on the computer…
Best get to hanging out that nice clean washing.
Go turn off a light switch or two you lot.