View Full Version : Tokyo, a tropical city ?

Sep 8, 2002, 12:31
Lonely Planet Online (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/scoop/archive.cfm?DPID=437&region=asi)
28 August '02
The Heat is On

Tokyo is in the hot seat with estimates that the Japanese capital is heating up at four times the pace of global warming. Temperatures have been soaring into the mid and high 30s (Cecius) this summer, hotter than many of the tropical cities of south-east Asia, despite the fact that Tokyo is in the temperate zone. The city's problem is being blamed on the 'heat island' phenomenon - Tokyo is often several degrees warmer than the rural districts surrounding it because of the high concentration of buildings that trap the heat and block out breezes. In addition, millions of vehicles clog the roads, air conditioners pump out huge volumes of hot air, and the city is desperately short of parks and greenery. Authorities have identified the problem, but now have to figure out what they can do about it. They want new buildings to have mandatory gardens on top, but it could be a case of too little too late. Cases of heat stroke are rising each year, tropical plants are becoming more common and so are new types of mosquito carrying the threat of tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Japan's Construction Ministry, always keen for a challenge, has recommended pumping seawater around Tokyo through underground pipes to cool the city, but that scheme is unlikely to see the light of day. In the meantime, Tokyoites try to survive another sweltering summer.

I came to Japan after months of travelling around South-East Asia and India and I had noticed that Japanese summer were hotter than all other countries, except maybe Bangkok in April (the hottest season, before the monsoon) where head-aching pollution doesn't help. Surprisingly, Bangkok is cooler and less humid in July, in spite of the monsoon. Tokyo doesnt suffer much from pollution (compared to Dehli, Bombay, Bangkok, Jakarta or Manila), what is a good thing.

Sep 8, 2002, 17:42
Global warming...

This summer was "tropical" for Europe too, at least July. August brought torrential rains and massive floods.

What I always noticed when visiting Tokyo was a rancid smell of mouldering that seemed to emanate from houses and clothes (due to humidity). I've spent my worst summers (in terms of humidity and heat) in Tokyo and Beirut.

Sep 9, 2002, 02:54
Up North in Sapporo we had only a few days that reached 30c .

One problem that was mentioned on the news is the amount of exhaust that cars produce. The pure heat of cars and trucks have caused problems for cities up wind of Tokyo too.

a word from moyashi consulting,
hmmm, changing the color of the streets from black to a brown plus the increase of greenry would definitely help. Plus, parking lots should be required to use those bricks that allow grass to grow up through and yet provide support for cars would be nice too :)

Sep 9, 2002, 05:52
Isn't there a Green Party in Japan?

Sep 9, 2002, 10:54
Japan's political parties don't follow the people's opinion. They are made by and for politicians and stay in their hands from generation to generation. Very few care about environment. It's almost a condition to the Japanese economic sucess story after 1945. Virtually no rules for toxic wastes disposing for the industry, no pollution limitation, and so on. It has been getting better in the past few years, but when we see that factories are still allowed to fill fields with chemical wastes then sell back them to farmers wihout mentioning the wastes (otherwise they wouldn't sell them) and people later eat rice grown on toxic garbage. There was a nuclear incident in the North of Tokyo 3 years ago (?) and it appeared that the security was underdeveloped by Western standard in an effort to save money (yes, Japan still think like this ! Profit before public security :shock: ).

I reccommend the reading of Dogs and Demons (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0809039435/qid=1031536403/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/102-1099547-2529756?v=glance&s=books&n=507846), by Alex Kerr to know more on this subject (if you aren't subject to heart problems, as it is utterly shocking for a Westerner).

Sep 9, 2002, 15:40
Most of the green parties started as grass-root organizations, with unorthodox structures and methods, civil society, environmental NGOs, blabla, you know. I can imagine that it's difficult for such movements to compete with the fat cats of Japan's political establishment, but the situation was exactly the same in Europe 20 years ago.

"Il faut se revolter!"
Albert Camus

Probably you refer to the Tokaimura accident, I was in Japan at that time. They carried radioactive material in open buckets (!) and spilled it.

Sep 9, 2002, 19:45
Probably you refer to the Tokaimura accident, I was in Japan at that time. They carried radioactive material in open buckets (!) and spilled it.

Yes, that's it !

"Il faut se revolter!"

French people have taken the street every time they disagrreed with the government ever since the French revolution. I guess it's the only way to enforce democracy nowadays, as politician are too distant from the people. From this point of view democratic ideas haven't really reached Japan yet. It's a bit normal, it's an imported concept, whether in Europe, people have thought about it for much longer. There is no such philosophical tradition in Japan or anywhere else outside Europe and places of European settelment (the Americas, Australia, etc.). Japanese people won't revolt tomorrow, they are too obedient and sheepish to be any trouble for the established oligarchy.

Sep 10, 2002, 01:35
Sheepish... maybe. If a social situation gets unbearable, if daily injustice becomes too obvious, then its time to take to the streets. Anger, frustration, social injustice, unbearable living conditions are effective catalysts for political upheaval; upheaval that should manifest politically (green movements, citizen groups, protests, demonstrations etc.).

Does "collective harmony" require to behave sheepishly?

Sep 10, 2002, 02:20
@ collective harmony
Does go on strikes at times. They were arm bands while working, then take a bit of break to ***** and complain and then go back to work. I haven't seen or have heard of strike in a long time. Probably because everybody is scared shitless of [risutora] restoration = getting fired.

Last riots were the ones way back when students and farmers where having fun. Those days are gone too.

The only active group are the urukudan [the right wing restore the Emperor doers] and yakuza trying to pressure companies or people to cough up money.

@ the green party
hmmm, I believe that they are the Komeito. The relgious politician off spring of the Sokka-Gakkai who are more concerned about how much more money and how their money donations will turn into good karma.