Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bando City in Ibaraki Prefecture Made 3rd-Graders Pick Tea Leaves in the Rain, Have Them Eat Tempura Made from Raw Tea Leaves

It's hard to believe that it actually happened in the post-Fukushima Japan, but it most certainly did. For the city's commercial tea growers, the Board of Education and teachers, it was more important to proceed with the pre-scheduled annual event and to promote the local industry (tea growing) than to ever so slightly think about the health and safety of the 10-year-olds.

The event took place on May 11, and one week later, a high level of radioactive cesium (830 becquerels per kilogram) was detected in the tea grown and harvested in Bando City.

From the now-withdrawn (but cached) web page of Iwai Sakura Shopping District (original in Japanese; not the literal or complete translation but you get the idea...):

Wednesday May 11, 2011: "Sashima Tea Field Study" - 3rd-grade pupils of elementary schools in Bando City picked tea leaves in the rain, enjoyed tempura made of raw leaves

Sponsor: The Board of Education of Bando City, Ibaraki Prefecture,
tel: 0297-35-2121

On Wednesday May 11, the annual "Sashima Tea Field Study" was held in Ibaraki Prefectural University of Agriculture in Bando City. It was raining, but 3rd-graders from 13 schools in Bando participated in the study.

13 schools were divided into 6 groups, and took turns in learning about the tea. The field study was first started in Sashima district, which is famous for its Sashima tea, but when Bando City was created by merging Iwai City and Sashima-machi, the field study got bigger in scale.

This photograph [photos were not cached] shows the pupils from the First Elementary School in Group 3. When a Bando City worker greets them, they greet back vigorously.

The head of the Board of Education of Bando City greets the participants.

The head of the Bando Branch of the Ibaraki Prefecture Tea Growers Cooperative explains tea growing, and the pupils listen attentively.

Now it's time to go to the tea plantation and pick the tea leaves.

Bright green, new tea leaves. It almost smells like brewed tea.

Pupils holding up the tea leaves they just picked to the camera.

They pick tea leaves in two rows. For some, it may be their first time to touch tea leaves.

Teachers are having a good time with their pupils.

Members of a Bando city citizens' group make tempura using the tea leaves that have been just picked by the pupils.

Eating delicious tea-leaf tempura. For some, it may be their first time ever.

Organizer: Tea Growers Cooperative of Ibaraki Prefecture, Bando Branch
Sponsor: Bando City, Bando City Board of Education


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great work. By the way, how did you get this news? Did it appear in Japanese (or Foreign) press or MSM?

Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking. Completely heartbreaking. How could anyone do this to children?
I do not mean to impose my spiritual faith upon others when I say that I am Christian and will pray for these children. I simply say this because it is night and reading this just before going to sleep is too troubling for me to think about without saying a prayer for the children.
And how will these officials sleep with their conscience so dirty...even if they manage to hide the photographs? I have wondered if they withdraw their own children from dangerous areas or do they ACTUALLY make their own children pick tea leaves in the rain? Hope

Oops said...

This is right up there with the Russians encouraging everyone to come out for May Day when they knew that the radiation from Chernobyl was serious and deadly, just to save face.

The children, this should be an international crime.

Mike said...

This is necessary for them to learn to become Japanese. Even in the face of radiation, we must do the Japanese thing. It is correct KATA. Foreigner will not understanding.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Japanese farmers, like farmers everywhere, are a political force out of all proportion to their numbers. How else to explain the Japanese government going to such extraordinary lengths to proclaim foodstuffs grown in the region around the irradiated zone as perfectly safe? I doubt these children are at any great risk from a solitary exposure but using them as props to promote a non essential crop like tea is as idiotic as those stage managed photos of British families eating roast beef during that countries Mad Cow pandemic or having President Obama have his family swim in the Gulf of Mexico and eat seafood last year during the oil spill.

It doesn't work and that is because people are not entirely rational. You can make pure water from human waste, they do it on the space station for example, but most people would still reject such water even if it was cleaner than the water in their home.

Just as Britain had to destroy every cow in the country or BP had to stop the spilling of oil into the sea before people would trust the beef or seafood again so to Japan is going to have to clean up the mess at Fukushima before people will have confidence in the food supply.

doitujin said...

that's too much...... i get tears in the eyes when reading stuff like this...

are you maybe going to translate this entry into japanese?

Anonymous said...

thanks for your great blog. I dont know if this helps any, but, I want to tell you and my japanese brothers and sisters, I love you and support you in every way I am able. I'm sorry you are all going thru this. I pray for you all at every opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

How far are we away from TEPCO organizing a "nuclear power plant "field study"? They have raised the children's exposure levels to that of a nuclear power worker. I can see it now, "their little hands can get into places we couldn't even think of". "And since they don't know anything about radiation they are fearless".

Aimelle said...

@ Mike:
I don't understand.
Hard to believe that people don't love their children...
If children die, what is the point beeing a nation? sounds like a suicide.

Janos said...

I also get tears in my eyes.
As a father of a nine-year-old, I cannot say I agree with the procedure of teachers and parents though.
I write as someone who has long loved Japanese culture, tea, Zen and Reiki and many other things and learned a few words just for hobby.
My sympathy will never cease - but how are we going to tell those kids that one of the most sacred things in Japan - tea - is now poisoned with a subtle (invisible) curse around that prefecture? And how are we going to remove it?
Why don't you all give at least blue iodine to all the schoolage kids for free? It is a Hungarian invention - google it.

Janos said...

I would also like to thank the courageous author of this blog for posting the new information on this disaster affecting Japan and some of the rest of the world every day.
Please keep it up!
Arigato gozaimas!

Anonymous said...

Little people dressed in their school uniforms with their numbers on. In Asia, most all school uniforms have each student's number sown onto them. That's all these kids are...just numbers. To those in power, whether its government or so-called community leaders, people are only numbers. We call it human resource management.

Ian Goddard said...

Beyond belief! Criminal negligence!

Janos is right! This blog is the best source for Fukushima news and offers a vital trans-linguistic bridge.

John Watson said...

@Doitujin This is the snapshot of the page but the images don't work, It's only text. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.iwai-sakura.jp/sasimacyahureai/sasimacya-hureai.html

Matt said...

The google cache will not be there long.

However, at least one picture is still available in Google cache for now:

This is very sad. I agree that this blog is one of the best sources for information about the nuclear accident in Fukushima.

Thank you for all your hard work.

Frank said...

Sorry guys, please do your calculations.

If they ATE one kilogram of tea leaves (Which needs one year in consumption for an ADULT japanese person), concentrated the radiation in this kilogram on the size of a pea, ingested it and had a slow digestion process needing about 36 hours, the absolute radiation exposure of tissue 1cm of the pea would be... about 1µSv.

Seriously? Thats about as bad as giving your child 4kg of peanuts. Guys, please read and educate yourself about radiation, do your own homework about instead of fearmongering. There is a lot of tools, formulas and estimations to estimate the radiation doses. 830Bq/Kg is higher than safety, but I would drink this tea every day and give it to my children every day because in total, my child has more radiating Kalium particles in his body than this tea contains Caesium.

Im not trying to make radiation seem harmless in general, but these safety limits are low for a reason. This tea and this trip have been ABSOLUTELY safe from a rational point of view and even in the worst case radiation damage scenario, this trip would be negligible.

If you want to do the calculations, you can try this calculator here yourself, it makes things a little easier :
(no affiliation, found it useful versus using self made excel tables all the time.)

Anonymous said...

"I do not mean to impose my spiritual faith upon others when I say that I am Christian and will pray for these children"

Oh, honey, I assure you, the rest of us, non-christians, know how to pray, too!

I assure, you, we non-christians, pray for the kiddies too,and we do it quietly, as we go about our day.

Wild Amazon Nature/goddess Worshipper

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Christians can pray for these children by saying they are Christians. Amazon nature goddess worshippers can pray for these children by saying they are amazon goddess worshippers. Muslims can pray for these children by saying they are muslims. Buddhists can do the same. Anyone can do the same, without putting down people of faith or non-faith other than his or hers.

Thank you for your prayers.

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