I want to join the Okuma Town Senior Brigade

An Atomic Insights reader (thanks Pete51) sent me a link to an amazing documentary that ran at the beginning of May on NHK, a Japanese network that is available now on some US cable systems.

It tells the story of six retirees who now work daily to protect and preserve Okuma Town, which is the area immediately outside of the gates of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

I am inspired and want to join these people – at least for a little while. The exercise in an area of low level radiation would do me good and I would love to learn at least some Japanese. Not only do I intend to engage in some useful manual labor, but I would like to help prove to people that areas contaminated with radiation, even at levels as high as 30 microsieverts per hour (in isolated places), should not be abandoned and can be made livable without requiring any life-altering precautions.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done; the radiation levels are not high enough to be a major concern, especially for someone in the second half of life already.

The only dangerous part of this endeavor will be relearning how to use a chain saw. There was a time when I was reasonably skilled with that tool; I ran a little business cutting down palm trees that had died from lethal yellowing when I was a teenager in South Florida and I also had the opportunity to recover those skills following Hurricane Hugo.

However, it’s been a while. The last time a tree fell in my yard, I had to get help from a Marine buddy because I no longer owned a chain saw. Now that I think about it, that Marine buddy has a Japanese wife. Hmnmm. Maybe there is a plan hatching here…


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