Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Earthlings



If you are for meat, dairy, and egg consumption; for puppy mills, leather, fur, animal testing; for animal entertainment like zoos, circuses and bull-fighting; and/or you’re against spraying and neutering, or if you just care about animals, watch this film. 

It’s $3 to rent, $7 to purchase. It used to be free for years, but the director is a single father struggling financially. Shaun Monson wrote, directed and produced this movie. It took him 6 years to complete it due to obtaining footage. It’s heavy but a beautiful film and if I could make everyone watch one movie, it’ll be this one.

If you can’t bring yourself to watch it despite being an animal lover, ask yourself why and if it’s really worth supporting what you’re afraid to stop supporting?

Link to Earthlings

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Shaw

I have no sources!!



Completely fangirling at the moment. Oh man. I wanted to find out more about George Bernard Shaw, so I googled him and found out he was the playwright for ‘Pygmalion’ (which was later turned into the film ‘My Fair Lady’ and Bernard – he hated being called George – was against the film changing the ending so that Eliza and Higgins end up together happily ever after… don’t like it either. Eliza was her own person, a creation ‘come to life’. On a similar note, while I’m at it, I don’t like how in the film version of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, Holly ends up with Paul. In the novel, Holly remains a free spirit and doesn’t get tied down. The author, Truman Capote didn’t approve of the ending changing ….. Both Holly and Eliza are played by Audrey Hepburn). Bernard married a feminist, was a socialist, and was a vegan/vegetarian (unclear which but I think mostly the former). He also was an advocate for William Ollier Jr’s ‘GHOTI was the way you should spell FISH: the 'gh' from 'enough'', the 'o' from 'women'; the 'ti' station.’
A quote from Bernard on vegetarianism: ‘The average age of a meat-eater is 63. I am on the verge of 85 and still at work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough and am trying to die; but I simply cannot do it. A single beef-steak; would finish me; but I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed with a dread of living forever. That is the only disadvantage of vegetarianism." I hear you! I really wouldn’t like to live forever either. He was firmly against vivisection and cruel sports.
And wow, ‘Shaw said he wrote the play "to draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together.’
Although being against the smallpox vaccination isn’t cool…
I want to read his works (got the complete set for $1 on Kindle). But I have so many other books to read like those written by Terry Pratchett’s (no, still haven’t started and won’t be any time soon but I hope to start at the end of the year).
I want to visit Bernard’s home, Shaw Corner in Hertfordshire, England someday.  
 Some random quotes I found along the way:
‘I was told that my diet was so poor that I could not repair the bones that were broken and operated on. So I have just had an Xradiograph taken; and lo! perfectly mended solid bone so beautifully white that I have left instructions that, if I die, a glove stretcher is to be made of me and sent to you as a souvenir. - Letter to Mrs.Patrick Campbell’
‘Let me reassure them. They can preserve their own individualities, when they give up eating their fellow creatures, just as the Maoris did when they gave up cannibalism. And the millions who now waste their lives in valeting, nursing, feeding, driving, and slaughtering cows, and sheep, and pigs, and who at last come to resemble them so strikingly, will be set free to cultivate themselves in nobler ways.’
‘While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?’
‘Animals are my friends...and I don't eat my friends.’
‘Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground and it explodes into a giant oak! Bury a sheep and nothing happens but decay.’

From EVOLVE! Campaign on facebook

"Plant feels pain too..." | "You eat plants, it's no different to eating animals..." | "Killing animals is the same as killing plants..."
Stop, please! We've heard it all before and NO, they are NOT the same.
Yes, plants are living things but they are not sentient, nor do they possess a central nervous system and therefore pulling a carrot from the ground or picking an apple from a tree does not have the same moral implications as confining, torturing and finally slitting a sentient animal's throat. This argument is used by those who wish to justify their meat consumption by claiming that because both plants and animals feel pain, there is no ethical difference between killing plants for food and killing animals for food.
The truth is that plants, when stressed, release a chemical called ethylene. This chemical indicates that the plant needs to increase cell growth or take other measures against the perceived stressor. Scientists measured levels of ethylene released from stressed plants by “listening” to them using lasers until a certain frequency was measured. While this research shows that plants might have a stress-avoidance response, it is quite a stretch to refer to this as "pain". It is even more erroneous to equate this response with the pain suffered by animals and human beings. Plants lack nerve endings, brains, hormones, and other structures that would allow them to experience pain. They also lack the ability to move away from sources of stress, an evolutionary trait linked with the ability to feel pain.
The argument that plants feel pain and suffer and that killing them is as bad as killing animals is weak and illogical. Even if someone was concerned that plants were being "killed" and exploited in the same way as animals then by eating meat they would be causing harm twice because the animals they eat would have already eaten plants before being slaughtered (for example, it takes several pounds of plants to produce just one pound of beef).
Eating a vegan diet is not about a quest for personal purity, veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation and cruelty to the animal kingdom, as far as is possible. Plants feeling pain is a topic that is open to debate, we KNOW for sure however that animals experience terrible pain and suffering. This should be motivation enough to treat other beings that we know have the capacity to suffer with as much compassion and consideration as we can. Furthermore the difference is that in general we cannot live without using plants, we can on the other hand live perfectly well without causing deliberate suffering (and death) to billions of farmed animals. As Edgar's Mission Sanctuary says :"If we could live happy and healthy lives without hurting others, why wouldn't we?"

Monday, 19 October 2015

Nikko in Tochigi

My branch was renovating over the weekend and was therefore shut, so I took this opportunity to go to Nikko with a friend of mine who's only free over the weekends.

We booked a hotel last month. There weren't many vacancies so we wound up with an expensive one. But it was really convenient and actually close to both Tobu Nikko and Nikko station. It's called 'Nikko Park Lodge' and we got half board. The hotel was lovely and included hot springs. So I tried it for the first time. It's a bit uncomfortable for me to go naked in front of people but this is the Japanese culture. And I actually think bodies are not something we should be ashamed of. But still! Although I liked my hot spring experience, I got bored after about 10 minutes.
The hotel had a small salad bar with beans for dinner. And the breakfast menu had hash browns and fruit salad. So the hotel worked for me.   

I did find one vegan place. It's in between Nikko station and Shinkyo bridge. Their coffee and persimmon cakes are amazing!! But... it stops serving proper meals at 2pm and before then, they only serve 25 people (first come first serve). It's called 'Yasai Cafe Meguri'. I didn't expect to find any vegan places so I brought a couple of bags of scroggin (trail mix). I now see on 'Happy Cow' that there were actually a few restaurants. Still, bring snacks! Even my carnist friend ended up eating scroggin as we couldn't find food.

We winged most of this trip. We met up at Asakusa at around 10.30am and then bought tickets to Tobu Nikko for 11am. It was about 1500yen. Then we went on the Tobu line I think? Anyway, got to Tobu Nikko station about 2 hours later.


We wandered around and basically had a shrine/temple day.

Outside the station is a bus stop. Take the 'World Heritage Bus' to get to the shrines. You can use your suica or pasmo card (which you just put it on the scanner when you get in and then once more when you get off). Make sure you have loads of money on it. I ran out and then winged it with cash and made the bus driver mad. I found out if you don't use the card, then you need to grab a tiny ticket when you get on, and it tells you what number you got on and it makes things easier. The numbers are on a screen at the front of the bus, and below each number has the total fare from that stop (I didn't know this until today). Then when you get off, you pay at the front of the bus.  I spent more than 5000yen this weekend on bussing around.

You'll basically go in a straight line until you see this statue of a man across the road to the right, then you get off at that stop.












According to a Nikko booklet, legends are woven into these but the booklet didn't go into any details as to what legends they were. 







I have a thing for paper dolls. They're so cute!! This one is actually about love and I got average luck. Apparently someone has a crush on me or admires me from a distance (my Japanese isn't good so I've had others translate it for me) and I shouldn't hold back and I'll have a deep love xD right. I love fortunes even if I don't really believe in them. It's the same with star signs, I'm interested in them and I love reading them but I don't really believe them. It's just fun.  


So cute.


She is my new friend. Lives in my wallet now.


I love the colours!!



A man walking his ferret. Got to touch it but it shot off on another adventure. 







Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. 


Chelsea!

I are snaaaake. I think they have it around a flower because many people are scared of snakes or at least don't think they're cute xD 





Such intricate details. 









Chelsea wanted to steal everything. We joked that one day her boyfriend/partner will get a knock on the door. It'll be the police and the police will ask him to return the National treasures. Then he'll convince them he has no idea what they're talking about and that he doesn't have anything of the sort. And then Chelsea will come home, and he'll tell her of the events. And then she'll open a wardrobe and reveal the items to him. 


Spot the cat.





Another fortune. But but but it's so cute!


Good luck charms




Abandoned fortunes.


Shinkyo Bridge. 

We actually stopped by at Yasai Cafe Meguri before we saw this manekineko (lucky cat), hence the sudden disappearance of daylight. It closes at 6pm.



Nikko Nikko Nikko 

The next day


We had this genius plan to rent bikes. The information desk clerk sent us to Nishisando to rent bikes. When we asked a kind convenient store worker, she was surprised we wanted to bike to Kegon falls. She said it's very far and she didn't recommend it. It takes 30 minutes by bus as it is. So we waited for the Tobu bus (which you can catch at Tobu Nikko station heading towards Yumoto Onsen).


So here we are. Two overly optimistic idiots waiting for the bus.

On the bus, we had to stand because there were no seats. And near the railway/cable car/gondola, it got really busy and we ended up stuck in traffic. I saw the kanji (Chinese character) for Kegon Falls 華厳の滝 and thought it was the best place to get off. So we did and then discovered that's not how you get to Kegon Falls. The bus stop number you want is 24 for Chuzenji onsen 中禅寺温泉 (Chuzenji hot springs).  



Waiting for the bus....

It's a 5 minute walk and it turns out they have an announcement for Kegon Falls anyway. 








We paid 550 yen to use the lift and went down. It wasn't busy when we went but we saw an area where people could line up for when it got too busy. 


Stunning. The weather kind of turned sour. So the skies weren't blue. But on a clear day, people have been able to take pictures of a rainbow in front of Kegon Falls. So jealous. 


Cute, right?


There was someone here that showed you where to go. We wanted to go to Ryuzu Falls next so we waited here (basically continuing on to Yumoto Onsen).


On the bus. The lake is beautiful!


At Ryuzu. So Ryuzu is number 35 竜頭の滝 I've seen the old kanji for dragon here too 竜 = 龍


Stunning. 


Looks cute.


Almost as cute as Chelsea but not quite. She got really into the spirituality of it all. 



We headed back to Tobu Nikko and the traffic was slow moving. Before and after the waterfalls, there are to infamously windy roads. We went on one on the way, and went on the other on the way back. We managed to get seats but some people weren't as lucky. I saw someone looking like he was going to puke, poor thing. It took like 2 or 3 hours to get back because of the traffic. It was 6.30 when we got back. We bought tickets from a ticket centre rather than the ticket machine. We wanted the express, which took 2 hours and cost just over 2000 yen.  

And that was our weekend! Go to Nikko in autumn, it's beautiful!