Internet: Real Name Policies Don't Work (via auguris) I don't think I need Google+ after all.
Japan: Kaminokawa Town Summer Festival Great photograph!
Japan: Sendai Tanabata Fireworks Photographs of the Sendai Fireworks from a lookout on a hill.
Obituary: Komatsu Sakyou, SF author of 「日本沈没」(Japan Sinks) passes away at 80 This is news from late July, but I've been away from my computer.
Space: Is Water Flowing On Mars? [NYTimes]
I recently saw the latest Studio Ghibli film, Kokuriko-zaka Kara (From Coquelicot Hill or From Up On Poppy Hill), and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Kokurikozaka Kara started slow and turned into a lovely film by the end of it with a real sense of time and place. Transformers was not just horrifically bad, but gave me severe motion sickness. I'm not even the wrong demographic for it -- I love action films and I'm crazy about 3D. If someone complained that there was too much non-stop action in a movie, I'd thank them and go anyway because I don't consider it a flaw. But no, this is a terrible movie.
I'm looking forward to seeing the new Thundercats cartoon.
Anyway, I've been camping out in the fishing town of Ishinomaki (Miyagi Prefecture) for the past eight days. I've helped spray waterproofing over 10,000 paper lantern bases for the floating lantern festival. I've cleaned chemical toilets, washed cars used to clear the city streets and - mostly - helped out the oyster fishermen on the peninsula; recovering ropes from tsunami debris, cutting up the cords that hold the oysters together in the early growth stages, attaching oyster shells to said ropes and going out on a boat to attach them to buoys. It's been a hell of a week and I'll be sure to write about it more in depth later.