It is easy to admit that we’re about to exploit about a month of diary entries from a brave man’s life in order to get you to read this piece, and the other things we publish here on Giant Robot. Because, well, it’s partly true. But the majority of the truth about what we are presenting to you is that it gives detailed (one might even call some of it dry and mundane) insight into the thoughts and processes one Japanese man experienced before, during and after participating in the cleanup of radioactive debris at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan.
He isn’t one of the Fukushima 50. The diary entries he made available online start on May 26th and end on July 3rd, 2011, well after the day of March 15th when the 50 stayed behind to control the damage and fire at Fukushima Unit 4. No, the man who wrote these diary entries is (if he still has his job) a robot operator, of a robotic system called “Warrior”. From the diary entries it is apparent that he was assigned to Fukushima to prepare and operate specialized remote-controlled robotic equipment for the purpose of assessing damage and clearing debris within Fukushima Unit 3.
We’re presenting only about half of the robot operator’s diaries here, the entries which cover June 11th through July 3rd, 2011. These entries detail the operator’s thoughts during the days right before preparing for and performing the dangerous task assigned to him in the debris and radiation of Fukushima Unit 3. Some of his thoughts are humorous, but most are very business-like and even grave. We have pulled some of the more interesting, insightful and inspiring quotes from the diary entries and printed them below.
Supposedly it’s a bad idea to judge a book by its cover. With this particular volume, however, doing just that is highly recommended. This is because the rich and colorful design on the outside is the perfect introduction to the varied and detailed tour of the fuzzy, furry, odd and wonderful Japanese mascots within. “Fuzz & Fur” is the second book about Japanese pop-culture icons by English brothers Edward and John Harrison. Their first book, “Idle Idol”, was a photographic guide to the inanimate figures which attract and greet customers outside Japanese shops and restaurants. “Fuzz & Fur” takes that premise and logically expands upon it by using pictures and detailed text to introduce the reader to a huge variety of animated, three-dimensional Japanese characters, basically guys in costumes playing fictional or mythological figures.
Here in the United States, at least, when you think of a person in a character costume, you typically think of a sports mascot, something like the Philly Phanatic or the San Francisco 49ers mascot Sourdough Sam. Or you see giant mice and anthropomorphic dogs, rabbits and ducks at amusement parks created by entertainment companies such as Disney and Warner Brothers. But that’s about it. However, in Japan fuzzy, furry costumed characters are far more ubiquitous, and are created and used for a wider variety of purposes than just promoting sports and entertainment. Japanese mascots are used to promote tourism, consumer products, government programs, and agriculture.