Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Japan hula girls to save hot springs from nuclear fallout

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) April 14, 2011
They pulled on their grass skirts to help save their mining town once before, now Japan's "hula girls" plan to save it again, this time from becoming a nuclear ghost town.

A spa resort on the cusp of the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant exclusion zone might be a difficult sell to tourists but a group of sexy Hawaiian style dancers plan to do just that.

"People now associate Fukushima with people exposed to radiation," said dancer Ayumi Sudo. "I want to get rid of that image.

"We have felt like dancing naked to show that we are not contaminated."

Sudo and her hula girls twirled their naked waists outside a Tokyo train station this week to promote safe farm produce from their Pacific Coast hometown of Iwaki, in Fukushima prefecture.

The seaside getaway is located just 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of the Fukushima plant, which has leaked radiation into the air, ground and sea since it was hit by a powerful quake and giant tsunami on March 11.

Iwaki was made famous in the 1960s when the declining coal town was revived by an elaborate Hawaii themed spa resort thanks to its hot springs, a story immortalised in the 2006 movie "Hula Girls".

The tourist attraction, now called the "Spa Resort Hawaiians", was largely left unscathed by last month's giant seismic disaster but has been closed since.

"Our facilities got cracks, and windows were shattered. But the major reason why the spa is still closed is rumours surrounding Fukushima," said resort marketing official Takashi Wakamatsu.

The only guests have been disaster evacuees who were offered free bathing in its soothing hot pools.

Since the 9.0-magnitude quake hit, emergency crews have struggled to prevent a catastrophic meltdown at the Fukushima plant, while shipments of farm, fishery and dairy produce from the region have been restricted.

But commuters flocked to buy tomatoes, strawberries, mushrooms and other produce from the disaster-hit region at the Tokyo event.

Veteran dancer Sudo, 45, said she had been told that evacuees from areas near the nuclear plant had faced discrimination elsewhere, and that cars with Iwaki licence plates had trouble buying petrol at filling stations.

"Three attendants took turns filling one of these cars for fear of exposure to radiation," she said of an incident in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo. "In the worst case one such a car was blocked from entering a filling station."

Sudo is one of a stream of Iwaki dancers who have kept the spa running since it was established in 1966 to revive the mining town amid the country's shift from local coal to foreign oil as its main energy source.

There was an abundance of hot spring water from the mining grounds and the Hawaii theme struck a chord and the spa soon became a top tourist haven, attracting an annual 1.5 million visitors in recent years, mostly from Tokyo, 200 kilometres (125 miles) away.

As portrayed in the movie based on the real life story, the town was put on the map by a nationwide tour of Iwaki hula girls, which sparked public interest in what seemed like an outlandish, palm-studded theme park 45 years ago.

In the film, which won the 2007 Japan Academy prize, the daughters of hardened coal miners initially drew frowns and indignation from their fellow townspeople when they put on hula dresses and bared their skin.

"We are in the similar situation again," said Sudo, who runs a hula dance school under her stage name of Linolani. "So we and younger dancers should all gather together to help bring life back to the town."

"I would like to see tourists come back and help revive Iwaki as it was before -- with delicious fish, vegetables and fruits as well as a beautiful ocean view."

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Nine killed in blast at Chinese plant: state media
Beijing (AFP) April 14, 2011
At least nine people were killed after an explosion at a chemical plant in northeast China, local officials said Thursday, according to state media. The official Xinhua news agency said an explosion and fire took place at about 10:10 pm (1410 GMT) Wednesday at a three-storey building at Fuxing Chemical Plant in Daqing city, Heilongjiang province. Fourteen people were inside the building ... read more

Japan can pay for rebuild: central bank governor

Japan hula girls to save hot springs from nuclear fallout

Japan police find 10 bodies in nuclear zone

Nuclear workers face radiation limit, but fight on

Material Devloped To Remove Radioactive Contaminants From Drinking Water

Store blood cells from Fukushima workers - Lancet letter

Using Carbon Fiber To Reinforce Buildings And Protect From Explosions

Better Lasers For Optical Communications

Sushi bars in Paris adjust to life after Fukushima

BP feels fishermen's fury over Gulf oil spill

Aussies sink frigate to create a reef

EU fishing rules are fully operational: commission

West Antarctic Warming Triggered By Warmer Sea Surface In Tropical Pacific

Arctic Sea Ice Flights Near Completion

Sand Drift Explained

Russia Plans To Spend 195 Million Dollars On Antarctic Research Up To 2013

New Citrus Variety Released By Uc Riverside Is Very Sweet, Juicy And Low-Seeded

Brazil issues $1.2 bln in fines on beef companies

Five held in China steamed bun probe

Invasive Plant Threat Depends On Spatial

One year on, Iceland volcano sleeps, but world still quakes

An Electric Yellowstone Makes For Super Visuals

Body of US tsunami victim found on beach

US offers help after Namibia flooding

UN should not take sides in I.Coast: Medvedev

Sierra Leone investigates a mining land acquisition

Gbagbo on pro-Ouattara TV: 'I want us to lay down arms'

EU split over African migration's 'human tsunami'

Scripps Research Scientists Identify Mechanism Of Long-Term Memory

Negative Image Of People Produces Selfish Actions

Single 'ancestor' language theorized

Are Your Values Right Or Left? The Answer Is More Literal Than You Think

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement