Deserted streets and chaos. Tragedy and plum trees blooming
BFP’s Robert remembers Japan and finds some bloggers on the ground.
Many of our regular readers know that there was a time in my life when I visited Japan weekly. That was years ago but Tokyo’s Narita airport is still my second favourite airport in the world. I’ve staged through Narita more than a hundred times and every final approach was a challenge to keep my concentration centered on the task at hand because, for all the faults (and there is one fault in particular that enrages me), I love Japan and the Japanese.
I love the way they revere their parents and ancestors. I love their funeral services, their movies, their music. I love that there is no looting in the aftermath of the earthquakes and tsunami. Anyone who’s visited Japan for more than a week won’t be at all surprised.
Last December we published a photo of some Japanese school children trying out their English on a passing tourist. I wonder where they are now, if they are alive, if they are in need. Nothing I can do for them, but I’m on the internet all the time these past few days and I’ve met some new friends.
Sometimes the big picture is too large, too impersonal. Sometimes we lose perspective if we only focus on the big picture. Sometimes the truth is not a large truth, but becomes apparent only in consideration as the sum of many smaller truths.
Let me share with you some of my new friends on the net. The international news organisations tell one truth. These folks tell smaller stories, smaller truths, that need to be heard…
“And, for a city that can certainly be very frosty, it’s noticeably more friendly. Nods, smiles and the odd konichi-wa are suddenly commonplace, with a definite feeling of, ‘we are all in this together’, now prominent.
Plus, where once the presence of others would be merely put up with, it’s now happily embraced — sought out even.”
“Good lord. Look at the crap they’re reporting in the Sun:
Mass exodus from Tokyo
A MASS exodus from Tokyo is under way as those left behind pray for the wind to save them from a new radiation nightmare.
The airport of Japan’s quake-hit capital was besieged as levels of the invisible killer soared to ten times the normal level there.
And that was before a FOURTH explosion and a fire at a stricken nuclear plant sparked fresh terror – that of a poison cloud of nuclear rain.
The leaking station was officially abandoned this morning after radiation levels around the plant “increased rapidly”.
Other international media sources are reporting similar stories of the masses fleeing from Tokyo. They based on internet hearsay or interviews with foreign residents of Japan.
There is no “mass exodus” being reported anywhere in the Japanese media. According to the Wall Street Journal, the only people rushing to the airport to flee the country are foreigners. (Could it have to do with the fact that they’re getting their information from sources like the Sun?)”
“From what I could tell from my convenience store survey this morning, there are still empty shelves. To the left is the same store I took pictures of yesterday. You can see some boxed lunches still available.
As for the local grocery store, best be close to first in line when it opens. They allow 30 or 40 people in at a time then others can come in as the first group leaves. Milk, eggs, bread, rice.. all go quickly. By mid-afternoon shelves were once again bare.”
Jenn in Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami – The Reality
“I feel like there is nothing more I can say except, please HELP Japan!
I know you are hearing the same thing over and over but it is because these people are in a desperate state. The horror and grief that has befallen this country in unfathomable.
Imagine every aspect of your life, your world entire, being literally swept away in front of your eyes and you are utterly helpless. I assure you this is not hysterics but a truly dire situation; I mean that with every ounce of gravity I can put into these words.”
Then the train stops abruptly.
I first assume that we hit something, or a suicidal someone, which happens more often than we like to talk about in this country. At the same time I grasp the unlikelihood that a suicidal someone could wander this far underground, it becomes very apparent that our train did not flatten anything else. Rather, this train is the one getting its ass kicked by a force much larger.
“Train operation has stopped because of an earthquake,” the voice of the conductor says. Umm, we know, I think to myself as the other passengers and I hold onto our seats.
“Train operation has stopped because of a strong earthquake,” the loudspeaker again proclaims the obvious.
“Train operation has stopped because of a very strong earthquake,” he says again after the shaking still hasn’t stopped.
Where Mr. Fuji meets Matterhorn (200 hours of overtime per month)
“This young 24-year-old man had entered a Yokohama-based plant maintenance firm in April 2007. He was then assigned to an office in Chiba as a construction site supervisor. The news paper articles says that due to a labor shortage and a delay in the construction schedule, he was forced to work an average of 123 hours of overtime per month between January and August 2008, with his overtime topping 200 hours in July.
He developed a mental disorder, resulting in suicide in November afterwards. The issue in this case is that the company and its labor union had agreed to allow its employees to work up to 150 hours of overtime per month, or up to 200 hours if necessary.”
“Tokyo has a very strange vibe to it right now. I have never experienced something like this before. There is a lot of concern with people about what is going on with the nuclear reactors. There is a lot of misinformation flying around and people are concerned if they are being told everything or which news reports to listen to. A lot of the facts and figures being thrown around are difficult for people to digest and understand adding to the confusion and concern. Trains continue to run at limited capacity. Tokyo Electric Power is running rolling blackouts across Japan”