Northern Japan was recently hit by the fifth most powerful earthquake in history. As I live in Tokyo, I was in no immediate danger. However as the aftershocks continue and two nuclear power plants are threatening to meltdown, things in Tokyo are starting to resemble the first scenes of a disaster movie.
Gasoline is becoming difficult to find, stores are closed, and grocery and convenience store shelves are becoming more and more bare as panic buying sets in. On the plus side, the natural orderliness of the Japanese is really setting an example for the rest of the world on how to behave during a disaster. I hope they continue to maintain their dignity and community spirit.
I will revise this post as thoughts come to mind.
Update: March 18th, 2011
Update: May 3, 2011
Sorry to say, I haven't really been keeping up with my blogging during the past couple of months. Here are a few thoughts off the top of my head:
- To quote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Don't panic."
- Radiation is scary, but ignorance more so. Arm yourself with the facts before panicking. Tokyo is 240 km from the Fukushima reactors. Three times the normal radiation level is still thousandths the amount considered harmful to humans.
- In 1979, I lived about 8 km from Three Mile Island. I'm still here. I live 240 km from Fukushima - I plan on being around a long time.
- As of this post, there are still countless people displaced by the earthquake, thousands missing, and thousands dead. If you're not one of them, related to one of them, or friends with one of them, you were merely inconvenienced - don't make it about you. Count your blessings, donate, and/or volunteer.
- My respect for and belief in the press (Fox News notwithstanding) have been irrevocably shattered; the sensationalism of the so-called mainstream press was embarrassing at best and criminal at worst. Sadly, yellow journalism is alive and well.
- The Japanese people have their flaws, as do we all. However, their collective calm and support for one another is an inspiration; the rest of the world could learn a lot from them.
- Fortunately, we only had one three-hour blackout in my area. It was surprisingly calm, peaceful, and relaxing.
Of course, that's just my opinion - I could be wrong.
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