Posts Tagged ‘ Earthquake Japan ’

Earthquake Update (15 March). News from Tokyo, and Tochigi…

The Tohoku Earthquake (東北地震).  “Tohoku” (東北) means Northeast (or, literally, “East North”). It’s the region of Japan the off-the-coast 9.0 magnitude quake struck, where a terrible tsunami hit and where most of the damage and loss of life is isolated.  The city of Sendai, on the coast of Sendai Prefecture, is where one part of the terrible tsunami (津波) struck.  You can see Sendai and Japan’s Tohoku Region on the map below (that is, the Northeast part of the main island, Honshu), with Sendai being pretty much in the heart of the Tohoku Resion.  I’ve copied and pasted from friend Chris J’s (March 15 updated) blog.  Chris lives in the Tokyo suburbs.

Sendai's more or less in the heart of the Tohoku Region

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This blog post is really meant to guide you, readers of LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com, to said Tokyo friend, Chris’, blog and its insightful and in-depth updates on the quake: Accidentally a Blog.  Chris and I (and many, many others who live or have lived in Japan) have been carrying on a Twitter/Email/Facebook dialog over the past few days with the upshot being that U.S.-based media types are distorting coverage of the earthquake and tsunami.

Here’s an excerpt from Chris’ March 15 update:

“Trash and mail service ran on normal schedule and Yuko published the school newsletter (for which she is currently editor) as planned.  Again, like yesterday, we did not lose power during the evening. However we did go into low-power mode as a family during the scheduled block to help save energy.  Unlike yesterday, many parts of Tokyo and the surrounding area did have blackouts.  I believe these were of shorter duration than the standard three-hour block, but that may vary from location to location. . . .  The danger is that ultimately nuclear material in the reactor could melt and seep through the casing into the ground. There is no concern that a nuclear explosion could take place. Tokyo is not in danger of being obliterated by a nuclear event. (As disappointed as media networks may be I am sure.) I do believe that we will have some contamination to the environment from at least partial meltdown but this is not the Armageddon being suggested by foreign media. . . .”

And here’s an excerpt from Chris’ March 14 update:

“[T]he foreign media is painting a picture of apocalypse that would leave those unfamiliar with Japan with the belief that this entire country has been reduced to rubble and we are being picked apart by crows (Though we do have more than our fair share of crows).  This scenario is not even remotely close to reality.  The fact is that a small area of the main island of Honshu has been decimated by a 9.0 earthquake and — more importantly — the tsunami that arrived nine minutes later….”

More than an indictment of the international media, Chris’ blog, and today’s (March 14, 2011) update provides readers with a real, on-the-ground, walk-through of conditions in Tokyo.  Photos and videos are included.  Some of it is, indeed, very sobering.  Much, though, tells the story of people coping and living their lives in a non-post-apocalyptic Tokyo.  I cannot recommend Chris’ blog enough.

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From my friend Anna’s incredible blog, “Budget Trouble.”  She and her husband live in beautiful Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo:

After the recent nuclear plant developments, I have been asked time and again when I am leaving Tochigi.  The answer is – I am not leaving.

The morning panic of March 15th is over, things at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima seemed to have stabilized, radiation levels are falling, life goes on, we are staying.  Why?  Because NOTHING is happening. Really.  As hard as it is to believe, and I know the media has you thinking about some sort of end of days scenario, it’s still liveable.

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Here’s a great article from the L.A. Times on Japanese manners and stoicism in the face of hardship.  Excerpt:

“She was elderly and alone, injured and in pain. When the massive earthquake struck, a heavy bookshelf toppled onto Hiroko Yamashita, pinning her down and shattering her ankle.

“When paramedics finally reached her, agonizing hours later, Yamashita did what she said any “normal” person would do, her son-in-law recounted later: She apologized to them for the inconvenience, and asked if there weren’t others they should be attending to first.”

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Streaming news from Japan

In English.

In Japanese.

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If you at least read hiragana (ひらがな), here’s a very good collection of timely vocabulary worth studying (Earthquake-, Tsunami-, Nuclear Energy-related terms).

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A small part of Tokyo from the top floor of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. May 2010

+ Please see various updates below.   +

A friend Tweeted that the Shinagawa Prince, where I and a group of MBA Students stayed last May, had run out of blankets for commuters stranded in Tokyo when the train lines were shut down following today’s (March 11, 2011) 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Honshu Island, above Tokyo.  You see, the Shinagawa Prince is next to Shinagawa Station, where several train lines converge, including the major North-South Shinkansen (“Bullet Train”) line and the Yamanote Loop Line that circles Tokyo.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai, the city in Miyagi prefecture, or state, closest to the epicenter. Another 110 were confirmed killed, with 350 people missing. Police also said 544 people were injured. AP Wire Story

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I have a business trip to Japan planned a little less than 5 weeks.  I look all the more forward to being there, seeing friends and carrying on with life in Japan.

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Sunday Morning (in Japan) update:  Very Sobering-but-Calm, Matter-of-Fact Blog Update from Friend in Tokyo

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Sunday Morning Great LA Times article:  Japan’s Massive Earthquake Has Little Effect on Culture’s Impeccable Manners

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Saturday a.m. Update:

The death toll is likely to surpass 1,000 as about 1,800 houses in Fukushima Prefecture were found to have been devastated, according to the Defense Ministry.

According to a National Police Agency tally as of 5:40 a.m. Saturday, at least 184 people were killed and 708 others were missing as a result of the magnitude 8.8 temblor.

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11:00 a.m. U.S. Central Time (12 March 2011) / 2:00 a.m. 13 March in Japan:  over 1,000 confirmed fatalities.

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Sat late a.m. Email (excerpts) from a Japanese friend living in Huntsville, Alabama

Now, I get good news from my sister.  She got information from nieces about my brother and his wife  [ in Sendai ]  are safe.

It is thanks to you [various friends] that I can find out my family and relatives and also my wife’s, all came through the event unscathed.

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U.S.G.S. Map of the Northeast Honshu Earthquake

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More on the Friday afternoon/night train shutdowns affect on Tokyo-ites and travelers:

Crowds of people gathered at JR Shinagawa Station in Minato Ward in the evening, pondering how to get home after JR East announced it was canceling all train services for the day after strong aftershocks hit the metropolis.

Tokyo Metro Subway lines were also out of commission as of Friday evening.

Long lines formed at convenience stores and fast-food restaurants near Shinagawa Station as people tried to stock up on food and beverages, either to spend the night at their office, or in preparation for a long walk home.

A friend with the Hitachi corporation’s U.S. representative’s office told me by telephone that employees in the company’s Tokyo Headquarters (a large building near Tokyo Station) virtually all slept in the office building last night as they had no way to get to back to their homes.

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More Saturday Morning Update: One of those I follow on Twitter is a quirky, kind-hearted Tokyo hotel/hostel called Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Hotel.  (“Delightful, International, and Fundamental Hotel in Tokyo”).  I’m not sure who does the “tweeting” for Sakura Hotel, but they have this charming, simple, style of English composition.

Here are two (within the past several minutes) tweets from Sakura Hotel (@ikebukuro_hotel)

ikebukuro_hotel 8:51am via HootSuite

Don’t worry, Tokyo is OK.

ikebukuro_hotel 8:53am via HootSuite

You will see the rainbow after raining.

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Last November a ~6.9 magnitude quake shook Tokyo.  “Earthquake” in Japanese is “Jishin” (地震).

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