The 3.11 Earthquake and Japan-residing foreigners

20 Jun

Here’s a video from Cool Japan showing how Japan-residing foreigners saw the 3.11 Earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima…

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It’s good to hear that some foreigners were tranquil, not being frightened or freaked out no matter what the foreign media and their family from home told them. It’s surprising to hear how some foreign media reported misinformation carelessly. For example, it’s in every spring that people wear a face mask to protect themselves from pollen dust when they have a pollen allergy. Such a thing can be clear if the reporter had interviewed with the locals or the foreigners living in Japan for years. I’m scared how the media can mislead majority of people with unfounded information.

Here’s a link to “Japan Travel Updates After the 3.11 Earthquake” by Japan National Tourism Organization, if you are considering visiting Japan. Speaking of the life in Tokyo, unlike one time when foods and drinking water disappeared from supermarkets, it’s almost as normal as the time before 3.11, only except for the lack of electricity. If you think the entire Japan was devastated or contaminated by radiation, it’s not true. All the unaffected areas are almost as the same as before 3.11.

There are still about 88,000 people staying at the shelters in the affected areas, although gradually they are moving out to the temp house offered by our government. (They have to build so many temp houses fully furnished with basic furniture, air-con, fridge, lamp and etc.) Some people moved to other prefecture and some workers try to restore their business. There are still mass of rubble left in some affected areas, only 20% is cleared so far in spite of our hard work. But I recently hear that people try to gain electricity or some kind of energy by burning them there. Because it was such a big catastrophe, it’ll take several years until everything goes back to the state of before 3.11.

At a moment, due to Fukushima, Hamaoka and many other nuclear reactors being out of service, we are now living with around 40% of nuclear energy. Thus, we will have to keep saving electricity in this summer. Usually summer in Japan is as hot as 30-35C or sometimes around 40C and 60-70% humidity. In the city area, it’s basically very hard to stay comfortable without air-conditioned entire day even during night while we are sleeping. If you are planning to stay over here during this summer, I have to say you may not feel very comfortable at some public areas because everyone helps save electricity by setting a room temperature not too cool. I wish I could spend entire summer in Hokkaido where I need no air-con. ^ ^;;

As for the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, unfortunately our government and TEPCO (the company that is responsible for the nuclear reactors) are taking so much time to solve the problem. And still we see no clear idea when it’s over.

Japan radiation map. (Click to see more and the level of radiation that each alphabet in the map means.)

When we hear radiation, it just scares us. But when it comes to everyday’s thing, it’s becoming like a weather forecast. How strange it is…-_-;;


13 Responses to “The 3.11 Earthquake and Japan-residing foreigners”

  1. sixmats June 20, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Let's hope it's fixed soon.

  2. ichigoichielove June 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Although if they just closed down all the pachinko parlours in Eastern Japan we probably wouldn/t need to save any energy. ;P

    • kirin June 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      Good point and I totally agree with you! I felt angry when I saw them and people who were playing with them right after the earthquake. -___-

  3. Patty June 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    It was very helpful to hear from the speakers how they see the Japanese stuck together to make a stronger force, than the Western cultures. The American speaker was right, when it was Katrina, there were alot of looting. People had their homes flooded, but they took it as an opportunity to go to the stores to steal big screen TVs, nice expensive shoes. It was like a war-torn city. Yet, on TV, they will find the most dramatized situations, like people saying God wanted to punish them or the government is doing this on purpose. It was quite different when the Japanese people in the effected area lost everything, some still manage to go to work or help each other. I'm sure they are quite stressed but definitely did not outlash on everybody else. Very admirable.

    • kirin June 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      I'll just tell you the truth. There were some Japanese people who stole things, money, gas, food and etc. But the number was very small. But not zero. ^ ^;; Most of the people in the affected areas were supportive each other, as everyone says! ^ ^

      • Patty June 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

        Oh sure, there are 'bad' people everywhere. Just not as obvious and in front of TVs like they're on a pop show. I'm sure out of desparate measure people stole from the flooded stores and stuff too. Not that it's ok, but I guess it's part of the situation.

        By the way, when I subscribe thru here to get replies the link to confirm always fail to connect. Just thought I'd let you know.

      • kirin June 23, 2011 at 5:21 am #

        Ohhh…thank you for letting me know that, Patty. I must confirm that with IntenseDebate. I really appreciate that you pointed that out, because I never noticed that.

  4. Tami June 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Hmmm, it might sounds strange for me to say since so far i have only been over on vacation and business – but the morning when i got into the office and read the news i immediately turned on like 3 livestreams from japanese TV stations (think it was TBS, NHK and another one) and was like paralyzed, i didn't work at all that day and just keept staring at the livestreams.
    I couldn't believe that this was actually happening right there and yea… strange as it sounds, i was crushed and sad that i couldn't do anything but donate.
    Over the whole following weekend i was glued to the livestreams as well, i didn't really relay on the media coverage here – of course i would be with the minority on that one i think. ^^;
    I can still recall how many times the eartquake warnings would pop up, so many times i was thinking they had some tape on loop.

    The whole Fukushima thing is really… well, hard to put in words, it's obviously bad and as much as i love japan and the people, on that matter i can only say TEPCO and the people in charge should have asked for international help right away and not wait weeks untill it was to late. Of course, recent news (whatever "news" means today) show that the meltdowns happened really fast so not sure how much immediate help would have changed too.
    To get to the point, i think here was "honor" put over "common sense", who in the world would even think to handle such a situation fast and accurate when the nation is struck by such a large scale disaster and there are most likely not much ressources to handle it properly in the nearby region?
    I don't know… just my 2 cents on the whole atomar stuff.

    As for the people… I work in Düsseldorf which has quite a large japanese population and thus i see a lot of japanese folks and around that time of march and april i was thinking many times "what are they thinking right now…".
    I still wish all the best for Japan and the people.

    As for the summer… well, i would prolly enjoy it anyhow! Make the best of it… lots of Watermelon, Ice, etc. ^^;;;;;
    Can just hope the offices go with the governments recommendation to allow short arm shirts and so on to make it easier on the employees.

    • kirin June 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      Hi Tami.
      Thank you for your comment. ^ ^
      I couldn't concentrate on work during March, until my heart was totally healed by Sakura (cherry blossoms) in April. I had been glued to TV news everyday during that time. I will never forget the 3.11 in my life. What a shocking day it was…

      Yes, as you point out, I think our government and TEPCO should have accepted help from the USA at earlier stage! I think they tried to protect the nuclear reactors from decommissioning and look at what they did! They even turned the situation worse and caused a lot of problem to the people in Fukushima, farmers, fishermen and etc.

      As for the summer, we are allowed to go with cool biz, without a tie or suit. ^ ^;;

      • Tami June 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

        Thumbs up for the cool biz, i hope the best for you guys over there. ^^v

        I still have to experience Hanami in Japan, think it's a "must do".
        Actually i think Japan has a lot of these things that manage to give you an emotional power up, be it Hanami or Festivals in general, the culture is so rich of nice things… compared to germany… here all they do is drinking beer at every chance they get, i prefer Japan a LOT more then germany just because of the culture. ^^;;
        Maybe thats as well why people stick together so well and help each other out in Japan.

      • kirin June 23, 2011 at 5:23 am #

        Oh, yes please come to Japan during the hanami season. Viewing sakura is soooo nice. And I believe your beer would taste better with hanami. ^ ^

  5. Lisa June 21, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    MY family and I are travelling to Japan in September. I can't wait!

    • kirin June 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

      Hope you have fun over here!! ^ ^

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