Tag Archives: earthquake

Another big one? Well, no.

Today, there was a magnitude 7.3 earthquake off the coast of Tohoku in northern Japan.  It happened near the same spot as the 3/11 earthquake last year. This time, it wasn’t so big, but it was the biggest earthquake I’ve felt in quite some time.  It was still a big earthquake.

Here in Kanagawa, it was a 3 on the Japanese intensity scale, which basically means we felt a lot of shaking.  It was quite long, too.  Up in Tohoku, TV newscasters were urging people to evacuate the coast, remember 3/11.  There was a tsunami warning issued, and a 1 metre wave hit the coast.  It could have been worse.

To everyone around the world, and especially to my friends and family in Canada, USA and elsewhere, we’re fine.  There’s no damage.  Our evening is carrying on as usual.  So don’t worry!

Ever wonder what an earthquake feels like?  Check out this description on my other blog.

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3/11

It has been one year since the Great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.  At least 16,000 died in the tsunami.  It feels like a long time since the disaster, yet it also feels very fresh in my memory.  That day changed the lives of millions of people in Japan, hundreds of thousands displaced and homeless.  At 2:46 pm today, people all over Japan mourned the dead.  3/11 is a day I will never forget.  Too many people seem to have forgotten.  Not enough has been done for the victims and the homeless.  Too much emphasis has been put on the nuclear meltdown, pushing aside the actual victims, those who had died from the tsunami.

A year ago today, I experienced something only a small percentage of people in the world ever experience.  Those of you who have never experienced anything like this probably wouldn’t understand what it felt like.  Words fail me when I try to explain it.

For the victims of the tsunami, please do not forget.

A parade for the memory of 3/11.

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A look back at 2011

It’s the final hour of 2011, and as I think about the past year, I’m amazed about how much has happened.  It’s been a year of some amazing highs and incredible lows.

The highs

I couldn’t have expected such an incredible year.  This year, I got engaged, then found out we were having a baby, then got married.  Getting engaged was interesting.  I had to figure out how to ask my wife to marry me, but thought about our first date.  We were at Yuigahama Beach in Kamakura, and that’s where I proposed, close to a year later.  It was a beautiful early February day, though a bit cold to be at the beach.

Later, in the spring, we found out we were going to have a baby.  I’ve chronicled this adventure on my other blog.  To put it into a few words, it’s been amazing watching how my wife has been getting a bigger belly, feeling the baby move, and seeing the ultrasound.  Now that the birth is only about 3 weeks away, it’s getting so very real.

Getting married was a big day, too.  However, it seems that many people don’t even realise that we’re married now.  I’ve had a few friends surprised about it, because they’d missed the announcement.  We actually got married at city office.  We had no wedding, though we’re planning to in the future.

Some other good things that happened were discovering Instagram and this blog becoming more popular.  Of course, that’s what I’d hope!

The lows

While my personal life has had some amazing highs, Japan itself went through some unbelievable lows.

March 11 was a day I’ll never forget.  Biggest earthquake recorded in Japan and 4th largest in the world, plus a giant tsunami that killed over 20,000 people, and a nuclear disaster.  It’s been difficult for Japan, which has been going through a recession it just can’t seem to pull out of.

If the earthquake wasn’t enough, the Tokyo area was hit by the most powerful typhoon to hit the region in a few years.  There was more damage  from the typhoon in the Tokyo region than there was from the earthquake.  It certainly was a surprise to experience such strong disasters this year.

2012

So, what’s coming for 2012?  Well, hopefully bigger things for this blog, but the biggest thing for me is the birth of my daughter in the first month of the year.  I also plan to work hard on studying Japanese.  This blog will see some new things, and hopefully a return to frequent posts.  I think 2012 will be another year to remember.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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A letter to selfish Canadians regarding tsunami debris

I was reading the news on CBC’s website today, and came across an article about how the cleanup of tsunami debris will be quite difficult when it hits the west coast of Canada.  It’s quite understandable that it’ll require a lot of effort to clean up, but when I read the comments, I was disgusted.  But what would you expect from the average commenter on the Internet?  I’d like to address some of the moronic points brought up by some selfish idiots who call themselves Canadian.

Japan should pay for the cleanup.  I don’t think so.  Natural disasters have no borders, and they are not the responsibility of the local government when it affects other countries.  Japan is going to be paying for the recovery from this disaster for many years.  The Vancouver area is also expecting a megathrust earthquake of around magnitude 9.0 in the near future.  What should happen when it happens?  Vancouver will be devastated, I’m quite sure.  Should all other countries just sit by and watch what happens and not offer any support?  Japan, with its extensive experience with earthquakes, will probably be one of the first countries to offer assistance to Canada.  The debris from Canada’s likely earthquake will spread to Alaska.  Will the USA demand that Canada pay for the cleanup?  Not likely.  So why is it that a handful of selfish idiots in Canada would demand that Japan pay for the cleanup?  Show some humanity, you morons.  No one is demanding Iceland pay for damages caused by the volcano.  No one is demanding the USA pay for flooding of the Red River in Manitoba.

Japan should be punished because they hunt whales.  This is unrelated!  How dare you think this is some kind of retribution for a whale hunt?  Besides, this is hypocritical.  What about the seal hunt in Canada that is condemned by many around the world?

Japan is at fault because they build along the coast.  What?  Every single country in the world with access to the ocean does that!  Okay then, abandon Vancouver and Victoria.  Everyone should move inland.  Also, most habitable land in Japan is coastal.  Inland areas are mostly mountains and uninhabitable by large populations.  Or are you suggesting that Japan start leveling some mountains to build new inland cities?  Idiots.

The whaling ships should be used to clean up this debris.  I don’t understand how this would be possible.  That’s a tiny number of ships and a huge amount of debris.  It’s not physically possible.  Think with your brain, if you have one.

The Japanese destroyed a whole ocean ecosystem.  Uh, how did the Japanese people cause the earthquake and tsunami.  You, sir, are an idiot.

Japan should be embarrassed by this mess.  Yes, they should be very embarrassed about having a natural disaster that was not their fault.  Again, only idiots make statements like this.

“A single minor earthquake in Kobe killed thousands ruined Japan’s economy. A stronger earthquake struck Seattle years later with no deaths and only minor damage.” Kobe’s earthquake was shallow, and it was not minor.  It caused a lot of damage because it was shallow.  Seattle’s earthquake in 2001 was quite deep, which is why it did not cause much damage.  I was living in Victoria at that time, so I was also a “victim” of that earthquake.  If it had been a shallow earthquake, the devastation would have been far, far worse.  March’s earthquake was a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, and the 4th largest recorded in the world!  It’s a very unfair comparison.  Seattle and Vancouver will likely be devastated in the Cascadia megathrust earthquake that’s expected.

There are more comments that are stupid and uneducated, but these are the worst of them.  Japan went through a massive disaster, thousands of people died and are still homeless, a large amount of rebuilding needs to be done, and all these idiots can think of is themselves.  For those of you who agree with the ignorant statements I mentioned, you should remove yourself from society and spend the rest of your lives living in some dark hole in the ground, or at least get some kind of education in humanity.  You are not human, you are garbage.

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Filed under Canada, Japan

Japan is old-fashioned

When someone is asked what they imagine Japan to be like, they probably think of electronics, cars, robots and other high tech gadgets.  But coming to Japan, they will quickly notice how many places look quite old.  The buildings are simple and old looking, many houses are old looking.  Of course, this is changing with redevelopment projects and the fact that people often demolish their houses when they move out, and someone else builds a new house.  It’s a very interesting mix, though.  New and old exist here in Japan side by side.  Let’s look at the good and the bad.

The Good

Japan has a lot of old architecture, especially shrines, temples and castles.  There are so many historical places to see.  It’s unfortunate that many were destroyed during World War II, earthquakes and fires.  However, Japan has a knack for rebuilding the old and making it look old.  Places like Kamakura, Kyoto and Kawagoe have centuries old buildings.  But when it comes to castles, most of them are modern concrete reproductions.  Usually, they’re done quite well.

Another wonderful thing about Japan is the festivals.  They can often go back centuries, and showcase a lot of vivid colours, traditional dance, traditional clothing (kimonos, yukatas), and some great food.  I really enjoy Japanese festivals.

Japan has a very colourful history.  I find it quite fascinating, so I enjoy going to museums.  Japan has so many museums, and you can find tiny ones everywhere.  It’s really very interesting.

The Bad

Unfortunately, Japan is slow to change in some key areas.  The recent Tohoku earthquake and tsunami have shown government procedures for getting aid to the people who need it to be full of red tape and bureaucracy.  This is because of part of the Japanese mentality of never rocking the boat.  Status quo is safer, and never cutting corners takes responsibility away from people.  Unfortunately, people are starving and homeless because of this.  Most aid is still stuck in procedural paperwork hell.

The banking system in Japan is very inefficient.  Although they use computers all the time now, they still use a ridiculous amount of paperwork.  Waiting times are long, and simple processes are actually complex.  The banks seem to be reluctant to completely modernise.  Yes, they’ve become more modern with technology, but the procedures have to become more streamlined, too.

Many businesses in Japan are still run like they were during the 1980s bubble economy.  That business model doesn’t work with today’s global economy, and many companies don’t want to change.  One disturbing aspect of the old style business model is how many workers tend to be “motivated” with threats by upper management.

Japan is an island country, so it often seems isolated from the rest of the world.  Attitudes here are often self-centred and many people don’t seem to see what’s going on in the world outside.  With globalization increasing, Japan needs to become more flexible and put aside some of its old ways.  It can’t be successful if it won’t adjust.

 

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So, what am I going to do?

I’ve been asked a few times by friends and family about what I’m going to do.  The simple answer is that I’m going to keep living as I always have.  Get up, go to work, enjoy work, come back home, sleep, enjoy my days off, just live like always.  No, I am not leaving Japan.  I’m not leaving the area, either.  Only once during this entire time did I feel any kind of fear or panic, and that was during the earthquake.  The nuclear aftermath doesn’t worry me.  I’m not the least bit worried about the situation.  It’s under control, radiation is dropping, power is being restored.  In fact, reactors 5 and 6 are now in cold shutdown.  Danger of radiation outside the 30km zone is negligible.  Life right now has some inconveniences, but that’s all they are, just inconveniences.  Most things have returned to normal.  Work is completely normal, for one thing.  No, I am not going to leave.  I’m safe, and so is everyone else.  And it seems that the western media is starting to clue in to the fact that they have overblown everything.  They panicked a lot of foreigners living in Japan.  They’ve been irresponsible.

Also, I just wanted to add that 75% of French people who live in Japan have gone back to France.  The joke’s on them, radiation levels in France are higher than Tokyo’s.  Wow.

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Have people forgotten?

There’s so much focus on the nuclear problem that’s happening in Japan, I think many people are forgetting the victims of the tsunami. There are tens of thousands of people in shelters waiting for food and water that isn’t being delivered fast enough. People in the Tokyo area need to make sure they conserve gas and stop hoarding food. It’s making it difficult for the victims to receive much needed aid.

I’d also like to mention that there are several charities that you can donate to. If you can, please donate.

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