For this weeks poem I decided to try something else that would challenge me, a haiku. Not a normal 5-7-5 English haiku though, one in Japanese. I figured that because I am studying the language it would be good practice to try to think in Japanese. It took me a while, but it was pretty engrossing and fun. The process really gave me a whole different way to look at Japanese. Anyway, enough with my rambling. I am displaying it written in Kanji, Romaji (forming of Japanese with Roman characters), and the translation. Also, just for more English practice, I made the translation fit the 5-7-5 rules.
machi ni sasayaku
fuyu ga deru
The warming spring breeze
Whispers into the city
Winter takes its leave
On this blog I post quite a bit of quirky information about Japan, so I thought it would be good for me to post about something fairly important. Unless you have found residence on the underside of a rock you are aware of the situation in Japan right now. If not, here is a quick synopsis. On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm a 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan. The worst in Japanese history and the 5th largest in the world. I want to write this for a couple reasons: to preserve this so people don’t forget and because there is so much misinformation flying around. 24-hour news networks are sensationalizing the effects of the quake or at the very worst providing patently false information. I will try my best not to get into the politics of the matter, but just try my best to help people understand what is really going on as well as what should be focused on. I have modified a map from CNN with some pertinent information about the disaster.
A large tsunami was created following the quake which is what happens when you have sea floor that is moved due to an earthquake and that created a large wave which moves inland. This caused thousands of people in northeast area of Japan to relocate due to their destroyed homes and businesses. If you can picture a wave washing up on shore and destroying a sandcastle it’s like that but on a bigger scale. It’s devastating when it rolls in as well as when it recedes back into the ocean. Probably the biggest city hit the hardest during the quake was Sendai, which I pointed out on the map. It has a population of over 1 million. Tokyo was minimally affected despite many claims. It did experience an extended quake, but it was most likely around 6-ish on the Richter Scale, a far cry from 9.0 in the northeast. It is about 200 miles from Sendai and about 230 miles from the epicenter, a pretty sizable difference. Most of my friends in Japan are situated in or around Tokyo and everyone has said that while it was scary, life is relatively back to normal. The really terrible damage happened in the northeast.
Now to the most mis reported part of the whole disaster. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. First, I’ll give a pronunciation because it is important to a certain extent. Foo-koo-shi-ma Die-itchy. It’s not proper, but you can say it now! Here’s the scoop on what’s going on. Due to the earthquake and how close to the shore the plan was it experienced some heavy damage. This damaged the facility and cooling systems. The concern is that not being able to cool the spent nuclear fuel rods will cause radioactive spills. The situation as of this writing is that they have sent firetrucks with water canons to shoot water to cool the fuel rods down until the cooling system can be restored. Power has been restored to some of the cooling systems and from here it appears they are starting to gain the upper hand in containing the reactors. An area of 20 kilometers has been evacuated around the plant. The concerns are talking about how this is the next Chernobyl and how people in Tokyo are receiving all this harmful radiation and how everyone is now a zombie. Not true. Chernobyl was a meltdown and far older technology. Nothing has melted down and it seems to be contained. While there is more radiation in Tokyo and in Japan, it is about 4 times background radiation. Which to put that into perspective. You receive more that while in an airport and on an airplane. It’s nothing to be concerned about.
The current dead or missing toll is over 21,000 as posting this. If you want to help I will put a link to donate. It is really the northeast who needs help as they are running low on supplies and medication for the people who require it. Anything you can donate can help, too. Sorry, for so many please donate posts, but this one should take precedence now, obviously.
Again, anything you give will help out in this horrible event.
I am providing a video from a guy I have been following for a couple years who lives and works in Tokyo. He is a bit crass, but he does a good job explaining what is happening.
Here is some photos from people on Twitter showing people in Tokyo following the quake. The ones with the bare shelves are a day after, due to panicking people. They were fully restocked the next day and are currently stocked. I urge you to watch the video above for some good insight. Thanks to @johntv @tokyocooney @cvxfreak and whoever else I took pictures from. If you want most accurate news coverage about the disaster you should go to the NHK world website and watch their free English stream. It is the Japanese governments broadcast and is in my opinion the best source.