A perspective..

..on the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, written by a foreigner who works there.

Go read.




About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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14 Responses to A perspective..

  1. trishc1812 says:

    This was exactly the kind of information I had been searching for….but didn’t know I was searching for it until you posted it.

    Thank you very much for sharing this link.

  2. jaklumen says:

    Well, that certainly puts things into proper perspective, doesn’t it?

    If only the media was dissecting that link, and *just* dissecting that link…

  3. It’s true, we don’t help things like going into a panic. Here in California, there was a run on the various drugstores and health food stores for bottles of potassium iodide, even though it’s been pointed out by local medical researchers that we’re exposed to more radiation in the average dental x-ray than by the nuclear explosions in Japan.

    On the other hand, the Japanese government is not known for its forthrightness. There is an awful tendency in Japanese culture to play down disaster, as if by denying it’s happening, they can make it better. Unfortunately, it tends to create distrust in the government’s public statements among people. Those who are able to leave the island are doing so now, and make no apologies for doing so.

    • purplesque says:

      Thanks for the link to the NYT article, HG. Coming from the overblown side of things, the response seems sensible, but it must be frightening not to be able to trust the government statements, especially in the face of disaster.

  4. leendadll says:

    great article, most of which I already knew simply based on how well Japan is functioning as compared to the lack of response to Katrina.

    However, there was one major error. The nuke companies have finally admitted that their Hazard Risk Assessments did not include the possibility of the backup power systems also failing; nor all 6 failing at once; nor the backups for the backups failing. Which is why they’re in scramble mode now.

    But I say that with no disrespect because who would ever imagine things could get that bad until they see it happen? I’m sure every nuke facility, world wide, is reassessing their plans.

    And MAJOR props to the workers (and now firefighters too) who are risking their lives to prevent full meltdown. I freely admit I would have been one of the first to bail!

    • purplesque says:

      Yes..I also think what HG said is true. The actual scale of the disaster is coming through only now. Still, I can’t help but respect the fact there was no frenzy of impossible media speculation, irresponsible mud slinging, tall claims and any of the drama that we are accustomed to.

  5. phantomxii says:

    Perhaps I’m being too hard on the author, but his tone sounds a bit like “Our car hit a brick wall, and only one of us died! This place rocks!”

    Even since early reports, I’ve been thinking, “If anyone’s prepared for this, they are.” And to a large extent, Japan’s resilience has been a tremendous accomplishment of engineering and preparation. (I fear a smaller jolt in a U.S. quake zone could do a lot more damage.) But tragedy is still tragedy: the death toll already looks to be well beyond 9/11 and New Orleans combined, and may be more than double. It’s dangerous terrain, and they’ve still got work to do.

    (Incidentally, has Pat Robertson weighed in on this yet? Surely the Japanese are guilty of some anti-God activity he can blame them for.)

    • purplesque says:

      I know what you mean..but some of that might simply be a response to the frenzy our media has been whipped into. It seems that the full scale of the disaster is going to be much larger than initially reported by the Japanese; still, I’d rather have that, coupled with the serious we’re-doing-all-we-can response, than the apathy-followed-by-media-circus that was Katrina.

      Katrina hit when I was still in India, but I remember being thoroughly confused by what was going on. Or maybe I didn’t know enough.

    • purplesque says:

      Oh, and I had to Google Pat Robertson…he’s the Haiti-had-it-coming guy.

      As far as I know he has given us his opinion on Japan’s sins, yet. However, there is this. http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2011/03/14/glenn-beck-pulls-a-pat-robertson/

  6. phantomxii says:

    True—all the media focus has been on the hardest-hit areas. I admit to being surprised not long afterward to hear how the Tokyo stock exchange had reacted: I thought, “The stock exchange is open already?!”

    It seems to me the government’s initial reaction to Katrina was that of an impoverished nation that had no resources to help. Only it did. That disconnect was bizarre and confusing in itself. We actually had people here with the attitude that NOLA deserved it. I don’t know how this country can be prepared for anything with that kind of stupidity running amok.

    • Interesting you should bring up stupidity: last night the local Fox News affiliate ran a story about how the state of California was monitoring the atmosphere for any signs of radiation from the nuclear reactor failures in Japan. Both the governor and several UC researchers in nuclear physics said in interviews and formal statements that the likelihood of there being any danger to people in the US was nil, and they shouldn’t panic. Then a reporter announced a “radiation cloud” had been detected over our town—but it had less radiation in it than what’s normally absorbed by rocks in the ground. “But this calls into question how much can we believe our government leaders,” the guy intoned. They then followed up with a story about the panic buying of potassium iodide in local stores, and “What you can do to protect yourself from exposure to nuclear radiation.”

      At that point, my brother, a Fox News fan, laughed and said, “I thought they said there was nothing to worry about!”

      I said we could make hats out of lead foil and wear those when we go out. And put banana peels on underneath, because the extra potassium would protect us. :p

      • purplesque says:

        lol. People are stupid; its just who we are. But it bothers me no end when people who should know better act stupid as well. I can stand in the street wearing a tinfoil hat and complaining about the sky falling down. But when CNN starts interviewing me and the local sheriff dispatches men to put the sky back up- that’s a problem.

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