Thursday, March 13, 2014

3/11 Three Years On Part 3: In Which I Write about Radiation

            I said in “3/11 Three Years On Part 1” that I would not write about radiation because enough people had written about it, and I would rather write about other effects of the earthquake that I happen to feel personally about.  Well, that was before I read anyone else’s thoughts on the anniversary of the Triple Disasters and changed my mind.  I know that the nuclear disaster has overshadows the others, and I have understood this since March 2011.  Hell, that is the reason I initially decided not to write about Fukushima.  But ye gods.  From some of the chatter, and you all know if this applies to you or not, one would think the nuclear disaster was the only significant consequence of the earthquake.  I believe the nuclear disaster is the most significant consequence, so I do understand all the attention it gets.  Or rather, I would be able to if it were not for the sheer ignorance that permeates so much of what has been written about Fukushima.

Monday, March 10, 2014

3/11 Three Years on Part 2: What Happened to Me

Day 1 Friday March 11, 2011
            It was graduation day.  After the ceremony the students had gone home early so only we teachers were left at school and another teacher and I were talking to each other about the faculty party scheduled for that night when the shaking started.  I instinctively took shelter in the doorway out of the teachers room.  For the past year my rule had been that if the shaking did not knock anything down, I would not worry.  The first tremor knocked everything over, including me.  After the shaking ended I could not move for a minute.  The lights went off.  The shaking stopped and the office was a mess but the building appeared to be undamaged.  The principal came out of his office and began to direct everything.  I went back to my desk to sort things out when the next tremor struck and one of the Japanese teachers told me all had to leave the building so we ran out onto the baseball field.  It was snowing and I hadn’t tried to get my coat.  The shaking continued.  Some of the teachers got out their cell phones and turned on a web browser or television in order to get the news and we heard about the tsunami.  The teachers kept using a word I had never heard before but could understand that translates to “great tsunami.”

3/11 Three Years On Part 1

            I was in Northern Japan on 3/11/11, the day of the Great Northeast Japan Earthquake.  It has gotten easier for me to talk about it since then, because I have told the story so many times, and have been able to come to terms with my experiences, and with the consequences of the earthquake that I did not experience firsthand.  I do not intend to write about radiation and nuclear energy specifically, because enough people continue to write about that topic, and they do not wait for the anniversary to do so.  I will use my soapbox to write about the rest of Tohoku, where is lived and worked for a year, and came to appreciate and love.  I will tell you about Tohoku, because this is the story of the earthquake that is neglected these days.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Let's Do the Tension Tango

On February 20 2014, the Financial Times reported that a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) officer, speaking to FT anonymously, said that China is training for a “short, sharp war” with Japan and its allies (which include Australia and India).  On February 23, 2014, the New York Times reported on the US-Japan Iron Fist exercise at Camp Pendleton, as if it was something entirely new.  Iron Fist occurs every year, yet, this year, the Times ran the headline “In Japan’s Drill with the U.S., a Message for Beijing.”