One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Anything else you want to get off your chest or any public chat you want to continue away from a main topic
User avatar
bakubo
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 5697
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:55 am
Location: Japan
Contact:

One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby bakubo » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:31 am

Image

Today is the one year anniversary of the huge earthquake, huge tsunami, and the nuclear power plant disaster that devastated Japan. For the last year I have been thinking about how the effects of 2011/03/11 on Japan parallel the effects of 2001/09/11 on the U.S. in many ways. Of course, the number of people killed and the area of devastation of the disaster in Japan is much worse and the cause was different, but the effects on the country and people have many similarities, I think.

The estimated economic cost to America of 9/11 is $770 billion, but that does not include the wars that were spawned because of it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and other places. Whether this 10+ years of war will in hindsight someday be seen as worth it or not is yet to be known since these things are usually unknowable until decades have elapsed. That is despite what the people with 100% hardened opinions based on a centimeter's depth of understanding may think contemporaneously. 9/11 was the beginning of major changes that most of us are not happy about, but that no one truly knows whether they will lead to better things, or at least tolerable things, in the future. My feeling is that it is the same for Japan and 3/11. Japan is soul searching and reevaluating many things and it seems it is likely to lead to many changes in the future. Some have already happened, for example, the nuclear power plants in Japan are shutdown. That may or may not be permanent, but Japan is dependent on foreign sources of energy, nuclear power was pretty much the only one that was seen as reliable, pretty clean until last year, fairly plentiful, and didn't depend on unstable parts of the world, so this has been a huge decision.

The economic impact of 3/11 on Japan was severe, just as 9/11 was on the U.S. Also, the shock of the sudden disaster and the worry that at anytime it or something similar could happen again is much like it was after 9/11 in the U.S. Both country's feelings are partly fear, but in both cases it is a rational fear based on a reality that is filled with uncertainty and that uncertainty can never be eliminated by just further study and analysis. Another 9/11 or 3/11 would be even more devastating to the countries and that is on top of the loss of life. The tremendous economic impact of these sorts of disasters can't be ignored so it is reasonable to try and either prevent future ones or minimize their consequences. America and Japan and any other country which experiences a sudden, unexpected, huge catastrophe of such magnitude that it also threatens the country's whole economy is usually presented with a range of choices, all of them bad, tough, and some even unknown. It is so rare in a person's life or in a country's life that during a crisis the choice is between the clearly good choice and the clearly bad choice. In those cases anyone can make the right choice. Most of the time however it is choosing between multiple bad choices and trying to find the one that is least bad. And doing that with incomplete information and without the benefit of an infallible crystal ball that shows the future. Japan is in the middle of this right now. I wish Japan the best of luck with whatever big decisions it makes.

Image

Image

User avatar
Birma
Tower of Babel
Posts: 6679
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:10 pm

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby Birma » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Thanks for reminding us of this anniversary Henry. Thoughtful pictures, and commentary as always. I think we are fortunate as a forum to have you in Japan right now, the centre of so much that happens in the photographic industry, so that we can we can see and hear the story behind the media headlines.
Nex 5, Nex 6 (IR), A7M2, A99 and a bunch of lenses.

User avatar
bossel
Viceroy
Posts: 1075
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:49 pm
Location: France, Côte d'Azur

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby bossel » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:17 pm

What a desaster! I remember the day, we were travelling to Germany to celebrate my sisters 40 years 2 days later. In the morning, at breakfast in our little B&B we listening to the radio and heard the news and were shocked. Since my wife is from Turkey, we're a bit more sensible to news about earthquakes, e.g. compared to the average german/french (or maybe english as well). But at that point in time, we didn't fully understand the full impact of what happened in Japan. And now, while everybody in Europe is very focused on the nuclear disaster, I think this is just one part of a much bigger catastrophe.

Today is the anniversary; and while walking on the seaside in Nice, there was a small stand of Japanese people collecting money for the victims. Those who made a contribution got a T-shirt in exchange.Just wonder if Henry could translate what it says :?:
Attachments
DSC03709.jpg
DSC03709.jpg (176.88 KiB) Viewed 1657 times

User avatar
mvanrheenen
Emperor of a Minor Galaxy
Posts: 1708
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:58 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby mvanrheenen » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:18 pm

Has it been a year already... wow, remember it like it was yesterday. Thanks for reminding us Henry.

Mark

User avatar
bakubo
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 5697
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:55 am
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby bakubo » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:24 pm

bossel wrote:Today is the anniversary; and while walking on the seaside in Nice, there was a small stand of Japanese people collecting money for the victims. Those who made a contribution got a T-shirt in exchange.Just wonder if Henry could translate what it says :?:


がんばれ日本 -- Ganbare Nihon (sometimes pronounced Nippon)

ganbare -- persevere, do one's best
Nihon, Nippon -- Japan

Saturday afternoon I went to a show put on at a community center with performers from various countries (including Japan) singing songs, dancing, etc. The audience was mostly Japanese, of course. Above the stage there was a banner that read:

がんばって東日本 -- Ganbatte Higashi Nihon

higashi -- east

ganbatte and ganbare have the same meaning and have the same verb route, they are just slightly different conjugations related to the politeness level, but in this sort of context either are fine. The east end of the main Honshu island, aka Higashi Nihon, is where all the big troubles lie.

User avatar
Greg Beetham
Tower of Babel
Posts: 6155
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 3:25 pm
Location: Townsville, Qld. Australia
Contact:

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby Greg Beetham » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:31 am

Nice pix and story coverage Henry, I really like that first one with the beautiful costumes and the flowers in the background.
We get quite a bit of coverage and updates about the tsunami disaster here, a TV crew from the ABC is currently there bringing us up to date interviewing people and showing how the recovery is getting on. One of the saddest things is the orphaned children, they have visited them and that will be aired soon. I would like to see them visit Townsville’s sister city Iwaki more thoroughly as well, they have been there before but only rather briefly.
One thing that has stuck in my memory was a father they were interviewing not long after the disaster; he was sifting through the debris around the school where his children attended to see if he could find any trace of them, he actually did find eventually, a school knapsack belonging to one of them…terribly sad, he said he had lost the will to go on, I think the horror in that story affected me more than anything else I had seen.
Greg

User avatar
artington
Imperial Ambassador
Posts: 565
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:22 pm

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby artington » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:35 am

Time flies. I was in Tokyo when the first big earthquake occurred on the Wednesday - it was barely reported in the UK - and further south in Kyoto for the really big one on the Friday. In both cases the sensationwas like being in a small boat in a storm but the movement was lateral rather than vertical. Quite nauseating but no more than that. Some friends who were in Tokyo on tbe Friday observed tower blocks swaying like tall trees in high winds. Of course, we did not know about Fukushima at the time although reports about a potential tsunami were coming through. At the time (and oossibly still) Japanese tended to prefer their own 3G designed phones to the iPhone/ Android smart phones we have here. In some ways they are more sophisticated and people were watching the course of the quake on maps on tbeir phones which were being updated constantly.

There have been photographic essays published over the course of the last twelve months illustrating the extraordinary progress tbat has been made in the reconstruction. Quite remarkable and an object lesson for us all. I am told that a common weekend pastime for Tokyo dwellers is to travel north at weekends to help out.

User avatar
bakubo
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 5697
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:55 am
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby bakubo » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:12 am

artington wrote:At the time (and oossibly still) Japanese tended to prefer their own 3G designed phones to the iPhone/ Android smart phones we have here.


Now smartphones (Android and iphone) are all the rage and are everywhere. You are right though that just awhile back most people did not use smartphones here. Now all the Japanese companies have multiple Android models and the places to buy them are everywhere. Tons and tons of models. As is usually the case in Japan, the companies, maybe with the help of the government, made sure their home market was protected until they were ready to get into it. Once they were ready though the changeover went full speed ahead and the marketing of the new phones went into high gear.

User avatar
bfitzgerald
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 3689
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:48 pm

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:25 pm

I wonder what the longer term side effects of the reactor leak will be for the region. I have to say the disaster was a very strong warning about the dangers of nuclear power, even with some of the best safety measures in the world problems can happen.

I hope lessons are learnt at least on this area

User avatar
bakubo
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 5697
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:55 am
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby bakubo » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:27 am

It is a bit hard for me to see how Japan can really permanently stop using nuclear, at least in the near/medium term, but there seems to be a whole lot of opposition to restarting the plants. They are down and they are doing inspections of them and also reexamining each plant's emergency plans using updated, more stringent standards because of the huge earthquake and tsunami last year. The government wants to restart some of them, especially with summer coming and the higher electricity use then, but they are getting a whole lot of pushback.

Japan is seriously looking at natural gas. They already have some power plants that use it and they are running probably at full capacity now since the nuclear plants are shutdown. They have to import it though since they don't have any. It also takes time and money to build new plants, which Japan will need if it really stops using nuclear. Like anywhere though it can also take lots of time, sometimes decades, to get approval to locate a big energy plant somewhere. There is always local opposition that must be overcome because of the NIMBY principle that is just as strong in Japan as it is anywhere else.

Geothermal energy is something else that is often discussed here since Japan certainly has a lot of that. It is why there are onsens all over the country. :) I remember reading somewhere a year or two ago how it is not nearly as much of a slamdunk sort of energy source as some people might think though because of various issues, including environmental issues. I don't remember any details right now though.

It is amazing what Japan has been able to accomplish over the approximately last 150 years since the beginning of the Meiji Era considering that only about 20% of the country is not mountains and they have very few natural resources.

User avatar
[SiC]
Imperial Ambassador
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:16 am
Location: Hammarö, Sweden
Contact:

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby [SiC] » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:07 pm

bakubo wrote:Image


Love this one Henry :)
I have great hopes for humanity.

/Z!
Sony A700, A580, Nex-5t, KM D7D & VC-7D, M Dynax 500si
KM 17-35 F2.8-4 D, M 50 F1.7 RS, M 135 F2.8, M 28-100 F3.5-5.6 D, M 100-200 F4.5, T 70-300 F4-5.6 Di USD, S 18-55 F3.5-5.6 SAM, S 18-70 F3.5-5.6
Sony hvl-f42s, Minolta 3600 HS D
Sony Z1C & Z2

User avatar
bakubo
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 5697
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:55 am
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby bakubo » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:18 am

[SiC] wrote:Love this one Henry :)
I have great hopes for humanity.


Thanks. I took this photo while wondering around one morning in Kanazawa in 2003. These little girls were walking in front of me going to school. A touching scene, I thought. :)

User avatar
bakubo
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 5697
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:55 am
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: One year anniversary of disaster in Japan

Unread postby bakubo » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:39 am

A glimpse of life in Tokyo these days. :lol: Out in front of one of the big electronics stores (Bic Camera) in Ikebukuro today they had this personal radiation detector/counter for sale:

Image


Return to “Off Topic”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron