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Japan Earthquake 2011 April 1, 2011

Posted by coolmikeol in Japan.
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As a way to get back on track with blogging, I’m going to write about my thoughts concerning everything with the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11. It’s been three weeks since the earthquake so it’s a good way also to look back on everything that has happened since then.

Image of the Japan Earthquake Map that shows all earthquakes since March 11. Click on this image to go to the Japan Earthquake Map.

I remember the day (or rather night where I live in the world) when the earthquake happened. I was just on my laptop like normal, checking my Facebook every so often, when I started seeing status updates about the earthquake. It was about 11pm local time when I at least knew about the earthquake, but I decided to check out the local news media to see if they were reporting it. The first video I saw of the destruction was just unreal, the fires, tsunami, the damage from the earthquake, video of the earthquake at the time it happened, all of it just horrified me. I couldn’t focus on my homework at all that I planned to work on during the night, because I was so distracted by the events going on on the other side of the world. My eyes and ears were glued to the TV watching every update of the situation, hoping that it wasn’t going to be that bad. Unfortunately, a 9.0 (previously 8.9) magnitude earthquake is not something that will have mercy on anyone or anything, so the damage for the earthquake prone country that usually has measures against these natural disasters was on a scale that Japan has not seen for many decades.

About a couple of hours later while watching the news which was focusing on the tsunami, the news started heeding warnings towards not just Japan, but to everyone of the Pacific Rim. Why? Because the tsunami generated that struck Japan with 10 meter high waves had the potential to cause damage to any coastline that was in the range of the epicenter. At first they were saying that there was no tsunami warning for my area, the San Francisco Bay Area, but then after a while the warning changed from none to a tsunami watch (chance of tsunami), then to a tsunami warning (tsunami is imminent) which worried my mom a bit since we live somewhat close to the ocean.Video of the early morning warning that was on local TV.

We did have several hours until the tsunami would strike the California coastline, we got the warning at around 1:30am and according to scientists it would reach the Bay Area by around 8:20am. Hawaii would be hit way before we did so I knew that if they didn’t receive a big wave we probably would not have anything to worry about. I was not awake at the time that the wave hit Hawaii but when I woke up at 7am I heard it wasn’t that big. There was no major difference in how the ocean looked, and what probably helped in doing so was because it was low tide at the time. The only place I heard that had some damage was at Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor 14, here is a video of some of the damage:

I ended up not getting much homework done due to me constantly watching TV, or checking status updates from friends online. I managed to sleep but only a few hours. I wasn’t worried too much about San Francisco being hit with a tsunami that could cause damage, but I was more worried about Japan itself, a place that I think about everyday, a place I want to visit so much. That Friday during the time at school my head had a constant headache, not from lack of sleep but from the worrying I was doing all day about Japan. I knew a couple of people there, mainly bloggers, but I felt really bad for the people of Japan and really wished I could help. I know that I can’t really go over there and help, moreover I would probably become a liability to the help effort there because of my low level of understanding of Japanese language, and also because I wouldn’t know where to start and who to work with. Every Friday I have my AnimeFX club and on that day they were collecting money to donate to the JSA (Japanese Student Association) for the relief effort in Japan. I donated a couple of dollars there. Some of my other friends I talked to about donating money for Japan said that they would rather donate to the Red Cross, which is understandable because there are greedy people who would take advantage of any situation to make some money, like taking some donation money for themselves. We don’t know where our money really goes to when we donate, right? Some person says they are accepting money for some cause, you give some, and then that person is gone. How do we know that our money reaches the people we are trying to support? That’s just some questions that runs through my mind when thinking about why some people will only donate to legitimate humanitarian organizations, and I know that is how we should be thinking before giving money for donation.

In the first reports of the damage from the earthquake, the news reported a brief status on the nuclear power plants in Japan, saying that they were automatically shutdown and were fine. After a couple of days, the problem mainly with the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants was starting. I don’t know much of the details, because much of the reported news is crap , but from pictures and info from non media people within Tokyo, Japan, there were explosions from some of the reactors I think from the water turning into steam and separating into Oxygen and Hydrogen gas, pure hydrogen gas alone being explosive when exposed to oxygen. There were other reports of partial meltdowns of the fuel rods, and that the radiation was spreading, thus leaving the whole area uninhabitable until the radiation breakdowns or is removed. I’m not going to go into more detail about the whole nuclear situation in Japan because I’m no expert in the nuclear field, and I don’t fully trust the mass media’s “storytelling”.

Being so far away, the only way for me to know what was going on in Japan was mainly from TV, the sources being from local news or the big news companies like CNN or FOX news. I didn’t really think about any problems with the news at first, but when listening to FOX news when my grandma was watching, what and how those reporters was reporting the situation in Japan, I became extremely annoyed with them. I mean I always disliked FOX news even before the Japan earthquake, but this put it over the top. All it sounded like is criticism, not constructive criticism, but destructive criticism about how the Japanese were handling the situation. For example, FOX news was saying that the Japanese government was downplaying the situation and was hiding info from the Japanese public, meaning that they are not being transparent with the overall situation. I thought to myself, “So what? You want to make people panic? I’m sure their government would tell their people info if they needed to for safety reasons.” As if our own government doesn’t hide info from us as well. If we were in a similar situation we would be in worse state due to a couple of reasons, besides government problems, we would have public unrest, and unpreparedness. The Japanese are handling the situation as best as they can; there is no looting, violence, and aid is getting to the people. America can talk because it has not gone through any kind of major nuclear problems, so until we can deal with a similar problem on our own soil, I don’t want to hear how bad the Japanese are handling the nuclear crisis. One more thing, I hate how these big media are making the whole nuclear thing in Japan sound like everyone is leaving the country as if it’s not fit to live in anymore. The radiation mainly affects the area around the power plant. Sure the radiation can spread via wind, water, food, through cargo shipping, etc., but most will dissipate when the radiation breaks down. The only main concern I have with the radiation is the more dangerous isotopes of elements that have longer half-lifes, but still I’d only worry if I was within 20 miles of the affected area. Anyways if your thinking where did I get all this info from, it’s just from what I heard on the TV so I guess my info is just as bad as anywhere else. I just wanted to express and explain how I feel about the mass media coverage of the crisis in Japan.

Here is a link to one of the posts I trust more about Japan: Tokyo Evacuation? Read Danny Choo’s other posts about Japan after the quake to get a different perspective about the situation in Japan from a normal person’s POV who lives in Tokyo.

*Sigh* I think I got everything I wanted to talk about out of my system. I’m sorry if I was pointing fingers but this post is about my experiences with the events and how I feel about everything related to the Japan earthquake event.

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