For those of you who live under rocks or basements and haven’t checked the news lately, Japan suffered a M8.9 earthquake on Friday around 1-2 JST, which was about midnight EST. The epicenter of the quake was off the coast of Sendai, in the northern region, which set off a massive tsunami that literally crushed coastal cities and towns, heavily damaged other nearby regions, and crippled Japan’s power supply system, which set off a number of issues for their nuclear power plants. Three days after, the death toll sits at around 2,000 confirmed dead, many many more missing, and many injured, the most being in those coastal areas that were leveled by the tsunami.
Due to everything going on, most networks have delayed or canceled most anime airing this week, possibly longer. So for those of you who frequent my blog here or anime fans in general, you might want to use this time to polish up on some older stuff or something else completely. But since I have all this free time, I’d thought I’d share some of what I know and what I think about this terrible tragedy. Parts of this may also show up in expanded format on my politics blog TL;DR Politics, pay it a visit if you care.
Main Wiki Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_earthquake
TBS Live Stream (Japanese Only): http://www.ustream.com/streams/tbstv
YokosoNews (Translated to English, Live from Japan UTV Stream): http://yokosonews.com/
Earthquakes happen, and they happen with little or no warning. While advances have been made over the past 50 years to detect changes in the earth quickly and evacuate people, you cannot reliably predict the ground moving very well. That said, Japan, living in one of the most volatile regions of the world, has invested in a lot of technology to monitor the earth for shifts in the plates and attempt to predict them as quickly as possible. Friday’s M8.9 is the strongest they’ve experienced and the fifth strongest earthquake in the world. Having the center hit off the coast produced a massive tsunami that slammed into the coastal areas, immediately sweeping over the land and destroying virtually everything in its path.
The most significant damages sustained were nearest to the center, the Sendai area. Especially hard hit cities and towns include places like Minamisanriku and Rikuzentakata, among nearly a dozen places affected greatly by tsunami waves upwards of 25-30 feet. Elsewhere, most areas inland that were not damaged by the tsunami received little to moderate damage from the quake. Many regions in the north continued to experience aftershocks upwards of M3 to M6. Most of southern Japan, including Osaka, received little to no damage.
The biggest damage facing most of the people not affected by the tsunami are infrastructure and power. The Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered heavy damage when tsunami waves crippled their power systems, including backups, which prevented them from being able to fully complete shutdown cooling procedures on several of their nuclear reactors, causing several explosions. (see Nuclear Crisis) With only half of Japan’s 55 reactors running at full power, which provide roughly 30% of the country’s power needs, power in Tokyo and elsewhere has to be rationed to conserve, which prompted rolling blackout schedules, mainly during the night, which will likely disrupt most TV network schedules for those of you worried about your animu. Other major issues are shelter for refugees, food, water, medical supplies, and long-term rebuilding plans.
What About My Japanese Animes?
What are you, an insensitive fuck? Show a little respect. But if you must know about your favorite VA, manga-ka, or studio/staff person, almost everyone has checked in via the internet, Twitter, or other means. As of yet I have not heard of any confirmed death or injury. Bleach’s Tite Kubo was among one of the first to surface on Twitter, flooding the network with tweets and retweets. We know he doesn’t do anything else useful anyway, so “it can’t be helped!” If you are seriously interested in this sort of thing, I recommend you hit up ANN’s forums, Animesuki, or SA. ANN was keeping a list of confirmed seiyuus. I would not recommend visiting 4chan for news or commentary, as it will be laced with trolls and the art of trolling, so unless you can handle it, don’t.
Nuclear Reactors, How Do They Work?
A lot of news and views have been flung into the far reaches of space, including the space in-between Rush Limbaugh’s head, and surprisingly the man is on the same page with me this time. Yes, Fukushima Dai-ichi experienced explosions, but for all the media that has been telling you the world will end, nuclear holocaust, and whatever-whatnot, I don’t believe that will be the case. Example: http://morgsatlarge.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/
This article pretty much sums up, from an outside perspective, what likely course the engineers will take in securing the reactors. Honestly, comparing it to Chernobyl is both idiotic and stupid. Nuclear technology has come a long way since then, and the way their reactors are designed are far different from how the Soviets built Chernobyl. The main fact is, the control rods used in the emergency shutdown procedure had already been completed when the quake hit. The real problem was, during the cooling procedure, the tsunami, which wasn’t quite accounted for in the design (and likely will after this) knocked out the station’s power, and they only had so much reserve power to continue running the cooling system. It was a race against time, and time beat them pretty badly, in the end they had to dump seawater and boric acid in there to keep the system contained. The explosions released a little radiation, but nowhere near enough to be fatal, hell, I’m probably getting more from my four monitors than they’re getting out there.
I plan to expand this into a full op/ed about nuclear energy and why this incident will set back pro-nuclear movements in the US for another decade on TL;DR Politics. Linkage here when completed.
How Many Casualties?
It’s still difficult to pin down how many people were affected by this disaster. On Friday, initial death reports remained in the hundreds all day, as officials could not get to affected areas. Three days later nearly 2-3 thousand people are reported dead, thousands more injured, and many more unaccounted for. It’s estimated that close to 10 thousand people may be dead or missing by the end of all of this. Rescue efforts will likely be going on for weeks perhaps months.
What About International Aid?
Refer to the wiki article for the full list, but close to 45 nations have pledged support, with Japan requesting help specifically from the US, UK, Australia, New Zeland, and South Korea. Two of the US’ elite teams formed to handle earthquake response and recovery have been sent along with equipment and rescue dogs. The USS Ronald Reagen was dispatched along with other support ships to join the already-docked USS George Washington which was docked when the disaster occurred and took minimal damage. Other countries not directly in the country are making money and supply donations, and international rescue organizations are already taking up donations and moving supplies in as soon as they are able to. Some people, mostly Katrina victims, seem to think that we are once again stiffing them to help Japan, who they claim did not help them when Katrina hit. Japan actually did pledge money and support for Katrina, and was among the dozens of countries that did so. This of course is another shining example of why some Katrina victims, 5 years later, still live in FEMA trailers while the Japanese will have rebuilt their homes and businesses in a quarter of the time. GG assholes.
Ignorant Americans and Pearl Harbor
Look, I get it, your grand-pappy told you about the horror and disarray of Pearl Harbor during World War II and what the Japanese did, and you are totally justified in being pensive towards their people. Except you’re not justified and I don’t want to hear that you are. What happened at Pearl Harbor was unforgettable, and I would never profess to take that away from anyone living or dead, but there is a clear difference between Pearl Harbor and this disaster. One was man-made, the other was not. Pearl Harbor, the atomic bombs, even the goddamn war could have been prevented, this earthquake and resulting tsunami, could not. For someone to welcome the deaths of possibly ten thousand people simply because we were attacked by the Japanese military during the war, that is your justification for “revenge”? Was two atomic bombs leveled on two of their cities not enough for you? Was the pain and suffering of scores more from radiation not enough for you? Would you like to be exposed to radiation and explosions? Or maybe you would like to be washed out to sea to drown simply because you chose to live in an earthquake-prone land next to the water?
I honestly don’t care how you feel about the Japanese people, nor and I going to force you to believe anything, but have a little goddamn human compassion for people who never said a word about you or your family and don’t even know your name, probably didn’t even have any relatives that ever laid eyes on your grand-pappy. No one in this generation that isn’t a member of the armed forces knows anything about war and conflict, only what they perceive from others, the media, and divisive elements of political parties. Hell, I am breaking my rule never to talk about military conflict like I know what it’s about by typing this, because I made that rule specifically not to deal with military people.
But seriously, some of the shit I’ve read on FB and social media, downright terrible. You people should be ashamed your mother was wearing shoes when you dropped out of her vagina as she washed dishes.
So Really, What About Anime?
As of yet, I do not have any idea when the schedule will return to normal. Index 22 managed to air before the quake struck, but GOSICK 10 is still delayed last I checked. Kore wa Zombie and Dragon Crisis were both delayed for today, and Moshidora, one of the new Spring season premieres, was also delayed. It’s anticipated that most of the schedule will be disrupted for this week and maybe next.
How Can I Help?
Short Answer: Don’t Panic
Long Answer: Don’t Panic
In all honesty, the Japanese people are not like us crazy Americans. Earthquakes happen there as much as hurricanes in Florida, snow in Connecticut, or tornadoes in Kansas. When you live in an area of frequent natural disasters, you have a plan for evacuating, rebuilding, and moving on. That’s a concept a lot of us don’t have, either because we rely on someone else to do it for us, or we don’t live in those types of areas. This is not Japan’s first quake, and what they have done to withstand quakes has saved many more lives than will be reported dead or missing at the end of this. There is no mass hysteria, no mass pandemonium, and even people around here remark about how calm many of them are. Losing folks is sad, and I’m sure they am, but those left will rebuild and move on.
If you have family and friends in Japan and they have not contacted you yet, check out http://www.google.com/crisisresponse/japanquake2011.html for resources on how to find out where they are. People inside the country advise that you communicate with friends or family that have checked in with the internet, such as skype, email, FB, or twitter. Main phone lines are often jammed and being used by rescue officials for emergency purposes.
If you’ve like to donate to the Red Cross efforts, visit the page above or visit their website http://www.redcross.org and check out the donate page to learn more. Be careful of scams and sites claiming to take donations, as many groups and people will try to use this as a way to scam money from those thinking they are donating to the cause. I recommend only donating to the Red Cross or any other verified organization you know.
For news and information, if you know Japanese, check out NHK or TBS, both stream online thanks to UStream Asia. For English speakers, I’d recommend BBC, Al-Jazera, or other major foreign news organizations for mostly accurate news. The US new organizations, especially CNN and FOX, have been false reporting facts, especially with the nuclear crisis, and have been sensationalizing most of the coverage to paint this much more frenzied picture of the recovery efforts than it actually is. Also, I mentioned YokosoNews up top, an awesome guy by the name of Katz has been streaming from Japan since the start providing translation for local news and answering questions on his UStream channel, hit the link up top and look for the live feed button on the top of the page. He was an excellent resource for information all Friday as most news organizations had little contact with the inside and were only able to pull info from NHK World or other news sources. This man was kind enough to try and help determine the extent of the damage early on and if some areas were sparred. He continues to stream and keep folks up to date on what is going on inside the country.
And before you ask me why I didn’t write TL;DR about Haiti when they got their earthquake, it’s because I don’t blog about anime in Haiti, I blog about anime in Japan. Don’t play the racist card, I will delete your comment.
Regular blog programming will resume as soon as possible. Thanks for reading guys, now push me to 25k views so I can throw a fucking party in my underwear and sing “Highway to the Danger Zone” while wrestling a fucking monkey.