Tag Archives: tsunami

Predicting Ten Thousand Deaths in the Next Big Tokyo Earthquake

Millions of people in Japan are getting ever more nervous that “The Big One” will come soon – the earthquake that strikes Tokyo, the heart of Japan. This concern is certainly justified, ever since the 2011 earthquake raised the probability so dramatically. The last time I reported, newest research from the Tokyo University’s Earthquake Research Institute (ERI) found that there’s a 70% chance that a magnitude 7 quake will hit by 2016. Though a M7 is not nearly as big as the M9 quake that caused last year’s tsunami, Tokyo is one of the most heavily populated cities in the world, so the death toll will likely be substantial.

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How 3/11 Changed the People of Japan – Part 1: Fear, Trust, and Death

The March 11 tsunami left a scar on Japan last year. The confusion was widespread, and depression and suicides were imminent. But not enough people talked about how the tsunami has changed regular Japanese people since the tragedy. A while back, I looked at how Japan kept such strong national unity in the weeks and months after the crisis. However, I didn’t talk about the changes to the everyday Japanese lifestyle, or to the opinions and psychology of the people who were affected. Some of it is certainly surprising.

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Tsunami Survival Guide: Japanese Culture is Not Conducive to Staying Alive

If you have Japanese values, you shouldn’t expect to survive a devastating tsunami – let me explain. After Principal Michiko Kishima of Nobiru Elementary School felt the magnitude 9 earthquake on March 11, she immediately started following protocol. She ushered around 350 students and teachers into the gymnasium, located about five kilometres from the Miyagi coast, instead of leading them to higher ground up the hills behind the campus. “We didn’t think about fleeing up the mountain,” she said, in an interview a month after the incident. “We were prepared for aftershocks, not a tsunami.” With internet connections and cellphone networks disrupted, there was no way to know that a tsunami was heading towards them. “We would have gone up the mountain road; but there was no information, so I had to follow official policy.” The thunderous tsunami drowned many, and more froze to death by the end of the night. Could this have been avoided? It’s easy to say yes in hindsight, but the truth is that there are places that had the foresight to prevent such casualties. And surprisingly, such survivors went against everything the Japanese culture stands for.

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Top 4 Documentaries on the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake

If there’s one good thing we can say about nature’s merciless beating of Eastern Japan on March 11, it’s that this incident became the most studied natural disaster in the world. Aside from Japan’s extensive scientific detection instruments, ordinary people from coastguards to tourists had documented what happened. With all the information we have now, scientists are piecing together important points that help us understand, prevent, or prepare for another such devastating earthquake. Following are some fantastic documentaries that show a great deal of information in a format that’s very easy for the layperson to understand.

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The Cherry Blossoms Shall Bloom Again – An Overlooked Factor in National Unity

We’re now six months after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, and it’s time to look back on something so many foreign reporters talk about. In the days following the disaster, people were helping each other out, waiting in long lines for food, water, and gas, and were basically being what the foreign media (FM) thought was impossible – patient and calm. There are endless accounts of generosity towards strangers, and it seemed like everyone in Japan was looking out for one another. The question on everyone’s mind was “why,” considering the chaotic behaviour the world has witnessed in recent years. I offer an additional answer that it seems like everyone missed because… as you’ll see… you had to be there.

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The Great 2011 Tōhoku Quake

I was well aware of the Great Kantō Quake of 1923, which killed 140,000 people in and around Tokyo. I was also well aware that there is a roughly 80-year cycle, and that there was an extremely good chance that it would happen while I was here. But it still felt completely out of the blue today. I don’t want to make a habit of “personal blogging,” but I consider this news worthy.

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