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The Quake Through Eyes of Slashdot Japan 265

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gonna-get-worse-before-it-gets-better dept.
I suspect most of you are not aware that Slashdot has an editorially independent counterpart in Japan. After the recent Quake and Tsunami, I asked my counterpart over there, Shuji Sado, if he would share with us something from Slashdot.jp. What follows is a collection of translated reader comments from your parallel selves in Japan. I want to wish all the Slashdot JP employees and readers the best of luck. Know that you have friends here. Hit the link below to read what it's like there right now.
After the massive earthquake struck Sanriku-Oki on March 11, huge turmoil spread around centering eastern Japan. Right after the earthquake, damaged by the Tsunami hitting the Tohoku coastal area near the epicenter, it was so devastating that the true extent of the damage is yet not assessable (M8.4 earthquake erupted off the Sanriku Coast, Japan in turmoil). Phone calls were hard to reach, and e-mails were delayed, causing safety inquiries of relatives and friends in the area affected by the quake extremely difficult to get through. On the other hand, although Kanto region was struck hard, people are handling the situation calmly. Below are some of the comments sent to Slashdot Japan.

This is a report restricted to Kanto area. I was in the office in the heart of Tokyo, and probably because the building was old, I felt strong swaying horizontally. (It was not a vertical shake. ) It might be a bit misleading to call it “severe” but, I have never experienced being in a building moving sideways in such strong motions, despite that my office was in the lower level. After I evacuated to the park, there came another shake which sent cold shiver down my spine as I heard the surrounding buildings making strange squeaky noises and deforming into parallelogram shape. I went back home on foot. Privately owned stores and those selling non-daily necessities were closed. But fast-food restaurants and convenient stores were opened and seem as usual, except that there were more customers. Just about how crowded it gets during lunch time. We can call it a turmoil with everyone wondering how to get home faced by severe traffic congestion and paralyzed railroad system, but my personal view is that this earthquake is not that devastating, and Kanto area will be back to normal by Monday if there aren't any more earthquakes. To my surprise, everyone around me remained calm, probably being used to having earthquakes.#1916274

This is another report from metropolitan area in Tokyo. My observation and impression of the situation is exactly the same. Once the aftershock subsided, all the urban functions were back on operation except the railroad system, which made me think “Wow, that's just what Japan is about!” There were just few things that were not normal: the room was submerged by busted plumbing and the streets were overcrowded with people. (#1916333)

Right after stricken by the earthquake, infrastructures and transportation facilities stopped operating, and it became the biggest problem even in the non-victimized area. Most of the people working in Tokyo take about 30minutes to hour-and-a-half to commute to their offices from their residences not only in Tokyo but also in Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa using railroad transportation system. Although few of the railway lines got back to operation, many people were left with options to either spend the night in institutions such as schools and concert halls or walk back home which would take several hours.

With determination, I walked back home from Hachioji area to Nerima. On the way, I purchased a recycled bicycle at a bicycle shop. Now at 23:23, I'm home. It took me 5 hours. (#1916403)

Struck by the earthquake around 3pm while I was riding the Yokohama-line. Passengers were guided to walk to the close-by station and it was already 4:00pm. After that, we were left on our own to go wherever. I walked for 5 stations, and it took me 4 hours to get back to the office. (#1916480)

However on the next day of the earthquake disaster, most of the transportation facilities were operating and at present, most of the railway lines are running under special emergency timetable. Now, most attention goes to the power problem and the critical status of the nuclear power plants. By the devastating earthquake, some of the thermal and nuclear power plants in the Kanto and other eastern areas were shut down. The cooling system failed at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and despite the attempts to cool down the reactor externally, the situation is yet not contained. Meanwhile (although it is still not at a level of casting imminent hazard upon the residents and the environments of the surrounding area), disperse of the radioactive substances was announced causing anxiety to grow among those mainly in the Kanto area (Fushikusha Diichi Nuclear Power Plant status, CRITICAL). As to the nuclear plant related issues, news papers and TV have provided inaccurate information to stir up confusion, but it was Dr.Hayano, a professor at Tokyo University and a researcher at CERN, whose accurate explanation on the situation provided through Twitter eased the anxiety of many people(@hayano). Shut down of the power plants attributes to the power shortage problem. The attempt to decrease the power consumption by dividing the region of coverage to cut down power alternately, which is called the “planned power outage”, was implemented for the fist time(TEPCO carried out rolling outage). There were confusions as the announcement was delayed to inform which of the region was to go out of power in what time. However, websites such as “”Operation Yashima ” (the power conservation strategy depicted in the popular Japan Anime “Next Generation of Evangelion”) spread out the idea of power conservation and helped to keep the rolling blackout to a minimum. Also, daily commodities and fuel shortage is a problem. Water, bread, and preserved foods were soon gone from the stores, and gasoline and kerosene are also under-supply. Devastating news drove panicked people to buy excessive amount of toilet paper, batteries, and flashlights which became a problem. Slashdot Japan has posted a story Why do people panic buy toilet paper? which received much attention.

On my way back home, I stopped by a drug store to buy daily necessities. But all the toilet paper which is usually stacked under the banner was totally gone. There are some twitters saying that it reminds them of the Showa oil shock, but as I didn't experience that on real time, I have no clue. If anyone knows why there are people who would go out and panic buy, please let me know undercover.

Yesterday 3/15, I was in Hokkaido (island located at the north end of Japan), and just before I was about to fly back to Tokyo, my sister gave me a hasty phone call to bring back diapers for her baby. She told me her baby was wearing her last diaper, and all the diapers were emptied from the shelves of all the retail stores she could go to. Luckily, Hokkaido was not affected by the earthquake, and daily commodities were still on shelves as usual. So I brought her back a huge stack of diapers, two loaves of bread, 4 packs of ramen-noodles, cookies, and batteries. These panics are expected to wane by this weekend. Contrary to these hysterical panics, some raise their voices to say “Especially at a time like this, we should live as we usually do”. Some intellects and celebrities were calling on to “those who were affected only slightly by the disaster” to “go out and continue to consume for the sake of reducing the impact on the economy”. But they were criticized for “lacking in prudence”, drawing much attention (In a crisis like this, is it indiscreet not to practice “self-regulation”?)

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The Quake Through Eyes of Slashdot Japan

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  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:43AM (#35517436) Homepage Journal

    We can call it a turmoil with everyone wondering how to get home faced by severe traffic congestion and paralyzed railroad system, but my personal view is that this earthquake is not that devastating, and Kanto area will be back to normal by Monday if there aren't any more earthquakes.

    That was pretty close to my response from my armchair before we got news of the extent of the nuclear plant failures. I felt pretty low about it at the time, and although I came to terms with it and got to just feeling dumb already this made me feel even better. Hope springs eternal, I guess. Once again, the Japanese impress the rest of us with their patience.

    • by decora (1710862)

      that was also my personal view, before i saw the video of pool of garbage, on fire, devouring the countryside, wiping away houses like they were toys.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      That was pretty close to my response from my armchair before we got news of the extent of the nuclear plant failures. I felt pretty low about it at the time, and although I came to terms with it and got to just feeling dumb already this made me feel even better.

      I think it comes down to any situation being relative. In another life, world events were of direct personal importance because I tended to be moved around according to geopolitical hot spots. Now they are of a more abstract importance as my life is no longer so closely connected to world events. During that time, the Gulf War continued to be of importance for years after mainstream USA seemed to consider it history. Along those lines, I've been in natural disasters and seen life shift gears under powe

    • My japanese geography is mostly wikipedia, but I think the Kanto region [wikipedia.org] wasn't hit too badly. The Fukushima region [wikipedia.org] where the damaged plants are is to the north. Sendai [wikipedia.org] is north of that (it's at least not in the Kanto region from my reading of those maps).

      It seems like as far as the earthquake goes, the Kanto region was just fine. The nuclear plant is the concern in the kanto region now [dailymail.co.uk] and neither you nor the japanese slashdotter could have forseen that.

      So... I guess you're both justified?
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @01:20PM (#35519888) Homepage

      We can call it a turmoil with everyone wondering how to get home faced by severe traffic congestion and paralyzed railroad system, but my personal view is that this earthquake is not that devastating, and Kanto area will be back to normal by Monday if there aren't any more earthquakes.

      That was pretty close to my response from my armchair before we got news of the extent of the nuclear plant failures. I felt pretty low about it at the time, and although I came to terms with it and got to just feeling dumb already this made me feel even better.

      Well, you may feel eager to feel better from hearing 'good' news - but really, you're just fooling yourself. The OP may 'feel' the earthquake was not devastating and he may 'think' the Kanto area will be back to normal, but his views are from a worms eye point of view outside of the area where the quake hit. The relatives of the thousands of dead and the tens of thousands without homes or jobs would probably disagree with his estimation that the quake was 'not devastating'. The Kanto area may be back to normal by Monday, but the Kanto area wasn't hit by the full force of quake - the Tohoku area was. *They* aren't going to be back to normal by Monday. They aren't going to be back to normal next year.
       
      This whole report is infuriatingly meaningless. It's like hearing from residents of St. Louis a week after Katrina - "yeah, we got a couple of inches of rain, but we're cool now". It's insulting as hell to the dead and the homeless and those whose livelihoods were destroyed.

  • by Heian-794 (834234) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:43AM (#35517444) Homepage

    Hey, some of us live in Japan and are members of both Slashdots! (I admit, though, that I post on this one far more often than the Japanese one, which I mostly just read.)

    Everyone here in Japan appreciates the outpouring of support that we're getting from the world.

    If you can spare some money, donate it to the newly-homeless residents of Miyagi and Iwate. And if you're planning a visit to Japan in a year or so, when things have settled down, visit the afflicted areas and help them get back on their feet.

    I myself was in Tokyo, far from the epicenter, and even all the way out here buildings shook, books tumbled from shelves, and appliances flew around the room. Still assessing the damage. The trains stopped and lots of people were stuck spending the night in their offices, or walking huge distances back home.

    Right now it's best to leave assistance work to the professionals, but in a month or so I plan to go up north to help out, even if it's just assisting oldsters with putting the shelves back up and carrying things.

    To everyone who's thinking of us out here, thank you again!

    • I want to move to Japan, so I am planning a trip in a year or so; but I intend to spend $1000 on the flight and $2000-$3000 USD on hotels, food, etc. Busy city center Tokyo is not my style, I am more of a soft country setting type; I meditate a lot and enjoy playing Go and studying Aikido, have considered Judo.

      Tourism is a contribution, isn't it? Money inflow into the economy. I have time, but not money to give to charity... but if I'm spending time there, I wouldn't mind helping locals out that need so

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HuntingHades (2010088)
      Are there organizations taking donations specifically for those now homeless residents that are known to be legit? The main organizations that get advertised for donations here in the US are the Red Cross and Save the Children, but I don't know where their particular efforts are focused.
      • I know the Japanese Embassy in my home country (Slovakia) set up a donation fund. Have a look on the embassy page in your country, might give you some info.

        • by PhilHibbs (4537)

          I heard on the news yesterday that the Japanese government were specifically not asking for humanitarian aid at this stage, just for search & rescue and other logistical expertise.

    • by Reapman (740286)

      Thank you for your comment, I'm glad to see a posting like this on Slashdot - I find this more informative then a lot of the news coming from the big media. I have only been to Japan a few times but I was very impressed with the people there and it's quite heart wrenching seeing all of you go through this.

      I have done what little I can from here, but you brought up a good point about helping with the areas once everything calms down. I know your just one of many millions of people over there but if you so

    • by Asic Eng (193332)

      If you can spare some money, donate it to the newly-homeless residents of Miyagi and Iwate.

      I would like to - could you provide a donation link?

    • Tomorrow I should be arriving at Narita Airport, but, with the scaremongering from mexican TV media, that I now hate even more than I thought previously possible, I canceled my trip. The worry of my family was simply unbearable, despite the fact that many of them live in one of the worst hit areas by the mexican drug war, while we had planed to stay in Kyoto, where everything is normal and safe. I canceled my bookings, but left them the money so they cab have some liquidity for the time being. My wife and I

  • Panic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aquaseafoam (1271478) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:50AM (#35517554)
    The only ones who seem to be panicking are western media. I saw a comment from a Japanese man accusing BBC News of attempting to incite a panic.
    • Re:Panic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:55AM (#35517622)

      And rightfully so. Here in Europe, people are buying masks and iodine pills. I don't know much about geography or wind currents, but no matter where I look there is a) half a planet between us and the plants that cooked off and b) at the very least either the Himalaya or two oceans and some land in between us and the disaster, no matter what direction the death cloud could take, it simply cannot reach us.

      Do you think people would go so apeshit about something that happened half a world away if it wasn't for the panic hype of the media?

      • Re:Panic (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MrQuacker (1938262) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:05AM (#35517770)
        The only thing they have to compare it to is Chernobyl, and that was a big deal for Europe. Also, "You're all gonna die!?" drives more traffic than "S'all good, Japs got it taken care of."
      • There isn't much point to buying masks and iodine pills if you're not in Japan or known to be immediately downwind, and taking iodine doses without qualified medical advice to do so is a very bad idea, the news reports I saw said as much.

        The radiation will be spread so thinly that there won't be any health effects in Europe.

      • Re:Panic (Score:5, Insightful)

        by slim (1652) <john@hart n u p.net> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:07AM (#35517822) Homepage

        I work for a multinational company. On our internal system, someone in Bangalore broadcast the news about the Japanese earthquake soon after it happened. The first response? An American saying "We're hearing about it on the news. I sure hope you're OK in India."

        Maps are useful.

        • by poity (465672)

          I have a feeling that was said out of courtesy rather than ignorance.

        • To be fair, the earthquake was REALLY big. ;)

        • by Wiarumas (919682)
          It is a bit of a stretch, but I bet they thought that waves would also hit India much like they hit Hawaii and California.
          • by slim (1652)

            It is a bit of a stretch, but I bet they thought that waves would also hit India much like they hit Hawaii and California.

            By washing over the whole of Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar? Or by picking its way through the Indonesian sea? Or perhaps by doing a u-turn around Australia?

            • by JanneM (7445)

              Nah, it's taking the scenic route. It's booked shipment across the pacific, is crossing the Panama canal and headed for Rotterdam harbour. There it'll get off, hitch-hike to Amsterdam where it'll hook up for three weeks with a post-functionalist performance artist from Berlin named Hilda. Once they're out of booze and drugs they'll take the train southeast, get beat up by Italian police when they try to consummate their love at midnight in Fontana de Trevi, then sneak aboard a bulk freighter headed across t

        • by Ogive17 (691899)
          Is it possible he didn't hear "Japan" and thought the report was about India? If you hear the news from someone in India, your first instinct is that is where it happened.

          And keep in mind it was after midnight in the US (east coast) when it happened. TV programming is very limited at that time unless you happen to be on one of the 24hr news stations.
        • I'll be charitable and assume he was worried about Tsunamis? I mean, it'd be night impossible for an Earthquake in Japan to generate a Tsunami capable of getting to India (becasue of land masses in the way, not distance), but if you weren't really thinking you might just think about the 2005 Tsunami and get worried.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        NBC Nightly News has run a segment with their chief medical correspondent two nights in a row telling concerned people on the west coast of the US to NOT bother buying iodine pills because there is no risk to them, and the pills do more harm than good unless you really need to take them.
      • Re:Panic (Score:4, Insightful)

        by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:05PM (#35518724)

        Oh please. Maybe it's different where you live, but nobody around here -- Germany -- is "going apeshit" and there is zero panic. Unless you consider turning away from nuclear energy as a panicky reaction, but that's not what you were talking about. Maybe some people are buying masks and iodine pills, but I haven't heard any reports about that being a wide-scale phenomenon, and besides, having those around might not be the worst idea in the world if you're living in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant.

        I think everybody knows that Europe will not be directly affected by the nuclear accident in Japan, despite its massive scale. (The indirect effects, mostly economical, are something else entirely.) And of course, the whole thing, the devastation after the earthquake/tsunami as well as Fukushima, is a huge, huge story in the media -- and it damn well should be.

      • Hell, the Illinois Department of Public Health department issued a warning not to take Potassium Iodide because idiots were taking them out of fear.

        http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-dont-take-potassium-iodide-state-advises-20110317,0,2270076.story [chicagotribune.com]

      • "Here in Europe, people are buying masks and iodine pills."
        Not sure what part of Europe you are posting from, but here in the UK I've not seen anybody buying masks or iodine pills. Conversation with friends and work mates is about how terrible a disaster has happened, there is no fear that we might be affected.

        Not even our most poor quality media are suggesting that people should be taking precautions.The media coverage is mostly about the terrible situation Japanese folk find themselves in. A very small pa

      • In Europe? I know people in California (who are idiots) are buying up Potassium-iodine pills, but at least they have some sort of vaguely reasonable fears. The trade winds out of Japan do more or less blow to California. It would take more nuclear material than is in any ten power plants have to create a radiation threat thousands of miles away, but at least they mostly have the wind patterns right. How could there possibly be a threat in Europe?

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        That is because of your terrible education system.
        Actually I have heard people in the US say that they would be doing the same thing. It is really bad that people are just reacting with mind-numbing fear. I had a friend of mine say that this is why she will always be anti nuclear power than accused me of being heartless. The thing is that the reports are that a worker got a 10 rad dose. Not good because it is twice what you should get in a year. Thing is that a 10 rad does means that your chance of health

    • Re:Panic (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:29AM (#35518166)

      Hell, an interesting thing I've not heard covered was about the criminal element. If the same thing happened in North America, besides widespread panic we'd have tons of looting and rioting and everything basically run amok.

      Yet in Japan it seems everyone is still calm, peaceful and there's still an orderly society, as if nothing really happened.

      And I'm guessing it appears stores are still open to pick up necessities - here the shelves would be cleared of everything within the hour as everyone starts hoarding.

      Is it really that orderly over there?

      • Re:Panic (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WhiplashII (542766) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:59AM (#35518618) Homepage Journal

        I don't know if it has changed in the few decades since I lived there, but back in the day the police just took care of the minor crimes - organized crime eliminated the perpetrators of the big stuff, like murder or looting. Bad for business!

      • Re:Panic (Score:5, Informative)

        by Heian-794 (834234) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:26PM (#35519084) Homepage

        tlhIngan, in central Tokyo (for what that's worth), everything is still open, but hoarding is getting ridiculous and essentials are becoming harder to find. Milk, rice, bread products of all kinds, and noodle products of all kinds are scarce. Unhealthy cup ramen, a staple "emergency" food, is completely unobtainable. Fresh fruit and vegetables are more easily obtained than dried noodles!

        Nerves are fraying more at the train stations, where lines to get on are stretching out the station and down the block. Some places are getting one train every half hour where they normally have a train coming every 2-3 minutes. There were stories on the news of knife fights as people tried to cut in line at gas stations.

        I'm very thankful that Japan isn't as automobile-centric as the US is. Four of the five supermarkets withint walking distance of me have no parking, so we're all on an even footing when it comes to carrying our goods out of the store. In a car-oriented society (and rural Japan is one, somewhat), people would be loading up their monster SUVs with many times their own weight in food, and there would be nothing left for anyone who's limited to a few dozen pounds of goods.

        Living through this situation makes me fully understand that visual impairment -- enough to prevent you from driving, anyway -- is, in the US, a handicap just as debilitating as more-recognized ones. If any of you readers work at your town or city halls, make "getting food and transportation available to people without cars" a main pillar of your disaster plan. It's not these people's fault that American society was built around something they have no access to.

      • Re:Panic (Score:4, Informative)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @01:16PM (#35519822)

        And I'm guessing it appears stores are still open to pick up necessities - here the shelves would be cleared of everything within the hour as everyone starts hoarding.

        I guess you missed the part in TFA that mentioned hording in some areas.

        I was in Houston, TX when it got hit by Ike. The majority of the city was without power for at least a week (in some cases at least two). That affected a lot of the normal sundries of life in the area. It was very surreal driving down the highway and seeing huge lines at gas stations. My cynical side expected chaos. But life went on rather smoothly, all things considered. My impression was finding the nearby Wal-Mart having power and providing a charging station for people's cell phones and giving away bannanas (while throwing out massive amounts of perishables) and doing their best to stock shelves. I would expect there is at least some hording involved there, but then at the same time, when your entire meat and produce section is bare there's little surprise that your canned goods are going to sell out. We had BBQ every night. Our neighborhood ended up having a nightly block party where a community grill was fired up. Things did not go all Road Warrior over night. That's not to say there wasn't crime; I think the statistic was somewhere around 100 cases of looting in Houston. Nearby Galveston had it worse in almost every way from damage to crime.

        Now - that experience pales in comparison to what has to be going on in some parts of Japan. But I think there's been trials-by-fire in various parts of the US that demonstrate that everything does not "run amok"; at least, not in every region.

    • This remembers me the last year's AH1N1 scare. People scared around the world and here in Guadalajara, México, people enjoying the unexpected holidays going to restaurants and doing shopping. The ones that were worst affected were desperate mothers that had to deal with the children out of school.

  • The irony! (Score:5, Funny)

    by DWMorse (1816016) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:52AM (#35517596) Homepage

    Top of Slashdot.org : Japan Earthquake Story
    Top of Slashdot.jp : iPhone Angry Birds discussion.

    I just found it amusing. =)

  • The magnitude of this thing defies description. A lot of us in the outside world look on with with admiration as the Japanese people pull together and "work the problem" in their particular way.

    My Japanese is near non-existent, so apologies if this is out of place, but...

    Ganbatte kudasai!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My mother was a Saint! Get out!

  • Pity this news is posted online and not in a print newspaper. The solution would be at hand.
  • CmdrTako?

  • Engrish (Score:5, Funny)

    by spudnic (32107) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:05AM (#35517774)

    Man. There English sucks.

  • by srussia (884021) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:05AM (#35517782)
    Let's hope slashdot.jp doesn't post a story on slashdot.org coverage. This could result in the dreaded mutual slashdotting. Worse than crossing the streams, worse the LHC blackhole, and yes, worse than the divide-by-zero error!
  • by tomt127 (2017608) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:06AM (#35517792)
    Hang in there Japan. Show the world the way people are supposed to deal with a crisis.
  • The comment from slashdot.jp are fairly positive, but reports from family there are not as rosy. Last night (US time) we talked to my wife's aunt who lives in Saitama, just north of Tokyo proper. They have electricity but no tap water. She has to walk to a local distribution site and carry water home. She reports that the grocery stores are empty and the stores are not getting the supplies they would normally get. This includes staples like rice, milk, and yes, toilet paper. They are unable to buy gas

    • This is not so bad, although there is a need for food. Water distribution is paramount and apparently there is enough clean, safe water, just not easy distribution, yes? Somebody definitely needs to air lift in some rice; it has enough energy density to keep you alive through this, and can be a primary staple mixed with some easily acquired Nori and dried fish... not great, but not bad. Those other things would come scarce, but eh, a little goes a long way and you will be thankful for the bits of flavor

      • by joh (27088)

        Japan are a strong people. These things are an inconvenience, but they will pull through. It's in their nature.

        It's not "nature". It's culture. Which is quite the opposite.

        • by treeves (963993)

          It's an idiom. Saying something is "in someone's nature", that "nature" does not mean the same thing as the "nature" in "nature vs. nurture".

      • by molo (94384)

        As for water supply, how much water do you think a 70 year old woman can carry? Not very much.

        Yes, it is not terrible, but it is not very good. She at least says it is better than during/after WWII, that this doesn't even compare.

        -molo

        • Then someone should help her carry the water. She doesn't live on an island in a little box 30 miles away from anyone; she has neighbors, they can pool resources.

          Also, I have pitched a 70 year old Japanese woman over face first against her own twisted arm. Don't think that because they're that old they're not in better shape than you; she rolled out of it easy, easier than I can and that was a pretty fucking aggressive attack. She also corrected my throwing technique; apparently I had left myself a lit

        • by Shinobi (19308)

          A 70 year old woman can carry quite a lot. Old people are tougher than you think.

          At age 85, my grandfather on my mothers side still did 40 pushups and 40 situps every day. He became senile 1½ year ago, at age 89, with frontal lobe complications(Meaning he became very aggressive), and became a threat to my grandmother. I actually had trouble holding him back.

          My grandmother will be 90 this year. We have constant troubles with her, she's dragging furniture around, climbing around to wash windows, ch

  • The blog Colony Drop has been compiling quotes on the quake through the eyes of fans of Japan (and, more specificly, their cartoons), at their new website "Shit Otaku Say [tumblr.com]," which is recommended reading.

    Whether you interpret what you read there as sad or funny is up to you.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:12PM (#35518846) Homepage Journal

    Can anyone over there in Japan give me a better picture about the likelihood of TEPCO and the Japanese government having their feet held to the fire over this nuclear power plant's still being in operation?

    The hysterical Western media aside, this is an extremely bad situation for a nuclear power plant to even be able to get to in this day and age. By my limited understanding, the reason it's still in operation is basically because the Japanese government have let TEPCO get away with safety coverups and shortcuts on a regular basis, despite the IAEA warning them about this plant being dangerous. I support nuclear power, but these old plants really need to be replaced by modern, safe ones, and it looks like Japan is in desperate need of an attitude change towards its nuclear safety policy.

    Is such a change likely to happen now? Are those responsable for the lack of nuclear safety (yes, I call running a 50 year old nuclear plant near-enough to Tokyo that isn't designed for an extraordinarily large earthquakes/tsunamis in a region renowned for moderate ones, unsafe) likely to be brought to justice? Or is the culture between the Japanese government/TEPCO similar to that between the US government and ExxonMobil?

    • by Heian-794 (834234)

      Jez, this plant was in fact nearing the end of its life, and had been designed to withstand a quake almost as big as this one. Its retirement, and the introduction of a newer and safer plant, was already on the schedule when the quake came.

      TEPCO has told many lies to the public over the years, but the long-term planning of nuclear power and even this plant in particular isn't something that can be faulted. It's not even that close to Tokyo, despite the "Tokyo Electric Power" name -- roughly the same dista

      • Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Update
        Released March 17, 2011 | TOKYO, JAPAN


        Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--On Thursday, March 17, at 9:30 a.m. JST, firefighting trucks were dispatched to Tokyo Electric Power Company Incorporated's (TYO:9501) (TEPCO) (Tokyo) Fukushima Daiichi units 3 and 4 to replenish water in the spent fuel pool. Because Unit 3 has not reached a stable temperature, the spent fuel rods continue to produce heat. Water must be kept flowing through t
        • by Catbeller (118204)

          Could you please give the link for this info? Thanks!

          • by dj245 (732906)
            It comes from Industrial Info Resources [industrialinfo.com]. Registration seems to be required. Most of the articles on the Japanese earthquake and its repercussions so far have been free but my company has a subscription to the nonfree articles.
    • by savanik (1090193)

      The hysterical Western media aside, this is an extremely bad situation for a nuclear power plant to even be able to get to in this day and age. By my limited understanding, the reason it's still in operation is basically because the Japanese government have let TEPCO get away with safety coverups and shortcuts on a regular basis, despite the IAEA warning them about this plant being dangerous. I support nuclear power, but these old plants really need to be replaced by modern, safe ones, and it looks like Japan is in desperate need of an attitude change towards its nuclear safety policy.

      I agree, regular safety inspections of nuclear plants is a vital safety precaution, and falsifying reports or falsifying repair orders is cause for serious investigation. However, I saw a quote last night that basically brought it home for me: "We have a 43 year old nuclear power plant that got hit by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake, a 10 meter high wall of water, explosions from hydrogen leaks and fires, and the reactor vessels are still contained? And you still think that nuclear power isn't safe?"

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