Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Disaster in Japan part 1

Well, I haven't written anything since long time now... I have several reasons for that, but I guess mainly was laziness.  I was thinking on writing about several interesting experiences I had in 2010 here in Japan and some of my trips abroad, but was postponing and postponing... and never wrote anything. Now my situation is quite interesting and strange(at least for me...) so I have decided to start writing about it again.
As some of you might know, I'm currently living in Japan (almost 5years now) and the current situation here, due to a 9(it was 8.8) magnitude earthquake, is quite confusing for people outside and inside the country.
The situation can be summarized as follow: an magnitude 9 earthquake hit the northern part of Japan in the Pacific, it caused a HUGHE tsunami that destroyed everything on its way. One of the affected area was a the Fukushima Nuclear Plant, which was designed to sustain an earthquake of 8.3 (somewhere I read of 7.8)... an tsunamis of 10meters. Anyhow, because of the earthquake, the plant automatically stopped the reactor, but the cooling system failed. Then there was a backup system to cool down the reactor, that because of the tsunami, also failed... the battery powered system also failed. So basically, what should have never happend, happened. The water in 3 of the reactores started to decrease a the core started to melt. The company was trying (and is trying) its best to cool down the cores, but are having a lot of difficulties... for several very strange reasons. Then, there were explosion of the roofs of container from 2 reactors, which seems to have released some (or a  lot) radioactive material in the air. According to sources, the material released is not hazardous (still) to human health in places further than 20Km. In Tokyo and Chiba (where I live) the radiation levels are still under normal conditions and no reason to panic. Anyway, you can read about this in many other places with more detailed and accurate(?) information.
So we have images of the northern cities completely destroyed (very very sad ones), plus a Nuclear emergency (Level 4), plus many strong aftershocks, plus 2 blasts in the reactors and radiation levels increasing (little but increasing... but now are decreasing rapidly), plus a count of 10000+ of missing and dead people... what would someone abroad (or a foreigner living in Japan without Japanese knowledge) think of the situation? specially if they are not familiar with Japan geography and little knowledge of how the nuclear plant operates... well what you can see in news all over the world almost  a total destruction of Japan. Then what do you think happens when people read this news? well PANIC!
News claim that Japan is running out of food and water... but I go to the supermarkets and there is a lot of food and water still in the stands.The only thing that is difficult to find is the instant noodles!! They show a picture of a convenient store's stand without any food, but they don't explain that this stores are very, very small! so people, of course, PANIC... this news also cause people to run to the stores and buy a lot of food that they actually don't need and this makes the situation worst for the really affected areas, that really don't have food or water!
The point of my post is the reaction of our families abroad that don't have any other source of information than news that are exaggerated greatly. THey are watching reports of people that call foreigners and ask them to tell them their "juicy" stories, if they don't have a "good", then they don't care. So, it is just natural that families and friends get super worried about our welfare and start pressuring us to do things that are not yet necessary. It is very difficult to convince them that the situation is not as bad as they portrait it in the news, that things are going back to normal little by little.
Then the question for us living in Japan arises, Do I do what my friends and family want me to do? or Do I continue my life as if I was in the same situation in my country? (that is try to recover and continue with my normal life. )...
Well I will write more in my next post of how I'm dealing with the situation, and the factores that are affecting my decisions. For now I hope for the best, and my heart is with Japan and japanese people!


Julio said...

Si yo siempre trato de no llevarme por las "noticas", xq siempre exageran las situaciones, esta bueno que pongas estos post para informar mejor a la gente.

Jose Gonzalez said...

Tuanis mae. Es un problema eso de la noticias... pero di que le vamos a hacer.