A Japanese Tragedy

March 15, 2011
Rubble and a damaged car after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami

Taken from the BBC website

Living in the Pacific is dangerous. The chance of being shaken up by an earthquake is high. We saw that in New Zealand a few weeks ago. They had one six months previously, but it didn’t cause the kind of devastation we saw recently. And now we have Japan where the earthquake measuring at 8.9 was the largest in the country’s history and the sixth largest recorded in the world. The quake was bad enough, but it was the tsunami that followed which caused the most damage. Cars and buildings were swept up in the giant wave and ships of all sizes were flung together like toys in a washing up bowl.

The most shocking thing for me was watching the mixture of water and debris, parts of which were on fire, move forward at speed, literally eating up the land. It reminded me of that 50s film The Blob with Steve McQueen, or any number of disaster movies where the fast moving water/molten lava/oil chases the hero/heroine, but can somehow be outrun. Real life doesn’t work like that, ladies and gentlemen. Three days after facing the rage of Mother Nature, we are really starting to see the fallout, which can be seen on the BBC website where they contrast the state of the regions before and after the tsunami. The town of Minamisanriku for instance is now as flat as a pancake because many homes had been swept away. According to the BBC, half the town’s 17,000-strong population are still missing. And just to compound the suffering, they now have to deal with a nuclear plant, which has suffered three explosions, making things very dicey.

As is usual for such tragedies now there are stories of extraordinary survival. A man was rescued after spending three days on the roof of what was left of his home after he was swept 10 miles out to sea. His wife, however, was not so lucky and was lost to the ocean.

The world has been swift in its messages of support and the dispatch of specialist teams. I’ve been particularly impressed with the people of New Zealand who sent out their own rescue crew, even as they continue to struggle to rebuild the broken city of Christchurch. If anyone knows what the people of Japan are going through right now, they certainly do.

And just so you can compare and contrast, see here the compassion of these financial reporters

Makes you glad to be a human being in this world today, doesn’t it?



  1. It’s both amazing and terrifying how nature, almost casually, just swept over and through perhaps the most prepared place on Earth! I keep thinking that nothing could be worse with every new disaster that occurs, only to be proved wrong time and time again…

    • I’m absolutely with you on your assessment about disasters. That is one area of life where I don’t want to be proven wrong, but like you, I’m proven wrong again and again.

      Battering, as you say, the most prepared place on earth shows that Mother Nature, when she wants to, can be absolutely hardcore.

  2. Pie, watching that clip melted a few fuses in my head as I was left beyond speechless by their shallowness, about how the horrific headlines screening below are for the most part ignored.

    They are clearly *only* concerned with the state of the markets rather than the trauma and suffering of a nation as this tragedy unfolds.

    The lady on the left says ” all in all the markets taking this in their stride”…

    When the man follows with …”the human toll looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that” …

    …and then the lady on the right says “oil is moving lower, so this is good news for the U.S. economy…”

    I’m sorry to say that my first thought was …”the tsunami swept away the wrong people …these arrogant heartless snotty conceited self-important cocky pompous snug ignorant selfish materialistic supercilious airheads don’t deserve space on this planet!”

    I can sarcastically say that it’s really good that that cruise liners didn’t have to interrupt their schedules… AGGGH I think I’m going to explode!

    These imbeciles deserve to be instantly sacked and blacklisted from working for the rest of their lives, they should live in poverty and hardship without any help.

    Harsh? No I don’t think so, they clearly have zero emotion and certainly no humanity so they won’t even flinch at the change.

    I sincerely hope that there are consequences from this clip and that at least three heads roll.

    • What do you think are the chances of that? Really?

  3. Hi Pie, I’ve calmed down now… kind of, and wanted to add:
    Who better to offer assistance than Kiwi’s who have just suffered their own earthquake tragedy, the mere fact of turning up is a mega-strong message of support and solidarity as the loss of the language school in the CTV building in Christchurch sadly included many Japanese fatalities and has been constantly covered in the Japanese media.

    The Japanese specialist search and rescue teams came to Chistchurch without hesitation and in returning the favour we show how much we appreciated their help, and how much we feel their pain.

    In an ideal situation ALL the peoples of the world should be mates… .. and it’s what mates do.

    • I think when it comes to the crunch, most of us CAN be mates. There’ll always be at least one muppet that spoils the party, but ultimately they are of no consequence and will eventually drown in the mire of their own making. Let’s concentrate on those who actually create value who you’d be forgiven for thinking are as rare as rocking horse shit. It’s at times like these that they start to emerge and shine.

  4. The human toll is greater than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that? Yeah, I feel better

    • Feel better? I’m ecstatic! I was worried for a moment, because I thought my fictitious shares were going down the swannee. But the markets held their nerve against the thousands of pesky people dying on the Japanese shores. Yes, there’s much to be grateful for…

  5. Indeed it is truly shocking and really makes you glad to be alive and living on this planet.

    It is a shame it also has to provide shelter for the bankers of this world!

    hey ho.

    I am in awe of how people (real people) come together to help out with things like this – we truly can be an awesome animal!

    • When we get it right, we do it brilliantly. Gives hope to the human race, does it not?

  6. Sitting at home, watching the news and seeing all the terrible effects the tsunami and earthquakes have is all…just really heart breaking. Like, seeing entire neighborhoods and all these houses just floating amidst all the debris….and all the farm-rice-fields that people worked so hard for all being ruined. The fact that thousands of people are buried beneath the many feet of debris. It’s just so terrible. Yes, its good seeing all the people working together and helping each other through the crises, but still.

    And, I’m scared about the nuclear plant, especially because they are saying its slowly spreading. Worrying about friends and family but not being able to really help is not a nice feeling.

    I hate, that being on the other side of the world, there isn’t much else we can do that raise and donate money.

    An informative blogpost ^^

    • It is a truly scary time. I cannot imagine being so far away from friends and family potentially in peril and the feeling of impotence that brings. We can only hope things will calm down by the end of the week and perhaps the recovery can begin/continue unhindered. I really wish the best for you and your loved ones. If you can do so, please keep us informed. I usually reply fairly promptly. I hope to give a sensible response.

  7. Our earth is truly crying at the amount of destruction caused by man in the name of development. Since last year there has been no halt in the number of natural disasters from Haiti to Australia to NewZealand and now Japan. Its time to take action to protect our earth now!

    • All our individual actions will become a collective and eventually turn the tide (no pun intended). It’ll take some work, but it can be done. Thanks for visiting my blog. You are more than welcome to return and make comments whenever you fancy.

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