Positive thinking on Japan’s March 2011 crises

Tsunami wall at Tsu-shi, Japan

Tsunami wall at Tsu-shi, Japan (Image via Wikipedia)

I seem to have only posted negative things about the situation in Japan, so this post is an attempt to be positive. This post is really a list for myself.

The first, most obvious positive is: the Fukushima nuclear plant has not exploded.

Second:

The US Military support in Japan has been extensive, and unlike most foreign aid that is now arriving, the US military aid has been in Japan since the beginning.   This article offers a comprehensive list of all US military missions conducted, or to be conducted.   Rather than “running the show like they usually do in a disaster zone, U.S. troops are taking cues from the Japanese on how to assist in recovery efforts in the heart of the tsunami-ravaged coastline“.  This aid has not gone unnoticed by the Japanese people: In a e-mail I saw, forwarded to my mate from his father’s business account days after the Sendai earthquake:

“Lastly, I as a Japanese really appreciate the help from your government. American troops and some war ships now arrived close to my home town. They are working hard to help the people over there. They knew there is the risk of exposure to radiation, but they came. I can’t express how much I appreciate that.”

Admiral Robert Willard has stated he is willing to send troops “into the danger zone” to assist the Japanese Defense force, however he is “cautiously optimistic” that the Japanese can handle cooling the plant themselves. Reuters states the US Military will not “be called into the most affected areas around the plant.

This positive is a direct outcome of WWII, as the US wouldn’t be stationed in Japan if it wasn’t for the Treaty of Francisco.  Normally I advocate the shuttering  of military bases overseas, but in this one instance, I have to make an exception.  Though – we shouldn’t keep our bases open around the world just so we can help if there is a natural disaster – I am not advocating that.

Third:

The Japanese people have remained calm. The sense of community at the Japanese refugee centers is heartwarming:   children and women cook and clean,  and men go into town to wait in lines for food and water.

“As far as I can tell, people around Tokyo are very calm and haven’t heard any strange rumors. Avoiding panic is the benefit for all, and people seem to understand that.”

And it’s that message that is apparently getting lost in translation as the outside media cover the events in Japan, particularly the nuclear situation.

“CNN seems to be reporting ‘people leaving from Tokyo’ and Tokyo becoming a ‘ghost town,’ but it seems that it’s a bit overemphasized,” he wrote.

via Melony Plenda’s “Student reports from Japan: People remain calm

Here is a picture of a younger man helping an older man carry supplies. The New Yorker even mentioned the lack of looting and government exploitation. I would like to think that if something like this happened in the United States, Americans would refrain from looting and rioting, but past natural disasters show otherwise.

Internet comments have stated the calmness of the Japanese is a direct result of their community spirit and culture, sentiments echoed in The New Yorker article linked above.

Fourth:

Japan has the most technologically advanced earthquake detection and broadcast system in the world. This system undoubtedly saved lives.

The video above includes a frantic news producer yelling directions.

Fifth:

Japanese skyscrapers were built to withstand earthquakes and no engineered buildings have collapsed.

This list will be updated should I find out/read about other positives regarding the Japanese 2011 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear crisis.


Anime: Why two nukes on Japan wasn't enough

Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Image via Wikipedia

Two days ago, New Hampshire state representative Nick Levasseur wrote this as his facebook status: “Anime is a prime example that two nukes just wasn’t enough” . (Click here to watch a video compilation of  the local media’s take)

The medias coverage has focused on him either being a racist (another right wing media link), or on how this is an insult to anime.

Nick appears to be around 26 years old. Nick looks like he watches anime. I think Nick was telling a joke. A really bad one, but nonetheless, a joke.   Would you ever hear a Japanese politician joke that they should bomb Pearl Harbor again because they just can’t stand our summer blockbusters? Absolutely not.

This isn’t the first time Nicky has made really bad jokes though. Back in 2007, on his Myspace page he listed under his interests: “the hunting of neo-conservative Reaganites” and in 2008, also on his Myspace page, he described himself as “the magic mushroom. Shove me in a dark place, feed me a fist full of shit, and watch me grow!”  This latest attempt at a joke, by insulting the Japanese tragedy, reveals his under developed sense of humor.

No other country in the world has been attacked with nuclear weapons, and if you know ANYTHING about Japanese history, or culture, you know to this day they still struggle with that happened to them (hello, Godzilla films?).  Consider the new book, ” The Last Train from Hiroshima” or even this  recent gem about Hayden Panettiere’s efforts to save dolphins in Japan:

As the group arrived, a truck of right-wing nationalists blasted slogans, saying Japan should not be singled out for whaling and dolphin hunts because Westerners “are killing cows.” They also demanded President Barack Obama apologize for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

‘Heroes’ Actress visits Japan dolphin hunt town via Associated Press

Japanese society has long used the arts to deal with their nuclear past, and if you are going to include anime in this artistic realm, you have to mention the famous manga-turned-anime-turned-American-film Astro Boy. Astro Boy was born in 1951…. just years after the bombs were dropped. Astro Boy’s name in Japan is “Mighty Atom” and is a direct reference to the nuclear attacks. Astro Boy was made to appeal to little boys, perhaps to help the children cope with new post-war reality?

Sadly, this joke also reveals that Nick has never seen any good anime. Action movies tend to be really bad too, but I don’t go around advocating the bombing of Hollywood…. and every once in a while, an action film does comes along that I can appreciate (Fifth Element, for example…). The same applies to anime.

If you’d like to watch some good anime films, I’d recommend anything by Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki, as well as the films Paprika, Ghost in the Shell (which Spielberg is remaking), and Perfect Blue. For anime series, I’d recommend Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Lain (though the last two do get creepy later on).