Now it’s all over the news, and it looks like the coastal towns and villages, and a larger city of Sendai were the worst hit.
We can only feel sad for the people who died and those whose lives were wrecked by the tsunami. Once contemporary television gets the images, they play them again and again. After a while, it loses its shock value, and you think about the people for whom it isn’t really a TV show.
As I have been telling those who contact me, I’m not in Japan anymore. (My shtick is that the Japanese government inadvertently got me to safety some time ago.) So I don’t have any “at the scene” posts to make.
I will say, though, that some things have impressed me about the disaster relief response:
1) Japan has this figured out already. There were a number of good systems in place to warn people and to try and protect them, and it saved lives. All the effort that has gone into modern engineering really shows its value when things that are meant to stay up, do.
2) For all the cross-cultural exchange, the news people don’t seem to think outside the box. If your country suddenly shakes and shakes, you shut down major transportation systems, too. You check the tracks. You wait for aftershocks. The things people should not be shocked by, for some reason they are.
3) No one wants something like this to happen. It seems, though, that the farce that Japanese national politics has been recently really received a wake-up call. Now everybody is focused on the crisis at hand, and the goofy games of whether the Thief goes, or how can we bring down the government become very dangerous games. Everyday Japanese have it a little rough as it is; when there’s a crisis like this one, no one wants to hear B.S.
4) Uncle Sammy was right in there with humanitarian assistance, through the men and women of the Seventh Fleet. It’s the right thing to do.