Tag Archives: Fukushima

Selfless heroes

2 Jun

Maybe you’ve heard that two members of the original Fukushima 50 who have been working inside the nuclear plant since the day it became damaged have been exposed to amounts of radiation well above the limit that the government set for the emergency workers.

It is for reasons such as this that Mr. Yasuteru Yamada, a 72 year old retired engineer, and a group of other retirees have announced their desire to replace the current younger workers in the damaged nuclear plant.

Yasuteru Yamada

The group consists of retired men with a variety of skills and knowledge that would be helpful in repairing the plant…such as retired engineers, university professors, military, crane operators, construction workers, welders and so on.

Mr. Yamada said that it’s not right for young people still have many years ahead of them, and may have or want to have small children to raise, to risk their lives when he and the other retirees who have decades of related knowledge and experience and have already lived most of their lives are willing and able to do this dangerous work.

I was impressed with their selfless willingness to sacrifice themselves to help others. Most of his group signed up without hesitation as soon as they learned about this group.

“We shouldn’t leave a negative legacy for the next generation.”
— Yasuteru Yamada

Treasured items after the Sendai Earthquake

22 Apr

The 「毎日新聞」 (“Mainichi News”) Japanese newspaper interviewed some of the survivors of the March 11 earthquake in the 東北地方 (Tohoku Region) who lost loved ones and most of their possessions and asked them to show something that has become a treasure to them in this difficult time.

Some of the replies were very touching. Here are a sample of them (all photos in this post are ©毎日新聞 (Mainichi News)):

This 11-year-old boy, who lost his grandfather and great-grandmother in the earthquake, treasures his school bag that his teacher found in the rubble of his elementary school.

This man treasures the wrist-watch that was found on the body of his son, that was a firefighter who died in the disaster

This 4-year old girl's family lost all of their possessions. She treasures the donated toy that was given to her at the shelter her family's staying at.

This woman lost her husband in the tsunami. She treasures her family photos.

This eldery man's wife has been missing since the tsunami. He put his hand on his heart and said that he will always treasure his memories.

日本の為に歌え

17 Apr

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a charity album of pop songs to help the victims of the disaster of March 11th.

Personally, I only like a few of the thirty-eight songs on that album.

There have been other celebrities who have given the proceeds from concerts, songs or other things to help the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The most recent celebrity that I’ve heard about is the American rock band “My Chemical Romance“.

I don’t know this band very well. I haven’t heard any of their music before today. But I found out that they re-recorded the video for one of their songs (titled “Sing“) to include images of the aftermath of the tsunami in the Sendai area and messages of hope to the people of Japan from fans of this band from around the world.

My Chemical Romance put the new video on a website called “「日本の為に歌え」 (Sing For Japan)” and offer the song for download for US$1.29 with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross to help the victims of the disaster in Sendai.


They also offer a T-shirt with the 「日本の為に歌え」 (Sing For Japan) design for US$20. All proceeds from the T-shirt sales also go to help the victims in the Sendai area.

Here is the new video for the song:

This song sounds nice to me. I think I’m going to check out more of My Chemical Romance‘s music now.

Towers around the world to be illuminated for Japan

4 Apr

Towers and skyscrapers around the world will be illuminated in white and red to show their country’s support for Japan’s recovery from the disaster of 2011 March 11.

At sunset tonight (Monday, 2011 April 4) in each country’s local time, the Empire State Building in New York City, America, the Sky Tower in New Zealand, the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malayasia, the North Tower in South Korea, the CN Tower in Canada, the Macau Tower in China, the John Hancock Observatory in America and the Spinnaker Tower in England will all be lit up in the colors of the Japanese flag.

the Empire State Building in NYC, America illuminated in the colors of Japan's flag.

Do you live near any of these towers? Did you know they will be illuminated in white and red for Japan today?

The U.S. military are Japan’s “friends”

29 Mar

Since the 2011 March 11 earthquake that struck 東北地方 (the Tohoku Region of Japan), the overseas media have reported extensively on Japanese manners and the excellent rescue and repair work conducted by the Japanese…especially those willing to risk their lives.

But with a disaster of this scale it goes without saying that Japan needs help. And people from all over the world have been extremely kind and generous. Immediately after the tsunami destroyed the lives of so many in the Sendai area, rescue teams and donations came to help from many countries.

I saw a news report on TV here in Japan that focused on the U.S. military’s relief assistance in Sendai and Fukushima.

The U.S. military has a number of bases in various parts of Japan and the Japanese people understand the sacrifices that those in the military make and most of the Japanese people appreciate the protection that the U.S. military gives to Japan by having bases here.
But it’s a bit of a perennial problem in Japan. The U.S. bases take up valuable land in this small country, there have been a number of crimes, sometimes violent ones, committed by American servicemen stationed here, and some of the bases are for the Air Force and have noisy jets flying overheard all day everyday which greatly disturbs the people who live in the vicinity.

But since America has sent over 18,000 American service-people from the bases around Japan to help with the rescue and rebuilding of the Sendai area and also helping to cool down the nuclear plant in Fukushima, the people of Japan have seen the U.S. military at their best.
And they’re quite good!

The U.S. military has named the work they’re doing 「友だち作戦」 (“Operation: Tomodachi”).
「友だち」 (“Tomodachi“) is Japanese for “friends“.

They have a patch on their sleeve of the Japanese flag with the Japanese character 「」 which says “friend” in Japanese. And 「がんばろう日本」 which means “We can do it, Japan!“.

The TV news program I saw showed the U.S. Marines giving bottled water, food and blankets to the people left with nothing since the tsunami. But it also showed them giving American candy and toys to the children who lost everything they own. Toys and chocolate may seem unimportant…unless you saw the big smiles of those children. It was very heartwarming and thoughtful of the Marines to remember to bring something for those kids.

But the most impressive things I saw the U.S. Marines do in that report was when they quickly restored electricity to a town that was without power since the earthquake two weeks ago. And also, the Sendai Airport was such a mess and covered with so much debris since the tsunami that the Japanese authorities believed it would take too long to clear the runways for the airport to be of any use to bring much needed relief to the city…but the Marines got busy clearing the mess as soon as they arrived in Sendai and later the same day, the runways were cleared enough to be used!

Even the people who would like the U.S. military to not be stationed in Japan are extremely impressed and grateful for their help!
Thank you U.S. military. You really are a 「友だち」 (tomodachi)!

Songs For Japan

26 Mar

A number of American and European pop musicians have contributed songs for a charity album for the victims of the recent disaster in Japan.

The album is titled “Songs For Japan“.

 

"Songs For Japan" album cover

I assume that all of the artists that appear on this album are famous…but I personally have only heard of a few of them (and I like even less of them).

The musicians and track listing on this album are as follows:

01. John LennonImagine
02. U2Walk On
03. Bob DylanShelter From The Storm
04. Red Hot Chili PeppersAround The World
05. Lady GagaBorn This Way
06. BeyonceIrreplaceable
07. Bruno MarsTalking To The Moon
08. Katy PerryFirework
09. RihannaOnly Girl (In The World)
10. Justin TimberlakeLike I Love You
11. MadonnaMiles Away
12. David GuettaWhen Love Takes Over
13. EminemLove The Way You Lie
14. Bruce SpringsteenHuman Touch
15. Josh GrobanAwake
16. Keith UrbanBetter Life
17. Black Eyed PeasOne Tribe
18. P!nkSober
19. Cee Lo GreenIt’s OK
20. Lady AntebellumI Run To You
21. Bon JoviWhat Do You Got?
22. Foo FightersMy Hero
23. R.E.M.Man On The Moon
24. Nicki MinajSave Me
25. SadeBy Your Side
26. Michael BubleHold On
27. Justin BieberPray
28. AdeleMake You Feel My Love
29. EnyaIf I Could Be Where You Are
30. Elton JohnDon’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
31. John MayerWaiting On The World To Change
32. QueenTeo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)
33. Kings Of LeonUse Somebody
34. StingFragile
35. Leona LewisBetter In Time
36. Ne-YoOne In A Million
37. ShakiraWhenever, Wherever
38. Norah JonesSunrise

This album costs US$9.99 and is available from i-tunes exclusively. All of the money from this album will be donated to the Red Cross of Japan to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in the Sendai area of Japan.

Click here if you want to buy it.

In honor of the modern day Samurai

25 Mar

Have you ever heard of the 「福島50」 (“Fukushima 50“)?

After the explosion at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan that was caused by the tsunami on 2011 March 11, all of the plant workers were evacuated…except fifty.

These fifty brave men stayed behind, despite the extreme risk to their lives, to try to bring the nuclear plant back under control.

Due to the health risk of prolonged expose to the radiation, a few hundred more volunteers came back to the plant so that they could work to repair the plant in shifts in groups of fifty men each.

The "Fukushima 50" working to bring the plant back online.

I saw an interview on TV with the teenage daughter of one of the Fukushima 50. She said that her father said after the accident at the plant that his experience was needed there and he knew he had to go. She said that she was proud of him for risking his life for the good of the rest of us.

That’s how everyone in Japan feels about all of the Fukushima 50. We are all grateful for their willingness to give the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Here’s an excellent video that someone made and posted on YouTube as a tribute to these modern-day Samurai:

Have you heard about the Fukusima 50 on the news in your country?

Even in a disaster Japan is a great place to live…

17 Mar

I saw a report on TV here in Japan today that media in other countries are marveling at the lack of 略奪 (looting) and 暴動 (rioting) in Japan during this current disaster.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been living here so long, but I think 「当たり前」 (“Of course!”). Why would there be?

But the foreign media have said that often after disasters in other countries, such as Hurricane Katrina in America or the earthquake in Haiti about nine years ago, there was massive rioting and looting.

Looting after the hurricane in Louisiana, USA

But, the foreign reporters were surprised, there have been no reported cases of that anywhere in Japan since the massive earthquake last Friday.

What also surprised them was there isn’t any pushing, shoving or arguing in lines for food, blankets and other donated assistance. The people in Japan calmly and quietly wait in an orderly line for hours sometimes…and only take what they need.

At a shelter in Fukushima, no one expects more than one rice ball and a cup of water per person.

Until I saw this report on TV this morning I had never thought this before. It’s just normal behavior here in Japan.
The reason it’s comfortable and enjoyable to live in Japan…even an extremely densely populated city like Tokyo, is because Japanese people are taught since childhood to think of other people’s feelings.
I have heard, and it’s sounds logical, that American children will behave if there’s a chance of being caught doing something “bad” because they’re taught to fear the consequences of misbehaving…but Japanese children behave because otherwise they may “hurt” someone else.

Also on the news report I watched, they mentioned some American politicians and celebrities, most of whom I’ve never heard of before, had posted some inconsiderate comments about the disaster here.
Most notably were a series of “jokes” about the tsunami by American comedian Gilbert Gottfried (who is the “voice” of the duck in the Aflac TV commercials), and a tweet by an American basketball player named Cappie Pondexter:

What if God was tired of the way they (Japanese people) treated their own people in there (sic) own country! Idk (“I don’t know”) guys, he makes no mistakes.

u just never knw (sic)! They did pearl harbor so u can’t expect anything less

–tweet by Carrie Pondexter

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