Tag Archives: tragedy

Father gave his life for his daughter

6 Mar

Unlike down here in Tokyo, where the weather has been very mild recently…there was a snow blizzard in northern Japan a couple of days ago.

I watched a heartbreaking story related to the storm on the television news here in Japan yesterday.

I edited an article from The Telegraph about it:

Father freezes to death protecting daughter from blizzard in Japan

A nine-year-old girl has been found weeping in her father’s arms after he froze to death sheltering her from a blizzard in northern Japan, it has emerged.

(Policemen try to dig out a vehicle in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido (photo: AP))

 Mr. Mikio Okada died as he tried to protect his only child, Natsune, against winds of up to 109 kilometers (68 miles) per hour, as temperatures plunged to -6°C (21°F).

Mr. Okada’s body was uncovered by rescuers looking for the pair after relatives raised the alarm. Natsune was wearing her father’s jacket and was wrapped in his arms, newspapers and broadcasters said.

The pair had last been heard from at 4PM on Saturday, after Mr. Okada, a fisherman, picked his daughter up from a school where she was being looked after while he was at work.

Mr. Okada called his relatives to say his truck had become stranded in the driving snow, which was several meters deep in places. He told them he and Natsune would walk the remaining kilometer.

The two were found just 300 meters from the truck at 7 am on Sunday.

Mr. Okada was hunched over his daughter, cradling her in his arms and apparently using his body and a warehouse wall to provide shelter.

He had taken his jacket off to give to his child.

Rescuers said she was weeping weakly in his arms.

The young girl was taken to hospital where she was found to have no serious injuries. Her father was officially pronounced dead by doctors at the same institution near their home at Yubetsu in Hokkaido.

Natsune’s mother had died two years ago from an unspecified illness.

Neighbors said that Mr. Okada had been a doting father who would often delay the start of his working day to enjoy breakfast with his daughter.

His death came as families all over Japan celebrated Girls’ Day.

He reserved a cake for his only daughter and was looking forward to celebrating Girls Day together,” a neighbor told the “Yomiuri-Shinbun” newspaper.

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October 17

17 Oct

I came to Japan on 1990 October 17.
Nineteen years ago today.

Last year on this date I wrote a post about some of changes I’ve seen in Japan since I first arrived (Click here to read it).

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Also, seventeen years ago today, 服部剛丈 (Yoshihiro Hattori) died.

Do you know about his story? It’s quite tragic.
And it was big news when he was shot and killed in America in 1992…at least here in Japan.

He was a sixteen year old Japanese exchange student in Louisiana, America and on the evening of (1992) October 17 he and a friend went to a Halloween party that they were invited to.

They mistakenly went to the wrong address and when they rang the doorbell he was fatally shot by the homeowner who claimed in court that he thought Yoshihiro was a criminal trespasser.

The home-owner, Rodney Peairs, pointed his gun at Yoshihiro and said “Freeze!”.
Obviously, not familiar with that command in English, Yoshihiro walked towards Mr. Peairs and said “We’re here for the party”, at which point Mr. Peairs panicked and shot the teen.

This case became big news in Japan at the time. I remember it was on the news constantly.
What made it even more shocking to the Japanese people was that the U.S. courts ruled that Rodney Peairs was within his rights to shoot Yoshihiro Hattori under Louisiana’s law and they acquitted him of all charges.

Also shocking to Japanese was shortly after this case there were two more cases of Japanese exchange students being shot in America.
A TV reporter at that time said that if Japanese must travel to America they should be sure to understand the phrase “Freeze!” lest they become the next victim of America’s “sick gun-obsessed society”.

Airplane crash

23 Mar

At 6:48AM JST this morning (Monday, March 23, 2009), a Federal Express (FedEx) cargo plane arriving at 成田空港 (Narita (Tokyo Int’l) Airport) from Guangzhou, China crashed and burst into flames.

Image from TV of the plane crash in Japan's Narita Airport.

Image from TV of the plane crash in Japan's Narita Airport.

This was a cargo plane, so there were no passengers on this airplane…only the American pilot and co-pilot were onboard. They both died.

Just like yesterday, it is very windy in the Tokyo area today. At the time of the crash, the wind was blowing up to 72Km / hour (about 45 miles / hour).
The wind is being blamed for causing the airplane to bounce on the runway and burst into flames.

Here is a YouTube video of the news report showing the tragedy:

新聞より

1 Jul

Yesterday I read the newspaper while I was riding the train.

A few stories made an impression on me (let me know if you’ve heard any of this news…and what you think!):

  1. At the Six Flags amusement park in Georgia, USA, a 17-year old boy climbed two fences that surrounded the perimeter of a roller-coaster ride.
    He went in there to get his hat or something…and the roller coaster hit him and decapitated him!
    I was shocked to read this…but, then again, I’ve read quite a few stories about tragedies at amusement parks. That’s why I’m always hesitant to let my kids go to one with their friends (I let them go…but I’m always nervous about it).
  2. Many countries are sending their Olympic teams to Japan to practice for the upcoming Olympics in 北京 (Beijing) rather than have them practice in 中国 (China).
    This is because, the newspaper said, many countries are concerned about air pollution, food safety, and political tension in China.
    Also, they said, Japan has good training facilities.
  3. Tokyo is the largest city in the world. And it’s the most densely populated (Tokyo has 36 million people…nearly double the population of New York City. There are more people in Tokyo than in all of Canada!)
    But, despite Tokyo’s large population…this city was recently voted the third most livable city in the world by the London magazine Monocle!
    Copenhagen and Munich were voted first and second respectively…but those two cities have only just over one million people. Tokyo has nearly 36 times as many residents…but the magazine says Tokyo is “a big city getting the basics right”.
    The link to the Monocle magazine’s article is here (they require a paid subscription to read the entire article…but you can see the headline for free 😦 (whatever)).