Tag: Japan

A Beautiful Day To Die


The earthquake and the tsunami and the nuclear event have finally shut me up.  I haven’t been able to write. I don’t have anything clear or witty or insightful or clever or new to say about these events.  I am avoiding the talking heads on TV, and I’m reading as little as possible about the event on the Internet, and I’ve been absent from this blog. Why? Because I have no confidence at all that what I’d hear or read would be the truth. And I have the dreadful thought that the situation in Japan is far, far worse than what we are being told. I have no proof for the last sentence other than the plethora of contradictions I find in the news stories. And a tight feeling in my heart and chest and stomach that warns of impending, large scale disaster. I hope I’m wrong about this, but alas, I don’t think I am.

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Unprincipled Zealots and March Madness

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette

Clay Bennett

Moammar Gadhafi by Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Meltdowns: From Bad to Nightmare

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

After an earthquake that has now been upgraded by Japanese officials to a magnitude 9.0, with a tsunami that has devastated the northeastern region of the main island of Japan, it is now becoming evident that there are two nuclear reactors that may be in meltdown which would be a nuclear disaster on an unimaginable scale. The Japanese government has ordered the evacuation of nearly a quarter of a million people from the area and state of emergency has been declared for the area because of the damage to five nuclear reactors after two of the units lost cooling ability.

Japanese Scramble to Avert Meltdowns as Nuclear Crisis Deepens After Quake

TOKYO – Japanese officials struggled on Sunday to contain a widening nuclear crisis in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and tsunami, saying they presumed that partial meltdowns had occurred at two crippled reactors and that they were facing serious cooling problems at three more.

The emergency appeared to be the worst involving a nuclear plant since the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago. The developments at two separate nuclear plants prompted the evacuation of more than 200,000 people. Japanese officials said they had also ordered up the largest mobilization of their Self-Defense Forces since World War II to assist in the relief effort.

On Saturday, Japanese officials took the extraordinary step of flooding the crippled No. 1 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 170 miles north of Tokyo, with seawater in a last-ditch effort to avoid a nuclear meltdown.

Then on Sunday, cooling failed at a second reactor – No. 3 – and core melting was presumed at both, said the top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. Cooling had failed at three reactors at a nuclear complex nearby, Fukushima Daini, although he said conditions there were considered less dire for now.

Japanese authorities rush to save lives, avert nuclear crisis

Sendai, Japan (CNN) — Japanese authorities are operating on the presumption that possible meltdowns are under way at two nuclear reactors, two days after a massive earthquake, a government official said Sunday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano added, however, that there have been no indications yet of hazardous emissions of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

The attempts to avert a possible nuclear crisis, centered on the Fukushima Daiichi facility in northeast Japan, came as rescuers frantically scrambled to find survivors following the country’s strongest-ever earthquake and a devastating tsunami that, minutes later, brought crushing walls of water that wiped out nearly everything in their paths.

Edano told reporters there is a “possibility” of a meltdown at the plant’s No. 1 reactor, adding, “It is inside the reactor. We can’t see.” He then said authorities are also “assuming the possibility of a meltdown” at the facility’s No. 3 reactor.

How the Japan Earthquake Shortened Days on Earth

The massive earthquake that struck northeast Japan Friday (March 11) has shortened the length Earth’s day by a fraction and shifted how the planet’s mass is distributed.

A new analysis of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan has found that the intense temblor has accelerated Earth’s spin, shortening the length of the 24-hour day by 1.8 microseconds, according to geophysicist Richard Gross at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Gross refined his estimates of the Japan quake’s impact – which previously suggested a 1.6-microsecond shortening of the day – based on new data on how much the fault that triggered the earthquake slipped to redistribute the planet’s mass. A microsecond is a millionth of a second.

“By changing the distribution of the Earth’s mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused the Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds,” Gross told SPACE.com in an e-mail. More refinements are possible as new information on the earthquake comes to light, he added.  

Japan Earthquake Alters Coast Line, Changes Earth’s Axis

Geophysicist Kenneth Hudnut, who works for the U.S. Geological Survey, told CNN that the quake moved part of Japan’s land mass by nearly 2.5 meters.

Experts say that the huge shake, caused by a shift in the tectonic plates deep underwater, also threw the earth off its axis point by at least 8 centimeters.

This is may well be worse than Chernobyl by magnitudes.

Out of the Cave and into the Light

Out of the Cave and into the Light

Some people say they were brother and sister, Susano-O and Amaterasu. Other people say they were meant to be husband and wife. One thing, however, was clear. They rarely agreed on even the smallest thing, and so could never tolerate the presence of the other for very long.

    And yet, despite their many differences, there was a very close bond between them, which brought them together again and again. Here is the story of one such meeting.

   The shining sun Goddess Amaterasu had a brother, Susanoo, lord of storms and of the sea.

   Susanoo was an uncontrollable man, often given to violence. When he quarreled with his sister, Susanoo lifted up Amaterasu’s beloved pony and threw it at Amaterasu and her priestesses.

   Amaterasu was so angry that she hid in the cave called Iwayado, and there was no warmth or light upon the Earth.

   The other Kami, or Goddesses and Gods, tried to lure Amaterasu out of her cave, but her anger still burned, and she refused to come out. Ame-no-Uzume, the Kami of joy, knew what to do. She placed a mirror near the entrance of the cave. Then, she did a bawdy dance, which made all of the other Kami roar with laughter. Amaterasu was still angry at her brother, the Kami of the stormy sea, but she wanted to know what made everyone laugh. She crept to the edge of the cave and peeked out at Ame-no-Uzume and, angry as she was, Amaterasu had to laugh. In that moment, a ray of her sunlight escaped from the dark cave and reflected in the mirror. Amaterasu saw her own lovely face and could no longer remain angry. She returned to the world, bringing sunlight and warmth.

May the Japanese people be soon back under Amaterasu’s warm glowing light.

h/t Hecate

8.9 Magnitude Earthquake in Japan

This is just coming in now that a major earthquake has struck the Northeast of Japan at 2:46 p.m. local time (0146 EST) with a tsunami. A tsunami warning has been issued for other parts of the region. Hawaii is under a tsunami watch.

Up Date: Al jazeera and other news agencies are reporting that there are 19 confirmed deaths.

The entire Pacific basin is under either a tsunami warning with some waves are expected to bee higher than some Pacific islands.

Nuclear power plants in Japan are shut down and there are no reports of leaks. Most transportation has been shut down.

Bullet train network is shut down and airports are closed.

There is a warning issued for another quake expected to hit Honshu.

State of emergency is declared at Japanese nuclear plants

Process for cooling reactor ‘not going as planned’ in wake of quake, administrator says

Japan’s top government spokesman and local administrators say emergencies have been issued at two nuclear power plants over cooling-system fears in the wake of Friday’s giant earthquake.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the nuclear power plant in Fukushima developed a mechanical failure in the system needed to cool the reactor after it was shut down after the earthquake. He said there was no radiation leak.

Japan earthquake and tsunami: fire breaks out at nuclear plant in Onagawa

A fire broke out in the turbine building of Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, on Friday after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake triggered a huge tsunami.

It was not immediately clear if there was a risk of a radioactive leak as a result of the fire at the plant operated by Tohoku Electric Power. Miyagi prefecture was one of the areas worst hit by the tsunami.

Tokyo Narita Airport Cancels All Flights Today After Quake

Tokyo’s Narita Airport, Japan’s main international gateway, canceled all flights for the rest of the day after the country was hit by the world’s strongest earthquake in six years.

About 13,800 passengers were stranded because of the shutdown, Ryoko Yabe, a spokeswoman for the airport said by phone. There was no visible damage to runways, she said. Tokyo’s Haneda airport, Asia’s second-busiest by passengers, resumed flights, the transport ministry said.

Hawaii orders evacuations in tsunami threat

(Reuters) – Hawaii ordered evacuations from coastal areas due to the threat of a tidal wave set off by Friday’s earthquake in Japan as a tsunami warning was extended to the whole of the Pacific basin, except mainland United States and Canada.

Authorities also ordered evacuation from low-lying areas on the U.S. island territory of Guam in the western Pacific, where residents there were urged to move at least 50 feet above sea level and 100 feet inland.

Roubini Says Earthquake Is ‘Worst Thing’ at ‘Worst Time’ for Japan Economy

Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the global financial crisis, said the earthquake in Japan comes at the “worst time” as the country struggles to lower its budget deficit.

“This is certainly the worst thing that can happen in Japan at the worst time,” Roubini told Maryam Nemazee on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown” in London today. “There will be fiscal stimulus to reconstruct but Japan already has a budget deficit of close to 10 percent of” gross domestic product and an aging population.

The Bank of Japan (8301) pledged to ensure financial stability after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Sendai, sparking a tsunami. Japanese stocks declined in Tokyo today. The central bank, which keeps its benchmark rate at zero, had last month said the world’s third-largest economy is set to recover from a fourth-quarter contraction.

The picture in the below news article gives clear idea of just how devastating this disaster is

Major damage in Japan after 8.9 quake

A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan’s history slammed the eastern coast Friday, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control.

Japan earthquake unleashes tsunami

Up to 19 people killed as tsunami causes major damage after 8.9-magnitude quake strikes off the coast.

A 10-metre tsunami hit Sendai airport in the north-east. Television footage showed people standing on the roof of the terminal building.

The tsunami roared over embankments in Sendai city, washing cars, houses and farm equipment inland before reversing directions and carrying them out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.

Thirty international search and rescue teams stand ready to go to Japan to provide assistance following the quake, the United Nations said.

Military airplanes were flying over the worst-affected areas to assess the need for rescue efforts.

Many people were reported injured after a roof caved in during a school graduation ceremony at a hall in east Tokyo, the fire department in the capital said, after the quake hit.


Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas, reporting from Manila in the Philippines, said the military there had been ordered to help evacuate areas at risk on the east coast.

Several earthquakes have hit the region in recent days, including a 7.2-magnitude quake on Wednesday.

“Japan has been on high alert since the earthquake on Wednesday,” Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, following developments from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, said.

“Japan is very well equipped to deal both with the initial tremors caused by an earthquake: buildings are systematically built with allowances for sway so that they are less likely to fall down. Also coastal cities have long had tsunami protection measures in place.”

Friday’s quake struck at a depth of 24 kilometres, about 125 kilometres off the eastern coast, the country’s meteorological agency said.

The quake was the biggest in 140 years. It surpasses the Great Kanto quake of 1923, which had a magnitude of

7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.

Northern Japan Suffers Major Tsunami Damage

TOKYO (AP) – Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter. There were reports of injuries in Tokyo.

In various locations along Japan’s coast, TV footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with dozens of cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.

Officials were trying to assess damage, injuries and deaths from the quake but had no immediate details.

The quake that struck at 2:46 p.m. was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan’s meteorological agency measured it at 7.9.

Live feed from Al Jazeera

More pictures below the fold

Cross posted at The Stars Hollow Gazzette

Random Japan


It was revealed that an ANA flight was about 30 seconds from crashing into a Hokkaido mountain before a warning went off, spurring pilots into quick action to avoid catastrophe. An air-traffic controller was blamed for the near mishap.

In another near-miss, an ANA flight taxied onto a runway where a JAL Express plane was about to land at Osaka airport in 2009 because a pilot misheard a flight number.

The Japan Coast Guard officer who made public controversial video footage of a collision with a Chinese fishing boat through YouTube, said he first sent the clip to CNN but they tossed the SD card in the trash because they didn’t know what was on it.

Now here’s a switch. Japan’s defense ministry apparently received notice from the Nagasaki government saying they’d be delighted to host some new submarines at the Sasebo base.

Random Japan


A senior citizen trying to steal coins from a donation box at a shrine in Tokushima fell and hit his head while attempting to flee the scene. He later claimed his six stitches were “punishment from God.”

A 35-year-old Japanese man was caught at the airport in Bali with 6kg of hash. Apparently, he recently served time in an Indian prison for a similar offense, and now faces the death penalty under Indonesian law.

The 19-year-old son of an American soldier stationed in Japan was found guilty of seriously injuring a 24-year-old Tokyo woman by stringing a rope across a roadway in 2009, causing her to fall off her scooter “just for laughs.” Three other American kids involved got off without charge.

Three Tokyo teens, meanwhile, were arrested for breaking into a couple of cars using a method they had learned on YouTube.

Things that go “Bump” in Japan: Happy Halloween


Things that go “Bump” in Japan


 So, this reprises (with updates) my last year’s “Halloween in Japan” post on my just-for-fun site/blog LetsJapan.Wordpress.com.  A personal story, Very Creepy art, some history and EVEN some bonus Ultraman (!).  And access to my This-Week-Only Halloween Special Photo Gallery.  Yes, more fun than a barrel of O’Donnells!



 “But ghosts and goblins and the creepy stories surrounding them have their own long tradition in Japan (as is the case in every culture).  Celebrated Edo Period wood block artist Hokusai (1760-1849) created a series of Kabuki-inspired “ghost story” prints around 1830, “Hyaku Monogatari”.  Above you see the print, “The Ghost of Koheiji”, based on an 1803 story-turned-kabuki-play by Santo Kyoden (poet, writer and woodblock artist).  Koheiji was betrayed and murdered by his wife.  So, naturally, he comes back from the dead to torment her and her lover by slipping under the mosquito netting around their bedding and joining and doling out horrific justice on them.”


 Please feel invited to visit, comment, share and if you feel your skin crawling right out the door, remember, that’s either the thought of Koheiji’s skeletal remains, in ghostly form, lurking behind the mosquito netting, or you thought of the even more terrifying image:  Sharon Angle being sworn in as a U.S. Senator!  Nooooooooo!




I’ve had better weeks.  But it’s about 4:40 on a Friday (Central Time) and I’m still breathing, so I’ll take what I can get.  To celebrate, after a fashion, I’m going to post this thing from my just-for-fun blog, LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com, something that I up and updated this morning.  It’s photo essay called . . .



No, it’s not a bunch of pictures of “funny English” signs, although there are some pretty funny ones in the group.  And, yes, I do have something of a collection of those.  These are just cool, or quirky, or weird, or uniquely Japanese.


 So pop open a beverage of choice, click on over to Signs, and enjoy.  I mean, after all, you’ve made it through another week.

 Note:  if you want to know what the hell it is with me and Japan (and to a lesser extend India and China), there’s an “About” page over at my site/blog.  Feel free to click away.


Random Japan

It was reported that young Indonesian surfers are providing “erotic services to Japanese women and other female tourists who flock to the island for discreet sex vacations.”

A Chinese health food and cosmetics company is sending 10,000 of its best salespeople and their family members on a free trip to Tokyo as a reward for their good work.

A 35-year-old native of Nagano became the first Japanese ever to win the prestigious Concurso Internacional flamenco guitar contest in Murcia, Spain.

A 17-year-old from Kobe and an 18-year-old from Fukuoka won gold medals at the 51st International Mathematical Olympiad in Kazakhstan.

Asahi led all breweries in beer shipments during the first half of 2010, thanks in large part to “a new way of serving Super Dry at below zero temperatures at bars and other places.”

However, overall shipments of beer tumbled 4.5 percent due to a “shift in consumer appetite to other drinks.”

Headline of the Week: “Little Green Aliens Invading Coasts” (via The Asahi Shimbun)

Random Japan


A 29-year-old Osaka man has admitted to damaging Christian churches 72 times over the years by throwing fire extinguishers and rocks at them, all part of a desperately misguided plan to get “the priests to listen to his prayers.”

A 71-year-old Tokyo man strangled his handicapped 69-year-old wife to death, later telling authorities he was “exhausted from caring for her.”

A 72-year-old Kyoto child safety volunteer admitted to molesting an elementary schoolgirl on his patrol, later telling the court, “I did it because the girl was adorable.”

It was reported that Jiro Saito, a former vice finance minister now president of Japan Post, will get a ¥90 million retirement bonus from his previous employer, Tokyo Financial Exchange. Saito was originally in line to receive ¥10 million more than that, but the board reduced the amount for fear that it “could incite a backlash.”

As the G8 and G20 summits wrapped up in Canada, Japan PM Naoto Kan promised US prez Barack Obama that he would have plenty of matcha ice cream on hand when Obama visits Japan in November. While the US leader is a big fan of matcha ice cream, the official White House log recorded the comment as “much ice cream.” Musta’ thought Clinton was still in office.

Random Japan


A study group at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases released an announcement warning people not to kiss their pets, “citing a possible infectious disease caused by a bacterium in the mouths of animals.”

The Supreme Court ruled that a Kyoto man whose house is near a funeral hall is not entitled to demand that a fence be built to shield him from viewing funeral processions. Two lower courts had ruled that the man’s daily life “had been greatly affected” by the sight of passing hearses.

It was reported that the average summer bonus of government workers this year is a cool ¥577,500, up ¥4,000 from last year.

Even Yukio Hatoyama, who stepped down as PM in June, managed to snag a ¥4.99 million bonus.

At the same time, it was reported that “average income of Japanese lawmakers hit a record low of ¥22.23 million in 2009, down ¥2.6 million from the previous year.”

Police in Osaka say that 48 Chinese illegally took up residence in the city in order to collect welfare benefits.

It was revealed that Japan has entered talks to help India build 20 new nuclear power plants.

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