So what’s happening to Japan?

A while ago, I was going to write something about the behaviour of the Japanese in relation to the earthquake that hit Christchurch in NZ. In a word, it’s madness.

The news of the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Coast Earthquake and Tsunami swept the surface of the globe, the impact of information society is more than evident.

I sincerely pray for more survivors, myself being one from the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Strengths be upon them.

Also, all my friends who thought of me on hearing the news, thank you very much for your thoughts.

Now, what I was going to write still stands. I am not going to refer to the victims of the disaster. Rather, to those who escaped, or not affected, and now acting so selfishly and insanely purely out of fear of uncertainty.

Affected areas, locations of large cities.

The epicentre is more than 500 km away from Tokyo, and though it is true the tremor was felt even where I lived, quite strongly, the aftermath is almost equal to nothing compaired to the places really severely affected, almost destructed by the quake and tsunami. Thank god Tokyo didn’t collapse. The scheduled blackouts are causing a massive confusion, that is true, but other than that, we the less affected people can continue our business as before. I think we should.

Instead, what we see is this:

local supermarket at 7 pm


the empty shelves used to be stuck with rice

Last night at my local supermarket; these are scenes from one of the world’s most affluent countries? Panic-buy is spreading, and essential items are fast disappearing from the shops; rice, bread, preserved foods, water in bottles, batteries, candles… and the list goes on. Somehow, dairy products and eggs are also in short supply. You may have seen it on TV, that people are queueing at petrol stations, waiting for hours on end, to get their tanks topped up just in case…

We continually hear on news broadcasts that the situation of shortages in food, fuel, and other essentials (hygiene, medicine, etc.) is really life-threatening up in the north, and the reported 500,000 or more people are forced to remain in the conditions far lower than anyone’s idea of minimum standard of life. Think, part of this situation has been exacerbated by our mad behaviour down here, wasting time and precious energies for meaningless self-preservation. No doubt, if some TV crews turn up and direct a camera at their noses for some comments, they would go “yes, I’m sure we have to do everything we can to help the disaster victims…” making sure their shopping bags are out of sight from the camera. 

We all will die eventually, only a matter of sooner or later. When the moment comes for me, I would like to look back and be happy that I didn’t waste my time or energy for this kind of behaviour.


About Dr Kats

a working sociologist/linguist/translator based in Kobe, Japan
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