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Sunday, March 11, 2012

1-Year Anniversary of Tohoku Earthquake

Today, March 11, 2012 is the one-year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake, a 9.0 Magnitude shaker that devastated the northeastern coast of Japan and damn near everywhere else as well.

The earthquake spawned a tsunami that hit Japan at various heights (see the image above), and also caused power outages at the Dai-ichi nuclear power generating facility causing three nuclear reactors to almost go critical, but still spilled enough radiation into the water, air and land to cause immense damage to the country - physical, financial and emotional.

Despite the heavy loss of life and liberty, the people of Japan have retained its collective soul.

After many natural and unnatural disasters (like winning a sporting event), the populace goes crazy and tries to loot, or kill others... but not in Japan.

While civil disobedience does exist there - they are human after all - the Japanese were mostly calm and collected and did their best to help each other rather than just themselves.

For that... I am impressed.

There are other far more impressive places to read about what is going on right now to honor the dead during this trying anniversary, but this blog is not one of them. But, you still need to make sure that the information you get is correct.

I am not there. I have not been there in many, many years, though I often wish I was - especially during the crisis of March 11 and afterwards. I would love to have seen first-hand the courage of the Japanese people.

I have written about this tragedy throughout the past year, passing along second-hand information. It's there if you search it out. I've written about the science of earthquakes and tsunami culling the misinformation that the Internet is rife with and presented the facts as they are known. I have written about the mythology of earthquakes and tsunami, again culling the incorrect from various data sites to present only the facts as they are known. I've done decent job, I think, only having to be corrected a few times.   

What's particularly galling to me now in 2012, is that until the March 11 disasters, I was content with putting out a blog nearly every day. But, climbing aboard the shoulders of Japan, I began putting out as many blog entries as possible.

It was NEVER to become popular, though I would love to be. That wasn't why I did it. I did just in case that ONE person reading my blog had never seen a story about Japan before. I wrote and continue to write for that ONE person. The fact that the ONE person has told a few friends is nice, but completely unexpected, so gaining popularity as a blogger has occurred.

The increased blogging has taught me how to use the Internet a bit better. But, more importantly, it has introduced me to some very interesting people... people who asked me to help find loved ones lost during the disasters, hoping I might have some better handle on helping look. And what do you know? I did. So did my friend Matthew Hall. Who knew?! We were able to help that someone track down friends in Japan. They were alive and well.

We were able to help ONE person.

The blogging thing has also led me to Mike Rogers... I have no idea who found whom first anymore, but I am glad to have met him, even if it is only through our blogs and e-mails.

Mike Rogers, my good friend, puts out the oft-bombastic Marketing Japan blog. He has told me he is driving out with a good friend of his today... into the danger zone... to do a second documentary on what life is like for the people there now.

He had previously done the impressive Ishinomaki - Black Water documentary, seen here below.

When Mike finishes the second video, I will post a link to it here.

In the meantime, here is the first documentary. It's well worth a look.
Ishinomaki - Black Water

Meanwhile, if you so desire, let me also guide you to a scary video of the March 11, 2011 tsunami. I've watched it many times over the past 366 days, and it still gives me chills and brings a tear or three to my eyes.

You can hear the terror in the people as they watch their city disappear - especially as they wonder if they are high enough and if all of the people running for their life made it to the hill. I don't think they did.
Tsunami Destroying Minami Sanriku

As an aside... the tsunami map up above while an earnest effort does not seem to match many eye-witness reports. Heck... even the Wikipedia entry on Minami Sanriku says the town was hit by a waves (plural!) as high as 16 meters (52 feet)! I only present it so that you can see that despite it being one whole year later, I still have NOT seen consistent data regarding the tsunami heights.

Check out this article I wrote: Dead Mayor Saves Town From Tsunami. Within the article, you'll note that a nearby town was destroyed after waves crashed OVER its 10 meter (33-foot high) floodgate! As well... many of the city's evacuation centers were situated some 20 meters ABOVE sea level, and were still inundated by the waves.

Take a look at the map above... it shows there was no wave higher than 9.3 meters.

Which is correct? I'm going to say the fact that a town was destroyed AFTER waves crashed OVER its 10 meter high floodgates would imply that the tsunami height image graphic above is incorrect.There's a lot of misinformation out there. Just be careful.
I'm a writer. I don't live in Japan any longer. But, it's gratifying to know one can still help.
March 11, 2012. Ganbatte kudasai, Nihonjin.
(good luck/do your best, Japanese folk)

Somewhere doing some soul-searching,
Andrew Joseph


  1. Thanks Andrew!
    "It was NEVER to become popular, though I would love to be." I seem to think that you had 15,000 + some page views last month, now you are at almost 19,000. That's more than a 20% increase in one month and pretty damned impressive! If you could keep that rate for one year you'd have more than 140,000 readers a month. It's doable. By the way, we would up NOT going to Ishinomaki as the roads are snowed in and we haven't any snow tires so we postponed until week after next or so!!! Gomen!!!

  2. Too bad about the trip, Mike. I am really looking forward to learning more.
    Popularity is all about a state of mind. I don't mind what I have. I have always written with the concept of being able to entertain at least one person with any particular story. If I have done that, then I am happy. Pretty simple... but it helps get the fragile eggshell ego of mine through the night.
    I'd love to hear what people are saying about the state of Japan one year later and what progress is being made in people recovering their lives...