Bright idea could keep you safe if an earthquake or typhoon leaves you without electricity.
Fires, floods, and famine have all been a part of Japan’s historical past.
The ports around the Chiba-area city of Choshi were last year honored for the fourth year in a row for having the largest catch of mackerel pike (a very popular fish known as sanma in Japanese) in Japan.
But that’s of little comfort to local fishermen who have this year found their boats stranded in a literal sea of garbage and debris that has been carried into the ports from the Tonegawa River. The heavy flooding of the Kanto region brought about by last week’s relentless rain is believed to be the cause of the sudden influx of waste.
Japan’s beautiful mountainous scenery and relaxing hot springs are all thanks to volcanic activity, and even today there are still a handful of active peaks to be found in the country. One of the most famous, Kyushu’s Mt. Aso, is even a popular tourist destination. We don’t recommend visiting today, though, because the 1,592-meter (5,223-foot) volcano is currently erupting, as seen in these photos taken by locals.
Megadeth once said there are “99 ways to die” and while I’d hate to question their methodology in arriving at that conclusion, I’d wager that there are actually many more. Japan is no exception, of course. Despite the nation’s relatively low rate of violent crime there are plenty of natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanoes that can do us in. Giant hornets, cuisine that features plentiful raw meats, and poisonous fish are all parts of daily life in Japan as well.
But statistically speaking, just how dangerous are these things? Let’s find out with a morbidly fun game that we like to call “Which Causes More Deaths?”
If you don’t live in China or an adjacent country where you could presumably still hear the blast, or have been otherwise living under a rock, you may not have heard about the insanely huge explosion that rocked the city of Tianjin on Wednesday and briefly caused the city to look like the set of a conspicuously over-budgeted natural disaster movie.
Unfortunately, this disaster was very real and, tragically, has so far cost at least 50 people their lives, with many more still in critical condition. But, with the threat of further explosions unlikely, news cameras have started picking their way through the wreckage and devastation of the explosion, which occurred at a hazardous chemicals warehouse site, and the fallout looks just like a scene from a post-apocalyptic video game.
If volcanoes were comic or fantasy villains, they’d be more akin to Marvel’s cosmic entities or Lovecraftian horrors than the puny likes of Magneto or, uh… The Slug (I don’t know many Marvel villains). They strike only every few thousand years before slipping back into a long slumber, lurking for centuries as humanity slowly forgets the horrors they can inflict, inching closer to the looming mountains with each passing year, setting up cities at their very feet. Then, when mankind least expects it – just chillin’ ‘n shit as Dave Chappelle might say – the volcano strikes again, blasting molten rock and ash over miles and miles, smothering out whole cities in the (cosmically speaking) blink of an eye.
Yet, even as we know intellectually that volcanoes are kind of a big deal, we tend to look up at them less with abject horror and awe and more with shouts of, “Hey, check out that big-ass rock!”
Well people, we’ve got news for you: There are at least six big-ass rocks capable of blotting out not just entire cities, but entire civilizations and possibly humanity itself and you’ll never guess which disaster-prone island nation has the most.
Residents of Nemuro City, the easternmost point on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, have a close relationship with the sea. Fishing is an important industry for the town, which is known for its salmon, saury, and shellfish, and being located on a long, thin peninsula means at any spot in Nemuro, you’re never far from at least two coastlines.
Unfortunately, this also means Nemuro has more angles from which to be flooded, and huge stretches of it are currently underwater due to rapidly rising tides, as dramatic photos from the city show.
We recently celebrated Instant Ramen Day, marking 56 years since the very first packs of easy-to-cook noodles appeared in Japan. Not every anniversary that comes at this time of year is so lighthearted though. On September 1, 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake struck the Tokyo area, resulting in the death or disappearance of some 140,000 people.
Out of respect to the fallen and concern for the living, in 1960 the Japanese government designated September 1 as Disaster Preparedness Day, and this year we put together a disaster kit assembled from items you can easily procure at the 100-yen store.
In the early hours of the morning on August 20, Hiroshima City was hit by severe thunderstorms. As the downpour continued, the ground gave way in the Asanami and Asakita Wards, triggering landslides that have caused the deaths of dozens of residents.
With the storm finally passed and clean-up projects beginning, we visited the disaster site where we saw just how long the road to recovery is going to be.
Although Japan hasn’t had a full-fledged military since the end of World War II, the nation does maintain a strong self-defense force. Part of the organization’s duties is providing relief to disaster victims, whether that means meals for the hungry or simply a place for refugees to bathe. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) recently gave the public a peek at some of the clever gear it uses to accomplish this mission. And it is awesome.