Radiation fears as report shows Fukushima fir trees to be growing strangely

Following the events of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, radiologists in Japan have been closely observing the area for potential changes. A new report by the National Institute of Radiological Sciences now suggests that the fir trees in Fukushima may be exhibiting strange growth patterns, with the radiation from the disaster being named as a possible factor.

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Visiting Ikebukuro’s disaster prevention center and experiencing a magnitude-9 earthquake【Video】

The first real earthquake I remember experiencing was on March 11, 2011. You might recognize that as the day of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, which brought the devastating tsunami that ravaged the northeastern coast of Japan. I was in Tokyo at the time, so the seismic activity was markedly lower than that experienced by people living in places like Iwate and Fukushima, but it was still a real shock.

Ever since, I’ve wondered just how much worse it must have been closer to the epicenter. Thanks to the Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Center, I’ve come close to understanding what it must have felt like. Though far from anything you could describe as “fun,” it was an unquestionably powerful experience — and you can find out what it was like too. Check out our video introducing the center below, and learn a little bit about what to do in case you find yourself in caught in the middle of a powerful earthquake.

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Older cat suddenly stops bullying new kitten when earthquake hits, protects him instead

Here’s a heart-warming video that might just make your day. In it, a white male cat is shown bullying and nipping away at a tiny kitten who’s a new addition to the household. Halfway through the video, however, an earthquake hits and the frightened white cat shows a sudden and complete change of heart.

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Tweet all the things! Japanese vs American reactions to earthquakes

You might have heard that we experienced a magnitude-5.6 earthquake last week, which got everyone in the area a little shaken up (except for this super chill gorilla, of course). While Japan experiences earthquakes incredibly frequently, this one was a little bigger than usual, and had many in Japan diving for cover.

Oh, no, wait, they dived for their smartphones instead…

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Rescued dog becomes rescue dog as Hiroshima stray joins search for survivors in Nepal

In the wake of the massive earthquake that struck central Nepal last week, non-profit organisation Peace Winds Japan sent a small team of six rescuers and two specially trained dogs to help with the search for survivors.

Remarkably, one of the search dogs who was dispatched to Kathmandu is himself a former rescue: Yumenosuke, a stray dog saved from euthanasia in Hiroshima.

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Sega Games donating two million yen plus DLC revenues in four games to Nepal earthquake recovery

Some people don’t appreciate the way video game developers have so wholeheartedly embraced paid DLC, and it’s not hard to understand why. After already plunking down the money to buy the game itself, it’s kind of annoying to be constantly asked for nickels and dimes for tiny tidbits of content that some feel should have been included from the get-go.

But even if you’re irked by video game companies’ attempts to use DLC income to line their coffers, you’ll probably applaud the latest move by Sega Games, which is pledging to donate all the revenue from a collection of in-game purchases to recovery efforts stemming from the recent earthquake in Nepal.

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Over 150 whales found beached in Ibaraki, same thing happened before 2011 Tohoku earthquake

A little over four years ago, a week before the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, 50 melon-headed whales were found beached in Ibaraki Prefecture, only about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the earthquake’s epicenter.

Now the same omen of bad things to come has happened again. On April 9, about 150 melon-headed whales were found beached in Ibaraki Prefecture. As emergency teams race to save the whales, one thought is sitting in the back of their minds: is this foreshadowing another giant earthquake?

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Don’t forget: Yahoo! Japan to make disaster relief donation for every person who searches for “3.11” today

Four years on, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that befell Japan’s Tohoku region on March 11, 2011 have very little effect on the day-to-day lives of most people in the country. The rolling blackouts have stopped. Batteries and bottled water are once again readily available. Trains are running, and whole cities aren’t spending hours walking home from work or school.

But while a return to normalcy is a desirable, and ultimately necessary, part of recovery, it’s also important to remember what happened. To stem the forgetfulness that often accompanies the later stages of coping with tragedy, on March 11 Yahoo! Japan will be making a donation to the Tohoku recovery efforts for every person that searches for “3.11” through the company’s search engine.

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M5.6 earthquake in Tokyo brings some weird photos to Twitter

Japan is no stranger to earthquakes, meaning every time one occurs, the Japanese Twittersphere is bombarded with photos of the aftermath. There have been some major quakes that were no laughing matter, but usually, the tremors that occur result in nothing more than otaku griping about their toy…sorry, action figure collections getting knocked off the shelves. Japan’s most recent earthquake was centered around Ibaraki Prefecture and came in at a somewhat calm M5.6, delivering a few more photos of fallen treasures. From toppled heads to teetering TP, let’s take a look at some of the most popular photos taken after the earthquake. 

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Japanese scientist predicts another major earthquake in Japan by 2017

According to Japanese scientists, Japan might be in for another big one.

Dr. Masaaki Kimura, a seismologist who reportedly predicted the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, recently appeared on Japanese TV to share his theory about the next major earthquake to strike Japan. Based on his estimates, the quake will occur by 2017 and will be of similar magnitude to 2011’s. Similarly, astronomer Yoshio Kushida continues to insist that a big quake is not too far away. Keep reading to find out more about their respective theories and which specific areas of Japan they’ve got on the radar.

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Way to go! Japan earns top spot and two others in top 10 most dangerous world cities ranking

It’s always nice to be number one for something, even if it is number one in the “cities where the earth is most likely to kill you” ranking. That’s why we’re proud to announce that Tokyo and Yokohama were declared the cities at highest risk of natural disaster by Zurich-based Swiss Reinsurance (Swiss Re) in a 2013 study, whose findings were recently announced.

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NHK TV worker woken by earthquake, gives viewers a show by accident

As you already know, the third anniversary of the 3/11 Tohoku disaster was remembered this week through a variety of activities, including a fundraiser by Yahoo! Japan which saw the company donating roughly $250,000 to charity. The anniversary was also marked by a powerful earthquake off the coast of Kyushu at around 2 am on March 12, injuring about 14 people and wrecking havoc on innocent anime figures.

It also brought grins to all of the NHK viewers and Twitter users who happened to catch the public broadcaster’s footage of a confused-looking man running around an office in his underwear!

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M6.3 earthquake hits Japan, anime fans rush to tweet photos of damage to figure collections

Japan was hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in the early hours of Friday morning which injured 14 people and caused a brief power outage in some areas. The quake, which struck off the coast of the southern island of Kyushu at 2:07am local time, caused only minor damage, but the third anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake this week served as an important reminder of the devastation that can be caused by major earthquakes and tsunami.

Japan is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, and as such its people tend to be extremely well-versed in what to do in the event of a natural disaster. Take cover, turn off the gas, open the door to secure an escape route. These collectors of anime figures, however, had a different idea about what to do in the moments after this morning’s quake – check up on their action figures, and immediately catalogue the damage on Twitter.

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Remembering the people of Tohoku three years on

At 2:46 p.m. today, exactly three years will have passed since a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook Japan to its very core, moments later sending an enormous tidal wave that claimed tens of thousands of lives in the Tohoku region.

Today is a day to remember the people who are no longer with us, and to think of those whose lives were changed forever–many of whom were displaced from their homes and are still trying to start anew.

But today should also be seen as something of a gift. Those of us who came away from March 11, 2011 unscathed or are fortunate enough never to have known loss like the people of Tohoku are given days like today to pause and take stock of what we have. Whether or not you observe a moment’s silence this afternoon, and wherever you are in the world, try to keep Japan in the back of your mind today, but also try to look a little closer to home. Use today to effect some positive change in the world or in your own life, however small and seemingly insignificant. Donate to a charity you believe in; call your mother; switch off your phone for an hour and look at all of the cool stuff around you; start work on that book that you’ve been crafting in your mind for the past five years; buy some nicotine patches instead of another pack of cigs; book that holiday you’ve been meaning to take; pay for the guy in line behind you in Starbucks; tell your dog that he really is a good boy; make an awesome cake, then sit with a pal and stuff it into your faces while pretending to be dinosaurs.

As dramatic as it may sound, days like March 11, 2011 are firm reminders that sometimes there isn’t a tomorrow to put things off until, so make the most of today. Ganbare, Tohoku!

Need some inspiration? Maybe one of these groups could use some help:

Japan Red Cross Society / Cancer Research UK / (RED) 
Global Giving / Save the Children / World Vision / WWF

Tokyo Tower displays special message ahead of Tohoku earthquake and tsunami anniversary

A special message is being displayed on Tokyo Tower in memory of those lost during the March 11, 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami, as well as to promote a sense of unity across the country.

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Inmate of Tohoku prison within nuclear evacuation zone sues TEPCO for emotional distress

It’s been three years since the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster swallowed up whole cities and caused one of the worst nuclear power disasters in history. For much of the world the devastating event is a distant memory – except for people in California who, for some reason, to this day think swimming in the ocean is going to give them three eyes or four boobs or something.

But for many living near the crippled Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant, like the inmates at a Kagoshima City prison located within the nuclear evacuation zone, the Tohoku earthquake and the persistent effects of the subsequent nuclear disaster altered their lives forever; so says a former inmate who is formally suing TEPCO for emotional distress.

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Earthquake strikes Kanto region, ruins novelty goods store’s evening

At approximately 8:44 on the evening of 16 November, a magnitude-4 earthquake shook the Kanto area of Japan. Although some barely noticed the tremor, the quake dealt a sizeable blow to the Village Vanguard store in Sangenjaya, Tokyo.

Village Vanguard is a chain of book stores in Japan, but also the place to go for those looking for a Jamaican flag Zippo lighter, bag of freeze-dried astronaut food, DVD of Golden Eggs, and/or bag with a Dr. Pepper logo on it in a country that by and large neither knows of nor likes the drink.

Following the damage caused by the quake, an outpouring of support has been seen from netizens in Japan.

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How to survive an earthquake (or zombie outbreak): Expert advice and items to prepare

Being the most earthquake-prone country in the world, earthquake drills are as common in schools in Japan as fire drills are in the West. Knowledge of what to do and how to prepare for big quakes is essential, but many foreigners visiting or living in Japan are simply not used to larger tremors and have little or no idea how to respond should the earth start to rumble. Thankfully, even in Japan the chances of being hurt or killed in an earthquake are relatively slim, but it’s important to know what you can do to prepare. Combining our own first-hand experience with the expert advice of a seismologist from the California Institute of Technology, the following article not only discusses how best to respond in the event of an earthquake, but also lists the essential items that anyone living in Japan or any other earthquake-prone country should have stowed away in their earthquake preparedness kit.

Talking safety is never the most exciting subject, and no one’s asking you to go all Dwight Schrute and build a nuclear fallout shelter here, but it pays to be ready. And if the thought of tooling up in the name of earthquake preparedness fails to get your heart pumping, simply substitute the word “earthquake” for “zombie outbreak” and the process will become infinitely more fun.

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Appalling string of thefts targets religious offerings in tsunami-damaged town

Living in Japan, it’s easy to take safety and honesty for granted. This is, after all, the country where public trains make ideal spots for a nap.

That said, with over 150 million people in the country, you’re bound to have a few bad apples, such as the lowlifes who’ve decided there’s no better place for a crime spree than the town of Yamamoto, which was hit hard by the massive earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

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Astronomer’s Kansai earthquake warning called off: “No possibility of earthquake before the end of September”

Well, it looks as if the people of Kansai may have been jerked around yet again. One month after the Japan Meteorological Agency sent out a blanket alarm of an imminent earthquake in Nara, astronomer Yoshio Kushida made the grim prediction of a large-scale quake as early as 6 September.

Now, in the wake of intense media attention, Kushida’s PHP Institute has made a follow-up report stating that until the end of September “there is no possibility of an earthquake.”

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