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.
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!
- Fran Wrigley
Mar 15, 2014
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.
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!
- Philip Kendall
Mar 10, 2014
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.
Nov 27, 2013
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.
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.
- Philip Kendall
Sep 24, 2013
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.
- Casey Baseel
Sep 5, 2013
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.
Astronomer’s Kansai earthquake warning called off: “No possibility of earthquake before the end of September”
- Master Blaster
Sep 4, 2013
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.”
After last month’s false alarm of a large earthquake over our mobile phones, Nara and surrounding area residents’ blood pressures are finally getting back to normal. Well, don’t put away those paper bags yet. Now there’s another reason to worry. Research out of Yatsugadake Nanroku Observatory is suggests that we can expect a major earthquake of at least magnitude 7 to hit somewhere in the Kansai area from next week.
Earthquake-prone Japan is no stranger to proclamations of doom so it’s hard to get too worked up. However, the head of the observatory, Yoshio Kushida has made this prediction with a truly unique method that if correct could revolutionize earthquake prediction. Rather than looking down at the ground, Kushida suspects we can detect earthquakes better by watching the skies.
More than two years after the powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami ravaged Northeast Japan, footage taken by those who were in some of the worst hit areas at the time is still appearing online. Currently receiving a lot of attention here in Japan is a video taken at a seaside location – which some believe to be either Kesennuma or Rikuzentakata, the home of the miracle pine memorial – showing the entire town disappear beneath the black water in a matter of minutes.
Although there are no scenes of abject peril, some readers may nevertheless find the following footage disturbing.
- Master Blaster
Aug 9, 2013
I was busy working at my desk on August 8, 2013 at approximately 4:55pm when I felt a great disturbance in the Force. It was as if millions of mobile phones cried out at once.
And sure enough when I checked my own phone there was a message from the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) which read “Receiving Earthquake Warning. Be cautious for violent shaking.”
- Rona Moon
Aug 7, 2013
From 5 August, fears of another major earthquake in Japan began to spread on Twitter. The source of the unease was a screenshot from a Japanese talk show, which laid out the following series of earthquakes leading up to the Tohoku earthquake in 2011, alongside a similar series of earthquakes which have struck in recent days.
At 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 4, Northeastern Japan started to shake. On the Japanese shindo scale, the quake measured between 3 and 4 (overhead lights sway and objects rattle, but some people who are on the move may not notice it) in most areas, a ‘low-5′ at its strongest. Thankfully, there are thought to have been no casualties as the tremor was relatively short-lived, and with the quake of March 2011 and weeks of resulting aftershocks having been far stronger, the people of Tohoku are now fairly hardened when it comes to smaller rumbles.
Curiously though, no sooner had the earthquake passed than a few jokesters began sharing the above image from the Japan Meteorological Agency, along with messages of “LOL” and ‘Why do I suddenly feel like I want to go to Northeastern Japan?”
- John Stuart Translations
Jul 17, 2013
Results of an analysis by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and others released on the July 16, suggests that force generated by a large-scale earthquake could cause internal cracks within Mt. Fuji, leading to a major eruption of the recently listed UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
On 9 November, 2011, a member of the Association for Aid and Relief Japan, Atsushi Miyazaki was killed while helping relief effort in an earthquake stricken region of Turkey.
Although Miyazaki had made the ultimate sacrifice for another country by laying down his life, the Turkish people also have shown an unending sense of gratitude by continuing to honor his name years later.
Can Earthquakes be Predicted? Forecasts Based on Atmospheric Ions prove Correct in Awaji Island Quake
- Cara Clegg
May 3, 2013
On April 13, 33 people on Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture were injured in a magnitude-6.3 earthquake. Japan is fairly accustomed to earthquakes, but the talking point surrounding this one if the fact that the time and place of the sizable tremor seem to have been predicted in advance. Read More
- Master Blaster
Apr 10, 2013
During the European Geosciences Union (EGU) Convention in Vienna on 9 April, a Russian scientist declared that Japan would face a giant earthquake of magnitude 9.0 within the next year and a half.
- John Stuart Translations
Apr 7, 2013
The Japanese Red Cross Society recently released a summary of countries and territories that sent donations (as of the end of 2012) to the organization following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Topping the list were the United States and Taiwan, number one and two respectively, with donations in excess of 2.9 billion yen (approx. US$29 million) each. A total of 22.7 billion yen was received from 179 countries and territories, including from among the world’s poorest nations. Drawing the attention of some Netizens was the fact that neighboring South Korea failed to make the top 20.
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