People around Japan are spreading news of the J-Alert System and the manual that explains what to do in the event of an armed attack.
Back when I was working in city hall at a small rural town in Kyoto prefecture, one of my duties involved heading to the fire station a few times a month to “role play” with the firemen. (Hey, it beat pushing papers.) To help them gain some experience with handling potential emergency calls from foreign residents, I would play the part of the panicking gaijin, often trying to come up with weird and wacky scenarios for the emergency services guys to handle. The object was to train the (almost completely non-English speaking) EMTs to pick out essential keywords such as “fire”, “car accident”, “unconscious”, etc from a barrage of English, but mostly I just had a blast inventing crazy scenarios like “my Playstation 3 just blew up and set fire to my neighbour’s poodle!”
It’s not all fun and games, however. Time-wasting calls to Japan’s emergency services numbers 119 and 110 have been a serious problem recently, with increasing numbers of people abusing the service to ask for help with a range of ridiculous scenarios, ranging from running out of toilet paper to forgetting their smartphone password…
Japanese people have a stereotype for being incredibly tiny. Grown men and women can shop in the “junior” section, which is a handy way to save a bit of money, especially when buying some brand name items. But just because you “can” doesn’t mean you “should“. One Japanese “baller” finds out the hard way that some children-only items should really only be used by children. Unless you are looking for a new and permanent metal chastity belt.
While there’s nothing quite like a dip in the ocean on a hot summer day, this man’s quick swim-turned missing person’s case will serve as a great reminder why you should always be careful in Mother Nature’s swimming pool.
Earlier this week, a 29-year-old man from the city of Kobe was enjoying some sea-side bathing with his friends when a strong wind came, sweeping him far from the coast. His friends acted quickly, called the local police and a search ensued for 20 hours until the missing man turned up on a beach 40 kilometers to the south thanks to an incredibly lucky discovery.
The end of July has brought soaring temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) to certain parts of Japan. As we saw this past weekend, the oppressive heat was even enough to make Tokyo Disneyland look almost deserted, an unheard-of feat.
While your first temptation may be to cool off at the beach, remember to take precautionary safety measures anytime you’re under the sun–last week also saw the highest number of cases of heatstroke in Japan this year-to-date.
Everyone knows that in case of an emergency, inflatable slides pop out from the exits of an airplane, enabling passengers to quickly and safely exit from the craft. But what about trains? Sure, walking on and off the platform is easy, but what if the train makes an abrupt stop and you’re staring at a four-foot drop to the ground? If you find yourself in Japan, you’ll be able to use the very seat you’re sitting on to make a swift escape.
While I was fortunate to have been inland and more than 60km away from the Fukushima power plant when it ruptured, on 3 March, 2011, my co-workers and I nevertheless started to get a little anxious when, just a few hours after the initial earthquake hit north-east Japan, our water supply went off.
Heading to the nearest supermarket in search of bottled water, we were met by the sight of hundreds of locals who had had the exact same idea: buy as many provisions as possible and get back indoors. By the time we found a place to park and got into the store, there was barely anything left on the shelves; it had all been snapped up by (understandably) panicked buyers. Deciding to try our luck at the local convenience store, we drove over to 7-Eleven, but found the shelves just as bare.
Although our sitation never got anywhere close to desperate, and our supply came back on about 24 hours later, the thought of not having any clean, safe drinking water really struck home for a while there.
Until it suddenly becomes unavailable, water is something that we all take for granted on a daily basis. Turn the tap and fill up a glass, fill the kettle and make a coffee, jump in the shower, wash your clothes; we use it almost constantly and can’t get by without it.
So it comes as something of a relief to hear that there are clever people out there creating devices that can do something as unfathomable as turn chemical-filled pool water into something that’s safe to drink in an emergency…