I saw this picture of a tiny cat on a wall escaping the tsunami and created two hopeful internet messages for Japan:
To put things into some hopeful perspective, at least this isn't as bad as the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, which devastated Tokyo with the ensuing firestorms (140,000 dead or missing). And then Tokyo was destroyed again by American bombs in 1944.
The current disasters are all in Sendai, not Tokyo. I read somewhere had a declining population of older folks, since young people have been leaving Sendai for Tokyo for years now. In some ways this probably made the death toll worse, since elderly people are harder to evacuate. A lot of interviews on the news have been with people returning to Sendai to search for dead parents.
I was worried when I first heard the news that the Earthquake may have been the Tokyo magnitude 8 quake that the government has been preparing for. I think that's why the TV series Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (or even Metro Survive) were made. I once spent a terrifying day at work (in 2008) reading a pdf manual in English for foreign residents about what to do to prepare for Earthquakes. Five minutes of googling for it again and I've come up empty handed. In any case, it had advice I wouldn't have thought of; for example, the manual advice Tokyo office workers to always keep a comfortable pair of shoes stashed somewhere in the office and to know how to walk home from work in case the trains aren't running. Tokyo has a hell of a lot of trains (it is easily five times the size of New York City), and walking home could be terribly confusing for far-flung commuters.
Anyway, I feel horrible about what's happened to Japan, but I'm also very hopeful. Of all countries, Japan knows how to rebuild. They even know how to rebuild after a nuclear disaster. Takashi Miike had to cancel an appearance in New York, and had this to say about the crisis:
"...from this adversity — on our lives — we will all rise up without fail."
I keep thinking about the cheerful Yatta song:
Here are the lyrics with a translation. I keep thinking of the part that goes:
|nippon kyuu kyuu|
demo ashita wa wandahoo
|Japan's got crises. |
I wonder if it's きゅうきゅう as in "emergency", which is written like this: 救急.
Everyone is wondering how to help. I'm going to donate to Japan Society, who promises that "contributions will go to organizations that directly help victims." Tofugu is offering to donate 110% of proceeds to disaster relief for a limited time, and then after the commercial for his own site, Koichi lists some ways to help that are non-monetary.