Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Post Earthquake post

Peter Here;

My first ever earthquake experience was in the first week of my Japan experience. The birds fell silent, the ground rumbled and the houses shuddered for all of ten seconds. Then the world returned to normal, and all was left as a reminder was a gently swinging lampshade.

Last week was different, and obviously not as fascinating an observation. Of course it was scary, and of course I feel very lucky to be alive, given the devastation up in the north. The quake hit just as I was getting ready to leave for my Friday afternoon kindergarten English class, and that's exactly where I went after the earth stopped moving. It was relieving to see that apart from a few teary faces, they were all ok and treating the whole experience like camping. The teachers were absolute angels with them.

Since then, various news sources seem to have difficulty in providing accuracy in the actual situation; some people have mentioned statistics that have been quite simply plucked out of thin air, or at the very least a twitter commentary. Quite a few of my Eikaiwa contemporaries are now leaving Japan on the basis of this, personally I think it's a bit rash.

I must say it would've been very easy for me to have left Japan as I don't have any family or commitments outside of the Internship keeping me here. However, especially after the first couple of headline days were over I felt fine staying, because having come from an advertising background I know firsthand that certain news sources will very much tweak and dramatise the information to get a larger viewing audience, rather than reporting it 'as it is'. From my humble experience, news has become more about ratings than providing de-facto information, which means it is difficult to get a reasonable report on our current situation.

The best way to see through the smoke is to get to the same sources that they use, which Richard has pointed out in the previous post are the Embassies and the expert authorities that are actually working on the site. Any armchair enthusiast can call themself an analyst, so news journalists can pick and choose the ones that run with the story they want to write, if you know what I'm saying.

So quite simply, given the official and direct sources, I feel reassuredly safe here. I'm just not going up North anytime soon. I've not done any firefighting and I don't like the cold, and although I was in the Scouts and an avid fan of Ray Mears I would probably get in the way of the real heroes!

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