Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Japan Earthquake. Unprecedented coverage?


The Japanese earthquake of the 11th of March was a major doozey.  Initial rumblings were felt on Wednesday the 9th with a massive one on the weekend, reaching a magnitude.  Something that has interested me more then the recent natural disasters is the level of coverage.  Having friends and family in Japan, I was more interested than normal from the start. 


Once I had learned of the earthquake, I turned on the news and they had footage of the usual that Japanese TV usually has with earthquakes.  The inside of the NHK offices rumbling around and stuff falling off shelves.  Nothing new there, but what was new was the footage of the tsunami rolling in and across various villages, runways and anything else it decided to cross.


We spent a lot of time on Saturday evening desperately trying to get in contact with rellies and friends once we heard about how strong the quake was.  I had the news on the whole time and was on the internet as well.  The information that was instantly available on the net was what I thought it would be, but as the night went on, it really moved to amaze me. 


Google came and set up the naming bulletin board as people got on various boards  and left their status.  It was quite amazing.


On the TV, more footage of the tsunami showed up.  It almost felt like real-time additions were showing up on the TV.  It really hit home to me how severe this was when I was watching one set of footage.  There were two cars making an escape from the encroaching water.  One went along the bottom of the screen, away from the wave, the other went towards the top of the screen, parallel to the wave.  the one at the top got cut off by a part of the wave that was ahead of the rest, I saw this lonely little car make a sharp turn into the car park of a nearby building, I saw the car stop and as the wave hit the other side of the building, I can only wonder happened to the people in that car.  The camera moved on as it tracked the wave.


Luckily for us, all of our friends and relatives are fine, most just got stuck on stranded trains.  We had planned to fly to Japan for a family visit on the 15th of March, but despite Narita being open by the 13th, the problem lies with getting from Narita to our accommodation as trains aren’t working.  Plus there are rolling blackouts due to the power plants issues and to top it off, food shortages due to no deliveries and a bit of panic buying.  So we decided to cancel the tickets and go another time.


Personally I have mixed emotions about the whole deal.  Naturally I am concerned for the safety of all those in the Fukushima region, as well as the areas hit by the tsunami such as Miyagi.  Miyagi has just revealed 2000 dead from the tsunami.  Wow.


I felt a tad unprepared for the trip, but as the time drew closer, I accepted it and had everything under control, with enough spending money to have some fun, taken time off work and on Friday I was rather excited and looking forward to it.  Now I have to go back to work and yet I still would like to see family and friends.


Amazing how much power mother nature can crank really.  Very very humbling.  That’s for sure.



Magnitude 9, must be so massive.  Each number is 10 times stronger than the one before.  So if  magnitude 1 is the same as 1 ‘tetsawobbles,’  then a magnitude 2 is equivalent to 10 tetsawobbles. Magnitude 3 would be 100 tetsawobbles and so on and so forth.  

By that reckoning, magnitude 9 is equivalent to 100,000,000 tetsawobbles.  That number is one hundred million tetsawobbles.

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