day 3, march 13

on sunday, i went to my pottery lesson. it was a little hard to concentrate.

after, i started talking with one of the other students in my class, who knows that my research is related to disaster recovery. we went for coffee, and visited our pottery teacher’s group art exhibit/sale. they were collecting money for the disaster victims. but in general, in kyoto life was going on as usual.

it was nice to talk to someone in person about what was happening, and the disaster.

that evening, the news started focusing on the nuclear reactors. some hydrogen had been released inside, and caused an explosion of the outer structure.

there began to be a huge difference in how the international media and japanese media portrayed the situation. in general, the international media often reported information that was 1 or 2 days old. and alarmist. while the japanese media was calm. the difference was really unbelievable. even if you want to argue that the japanese media is trying to play down the danger to avoid panic, there’s not really any good excuse for the international media to publish things that basically stated the end of the world was near.

from the very beginning, twitter played a huge role in spreading information, especially thanks to the people who were translating the latest news (in japanese) into english. one that i really was impressed by was @TimeOutTokyo. primarily a guide for entertainment and events, these folks were tireless in continuously translating and posting updates. there were many other bloggers on twitter also, sharing information that countered what was being said in the english international media, especially about how tokyo was a choatic. tokyo was affected, with train service cut. on friday, thousands of people had had to walk home since the trains were stopped. bikes were sold out all over the city, as people bought them to ride home on. and there were aftershocks, and blackouts, and i know it was nerve wracking to say the least. but the city did not descend into uncivilized chaos. and as i said before, western japan was business as usual.

i continued to receive many messages from friends or people who knew i was in japan, asking if i was ok.


About liz

from the u.s., recently moved from kobe to sendai, japan, researching community-based housing recovery after disaster.


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