I remember 2:46pm on March 11, 2011 like it was yesterday. On the 20th floor of my then company it was swaying like a palm tree in a hurricane. The building next door which was built in 1974 didn’t meet the latest earthquake codes and it oscillated in the reverse and I swore it was going to hit. For the life of me I wasn’t scared. The brain is spinning too fast to keep uP with data it’s never encountered before. Yet, I like many others, were lucky. 16,000 were wiped out by a tsunami and 370,000 homes destroyed. Then the nuke disaster that followed.
The sad part of the disaster was the reckless media eager for sensational click bait. Reporting empty supermarkets, panic and general mayhem. My experience was the opposite. It was orderly, polite, selfless and supermarkets were replenished almost immediately. My former company held drinks every night for clients who stayed in the thick of it while many competitors fled (some with proper business continuity plans) in fear of their lives. Even senior managers (known as fly-jin) paid a king’s ransom deserted their troops. It was a disgrace.
I said to family, friends and clients alike that the further you got from the reactor the more hysterical the reporting became. People wearing masks because of the hay fever season were reported as trying to filter out nuclear fallout. A plane was reported to have higher radiation levels than normal but when the payload was studied it was carrying x-ray equipment. One journalist from the Daily Mail stumbled on the pub we hosted drinks at and wanted us to paint a picture of horror but we have him such a bollocking that he was lucky to escape us. I said “why not report the truth? You might find your readers will discern from the rubbish they’re reading now which is causing many trying to cope more anguish.”
I can handle fake news when it comes to politics but when it comes to massive loss of life you’d hope humankind would take a rational approach to reporting the truth. Alas they can’t help being attention whores. I shall forever remain in awe of the truth and how proud I was of the Japanese ability to endure such pain in so orderly a fashion. That’s why I love this place for all of its foibles.