Category: Japan

17 Mar

We Don’t Cry-Meaning of being Japanese in This Disaster

Juju Kurihara 1 Comment

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear-plant explosion, the triple disaster has rocked Japan literally. 


Now all the world is concentrated on Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. This is a huge problem but this is one of other problem. Meanwhile in the north, Touhoku region, people are waiting for the food, blankets or water, but they seem to be pushed aside before nuclear.

give us food sos


It's been nearly a week and Japanese government hasn't organized much about aids to the shelters. 

People have written "FOOD", "1000 BLANKETS" on the ground and hoping for the help.

Another thing is that on the TV we can see all horrible images of Tsunami and destroyed nuclear plants but hardly see individual face of the people in the shelter. There are many people longing to find out their family's faces and see them. But all we see is the interview with Tokyo Electricity or the Tsunami is wiping out Touhoku cities.



This is a comedian duo, Sandwich Man.

On the day of earthquake, they happened to be in Kesen-numa in Miyagi for a filming. They were lucky enough to go up to a higher place (about 250m) but what they saw soon after was infernal, they wrote after in their blog.

Now they are promoting to help people in Touhoku Area, not only collecting donation but also they speak what really needed in the devastated area. Before most of the TV stations only showed the aftermath, smashed houses, people being carried to the shelter or a woman standing with a lost look. All the images were the view as an outsider. Sandwich Man accused the government and TV station for slow support to Touhoku region and for not showing people's faces in the shelter.

Also they stress on the lack of information to public. Even about the evacuation, there is no specific information such as to where, how, about old people etc.. Both of those who are in the devastated area and are outside of the area are trying to get exact information. Even I am not sure what to believe…

listen to the radio


Sandwich Man's call is working. Now I see some TV stations has small sections in between the news and there people appear one by one to tell their worried family that they are safe or to ask people their missing family.


Today, on the 17th of March, Edano Chief Cabinet Secretary announced that finally they have started to take care of aid matter to Touhoku region. Now… isn't it a little late? Japanese Self-Difence Force is on the mission, has cleaned up some ports and roads for the aid ship to be able to come in. 


Japanese people are generally quite patient people and don't often express their feeling like Western people. Comparing to Latin people, we are almost emotionelss. Some people have asked me " in this terrible situation, why almost no one is crying?"

crying woman


Japanese people don't tend to cry when they are in a difficult situation but cry for relief, joy or for someone else.

This woman started crying when a volunteer handed her a sweet bread.


I saw in the news, an old woman started crying when she called out to a missing grandson who is 6 and is about to start primary school in April. She sobbed out that he has to be alive to go to the school because he waited it so long.


Even my mother who has been alone in the tilted house without gas or water for nearly a week says everyday that she is OK. Up to now, I haven't seen or hear people are complaining apart from the frustration towards unclear Tokyo Electricity. Japan is a collective society, this is one of the distinguished character of Japan. People live for all before one itself. Under the circumstances like this, people get together for recovery believing another miracle. They recovered from two atomic bombs, WWII, many earthquakes and tsunami, why not this time? 

washing foodqueue for food








In the devastated area, without much support from the government, people are helping each other. Children in group go to find some food from the mud and wash them. If there is a ration from the volunteers, people queue. None of them are fighting for their turn. Even in the hospital, people wait for their turn outside where the snow is falling.


queue for socksqueue for socks 2









This is the queue for pair of socks. Here is the same, people are waiting for their turn.

Robbery isn't common in the devastated area, even though they have no food, no one attacks the supermarkets. This is quite impressive. 

According to a psychologist, this is the characteristic of collective society. In this type of society people don't rob because they are suffering, but when their family or loving one starts suffer, it's possible that they rob for the family.


An old man broke in tears for those who couldn't survive.

16 Mar

All Together, Make 1000 Cranes!

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

There is a girl in Madrid, Spain is asking for a help. It's not a big favor but a little help anyone can do to help Japan which just has been attacked by one of the biggest earthquake on the 11th of March.

That is making a Origami crane.



In Japan there is a legend of 1000 cranes. When someone is very sick or in a terrible situation like now in Japan, people make 1000 cranes with Origami wishing their recovery and send to the person or the place.

Now this girl Makiko is asking you all to make one crane each infolding your wishes to Japan, then take a photo of your crane and send it to this direction

If you don't know how to make a crane, you can see the instruction from the link on the right side of the page. "Las 1000 Grullas

Please send a photo of your crane. Let's send our hope to Japan. Do a minimum we can do. 



1000 Cranes for Japan




16 Mar

Current Status of Nuclear Safety in Japan reported by IAEA

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

This is the current status of nuclear safety in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on the 15th of March reported by IAEA.

At the moment of the explosion of rector 4, the level of radioactive shot up to 400mm Sv however with the latest monitoring in the same day it went down to 0.6mmSv.

Japan is working on it, managing it despite of its difficulty and uncertainty.

Keep on eye on the report from IAEA.


16 Mar

Radiation Fears After the Quake, Lack of Information

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

fukushima plant

Since the quake attacked Japan on the 11th of March, already three explosions have happened in Fukushima nuclear plant.


Today as the water level of the reactor 2 of Fukushima Plant 1 had fallen and the fuel rod had been revealed without covered for two hours. It was about 18hrs at local time then sea water was poured into the rector, however the pressure inside the rector had become high and the fuel rod was again uncovered with water. At the mid night, finally they opened the valve to low the pressure. (The building on the left is the rector 1 and on the right is the rector  of Fukushima nuclear plant)

fuel pool


This is a reactor rod. According to the nuclear specialist, at 1,200ºC it starts to react to the vapor but this doesn't trigger meltdown. For example uranium needs to reach 2,800ºC to melt and to trigger meltdown, it needs the same temperature or more.


plant's team


Headquarters for nuclear disaster control in Fukushima. Local residents are anxious about not being able to get proper information.


map eng


A fire also briefly broke out at the plant's reactor 4 on the 15th.  It's believed to have led to radioactive leak and the local residents within 20km from the nuclear plants were evacuated.

The fire in the rector 4 has been on and off. Spent nuclear fuel is heating up and Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has confirmed that fuel pool is boiling.

wind and levelAt the moment of the first fire, the radiation level of the rector 4 was extremely high at 400mm Sv per hour and it was too dangerous to enter. Tokyo Electricity has decided to ask US army to sprinkle the water by helicopter. As soon as they get agreement, the operation will be carried out on Wednesday. 



Radiation level in the air has also increased in Tokyo area, too because of the wind from the north. Although the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announces that the level isn't harmless to human body, it is higher than usual.


Now twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, the level of radiation is officially announced. In Shinjuku in Tokyo today, it ditected 21 times more radioactive of 0.809 micro sievert at the highest.


This sievert, people receive about 2.4m Sv of radioactive a year means 0.274 micro Sv per hour. As a reference, you can get 6.9 mm Sv from a chest CT scan. People who work at the nuclear plants may receive 50mm Sv at the highest a year. If you receive 500mm Sv, lymph cell will start reducing and with 1,000 mm Sv, you will get nausea or feeling of vomit.

prime minister



The Prime Minister, Naoto Kan has advised to the people within 20km from the plants to evacuate. Also to those who live in 20-30km, to stay inside the house and close the windows. 



Today, on the 15h, Japanese government has requested to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to provide expert missions.   They are investigating Fukushima nuclear plants and its rectors and updats every two hours.


Of course Japanese people are preocupied despite of the announcement from the government saying the level is harmless. Many confusing informations are flying. 

One of them was to drink iodine or gargle contains iodine to avoid contamination. Later it was advised not to do.

Under these circumstances, the most dangerous thing is to get panicked People are on the verge and easy to believe any information. Yes, it is scary but hope they stay calm and pay attention to what to believe.

radiation check


ASN (French Nuclear Safety Authority) made a comment that this disaster of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was the second most severe accident and considers as level 6 by INES (the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale).

The most severe nuclear accident in the history was Chernobyl in 1986 and was level 7. Three Mile Island accident happened in 1979 was leveled at 5.


visit for checkThere are so many informations about the nuclear plants and it's difficult to know what to believe. Now this accident has triggered big discussion over nuclear plants in the world. It has been controversal but now it's even more. German has shut down their nuclear plants and the countries which have nuclear plants will strengthen the inspection on older rectors. This experience makes the world to think the safety and the necessity of nuclear plants.


Iromegane will continue fixing on the movement of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plants. Repeat, despite of higher level of radiation level, it is falling. The provincias around Fukushima have started receiving refugees. At the moment, in the areas more than 20km from the plant, the level of radiation is harmless.

14 Mar

Shelters in Japan- Need Food, Heating, Nappies

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

Four days past after the large earthquake in Tohoku region in Japan. The number of refugees has increased to 550,000 on the 14th of March. The damage on the northeast coast side is severe and all the traffic networks are shut down, neither on the land nor by the sea. 


From entire Japan is sending aid to Tohoku but this traffic problem impede. Also the number of refugees are increasing and the aid is just not enough. [/captio

From the supermarkets and Konbini stores in Japan, drinks, bread, cup noodles and prepared food which they can eat without cooking are gone. 

supply food


However, this has triggered people's anxiety. People who don't even live in Tohoku region feel threatened and rush in the supermarket to stock up their food supplies. Every day, there are huge queue of people at tills in shops with piled up baskets with dried bread, cup noodle, rice and tin food.


The media is telling them not to worry because distribution hasn't stopped. It's just because sending to Tohoku region is the priority at the moment and the shelves seem to be getting empty, but it's not like that. But people seem to be panicked.



Same thing is happening to the petro. People queue in front of the petro stations to get a drip more. Now many petro stations have limited service and give commercial vehicles priority.

Under extreme situation, the most important thing is to stay calm and pay attention to the announcement. Because there are many false informations that delude people in a chaotic situation.



Here in Sendai, too. People are diving into supermarkets first in the morning to stock up their food supply. Well, this is in Sendai and is understandable.

In shelters there is shortage of food especially, besides food, they need heating system, toiletpaper, medicines and nappies. Gasoline is essential for generators to give them light and warmth.

no heating


The supplies are on the way but it's slow. There are many older people in those area and they are weak.

Japanese government has decided to accept the offer from China, that they will send blankets. I don't really understand why they have to consider whether they could accept them or not, but I guess this is a political matter…

91 countries are sending their specialist, rescue teams and aids. Even New Zealand who is still recovering from their own disaster also send a rescue team to Japan.




Many volunteers have already made a muve.

This is a volunteer group from Kanazawa prefecture. Providing warm food to refugees. Even a bowl of rice or a cup of miso soup, it is enough to warm them up and to give them a little strength.


supply raamen


A food company, Nisshin has announced on the 13th that they will distribute a million cup noodles to the refugees in Tohoku region.

Besides, a tent maker has sent three 10ton trucks of tents to the north. The tents they provide are huge, 2,000 square metres made with strong materials and can accommodate 2,000 people in each tent.

Now the most important resorces at the moment is food and fuel. In Sendai, 320,000 people are in shelters and a million meals are needed a day. Japanese government has promised to contribute about 302 billion yen (about $3.7 billion) for the aid for this earthquake. 

According to the emergency disaster control, 55,0142 foods including bread, rice balls and cup noodle and 11,8912 bottles of drinks have been sent to the stricken area in the morning of the 14th. To the isolated area, the aids are dropped by helicopter. However 2,130,000 meals and 940,000 bottles of drinks are requested from the shelters. The shortage of the aids is severe.    

14 Mar

Scheduled Blackouts and Things We Can Do

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

planned blackouts

After the earthquake on the 11th of March, they are having scheduled blackouts to save power.

In Japan, the power source is divided in two; western Japan and eastern Japan. Curiously enough, they have different power level. In western part they use 50Hz and in eastern part, 60Hz. Although they have transformer to be able to help each part, even so, to cover entire eastern part is almost impossible. In the western Japan, they have reoperated some of the thermal power stations to send excess power to eastern part but still about 10 million kw of energy is short.

planned blackout in yamanashi


In the eastern Japan, they are separated in five groups and they have a blackout by taking turn. However this grouping is not so clear and there is a confusion. All day, Tokyo Electric Power was on the TV interview and being blamed of giving unclear announcement.

Way from Tohoku, here in Yamanashi prefecture, they have a turn of sheduled blackout. During the night of the 11th of March, People were lighting up the candles and cooking on the portable stove. A woman says "comparing to what is happening to the north, this is the minimum thing we can do to save some power. It's only a few hours of a day." Exactly.

blackout plan

This is the planning for blackout. Many countries are impressed by this. If you remember big blackout in NY, it's hard to control brown-out and Japan is one of few countries which is capable to manage it. But of course the information is confusing and people are irritated.

tokyo chaos

In Tokyo, the trains were running but less than normal schedule. Stations were full of people who were trying to get to work and became chaotic.



Until today, there have been 194 aftershock are recorded.

13 Mar

Liquefaction in Tokyo after the quake

Juju Kurihara 1 Comment

Comparing to the damage in the northeast coast of Japan, there is nothing to complain in Tokyo. Yes, the quake was scale 5 and it is scary especially if you are not from Japan but from the countries where never have experienced earthquake. However, Japan is well prepared, thinking of people in Sendai who lost their houses and families, we can't moan having some plates broken. 

The area near Tokyo Bay, the land is man-made. If you remember the earthquake in Kobe in 1995, you might've seen the ground had liquefied. This is what is happening in this area, too.

liquefactionSoon after the quake, the muddy water started coming out from the ground and my mother ran out of the house to get away the mud from the exhaust of my father's car. She sacrificed the parking and other car and saved his treasure.

sank bike





Neighbour's parking. The bike and the bicycle are half stuck in the mud. It's all come out from the the mud





In the same afternoon, people started to get rid of the mud because once it dries, the mud turns back to concrete so it has to be quick. Unfortunately my mother has just had the parking done, but the people from the construction company came to help her for getting rid of the mud. Look how thik the mud is. Since the earthquake, all the neighbourhood is helping each other.

mount of mud



This is the result of a day. They don't know if the municipal will come and collect this but I think this is the minimum they can do for the local residents.





It's a little difficult to see on the photo but you can see the house is a bit tilted because of the wobbly ground.


tilted gate




And here you see the gate of a house is well tilted and a big crack on the street. The mud they scraped out has become a good support for the gate, it seems…

leaned trees


Same house. Their fence fell down and the hedge are also lean forwards. The house of my mother is tilted backwards and according to her, if she sits on the toilet which is located at the back part of the house, she feels falling backward towards the wall.



The area where Tokyo Disney Land is totally covered with mud. Here is the link to the video

I'm so relieved that my family and friends are safe despite of lots of work to do. My mother is tired of running around and queuing for the water, or not being able to wash herself. But the most important thing is she is safe under the roof.

They are advicing to the people outside of Tohoku region where have much less damage to cut the power as much as possible. In fact, Tokyo Electric Power has decided a power control until this summer regardless of the recovery of the power. I think that is the minimum we can do at the moment.

13 Mar

2 Days after the quake attack to Japan

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments





2 days has passed after the earthquake attack in Japan. The rescue is carried out all day and in Tohoku region; Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi,Fukushima and Ibaraki, 5 prefectures there are in 2456 shelters in 135 towns and in total 361,548 people evacuated. Miyagi, where had the most damage has the most, 1008 shelters and 201,910 people evacuated. In many shelters have no electricity nor water and also are short of food and fuel to heat up the place.

A survivor stood devastated on where her house used to be in Sendai.


This is the Google Map photo of Ishinomaki City in Miyagi. The photo on the left was taken in 2007 and on the right is obviously after the quake.

google before ishinomakigoogle after ishinomaki








radiation check

According to the official announcement from Niigata prefecture, two people who were woking at Fukushima nuclear plants when the quake happened were exposed to the radiation and 19 people are possible to be exposed. In Fukushima 40 people were treated. Health centres are examining all the people in the shelters and now about 160 people are possibily exposed to the radiation.  



  on the roof

So many people are still missing and meanwhile, a man was rescued 15km away from the coast of Fukushima prefecture in the morning of the 13th. When Tsunami attacked his house, he managed to climb up to the roof but Tsunami drew him out to the ocean. Maritime Self Difence Force of Japan found him floating in the middle of ocean asking for a help. He was safely rescued and taken to the hospital but in a good condtion.


support from US

Already many support is reaching from all over the world. There are also many foreigners lived in Tohoku area and are missing. Many countries are trying to find out their safety. I like to send all my support and condolences.

12 Mar

Higashi Nihon Daishinsai- Day after

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

On the 11th of March 2011, a huge earthquake attacked the northeast coast of Japan. It was magnitude 8.8, one of the biggest earthquake in the world in the last century. As I reported yesterday, it happened at 14:46, most of the people were at work, some managed to go home on foot and some remained at work. This earthquake is now named Higashi Nihon Daishinsai. (Eastern Japan Big Earthquake)

Japan is a country of earthquake, centuries and centuries people were liveing with it and it is said that there is no other nation which is as prepared as Japanese. Since we are child, we learn and practice how to act when an earthquake ocurrs. I remember at school and at work, once a year we had an emergency evacuation practice. While we were studying or working, suddenly a siren rang then a director's voice told us that it's quaking. We all sit under the desk with a hood for the protection, then evacuated to the open space.

Even that, in front of the natural disaster, we are helpless. This is the aftermath of the day after.

JR Shinchi Machi station in Fukushima prefecture was wiped out by Tsunami and only remained deformed train and a part of the station.

remain of the station
Kisen Numa in Miyagi prefecture collapsed by Tsunami. kesennuma
Rikuzen Takata in Iwate prefecture is considered as totally destroyed. Entire city was covered with mud and some people who escaped to the rooftop of a supermarked are waiting for a rescue. escaped to the roof
Fire-fighting men are checking inside a car abandoned on the side of the raiway. rescue operation iwate
People are escaping to the shelter, the small truck is passing by destroyed city. to the shelter iwate

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has admitted that after the quake on the 11th of March around at 15:30, there was an explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant and approximately 90 people might have been exposed to radiation.

Fukushima nuclear plant 1 and 2 have started to emit the steam contains radioactivity in order to low the pressure of the plants. Emergency directions was announced to the local residents in four towns about 50,000 perople around the plants escaped from their hometown.  

fukushima nuclear plant



11 Mar

M8.8 huge earthquake attacked Japan coast, 11/03

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

11th of March at 14:46 Japan time, M8.8 scale earthquake attacked Japan's north-east coast. Majority of Tohoku region has been damaged. In Tokyo resistered an intensiry of 5 and all the tubes in Tokyo have been suspended after the earthquake. There are many power stations in the north region in Japan and all have been stopped the generations. 

The numbers are magnitude and the cross mark in the ocean is the hypocentre. This is the northern region in Japan.


It's still quaking, 3,000 people are stuck in Shibuya station due to the suspention of all public transport, they have been adviced to remain in the office and not try to go home.


Kasumigaseki, Tokyo




Office in Tokyo

Urayasu area in Chiba is a pure made ground and now liquefaction is happening. This is a taxi in front of the station stuck in the water. liquefaction
Smoke is coming out from some buildings in Tokyo


Destroyed shops in Tokyo shops
Tsunami attacked Fukushima region and a fire broke out fukushima
The oil refineries in Chiba have exploded chiba explosion

There is limited power source in Japan, no power in Tohoku area (northern region) and Yokosuka area and some places in Tokyo. At this moment, many people are missing in especially in Miyagi area and at least 26 peole died.

On BBC news there is a live news. BBC LIVE NEWS.

There is a risk of Tsunami to other Pacific area including Taiwan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand.

Now according to the latest news from Vienna, all five nuclear plants have been shut down safely and no danger of leaking.



More about 3.11

M8.8 quake attacked Japan

A year after in Japan

A year after the story of Japanese people

Tokyo report