Report of the activity in Ishinomaki, Miyagi

I had worked on a project named "Smile Challenge" and visited Ishinomaki City which got a severe damage by tsunamis, a few days ago.

I started this project with thinking of children living at places of refugee under a lot of pressure and I wanted to provide the goods which help them relieve the stress. So, I decided to deliver books, especially comic books, to their place.
I started the project with one of my friends two weeks ago, and then I made a website which became a base of this entire project and started spreading information on Twitter.
The details of this project is here.

In Smile Challenge, we suceeded in collecting over 1,700 books, including about 1,100 comic books, 500 picture books and 100 novels by getting lots of support from many people, though our first goal was to collect 1,000 books.
My friends were kind enough to provide their books for this project and also people we got to know through Twitter donated lots of books.

Then, we headed for Ishinomaki City which is one of the most damaged areas in northern Japan on Friday night.

We first passed southern Fukushima which unfortunately became famous for the nuclear power plants on the way to Ishinomaki. It was very strange that we saw only a few cars which go to Fukushima and didn't see much light from the city there.

It was like a huge ghost town.

After we passed Fukushima Prefecture and got in Miyagi Prefecture, we gradually began to see the trail of huge tsunamis. The highway runs inland and I couldn't see the coast from there. However, I could easily find the trail of huge tsunamis such as the debris of buildings and broken cars on fields. I was very shocked to see this terrible scene at first and could then realize that huge tsunamis really swallowed the people's lives in those areas.

Picture in downtown of Ishinomaki


We arrived at Ishinomaki the next morning, but the situation there was much worse than any other area we saw by then. Most houses in the city were seriously damaged and broken, debris piled up literally everywhere in the city, cars were floated and some were on the roof of houses, and the city smelled terribly with sludge brought by tsunamis.
About a month has already passed since the first quake, but it seemed the situation there was still terrible and the time has stopped after the quake.

In Ishinomaki, we collaborated with a volunteer whose name is Yamane. He has worked on a project called "Book Library Project" locally, so our activities are similar and we decided to cooperate each other.
He first took us to Ishinomaki Library and we had a chance to talk with the chief of the library. Then, we knew that Kitakami area of Ishinomaki which is located near the coast got a severe damage by huge 20 meter tsunamis. He also told us that tsunamis hit the large part of villages there and the area was devastated.
Therefore, we decided to visit Kitakami area and give all the books we brought.

We were all literally stunned by the damage of tsunamis in Kitakami area. The whole village was diminished and only a few houses were barely standing.
I could easily understand that many people lost their lives by huge tsunamis which hit the village.
Two days has passed since I visited there, but I still clearly remember the terrible scene of Kitakami.

Kitakami Area

The facility we brought books had a functionality as a center of whole Kitakami area. Fortunately, staff there welcomed us warmly and they looked pleased to get support from us. It is mainly because Kitakami area is located far from downtown area of Ishinomaki city and it hadn't got enough leisure goods by then. So, they said that the goods given by us were greatly helpful for children and promised to distribute the books to each facility the next day.
So, we donated all 1,600 books to them and felt very happy to provide the goods to the people who need for the most.

After we unloaded all the books, we talked with the staff there.
They told us that there used to be 3 elementary schools and a middle school in Kitakami area. However, they lost 2 elementary schools and a middle school by tsunami and quake. So, they are now in a process to start a school at the safely remained elementary school.
I promissed to give them help as much as I can, and I am now thinking to come back this place sometime soon and want to contribute to the process of restructuring of this hugely damaged area.

This time, I visited the stricken area and saw the current situation there. As I wrote above, the situation there was lot worse than I had imagined.
Peple never doubt that they lose their life so easily and in one moment before the quake and tsunamis in 3.11. Now, they are forced to live under the huge pressure and with fear.
It was just a different world I know of Japan.

I will keep being a part of power which helps people get back the life they used to have before.


New Project "Smile Challenge"

I started a new project "Smile Challenge" with two of my friends yesterday.
In this project, we are aiming to give books, especially comics, to children living at places of refugee.

I have actually wanted to do something helpful for people who are suffering from this disaster.
I was really grieved at heart by hearing news on people who lost their houses, property, and family. In the first week after the quake, I literally couldn't do anything and I felt a big hole in my heart.

Now, necessities, such as food and water, are brought for the people by a lot of efforts from many people. There are still some areas at which people don't have enough food and water, but people are doing their best to deliver those necessities.

So, many people are now paying attention to physical stuff such as food and water. I now think they are very important but also stuff which make people's life better mentally is also needed.
Still people experience lots of aftershocks and spend sleepless night. I don't want people to feel much stress in that severe situation, especially children. This is because it is children that shoulder the future of Japan.
I want them to release the stress they have and get their life back as well.

That is the background of the story why I started a project which deliver books to children.
Our current goal is to collect 1,000 comics. This is not easy to fulfill this goal without getting support from many people.
Just one day have passed since we launched the Smile Challenge project, and now we already collected 113 comics from our friends.
We are now expanding to get support from more people. We have told to our friends and hope they tell also their friends and family. We just hope some of those people get involved in this project and give us a support.

The important point here is we encourage people to write the message by their hand when we receive their books. We will hand the messages to people at the refuges.
Moreover, we keep posting photos and blog entries about the state of our activity. We will report how the situation near the epicenter is and people there on our website when we visit there.
The website is here -> Smile Challenge

By doing these, I believe we can make this project as a two-way communication activity. Not only those who got support, but also those who provided support will have very positive feelings.

We're going to visit Ishinomaki-City, Miyagi, on April 9th and 10th. By then, we will try to get books and messages as much as we can.

Most of you visiting this blog are living abroad, I think. So, you cannot provide books and write messages to those people even if you want to.

Now, I suggest you to send us a message by email. We will write down your message on a letter by our hand instead of you and put also a translate in Japanese.
The email address is here: smilechallenge0409@gmail.com
This is an official email address of our project. So, you can feel free to send us messages, but please send a short one because it's tough for us to write down long sentences. haha
Just a short one please. :)

Hope many of you send a message to people who suffer from this tragedy through our project. They will realize people are thinking of them from the world.


Report from Tokyo

First, I want to make an excuse for not updating the blog for a few days.
This is a very person thing, but I had a graduation ceremony about 2 days ago and officially graduated from the college. I moved to Tokyo today, so I started a new life in Tokyo.
So, the last couple of days were very busy and didn't have time to write a new entry.

Anyways, I was in Kanazawa which isn't affected by the quakes, and now in Tokyo.
I found a big difference between those two cities.
In Kanazawa, everything seemed working fine and I felt like nothing serious happened in Japan even right after the quake. The city was filled with liveliness as usual.
Honestly, I was at a loss because of a huge gap between my mind and others'. I was actually very confused by it.

The news on TV and the Internet took me the motivation for any work.
I was not productive and really couldn't do anything other than to watch news and write a blog to let people feel the terrible situation in Japan at the time.
However, the environment in Kanazawa was very far apart from my sense then. Here, I don't blame or criticize that at all because we should be productive and get back the normal life we used to have as much as we can.
I just mention that I had a feeling which is that Kanazawa was too peaceful for me at that time.

Now in Tokyo, I think the atmosphere is a lot different from that of Kanazawa.
I feel something like worries from people. I think this is caused mainly from the information about the radioactive materials of nuclear plants and the planned blackouts.
People seem to be quiet and tired compared with before the quake.

We have faced a serious shortage of the power since the quake, especially in Tokyo area as you know.
Many people are now trying to reduce the use of electricity. Companies and household pull out plugs they don't use and turn off heaters in this cold day.
They cooperate each other in this situation and are doing what they can.
As a result so far, they haven't experienced blackout as many as first planned.

The below is a chart which shows today's consumption of electricity in Tokyo area, and I briefly explain it.

  • The vertical axis is power supply (10,000 kW) and the cross axis is time shift.
  • The top blue line shows the consumption of the same date of the last year.
  • The pink line shows that of yesterday.
  • The bar graph shows today's consumption.

As you can see from the chart above, the consumption of yesterday and today was greatly decreased compared with that of last year.
In addition, it was a cold day today but people didn't use heater with their effort.  So, it would exceed the consumption of last year if we hadn't done any efforts to handle this situation.
In my apartment also, heater is off and lights which we don't need.

It is good that people raise their awareness and take this power saving action.


Estimates of Japanese economy (short, medium, and long term)

I put data in order and write about the anticipated effects focused especially on its economy.
The below is my idea and ideas I got from analysts.
So it might contain incorrect facts, but I want you to read and think it over by yourself.
I divided into three terms: short term (〜 1 month), medium term (〜 6 months), and long term (〜 5 years)

■Short term (〜 1 month)
□Consumption fall
Consumer minds have cooled since the quake. This was a huge disaster which deprived many people of their family and property. We tend to refrain from getting goods which are not necessities. As a result, food service industry and toursit industry are damaged directly. We know that it doesn't help recovering from this situation and it makes the economic situation worse, but we just don't feel like to spend the luxurious life we had before.
Also, The government has called saving electricity to people because one of the biggest generators of electricity have stopped. Therefore, people in Tokyo area are now trying their effort to save power.
However, I think this kind of power saving action doesn't have any impacts and this accelerate depressed people's mind. When we are in a dark place and pay attention to power saving, our consumption drops.
Saving power is important, but I think the important point is the peak of the demand of electricity. If we avoid using the electricity in a peak time which is now from 4 to 6 pm, we don't need to consider the power supply at night.

□Affected manufacturing industry
Plants in northern Japan got damaged by the quakes and tsunamis, and it takes time to replace them. Moreover, there are worries of power shortage problems. So, many car companies and electrical equipment manufactures stopped some plants and it affects the entire system, such as Toyota, Honda, and Sony which had sustained Japanese economy.

□Many small businesses went and will go bankrupt in the stricken areas.
This will result in many unemployed people.

□Fall of exports
Many manufactures have got damaged and also will get damaged by both the quake directly and the short supply of electricity indirectly as I mentioned above.
In addition, the damage to the export of food is serious because of the radioactive problems. Some countries already annouced that they will check the radioactive levels of food from Japan, but the radioactive level is actually pretty low and doesn't affect any problems in human bodies. This is also becoming a domestic problem. People now avoid food in Fukushima Prefecture and also Ibaraki Prefecture.

■Midium term (〜 a half year)
□Supply shortage of the electricity
This will influence all the industries. The continuous planned blackout will be solved partially when it gets warm and people stop using heaters. However, it is estimated it takes at least a half year to get another thermal power plant start, and we will have next big planned blackout in summer.

□Immense government's expenditure
You know that the expenditure will largely increase to construct new buildings and support the victims.
TEPCO, which owns the nuclear plants will face a huge amount of compensation. The company has already spent huge amount of money on the management of this problem and will spent more. Moreover, TEPCO will have to pay for those who got negative damage, especially people who have residence and cannot go back and farmers who cannot sell their agricultural products because of a rumor of the radioactive materials.
Therefore, TEPCO might not be able to run a business as a private company, and the government might inject public funds for the company.

■Long term (〜 5 years)
□Company's shift to other Asian cities
Although I'm not sure about this, foreign companies might move their headquaters to other Asian cities, such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It was often said that the corporation tax in Japan is very high compared to other Asian countries. More overseas companies moved their headquaters to cities I raised above in the last ten years, and it is a good time for those companies to move in this time.

□Discontinuance of a sale of nuclear plants
The government won't be able to sell nuclear plants to the world anymore. The impact the problem gave to the world is enormous and it's not only a domestic problem.
The world has been shifting to use clean technology instead of fossil fuels. However, this accident blew off all the actions. Now, the world is very careful to use this technology and no countries will try to introduce it for the next some years.
Historycally US invested a lot on the nuclear technology but the country had to stop after Three Mile, and the countries which got profits from this were Japan and France.
Japanese government had proceeded the MOX project, but have to give it up. Japan will lose engineers and cannot sell the technology with standing at the front.

□Economic growth
It might be possible that Japanese economy change this disaster to the growth force. I mean here it's not a "recovery" but it's a "growth."
Domestic demand will become the driving force of the economy. Economists often said that Japanese economy has a little domestic demand and the economy remains stagnant in the situation of decreased population. However, the country can see this terrible accident as a big chance to lead the economy.
Construction industry will lead the economic growth.
Technology of storage battery will also be advanced and solar panel will gradually be spread because people realized the importance of storing and generating power by themselves.
Those two technologies are necessary for other countries as well in this 21st century. So, it has a huge potential.

I believe Japan will recover from this tragedy and rise again.


Time goes by and we have to take a step forward.

Yesterday was the seventh day after the first earthquake.
It was actually hard for me to realize that a week had already passed. This is because the impact the quake gave us was just too severe.
The last 8 days was one of the most painful time in my 23 years of life.

It was fortunate that the quake didn't hit my place. I felt only one small shock and I found out later it was the one caused the huge damage to northern Japan. At that time, however, I never thought the quake would cause the huge troubles and tsunamis.

I have seen lots of news which tell us a terrible situation in stricken areas.
And here, I have written this blog to get people's attention on this disaster from abroad.
The reason I started the blog was not to appeal for any help or fund-raising. I just wanted people to know this bad situation happening in Japan. I am just glad if some of you donate money or even address our situation to your friends.
I now want to thank you all visiting and telling friends this blog. I found out that most of you knew my blog through your friends and some are from me directly.
It is a good action to even think of people suffering in Japan, and I appreciate your attention.

Get the story back, and I actually feel like I have had a big hole in my heart since the earthquake. I heard many people got dispiritted after 9.11 in US. I think I have the similar feelings now.
Therefore, I feel the time passed so fast. It seems like it was only 3 or 4 days ago, but already a week.
We get more information as time goes by. The identified dead people were counted over 7,000 and still missing about 10,000 as of today. Also, the number of people who lost their house is countless.
It is very sad to accept those numbers, but we have to do it to step forward.

Lastly, I want to pick up a positive topic here.
We are a little dispritted by this situation, but people at stricken areas are really strong.
They are short of necessities such as water, food, gas, medicine and blankets. They are not sure whether they will be able to survive in this severe situation.
However, we often hear they help and respect each other. They cooperate and try to overcome the situation. They share one cold rice ball with others, but they never complain about that. Nurse who lost her parents by this quake is now working for many other old people.

Whenever I get those news, I am very proud of them and I feel happy to be Japanese.
I do hope we can get back a peaceful life again soon.


People working at the nuclear plants with a lot of fears

The problem of radioactive substances has attracted people's attention both in Japan and the world.
To check the fact of this, I saw lots of news and even learned about the system of nuclear plants.

I can say that the current radioactive level is safe for people in Tokyo and it shouldn't get any worries as of now.
The exposure to the air doesn't affect any bad on us. It is not harmful to be outside at all.

To tell the truth, however, I'm not sure how it will go in a next few days. I mean Tokyo will stay being safe, but am not sure about Fukushima where the plants are.
Fuel rods of some of the plants were exposed to the air, and people there are working to get the the fuel rods cooled down by water. This is not an easy situation.
I wrote about it here (What Is happening With Nuclear Plants)

Two new projects were carried out today and they are still going.

One was to drop the water directly from helicopters. The plan was postponed at first in consideration of radioactive risk to people who engage in the project. They excuted after it gets lower risk.
However, I guess the effect of this was very small.

Second was to spray water by water trucks from a distance of 50 meters.
This try has a very high risk for workers' health because they need to come very close to the plants. Although they wear a very special suits which blocks radiation, they cannot block all radioactive substances.
In addition, the amount of radioactive substances people receive greatly decreases by the distance. For example, the amount becomes 1/4 if you are 2 meters away from the site, and becomes 1/9 to 3 meters.
Therefore, workers got very large amounts of radioactivities.

In a past entry, I told the fact that my father had worked for TEPCO. He retired from the company last year after 40 years of his work.
Although he was not an engineer, he often worked at the sites. Every time when accidents occur such as typhoons, he stayed and worked all night. When I was a kid, I was very nervous about him when he didn't come home because of the work.
I have once asked him about his motivation for the work. He said that he and the company have a strong responsibility to keep people's lives. If the company stops, it means all social activities are lost. People in hospitals would be taken their lives by blackouts and all people would get deep anxiety in dark nights.

I heard about 700 employees are working with being exposed to radiation at the nuclear plants, and some of my father's colleagues might be working there. I called him and he said it might be possible.
The situation they are in is just terrible. I think they have a lot of anxiety, but they decide to work at the risk of their lives.

A news told us that there were many veteran employees voluntarily willing to go and work there. They are ready to sacrifice themselves and want to save young engineers.
I was actually about to cry when I heard this news.

All workers have their family and I'm sure they want to spend time with them. However, they are now working for the people and the country.
If the same situation happens to my father, I think I stop him from going there but I'm sure he goes to work with his responsibility and a thought on people.

So, I want all of you to know that this is the thing happening now in Japan.
The leak of radioactive substances has been focused, but there are many people working for us with being exposed to the radiations at the nuclear plants.

Text: A Message from the Emperor About the Great Eastern Earthquake

Japanese Emperor released a video message to all people living in Japan on 16th.
This is a very special case that Emperor leaves a video message.
I cited an article of Yomiuri Shimbun and the below is a text of the video message.
I was very moved and encouraged by his graceful but powerful message.
I am sure we can recover from this disaster by helping each other.

--- A Message from the Emperor ---

I feel great pain for the misery caused by the recent earthquake off the northeastern shore, which at Magnitude 9.0 was of a scale we’d never seen before. The death toll from the quake and tsunami climbs every day, and we don’t yet know how exactly many were sacrificed. I continually pray to hear news that even one more person is safe and sound. I am also very worried about the unresolved problems at the nuclear power plants, and I hope that the efforts of those involved will prevent that situation from becoming even worse.

Now as ever, relief efforts are pulling the country back to its feet, but in the midst of this bitter cold, many people do not have enough food, water, or fuel, and they are in grave conditions. Because of the alert and exhaustive efforts of many, some victims’ circumstances have changed for the better, and I hope against hope that our people’s recovery will continue. I am deeply moved by the valor of those who have pushed themselves to survive day after excruciating day.

I offer my deep thanks to national and local organizations, including the military, police, fire department, and coast guard, to those who have come from abroad to assist with aid efforts, and to members of emergency rescue teams for laboring day and night despite the danger of aftershocks.

Leaders of every nation have contacted me to offer their best wishes and to tell me the thoughts of all their citizens are with us. I pass these words along to the victims.

Many news stories from abroad have noted that in the midst of this tragedy, Japanese people are not descending into chaos but instead are responding in an orderly manner. From the bottom of my heart, I urge our people to continue to lift each other up, to show kindness to each other, and to ride out this unhappy time together.

I believe that we will all have to give a little more of ourselves to the victims in the difficult days ahead. I ask these victims to hold out hope, to take care of their health, and to preserve the will to live tomorrow and in the days to come. I implore our people to come together as one, to keep their hearts close to the afflicted areas, and to continue watching over the victims on the long road to recovery.

Economy After the Quake

A chart below shows the transition of Japan's Nikkei Stock Price from March 10th to 16th.

As you can see, the market dropped about 1,500 Yen (15%) in the last 4 days.

The earthquake affected not only Japaese economy, but also the world economy.

These below are the market transitions of N.Y. Dow and Shanghai.
Both recorded a big drop of shares.

Get the story back to the Japanese economy, the economy actually recorded the highest GDP grow rate, 3.9%, among G7 on March 10th.
Therefore, it was a big news for us on that day, but we all didn't know what would happen the next day...

Although some analysts mentioned that the recovery from a long depression since Lehman Shock was only for a short term, it is true that Japanese economy was on the right track.

However, the devastating earthquake changed literally everything.
The infrastructure was destroyed and the society is filled with confusions.

I know that the consumption is a good conduct to contribute to the society, especially in this situation.  However, I even think that I don't want to get back my life I used to have when I think of the victims.

I think I now can understand how people in US felt after 9.11.
I don't force myself to pretend to be normal now, but I wish I can be sometime in the future.

I wrote only the dark side of the Japanese economy, but there is also a good news on that.
You can know from the chart in the top, and stock prices of Nikkei stopped dropping and showed a rise today.
People estimate that the economy will grow again in the long term. This is because the construction industry will get active and also domestic demand will push the economy up eventually.

I hope I can post more good news which is able to encourage us than the bad news.


What Is Happening With Nuclear Plants

You might already know that we are in fear of radiation from nuclear plants in Fukushima.
People watched lots of news about the situation of plants, but it is not easy to understand how the system of plants are working.  Even people in Japan don't actually grasp the image of it much.
So, I collected a lot of information, and try to tell you briefly.

When the first huge earthquake hit northern Japan, two plants were working in Fukushima.
Plant No.1 had  6 active nuclear facilities and Plant No.2 had 4 active facilities.
Those plants were forced to stop the system automatically by the huge quake.

I add a necessary information to help you understand the whole image of the explanation here.
Nuclear fuels generate over 2,700℃ Celsius heat in a 5-layer container and cannot stop its reaction suddenly.  So, it takes a lot of time to make the fuels inactive.
Water is continuously put in the container and it is cooled down.  Once the water doesn't cover the container, the container itself is melted down and huge amount of radiation is out as a result.

So, two plants stopped working but the nuclear fuels still were active and generates lots of heat.
In a regular situation, the container in which nuclear fuels have a reaction is cooled down by lots of water and it is regulated automatically with electricity.

Substations were all fallen down and stopped the supply of the electricity to the plants in that area because of the huge quake.
Although cadmium and boronic acid which inactivate neutrons were stored, the engineers couldn't drop those chemical elements in the containers because of the loss of electricity.

However, the plants still had two backups for this situation.
(1) The main backup was two controllers called diesel generators.
People considered 7m tsunamis when they built the plants, but it's estimated that 14m tsunami hit the plants.  Therefore, the electrical system of two diesel generators were lost the control by water.

(2) The other backup was a storage battery.  However, the electricity worked only for the first 7 hours.

Engineers at TEPCO had put water to the container by a large pump after the storage battery run out,
However, the pump got broken and the engineers decided to put seawater into the container which means to wreck the whole facilities.

Also, you know that there were explosions at the nuclear plants.
The explosions were not directly caused from nuclear fuels.  Water is continuously put in the container, and water react with Zirconium of container and generates hydrogen.
The generated hydrogen is oxidated and get back to oxygen in a situation which can use electricity.
However, the electricity is off in the facility and they cannot generate that reaction.
Therefore, they let hydrogen out.  As a result, the hydrogen accumulated outside of the container and exploded.
So, the officials say those explosions don't affect the container and nuclear fuels.

I wrote a lot to explain the system of nuclear plants and what they have hundled with.

Although there were some problems in TEPCO's estimation, all people in Japan really appreciate their effort now.  Workers there have done their best with the fear of radiation exposure.

My father had worked for TEPCO for 40 years and he retired last year.
I called him last night and he said he is also really worried about the workers there.  He is not sure, but some of them might be his coworkers.

I really wish the situation doesn't get worse than now, and nobody is harmed by this.

Another Big Quake in Shizuoka

Another big quake hit Japan again only an hour ago.
I made a map focused on the quakes on Google Maps, and you can check it out below.

<Large Image with an explanation can be seen at Earthquake Map>

One of the unique features of this disaster is the earthquake is not generated only in one place.
The main quake area is very broad and which is 400km (250 mile) wide in Tohoku.
People have experienced the shocks over 100 times near those epicenters. Some of my friends in Tokyo told me that it's not easy to get a good sleep because of frequent quakes.

In addition to Tohoku area, there are big quakes in northern Nagano, which I put as a small blue square on the map. The first big one was recorded magnitude 6.2. The experts in geology said that plates are different in both Tohoku and Nagano areas.
We have no idea what is going on in the movement of the plate underground and some say they influence each other.

And now, we have another fear.
A big quake hit Shizuoka. The supply of electricity was shut down near Shizuoka.
I dropped a pin on the map to grasp the location.
As you see from this map, Shizuoka is also apart from Tohoku area.
Although we don't have enough data on the quake in Shizuoka at this point, this is not ordinary at all.
Anyways, I think this is a very rare case that we have earthquakes in this broad area.

Also, I embedded a video clip which helps you understand the quake sites from March 11th to 14th.


Support From All Around the World

Total 102 countries and 14 international organizations have offered support for Japan so far.
Even in the first day of the quake, so many countries reacted quickly and publicly announced their support.
I made a list of the countries which declared to support Japan, though it doesn't cover all of them.
(I used the website of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to make this.)

*Asia and Oceania*
India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Korea, China, Nepar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Timor, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Laos, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, ASEAN

*North America*
United States, Canada, Mexico

*South America*
Argentina,Brazil,Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador,El Salvador,Cuba,Colombia,Surinam,Nicaragua,Panama,Paraguay,Venezuela,Peru,Honduras


*Middle East*
UAE,Israel, Iraq,Iran,Oman,Qatar,Kuwait,Turkey,Jordan

Djibouti,Tunisia,South Africa,Morocco

*International Organization*

As you see the above, almost all countries we know already promised to give support for us.
I felt very happy by making sure that the world care for us while I listed the countries.

13 countries sent rescue teams, and the people from some of the countries were already arrived in Japan.
They started working at stricken areas with feeling fears of aftershocks and radiation.

We Japanese are all thankful for those who came to help the victims from other countries.

I think many of you are reading this blog from US.
So, we're all relieved when the president Obama announced the support for Japan soon after the terrible earthquake hit Japan. Moreover, US Navy dispatched navy vessels to Tohoku area and Ronald Reagan which is the strongest already arrived at the area. It costs over a million dollars to run Ronald Reagan for one day, but US government willingly sent it to Japan.

Also, I have some friends in Tufts University who studied as exchange students at Kanazawa University which I go to, and guys at Tufts are now raising the charity.
Their blog is here: "Tufts Supports Japan"
I was really glad to hear such a movement done by my friends.

Of course not only US, but also many other countries are supporting Japan.

German Government already sent over 40 troops to Japan. The president of the country visited Japanese Embassy in Berlin and left a comment "Japan is not alone. The world supports Japan."

New Zealand Government sent nearly 50 troops and the officials said that people want to help Japan because Japan gave a lot of support for New Zealand when the country experienced earthquake the last month.

Taiwan decides to give US$3.5 million to Japan.

I could realize again that we are really helped by people all over the world.

Lastly, I put a statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued on the day we experienced the first quake below.
We've been very encouraged by his strong statement.

The world is shocked and saddened by the images coming from Japan this morning.

On behalf of the United Nations, I want to express my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Japanese people and Government, most especially those who lost family and friends in the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis.

Japan is one of the most generous and strongest benefactors, coming to the assistance of those in need the world over.

In that spirit, the United Nations stands by the people of Japan and we will do anything and everything we can at this very difficult time.

We will be watching closely as the aftershocks are felt across the Pacific and South-East Asia throughout the day.

I sincerely hope that under the leadership of Prime Minister Kan Naoto and the full support and solidarity of the international community, the Japanese people and Government will be able to overcome this difficult time as soon as possible.

日本政府と国民に心から哀悼の意を表します。日本がこの重大な試練を乗り越えられると確信しています。 [Translated from Japanese: To the Japanese people, I offer my sympathy and heartfelt condolences. With greatest respect and my best wishes, I know that they will overcome this terrible tragedy.]

What's the right things to do?

What's the right things to do for people in Japan?
In this situation, it's hard for us to run the economic activities like we had before the quake. When we consider the victims, we unconsciously feel like we should restrain the consumption. However, we know that it's not necessarily right because it doesn't stimulate the economy itself.
In addition, some argues that we can feel we are recovering from this disorder by getting back the life we had or even by pretending we have the normal life.

I am in Kanazawa which is located about 600km away from the epicenter.
Fortunately, the quake we felt was really small and we didn't get any trouble here.
When the first quake hit the northern part, I was working in a lab. I sensed a small shock and checked Twitter, and I could realize that a huge quake hit northern part of Japan by watching the news on Ustream.

It is sad but it is also true that there is a big difference in their lives between the areas which got damaged by the earthquake or at least experienced the quake and the areas which didn't directly experience.
No stores are closed, people enjoy the conversation with their friends outside, and there are commuters in the morning like nothing happened here in Kanazawa.
It is great that we spend the days as usual and thank the peaceful society we have.

However, I feel a little strange to be in such a world. This is because I unconsciously control myself by feeling sorry for those who are suffered.

I think this feeling applies to some of you.
If you have close friends living in Japan or a relation to Japan, you can think this situation more seriously.

Actually, this is why I keep posting entries on this blog.
I hope the effort I've worked on will bring a good result, which is to let people to know more about this terrible disaster through yourself.



very thankful for your concern

Personally, I was really glad that many of my friends care about me and sent lots of heartwarming messages.
Soon after the earthquake, I got email, international calls, and lots of comments on facebook.
Although I couldn't contact my mom the first 4 hours after the huge quake.

I talked with my friend in California on Skype just a couple of hours ago, and he prayed for me and also for Japan.
I was very moved by that he is not a resident of Japan, but he gives a sincere sympathy for us.
I am really happy to have such a nice friend.

Actually, I never thought such a big disaster hit Japan.
It doesn't seem the world we see now is the real, and it's something like a scene in a movie.
Over 10m Tsunamis swallowed the lives of thousands of people. Villages are under the water and destroyed by fire. A gas tank exploded. Electricity is cut off even in Tokyo area and results in the confusion. People are still feared of frequent aftershocks and next big tsunamis. There are so many people who lost their family, lovers, and properties.

This is not the country I've lived.
I watch the news all the time, but it hurts me every minute, especially when the officials tell us the information of dead people.

I now want to be a part of the power to help people and this country from bottom of my heart.
In the talks with my friend in California, I promised two things.
The first is that we will overcome this bad situation and Japan will rise up again.
The second is that I will take him to northern Japan and travel together after we recover from this.

I could recognize the power of people in this tragedy in Japan.
All concerns from my friends were very helpful for me as I already mentioned.
Also, I heard lots of strong messages from other countries.
UN announced a declaration which promises to do the greatest possible effort with saying that Japan has contributed the world for a long time and this is the time the world has to return Japan's contribution.

I'm glad if you keep your attention in Japan.

Present state of nuclear plants in Fukushima

Now, what we are worried about the most is the state of nuclear plants.

There are 2 plants and total 10 facilities in Fukushima, and 3 of 10 facilities have lost controls in water system because electricity was cut off after the huge quakes.
Experts explained that the nuclear rods are over 1000 degree Celsius and need to keep cooled down by water.
So, now what the engineers do at plants is pouring seawater to the nuclear rods.
However, the pace of pouring water doesn't catch up with the speed of evaporation. As a result, the heated vapor generates hydrogen. When the density of hydrogen rises up, it easily exploses without fire.

Parts of two facilities were exploded because of the increased hydrogen.
However, the officials say it doesn't have a serious damage to the facilities themselves.

Although I briefly explained the current state of nuclear plants, you can get more information at Nikkei which is the English version of the most reliable press in Japan.

Actually, my dad worked for the power company (TEPCO) and retired last year. I called him to get more information on this, but he wasn't even sure what is going on with the nuclear plants.

I watch the news very carefully, and read tweets by an expert in nuclear power at University of Tokyo.
I'll try to grasp what's really going on.

hoping those who are alive now will be helped

All TV programs have been about this tragedy since the first earthquake.
We still don't grasp the whole state of the northern part because the press cannot enter the most damaged areas.
Transportations were totally damaged and still not recovered.

Almost 3 days have passed already, but there are still people who are closed in broken buildings and under the debris with no help.
Now I am especially worried about those people who are alive but haven't got help yet. This is because the survival rate drops down rapidly after 72 hours of being in such conditions.
It's hard to imagine that those people spend in such a harsh environment.

What can we do to help those people?
I feel very helpless every time when I see the news which tells the number of dead people.
Only what we can do now is to let people know this situation and raise the attention from people in other countries.

I hope that people who are alive but haven't been helped are rescued soon.

Current Situation in Japan

First, I started writing this blog because I want many people to know the fact we are facing now in Japan.
I've thought what I can do in this terrible situation, and this is the thing I can do now: providing information and my ideas to people abroad as a resident of Japan.
I'm not sure how much I can give an impact to the society from my act, but I decided that I'm going to do what I think is good to people in Japan. I even think this is my responsibility to let people know the fresh news inside from Japan because I experienced the study abroad in US and I have friends there, who can also tell their friends this situation.

As many of you know, we are now experiencing really a bad time.
Lots of people were killed by huge quakes and tsunamis. Although the official report tells us that about a thousand people were killed so far, it is estimated that the total number will be over 10,000.
There are villages which were under water and is a village which disappeared about 10,000 people of 17,000 population.
There are still so many people waiting for their family at places of refuge, staying in buildings still not found with fears, and feeling anxious about the shortage of food and water.
We have now a big worries which is about nuclear plants in Fukushima. The government and the electric company are now trying to

This is definitely the worst accident I've ever experienced. I didn't think the earthquake brought us such a huge damage when I felt the quake at first on last Friday.

Fortunately, my family are all safe. My mom was working at an industrial area in Ichihara where the gas tank exploded. I was so shocked to see the news and tried to contact her many times. She escaped with her coworkers and got back home 4 hours after the first quake.
I was so happy when I heard from her and realized how irreplaceable they are.

I could contact all of my friends living in northern Japan. They lost communications after the quake, but they replied to my text 1 day after it happened.
They say the electricity has been cut off and hard to get information on this quake. Only their reliable source is radio now.

What we can do now is very limited at this point.
I went to Red Cross in my city yesterday and donated money online.
I thought that is at least what I can do for them now.

However, I'm very moved by that many of my friends are concerned about me and Japan.
They gave me a lot of heartwarming messages.
Many countries around the world are providing their support for Japan.
All people in Japan are really thankful for those support.
Anything you do for Japan is very helpful.

Thank you so much for all your concern.