March 15th, 2011 at 02:04am
I’m pleased to be able to report that a good friend of this blog, Padders over at The Right Aussie, who was over in Japan late last week when the earthquake struck, is back home safe and well, as he notes on his blog.
I was not caught up in the earthquake drama – except for the final night at the hotel near the airport, which shaked, rattled and rolled about half a dozen times through the night from the aftershocks.
My travel schedule fortuitously had me leaving the country on the day I planned to leave, and on the flight I was booked on. I did not need to change any travel plans.
I was in Nara – about 6 hours by car, south of Tokyo – with a tour group when the quake and tsunami happened, and I never felt a thing. The first I heard of something was when I received a text message from mum.
I got back to the hotel in Kyoto that night to saturation coverage of what unfolded on 12 of the 13 channels.
I’ve been watching the unfolding issues with the affected nuclear power stations with some interest, especially the way some elements of the media (I nearly said “most” but I’ll reserve judgement) are painting it as a much bigger problem than it really is…truth be told, there is a serious element of danger in this situation, but when you look at the details of what is happening there and not just the headlines, these plants have copped a battering and yet are not exceeding legal limits for radiation levels. Assuming that the Japanese continue to keep the situation under relative control, this will prove once and for all that nuclear is a safe and viable option for the rest of the world, especially given that the power plants in question are based on a design which is over 20 years old. Modern designs for nuclear power plants are even safer.
I bring this up because in many ways I feel that the media, while covering the disasters in Japan quite well, are doing the Japanese people, especially their tourism sector, a severe disservice by making it seem like much more of the country is destroyed than is actually the case. Padders makes a similar point:
On the way back to Australia, in the lounge in Singapore Airport, I read in the Weekend Australian words to the effect that the quake had caused destruction all over Japan. This is just heifer dust. In Kyoto, everything was perfectly normal. Trains and buses were running and people were going about their business in their usual happy, determined manner. You would not know anything was wrong.
Of course, many things are horribly devastated in northern Japan, and, in many cases, probably permanently so. It will take many years for things to return to normal.
This episode has not deterred me from returning to this amazing country.
And nor should it deter others. The Japanese people will need our support to rebuild their fine country, and keeping their tourism sector ticking over will be an important part of that recovery.
Anyway, I’m glad to hear that Padders is safe and well. I was not one of the people who emailed him to check however, as I had completely forgotten that he was over there. I somehow got the dates mixed up and didn’t think he was going to be over there for another week or so.
You can read more of Padders’ account of what happened from his perspective over at The Right Aussie.
Entry Filed under: General News