Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: Japan moves

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  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I have the feeling that this was mainly because we have no idea about Japan.

    I'm still in Tokyo and I'm having troublr convincing some concerned folks that it's not a tsunami-ravaged, radioactive hellhole. Life goes on here in that ordinary, onwards Tokyo kind of way.

    There's a big difference between Japanese media coverage and Western media. Western media seems to be doing the very-concerned thing, with lashings of worst-case scenario. Japanese media is much more practical and informative, complete with incredible HD footage of scenes from munted regions.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Thank you both for your comments, and Robyn I've been following your tweets and blog. Living in Japan for a year and then visiting every other year for several after through work, I have felt this almost as much as Christchurch.

    I've just been watching a live stream of NHK, and while my Japanese isn't up to it, the pictures tell the story.

    There was also just another Tsunami alert, which was retracted, and then there's the volcano thing in Kyushu, although that is apparently a continuation of earlier eruptions. At some point your might think one country has had it's share.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I just had a lengthy... let's call it a conversation on twitter about the "breaking journalism" on that platform. A few minutes after that tsunami warning had been called off, Stuff tweeted that a tsunami was coming. This lead me to my new decision about getting my news from twitter: fuck that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    I regularly see NZ news stories totally misreported in Korea, and Korean news stories totally misreported in NZ. So this has led me to conclude that half of the international news we get is bollocks and the other half may have the odd fact in it. If you want something verging on the truth you have to go straight to the source of the news. And then of course filter it for bias.

    I've only been to Tokyo for a couple of days and was totally disorientated/lost by the immense size of the place. And I was living in the greater Seoul region at the time with it's 10 million in Seoul and 18 million in the greater region. I guess if I lived there a while I'd sort it out.

    If Tokyo did have to evacuate/move south in a hurry is it doable in a day or two or is that sheer lunacy to even attempt it?

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Yamis,

    If Tokyo did have to evacuate/move south in a hurry is it doable in a day or two or is that sheer lunacy to even attempt it?

    Interestingly during golden week, or Oban, I recall reading that 10 million people leave the Kanto plain (Greater Tokyo area - population 42 million +) in a very orderly fashion. But that relies on Trains every two minutes on 65+ train lines and subways, and if they stop, as they did Friday, it's a long walk to Yokohama, let alone anywhere safe. That shit would get real. From some reports, getting 10 million people home on Friday night was challenging enough.

    Wa-pedia.com

    With 42 million inhabitants concentrated on 32,377 square km (122,518 sq mi), the flat Kantō plain is one of the most densely populated region on Earth (1,220 people/sq km, or 3.5 times Japan's average population density).

    I am certainly thankful I'm not living in a 100 year old match stick house in Oimachi at the moment.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    I’m not quite as “comfortable” about Tokyo as Robyn appears to be. I think media coverage in Japan is always hampered by how information is handled by power structures. Anyone who has lived in Japan for some time should understand that. Wikipedia has been the best source of information for understanding the issues and potential problems at each of the affected nuclear power plants. However, both the Western and Japanese media have largely added to the confusion. Conflicting information and opinions have made this crisis worse.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Has anybody asked about the Pacific Islands? Has anybody heard anything?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    It seems there is no panic. According to an impeccable News source, surfermag.com/
    As you were...
    ......................shuffles of into corner muttering incoherently...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    scenes from munted regions

    great title for a film/photography/story project of some sort

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I’m still in Tokyo and I’m having troublr convincing some concerned folks that it’s not a tsunami-ravaged, radioactive hellhole. Life goes on here in that ordinary, onwards Tokyo kind of way.

    I thought that might be the case. Even the people in the innumerable first-person videos posted to the wires have generally seemed quite composed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Has anybody asked about the Pacific Islands? Has anybody heard anything?

    The Pacific islands near us seem to have been okay.

    Gareth Morgan's hotel in Galapagos got trashed, but.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to ,

    Ya, It’s marginally better to watch for magical behavior in pet wilder-beast. Even better to use the telephone proper.

    I'm going to disagree with both of you. Hadyn's problem tweet came from a newspaper. I had the same problem reporting on the Christchurch quake: I stopped quoting Newstalk ZB after a bogus report that the Christchurch airport control tower was down -- because I was promptly corrected via people on Twitter. OTOH, a clearly anecdotal tweet I passed on, in context, was reported as authoritative by 3 News.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I stopped quoting Newstalk ZB after a bogus report that the Christchurch airport control tower was down -- because I was promptly corrected via people on Twitter

    Though when I corrected people on twitter about the tsunami alert being recalled I was told that I was wrong (I wasn't) because NHK was saying the tsunami was coming. NHK in English mind you, so possibly delayed.

    So I think my point is still valid. The media knows very little about Japan or can't understand the language, so we get garbled reports that are repeated. When the disaster was here we had the knowledge to be able to filter out incorrect information quickly.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Hadyn Green,

    When the disaster was here we had the knowledge to be able to filter out incorrect information quickly.

    It also helps when you don’t have media being reduced to gibbering hysterical wrecks at the mention of the N-word that isn’t nigger or Nazi. I think there’s a serious need for Mediawatch and Media7 to take a hard, harsh work at the failure of local media to do serious science reporting when it was desperately needed.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Hadyn Green,

    The media knows very little about Japan or can't understand the language, so we get garbled reports that are repeated. When the disaster was here we had the knowledge to be able to filter out incorrect information quickly.

    Actually, that is not a fair comment. While I agree that the Western media tends to focus on the wacky side of Japan, there are many non-Japanese journalists who have actually pushed the envelope in search of the truth in Japan. For example, fluent Japanese speaker Eric Johnston of The Japan Times first covered the problems in Japan's nuclear power industry in his book “Japan’s Nuclear Nightmare: Power to the People?" For a Japanese journalist to publish something as critical would probably mean the end of any mainstream career in journalism in Japan. The following article written by Johnston is illuminating considering what is happening right now.

    http://www.fccj.or.jp/node/2759

    Secondly, the Japanese press clubs ('kisha') are still notorious for excluding foreign journalists, regardless of Japanese ability. There is a monopoly on information shared by the major news organizations, particularly the Yomiuri. The situation has improved but foreign reporters have long suffered because of this archaic system.

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070130i1.html

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    i'm not aware of any nuclear fallout reaching the Tokyo area yet, but if the wind direction changes, that situation could get nasty quicker than most people think.

    life goes on, but, the supermarket shelves are rapidly emptying due to panic buying. the threat of rolling power cuts is having a big effect on a lot of small businesses already.

    a lot of people can't get to work, or even if they can it is a huge time wasting hassle. the trains are only really running to the inner suburbs, so i reckon about a third of the greater tokyo population is stuck near their home neighbourhoods.

    the electricity situation and the nuclear situation are not even close to being sorted out. people are getting really worried about how this will play out over the next few weeks and months.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    A scientist writes Why I am not worried about Japan’s Nuclear Reactors.

    Like Stephen (Hi Stephen, hope you’re keeping safe – Jack P), I’m still a bit worried, and not convinced the story we’re hearing is the whole story. The BBC was discussing how they are almost certainly trying to prevent panic until they know what is happening, and which way the wind is blowing.

    If I was a journalist or camera person heading into to the disaster zone, I’d want to be very careful about where I go, and carry a Geiger counter.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green, in reply to recordari,

    Dude, did you just link to the article that I linked to in the original post? :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    While I agree that the Western media tends to focus on the wacky side of Japan, there are many non-Japanese journalists who have actually pushed the envelope in search of the truth in Japan.

    I should've been clearer, I meant our media. I have been reading and watching only local Japanese news (where I can) about this. And as you say western journalists who are based in Japan are doing some very good work.

    Naly at TV3 sent me a couple of very good twitter feeds from American journalists that I've started following: @martyn_williams and @w7voa

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Hadyn Green,

    Dude, did you just link to the article that I linked to in the original post? :)

    That'll learn me for not following your links while reading. So much information, so little time. Umm, any other excuses? I followed a link from Twitter. Doh!

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    I remember doing a 2-week block on Nuclear Power back in stage-3 nuclear physics; the lecturer's rationale was that although a) it was not very relevant to the bits of physics they wanted us to learn, and b) we were most likely never going to see nuclear power in New Zealand, it was important to have someone in the country who understood the science - because every time the issue came up, everyone else would get it totally wrong.

    I'm starting to see his point.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Also, an interesting article on Salon. All things considered, I'm very glad to live in a country where nuclear power can reasonably be avoided - but I'm not going to condemn countries in which it is (now) one of the safer and greener options.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Wanna know where the hydrogen explosion comes from.

    Wki mentions what they are used for.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    James Butler: If only there were more lecturers like that in other subjects. But not only uni but all through schools and polytechs. We would all be better informed. Not just the lucky few.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    And: Short motorcycle detours to the Galapagos anyone?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

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