Outrageous Disaster Hits Tohoku Kanto Coastline


More than 20 thousand people were killed in an instant, and many more people lost their loved ones because of the disaster that hit Tohoku on the 11th.  It is difficult even to imagine the deep sorrow they are experiencing now.  I would like to express my deep condolence to all people concerned.  It is such a huge sadness.

I have been unable to write any blog postings during these two weeks.  I didn’t feel like it.  Also, I was busy gathering information, having discussions and there was practically no time or energy to write anything.  I kept following Twitter rather than sending out messages.  What I did mostly was to retweet good or helpful tweets.

What we saw via media was a series of terribly frightening scenes. The overwhelming, destructive power of nature presented made the humans in contrast look so small! . I was awed and humbled before the power of nature.

It’s been two weeks since already.

At the time of the quake, I was having a meeting in my office.  Several minutes later, when the second shake came, we all moved outside the building.  Most of the students at our university are from overseas, and everybody was so frightened.  We could clearly see the upper part of the tall building nearby wobbling slowly.

Cell phones and telephones were no good (did not connect).  Internet was where we could get information the fastest.  How thankful we were for emails, websites, and twitters.  On the other hand, I sensed the fragility of conventional information infrastructures.

Because of the traffic problems, I walked home late at night for about an hour, thinking about what actions to take with my colleagues hereafter.
Information flowing out from newspapers and televisions were basically the same.  For the initial several days, I could not tell how much of their coverage was actually true or reliable.  Besides the internet, newspapers and televisions essentially copying the information distributed by the headquarters.  Day to day, I felt that had we no internet, we would have been in huge trouble.

I strongly realized the power of web.  The internet age has the potential to totally change the society as it is today.  The web which proved powerful at Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain turned out to be our important information source and our powerful tool in the face of this disaster.
This natural disaster pulled out the power of Japanese people.  And this power is witnessed with surprise and admiration by other nations.

On the other hand, the power plant breakdown and the process of its restoration reveal the ‘systematic problems’ existing within the Japanese society.
Large number of my friends sent me-mails from abroad.  Thank you.