Feels Like Home…

Today Osaka feels like home…. Literally.

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Flyjins

Flyjins

noun

/flaɪdʒiːnz/
.
Gaijins who fly home because they watch too much CNN and think they will turn into radioactive individuals.
.

"See? We haven't arrived and we'e mutated already..."

 

Yes, there are always things you can do.

Yes, there are always things you can do. It doesn’t matter if you were 20 or 30 or 60. It doesn’t matter if you were busy or free.  It doesn’t matter if you had other priorities. It doesn’t matter if you were saving for a dress or for a vacation in Sharm.

It really doesn’t.

Yes, there are always things you can do, however small they are, they can make a difference.

Yes, you can send a letter to a Japanese child who is going through trauma that will last for good. You can donate money. You can send socks to a Japanese old lady whose feet are so cold because she has to sleep on the solid cold floor of the evacuation center with one blanket while it’s -7 C. You can work tirelessly on a book that collects accounts of people who lived moments of devastation while watching their lives being wrecked by 9.0mg earthquakes and swept by mahoosive tidal waves…

Our good fellow on Twitter, @ourmaninabiko has been working on this amazing project: 2:46 QuakeBook. He has been working to create a book to raise funds for the victims of that terrible disaster that is far from over. Many others have contributed to bring this broject to being, and they are reaching out. The book will be available soon for download. Yo can check out the info here

Yes, there are always things you can do. You can buy a copy of this book. You can tell your friends to buy a copy of this book.

I can’t think of a reason not to.

Osaka Blues

From “Jazz Impressions of Japan”, 1964

Dave Brubeck: Piano
Paul Desmond: Sax
Eugene Wright: Bass
Joe Morello: Drums

Crappy Journalism, Great Blogging: On reporting the J Crisis

Looks like someone forgot the CAPS on...

 

Last night I stayed up all night and the only thing that happened, aside from my eye lids struggling to stay open today, was me getting really pissed off.

I stayed up late and decided to catch up on the “news coverage” of what’s going on in Japan by checking out several news websites. What I saw were puff pieces and downright bullshit by several American news organizations (European ones? I can’t even find an appropriate adjective for these disaster-pimps) . I saw some journalists who should basically pack it in and get a job fetching coffee for camera operators as opposed to standing in front of a camera.

I’ve been basically keeping up on the most up to date news of the disaster here in Japan from a few sources. One of them of course being Japanese television (I do indeed live in Japan) and the other being Twitter. I do realize that Twitter is often a repository for people’s thoughts and opinions, but during this ongoing crisis, something different has happened. Many bloggers and vloggers based in Japan have really stepped up and have become truly credible news sources. They are spending their days and nights scouring news services, both domestic and foreign and sharing links and stories with the world. More often than not, these bloggers have been far more accurate in their reporting and views than many professional journalists.

Now of course, I cannot dump on all foreign media covering this crisis. Many correspondents and writers for foreign print/digital media have indeed been living in Japan for a long time, speak the language and understand the culture. Those journalists stand out.

I’m talking about the representatives of foreign media who are parachuted (not literally of course) in to the tsunami/disaster zone and report with no background or understanding of the people or culture. They are sent in from countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. to quickly publish puff pieces or “hard hitting” news with very few, if any facts correct. These are the folks that piss me off royally! These are the people who sell papers through bullshit and fear mongering.

One of my majors is media. This is what I studied in Mass Communication 101: “If it bleeds, it leads”… Simply put, sensational sells. That has been the case since the advent of newspapers and has not changed. Whether you are consuming You Tube videos, blogs, print or televised media; sensational sells! Unfortunately, sensational usually doesn’t equal accurate…

Now, back to these bloggers on Twitter who have been doing such an amazing job keeping the world informed about what is really happening. Many of them are doing such a great job because of the fact that they have been here for a long time, they speak the language, understand the culture and most of all, I think, are connected to Japan. They care about Japan and the Japanese people. They have a vested interest in the country and want to tell people, both here and abroad the real story. They may not be “professional” journalists, but they cite sources, do their research and work very hard to get things correct.

I would like to say something to all the journalists who represent foreign news organizations in Japan during this crisis:

Please do your research and get the story right before you publish it. You are the reason my family back home is scared out of their minds. You are the reason I will be roaming around China with two immense suit cases because my parents now want me to flee Asia when the  reactors blow off and turn everyone into mutated zombies. You are the reason so many expats, exchange students in Japan have scared families in their respective countries. You are the reason everyone is ignoring the real problem, the tens of thousands of people without shelter or water in Miyagi. You are the reason everyone is ignoring the fact that there haven’t been any looting whatsoever. You are the reason no one know that the mail got delivered in Tokyo the very next day, on time.

Honor the people of Japan by getting the story right.

Perspectives

"Disaster Relief: Ready for Work" Manga Style by Carlos Latuf

The general gaijin attitude towards what’s happening in a nutshell:

Europeans: “OH FUCK IT’S CHERNOBYL AGAIN BOOK YOUR ONE WAY TICKETS NOW RUN FOR YOUR LIVES FUCK UNIVERSITY CREDITS IT’S ARMAGEDDON RUN FORREST RUN”.

Americans: “Can I afford a ticket back?” or “Can I afford a ticket back and forth?” “Maybe I should I ask my school how they’re gonna deal with the credits transfer first.”

Africans: “Fuck that shit. If I survived Africa I can survive anything else…”

Japanese: They are the best. Today we asked a couple of Japanese girls while having a coffee at Starbucks if they were scared.. “No,” they said while shaking their heads, “All will be ok. All will be daijobu“. One of my Japanese friend’s has a cousin in Sendai. She told me with a smile that her cousin is alive, albeit they lost their house and all their belongings.

Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others – especially the Japanese – display altruism even in adversity?

I’m thinking of the 50 workers on site at the Fukushima Power Plant risking their lives to bring the situation under control. ほんとにありがとうございます。

All I can say right now is I wouldn’t rather be in any other country handling a disaster like this one.

Staying Safe

Dire Dina

Let’s list the facts:

– I leave Egypt.

– A historic revolution breaks out and a long-time tyrant is overthrown by the masses.

– I come to Japan.

– The worst crisis in Japan since WWII takes place. A historic, horrific earthquake with the magnitude of 9.0 shakes the country, kills thousands, leaves tens of thousands missing and actually shifts the Earth’s axis.

Now what’s up with that???!!!

Oh man.. I was supposed to embark on a solo adventure in China next week, but now I’m not so sure….. That’s 1.6 billion people whose lives are at risk here, with me coming over and spreading the Dina Direness.

(……)

Two days ago I was planning to write a blogpost about Japanese chewing gum. Now I’m writing one about a horrific earthquake that left thousands dead and tens of thousands missing…. That’s life to you.

On the late evening of March 12th, I was in Starbucks. On ordering a Sakura Latte, the cashier (who had become my friend since I go there quite often) told me that this would be her last night in Starbucks Hirakata, and that the nest morning she’ll be heading up north, towards Tohoku.

On the afternoon of March 13th, Japan was hit by the strongest earthquake it has known since the recordings started. Death toll keep rising, as well as reports of people missing, and satellite images of villages wiped away by the Tsunami the 8.9 quake triggered.

I wonder where the Starbucks girl is now. I wonder if she’s safe or not. I wonder if she was one of those 4 trains which got lost, or if she’s in some public former-school-now-shelter….

In Miyagi Prefecture.. Image from NY Times

I’m fine, alive, with my four limbs intact. Others are not. So let’s pray for them….

Japdates: Japanese Updates

Phew… Long time no Japan-related posts. Let me switch gears and move from life-determining Egyptian revolutions to everyday-like Japanese delusions…

Many things happened, many have been happening and many are taking place as I write this post…

The Hayabusa Shinkansen has been inaugurated and is now up and running with the dream speed of 500 Km/h…

Dream becomes reality: The Hayabusa bullet train approaches Shin-Aomori Station on Saturday morning during its debut on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line.

Osaka witnessed a day of snow it hadn’t seen like in at least five years…

 

Can't find an equivalent in English: دينا و إحداث النعمه

…and Starbucks released their new seasonal drink: Sakura Latte…

Sakura 'Cherry Blossom' Latte: Proof Japan is not weird?

… and, of course, yet another politician had to be involved in some horrid scandal. This time our subject of interest is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who resigned after being accused of…. *drumroll* : receiving donations “from a Foreigner”.

Seiji Maehara: Oops. I guess Kan will have to find another extremely conformist successor!

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