Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3.11 One Year (and a few days) Later

I'd planned to have a one-year retrospective ready in time for the anniversary of the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami (but then there was the whole out-patient-back-surgery-turned-saga-of-the-century thing, and I had a hard time getting a consistent internet connection from the hospital in the land of far-far-away. So this is late. Get over it).

To be honest, there is not much that I can say about what's happened in Japan in the last year other than to point out this: it's not over. The loss, the recovery, the ramifications of the nuclear emergency, the reckoning--all of it isn't finished yet. My suspicion is it maybe never will be.

But I write as one who has experienced the tragedies of the past year from a distance, so today, I want to introduce you to some blogs and other resources by people who are closer, in some cases much closer, and better-informed than I am.

First, some blogs. A special thanks to Ruthie Iida for turning me on to most of these (and for providing concise summaries of them as well).

Ruthie calls her Kanagawa Notebook a "get-off-the-couch-and-do-something blog." She started writing in response to her experiences as an American who's a long-time resident of Japan living far from the actual disaster zone. Her 3.11 experience convinced her she could no longer stay silent.

Anne Kaneko's Blog is written by someone who lives just outside of the evacuation zone in Fukushima. Anne gives inside details on the way the local government runs, what her neighbors are thinking, and how the latest pronouncements from the central government affect residents. Despite her proximity to "the fear," Anne remains cool and sensible, offering a first-hand view of the experiences of people directly affected without being overbearing in the process.

EX-SKF is a professional, bilingual blogger who has stopped writing about the Japanese economy in order to focus entirely on 3.11. His specialty is translating articles and news items into English for readers abroad. If you want to know about it, he's probably written it.

Senrinomichi is a blog based one of Haruki Murakami's speeches with posts in English, Japanese, French, and often Chinese or other languages. A reflective, rather than news-focused blog, it draws from current events in Japan for every post. There's also a Senrinomichi page of Facebook, with daily updates and articles. A separate blog bearing the same title in English, Ten Thousand Things, is also good.

Facebook has numerous groups or pages concerned with post 3.11 Japan. Some of the more well-known are: "Embrace Transition", "Namida Project", and "Senrinomichi."

If you are interested in a more academic look at the situation a year on, check out the "special issue" at Japan Focus: The Great East Japan Earthquake One Year on: Reports From The Field.

So, in summary, my hope is a simple one: that you will keep reading, that you will keep informed, and that you will not keep silent.

Cartoons taken from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/cartoons/ca20120311gm.html and http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/cartoons/ca20120311ed.html.

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