earthquake

US Tops Japan Earthquake Donor List, Neighboring South Korea Fails to Crack Top 20


The Japanese Red Cross Society recently released a summary of countries and territories that sent donations (as of the end of 2012) to the organization following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Topping the list were the United States and Taiwan, number one and two respectively, with donations in excess of 2.9 billion yen (approx. US$29 million) each. A total of 22.7 billion yen was received from 179 countries and territories, including from among the world’s poorest nations. Drawing the attention of some Netizens was the fact that neighboring South Korea failed to make the top 20.
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School Kids from Tsunami-Struck Town Visit US to Convey Thanks and Strengthen Ties

Elementary and high school students from Miyagi Prefecture were given a special send off at Japan’s Narita Airport yesterday afternoon as they set off for the U.S. in order to convey messages of thanks for the efforts of those involved in relief operations following the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami in Northeast Japan.

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SRF’s Earthquake Protection Strips Give New Meaning to “Band-Aid Solution”

Dr. Shunichi Igarashi has surprised even himself with his line of Super Reinforcement with Flexibility (SRF) technology. SRF basically involves wrapping the columns and walls of building in adhesive strips.

The idea of gluing fabric on a building to protect it from the sheer force of an earthquake doesn’t sound very comforting. However, when Dr. Igarashi’s SRF was put to the test in the Great Tohoku Earthquake on 11 March, 2011, it passed with flying colors.

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In Memory of the Victims of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

This afternoon in Tokyo, a government-hosted remembrance ceremony will be held for the 15,881 people who died and the 2,668 who remain unaccounted for as a result of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Northeastern Japan two years ago today. The Emperor and Empress of Japan will also be present at the ceremony, at which the nation will be asked to observe a moment of silence beginning at 2:46 p.m..

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Flashlight Automatically Turns on in Earthquake

Living in an earthquake-prone country like Japan means constant vigilance in terms of disaster preparedness. Though the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011 struck during daylight hours, there’s no guarantee that a disaster of similar magnitude won’t strike at night. Most people keep a flashlight or two at home, however, if power is cut as a result of an earthquake, as groping your way around in the dark while in a panicked state might not be as easy as you think.

Thankfully, Tokyo’s Force Media group has come up with an ingenius solution to this problem. And it’s much more than just a regular-old flashlight…
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“Unforgivable” Post-Earthquake Twitter Prank Causes Outrage Online **UPDATED**

A message left by a Twitter user claiming to be trapped under rubble after a powerful earthquake later turned out to be fake, causing outrage across Japan.

In the early evening of Friday, December 7,  a magnitude-7.3 earthquake with its epicentre off the northeast coast of Japan caused tremors so large that the Tokyo cafe in which my boss and I sat fell silent as patrons no doubt began wondering whether they ought to take cover beneath their tables. Windows rattled and the entire building creaked and swayed for almost five minutes after the tremors stopped.

As people reached for their mobile phones, expressions of concern could be seen throughout the room as talk of “possible tsunami” and “northeast Japan” appeared on social networks and news sites.

Soon after, a tweet (pictured above) appeared online asking for help and requesting that the message be shared as much as possible. Within the next hour, concerned Twitter users had retweeted the message more than 13,000 times, with many sending messages asking for more information about the user’s location and encouraging them to remain calm.

When the writer of the original tweet resurfaced hours later, however, and began mocking those who fell for the prank, people were understandably very upset, and soon began demanding that the tweet writer’s real identity to be determined and for them brought to justice.

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Outbreak of Rare Phantom Squid in Pacific Coast of Japan May Herald Imminent Earthquake

Deep below the ocean lives the squid Chiroteuthis, known in Japan by the name Yurei Ika (Phantom Squid).  The Japanese name comes from its ghost-like fluttering and floating movement.

It’s a squid seldom seen by people who don’t have access to a submarine and can visit their habitat 200 to 600 meters beneath the ocean.  So when they started turning up in unprecedented numbers around the southeastern coast of Japan, experts became understandably alarmed.

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These Japanese Disaster Shelters Look a lot Like Dragon Ball Space Pods

In Dragon Ball lore, when the Saiyans would dispatch their warriors to  conquer or destroy distant planets, they would send them in spherical pod-like spaceships called Attack Balls. These vessels were built to keep their occupant safe across light years of intergalactic travel, and durable enough to withstand impact upon arrival. In short, they were the ultimate personal protective device.

What does this have to do with anything? Japanese auto parts manufacturer, Pond, has developed a disaster shelter called Life Armour that looks almost exactly like the Attack Balls from Dragon Ball.

And we bet you’ll never guess how much it costs…

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Thousands of Crocodiles Emerge From Water in China, Sign of Imminent Earthquake?

Thousands of crocodiles emerged from water at an ecological park in Nanjing, China, on September 8.

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Is Mt. Fuji About to Blow Its Top?

According to researchers, Japan might be about the add volcanic eruptions to the list of catastrophes that have dogged it over the past year, and the volcano in question is none other than the iconic Mt. Fuji. Read More

Hundreds of Stingrays Spotted Swimming Upstream in Japan and No One Knows Why

An alarming number of red stingrays have been spotted swimming upstream in the Isumi river in Chiba, Japan several times since Tuesday.

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Toyota announced this month that it will be a releasing a system for using your Prius plug-in hybrid as a big ol’ battery. The key feature is an inverter which will allow you to plug household electronics directly into the car through a water-proof cable. Read More

Demand for “Mini-Dam” Rain Barrels Triples in Year-Plus Since 3/11, Municipal Subsidies Available

A movement toward storing rainwater for emergency use seems to be afoot throughout Japan. Sanei Build System has reported threefold demand for its user-friendly “Mini-Dam” rain barrels in the wake of the March 11 disasters. 

The manufacturer has suggested retail prices of 50,000 yen for the 200-liter model and 120,000 yen for the 1,000-liter model, but it adds that certain municipalities will subsidize as much as half the retail price. Read More

Harley Davidson Restore Project Stirs Respect, Admiration in Japanese Internet Community

The heartwarming, true story about a disaster-stricken man being reunited with his long lost Harley Davidson has made the rounds on the Internet and tugged at the heartstrings of Japanese Internet users in particular.

“They’ve started writing the movie already,” posted one enthusiastic reader on the Topsy.com comments section.

Man loses three family members and nearly all of his possessions in a horrific earthquake and tsunami and spends over a year in temporary housing before hearing one day that someone found his treasured motorcycle 4,000 miles across the ocean, reasonably intact considering the beating it took at the hands of the Pacific Ocean?  We may have something here, Mr. DeMille. Read More


The recruitment poster for the Fukushima police force is moving, to say the least. It definitely singles out only the most dedicated, most driven potential recruits. The poster features a person wearing an anti-radiation suit, walking through some desolate, post-tsunami wasteland, with text saying hauntingly, “There is work here that only I can do…”. Japanese posters often omit words and thus have implied messages, but this recruitment poster is relatively explicit. And it has gained some attention for its darkness and severity. It’s pretty plain that you should be looking forward to working in hazardous conditions.

A police spokesperson confirmed that they were seeking people with strong mettle precisely because of the still-dire situation in Fukushima. The photo is from May 2011 (the disaster was in March), shows the main damaged nuclear reactor in the background, and was unanimously selected for the poster in February this year. The desire for driven new officers who won’t give up on the work or come for the job thinking about it too casually is understandable, but there could also be a subtext, which is that they don’t just want anybody either.

source: Asahi via Jin (Japanese)

Japanese Music Video “Superhero” Reminds Us There Are Still People Fighting Post-3/11

Last month marked the one year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and while time has gradually, but inevitably, pushed the crisis from the forefront of people’s minds, there are still tens of thousands of people continue to live with realities of the disaster even today.

An anonymous duo performing under the moniker ANONS PROJECT seem to be sending such a message with their music video, “Superhero,” an inspiring production that reminds us: there are still people out there fighting for us.

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Fukushima Refugees Rather Gamble than Work, Claims Iwaki City Mayor

The city of Iwaki lies 30km south of the Fukushima Daiichi just outside of the evacuation zone created after the nuclear disaster struck.  As such it has become home to approximately 25,000 displaced people from Futaba District, where the Daiichi reactor is located.

On 9 April, Iwaki Mayor Takao Watanabe had this to say about the evacuees: “With the compensation money they received from TEPCO, most people are choosing not to work.  The pachinko parlors, however, are packed every day.”  Pachinko is a highly popular game similar to pinball that is often used for gambling much like slots or video poker in other parts of the world.

Although this may sound like another case of a Japanese politician putting his foot in his mouth, it appears Mayor Watanabe is not alone with his opinion.

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Tokyo PD Announces Traffic Restrictions to Follow Major Earthquakes in Tokyo Metro Area, PDF Files Available in Several Languages

On April 9, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department released pamphlets describing traffic restrictions that would be put into effect if a massive earthquake (Intensity Lower 6 or greater) were to strike the Tokyo Metropolis. The restrictions were made public in Japanese some time ago, but now the pamphlets are available as PDF files in English, Korean and Chinese. Read More

“Damned if we lose!” Honda Sends Declaration to Competitors and Urges Japan Forward In New Commercial

After last year’s earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan disrupted global supply chains and halted auto protection, there were doubts over how long it would take Japanese automakers to get back on their feet.

Yet while Japan’s auto industry is still suffering from the aftermath of the disaster a year later, the three biggest carmakers—Toyota, Honda and Nissan—are rebounding faster than initially expected.

Perhaps as a display of this resilience, Honda has issued a manifesto to the world with its newest TV commercial that it won’t stand to be left in the dust.

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Algae Found Capable of Removing Radioactive Matter from Water

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the damaged created by the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi disaster has created an urgent need for solutions to the environmental problems Japan faces.

Working with various universities across Japan, the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, better known as RIKEN have developed a new method of decontaminating water containing radioactive materials.  It uses a type of algae that has been shown to “eat” radioactive cesium.

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