Japan – A personal story

In this post I will relate to you my concerns and fears.  Everyone knows what is going on from the daily news so I have no need to repeat it.

I just wanted to share what is going on in my mind at the moment.

As readers of my posts know, I am very preferential to Japan for personal reasons.  I have family and friends there.  It is like a second home to me.

I’d like to start off to tell you that I was awoken by multiple messages on my Iphone the day of the earthquake.  I quickly checked the news and was able to reach my parents-in-law by first cell and then Skype.

Using social media I was also able to make contact with my closest friends there.  However, the families of one of my friends is located in Miyagi and this has left me very concerned.

As I read the news I’m very frustrated to see that the Japanese government is not being very honest with their citizens concerning the radiation.  I devour every single article from every possible news source and the serverity fluctuates depending on the source.  As the US has now said that 50 miles from the source is recommended I cannot understand why the Japanese government would not recommend the same.

I try to put myself in their position and can understand that they do not want to create mass panic.  However, it is still very frustrating.

I see that the emperor has issued a statement in that he is very concerned.  This frustrates me further.  What good does that do????

I do not mean to be disrespectful, but please be honest with your citizens and the emperor being “concerned” does not help anything.

On a personal note I advised my parents in law to come over to the US although I knew what the answer would be.

My father in law said verbatim:

1.  There are others to think about other than ourselves.  We are not the only ones. 
2.  We cannot come there, and it is best that you do not come here at this time.  
3.  It is like we are living in older times.  We were simply too used to the comforts of modern society.

They now are experiencing 3 hour black outs and the stores have run out of necessities.  They went to Kawagoe the other day and he simply said that the crowd was “sugoi” (very large).

The Japanese are a very solemn and stoic people.  Therefore, they would rather risk radiation than leave in a shameful manner.

Such are the Japanese.  If I were to explain this to my son 20 years from now how could I make him understand this.  Sometimes people are bound by culture, the routine of life, work, even in the face of immense danger.

I read the news articles to try to understand how severe it might be.  Some say not so much, others that it could be terrible.  How much radiation can the body take?  How will it affect health 10, 20, 30 years from now?  Again, depending on the source it all varies.

All I can understand is that radiation is hitting Tokyo but in small amounts at the moment.  How much will it take to affect health?

Well, there is not much to do except sit here and worry.  But I wanted to pass along a link to the Japanese Red Cross for donations which I understand to be the best way to donate.

Japanese Red Cross – http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/index.html

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/


  1. Just an update. Would do the Japanese government well to start being more honest.

    The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has advised the evacuation of US citizens within 50 miles (about 80 kilometers) of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, a distance four times that recommended by the Japanese government, according to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko. The evacuation recommendation, said Jaczko today in front of a congressional panel, comes in light of high radiation levels measured outside of the unit 4 reactor building and the possibility of further radiation emission from the plant.

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