On the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami

Its Sunday, March 13, 2011 and this is The Side. No dumb lines this time around. Friday I posted up my usual comic reviews and a top 10 list which I was pretty happy with. The main thing on my mind was my kids' birthday. Then the news came in. I felt pretty douchey posting my goofy shit when there was so much serious shit going on. Some things happen and you get a real idea of how small you are. I thought a lot about it this weekend. I was distracted a bit by the birthday party and work and other things, which I'm thankful for. It gave me a lot of perspective in dealing with a bunch of four-year-olds at a Tinkerbell themed party.


I've been in earthquakes, but only minor ones. It was the variety of you get woke up in the middle of the night, everything is shaking, and you say "fuck this" and go back to sleep. The one that hit in Japan was not of that variety. I could throw up a ton of links with news on the disaster, but really all you need to do is go to wherever you get news from and it'll be there. The quake was as bad as any Japan has ever seen. The tsunami was worse in terms of destruction and deaths. People are watching the damaged nuclear reactors cautiously, checking radiation levels, cringing at the explosions, and holding their breathes while they pray the worst doesn't happen.

Japan wasn't the only country affected. We're all on the same planet, and when something so major happens its effects travel. In this case its very literal as a tsunami was sent rocketing across the pacific ocean towards the United States. We suffered nowhere near as much damage as Japan, but you have to appreciate the magnitude of what happened so far away when its effects physically hit here.

I had to explain how tsunamis function to a kid I work with. He doesn't have much of a science background. These waves are only a couple of feet high, but they're moving as sometimes hundreds of miles per hour. So when the the ocean gets shallower near the beach you get a massive swell that causes the damage. Its not some massive wave that crests over the horizon.

I live very near the east coast, and we had our tsunami scare a few years back. There was never any threat, but the local news folks needed ratings, so when the tsunami hit Indonesia they used that as a catalyst for scare stories. Scare stories are when news goons try to scare you into watching. We get those annually with hurricane season. "Are you prepared for the worst?"

So I was in no danger, but there are people I know that were. I don't talk to Kristie as much as I used to. She lives in Hawaii, and when this happened I was immediately concerned for her safety and my other friends there which I made the acquaintance of through her. Thankfully, she's safe. In the aftermath she wrote a very poignant piece about living in the aftermath of just a warning that needs to be read.

Here on the mainland the effects were felt along the west coast. One of the Vloggers I follow, Philip DeFranco, lives out there. He's very clever. He jokes about a lot of things, and can be very mocking and flippant. Not this time.

So think about the effects that are felt by the people here. Now trace them backwards. A mother calling concerned for her son, and the son reassures her he's fine. A young woman witnessing two girls making very worried phone calls, some of which may not have been answered. That's just the outskirts. That's the outer ripples of an event that changed and ended many lives.

I keep thinking about this little kid. I saw him at the Youth Butokusai back in 07. he was the youngest one in his group. These Japanese kids were doing a Kenjustu demonstration and looking like young samurai. The little guy was so young that they didn't let him use a real sword. Still there he was out there with his toy plastic sword, keeping up with the moves of his older teammates. I have no clue what his name is, and doubt I would recognize him if you showed me a picture. I remember thinking how great all those kids were, and now I'm praying they're all alright.

There's donations being taken up now for aid. Our president, whom I usually disagree with, has pledged aid and Naval ships are headed in to help. I spoke previously about the horrible NBC show HARRY'S LAW in which a judge on the show stated that Americans don't care about foreigners. The writers and producers of that show don't know Americans and the amount of love and support that's been shown to the people of Japan is a testament to that. We're in an economic crisis. People are out of work here. Families are losing their homes. This earthquake/tsunami reminds us of how much worse things can be, and still despite the tough times, we give.

Out of great tragedy can come great inspiration and hope. Pray for the people of Japan.


U2's first video, before they became overly douchey.

That's it for today. there's a lot of charities scrambling to raise money to help those affected by the earthquake/tsunami. If you can, make a little donation, or at least spread the word. Thanks.

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