So I really wanted to lighten the mood on this event with jokes, or even highlight the recent tragedy in addition to our Madoka podcast which was to come out today (along with my Madoka 10 post), but in the end I decided on a simple, unfunny, informative post.
What I really want to talk about is the actual devastation of this event. Though this blog largely (or nearly exclusively) focuses on otaku culture, if you want to read up on your idols and voice actors other sites have done a very good job of covering that information already.
So in this post, I’ll largely be focusing on how you can actually help the Japanese people instead of just covering it as some new thing that happened that may of not effect you or just effect your anime schedule for the next few weeks. If you want to know that information, it’s simply:
-No Madoka for estimated two weeks (Shaft’s HQ building critically hit).
-No Go Sick for estimated one week.
-Index Season 2 being temporarily suspended (J.C. Staff drawing room destroyed).
So with that out of the way, let’s focus on the actual event and what we can do to help our beloved culture.
So, let’s start with the facts:
- The Sendai Earthquake reached a general accepted average of 8.9 on the Richter Scale, the 5th largest in history and largest Japan has ever seen.
- The most devastated region was North East Japan, around せんだい市.
- There are currently an estimated 400 dead, and roughly 800 more missing. Keep in mind while these numbers seem small, the damage from the event no doubt left tens of thousands homeless and even more out of a job.
- Hawaii, California, Peru, and Chile were also severely affected.
- Connection (both internet and conventional communication) to the regions involved is severely limited.
I was watching the remains of the Madoka stream when I saw these events transpire from helicopter footage and cameras from national Japanese television stations. Personally, it had a huge impact on me. It wasn’t as if I saw it and thought “how tragic”, but the more I thought about the people who live there, colleague’s family, and Japanese friends I’ve met online – the devastation and scale of the event really started to dawn on me. Call me a weaboo if you will, but I didn’t know I had such a strong connection to the Japanese people. Being immersed in their media, entertainment, and general culture for over a decade was one thing, but after working through the language and meeting Japanese people I slowly started to learn how much I actually gave a damn. A lot of my time and effort really went to understanding this culture, and even more was spent enjoying what they’ve brought to me.
I had nothing but dismay, shame, and anger when I heard some of my fellow countrymen say things like “Why do people care about Japan, do you not remember Pearl Harbor?”
Let me take a moment to answer that question…
No, I don’t remember Pearl Harbor.
I wasn’t alive during Pearl Harbor. But I read about it. I also read about how the Americans kept their own Japanese interment camps during World War II which were on par with Hitler’s Jewish concentration camps (except some people weren’t released until the 1960s). I also read about how Japan was the first country to be hit by the atom bomb, twice, resulting in the death of millions of civilians (both radiation inside and outside of Japan – not even including the blast nucleus.) And then I also read about their transition to democracy over a cooperative surrender. Let’s not forget they built an amazing, efficient economy – despite their terrible natural resources – and went on to become the best “Westernized” Asian country and ally of America and Western Europe. Oh yeah, how about that strong international support in the last 30 years?
And I’m still not even up to where I was born yet.
To not be supportive of helping those undergoing these tragedies is a tragedy in on itself. Anyone who thinks that we not provide some of the less-than-one-percent of our national budget dedicated to foreign aid (because it’s “not our business”) is in-human (just like our friend Kyuubeh on the right). Right now, Japan is facing many crisis: lack of communication (both internet and conventional means), a possible nuclear meltdown, and lacking equipment to remove debris to help trapped and missing human beings who could be potentially suffocated to death, crushed under tidal wave pressure, or mangled in debris.
So yeah, call me a softy, but I thought I’d help out. I donated to the American Red Cross’s specific mission on this disaster; but there are many other charities available as well. I just asked myself what was I really going to do with that 10$ anyway. Buy 2.7 gallons of gas or so? Split a two for 20 at applebees? Save up for that figure?
Nah, I think I’ll be okay. Someone running low on oxygen in a basement trapped under a pile of debris that used to be his or her home, however, doesn’t have that same peace of mind.