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Todays Haiku 2011/3/21 06:19

On the first day of spring..
oh Matsushima..
are your islands still there..?
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Today's Haiku 2011/3/21 16:13
Ah, Peter, what a concise, apropos, and focused way to start a new page and a new season. Your haikus are a real gift to this forum. Thank you!

by Barbara (guest) rate this post as useful

Barbara 2011/3/22 11:17
Thank you for your most kind complement, I have never been accused of being focused, thats a first. A minor talent no doubt..I do weddings and Bar Mitzvahs' too ! [pay only shipping and handling]
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

U.S. News reporting 2011/3/23 03:05
What gets me is how the U.S. mainstream news media is treating Japan as if it was a third world country in its reporting of the earthquake aftermath and the nuclear plant problem. Japan has the third largest GDP in the world, it can handle all of its problems and doesn't need help from the West. Japan is NOT like Haiti. Our news media is an embarrassment to Americans.
by Wally (guest) rate this post as useful

Third-world country?? 2011/3/26 05:10
I must disagre with Wally. To some extent, in the face of overwhelming natural disaster, every country may appear like a "third-world" country. The U.S. News Media certainly displayed the chaos and misery in their own country following Hurricane Katrina as well as other tragedies before and since.

Also, I remember clearly when the U.S. had widespread and destructive flooding of the Mississippi River in 1993, over 100 nations offered help. Bangladesh offered hemp for helping to shore up the levees, and I was enormously touched that this small poor nation was willing to do all it could. It is not insulting to be offered help from another country, nor to accept it. Offering help is a heartfelt and genuine response to a catastrophe. Japan has accepted help; if they found it so insulting, they would not have done so. There is no need to stigmatize friendship.
by wata geiru rate this post as useful

to Walley Cox 2011/3/26 05:40
Walley let me know if you get this. Bernie Burnett 106 general, 66-68
by clive burnett bernie burnett rate this post as useful

Press coverage of Japan 2011/3/26 11:39
The following is an example of the excellent and admiring coverage we have been getting here about Japan's trauma. I think the following is an interesting summary in today's paper - - -

Newly Homeless in Japan Re-Establish Order Amid Chaos

RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan \ Koji Yamaguchi, a 76-year-old survivor of the tsunami that all but eradicated this town on March 11, was unavailable for interviews. He was out walking his dog.

Which would be unsurprising, were Mr. Yamaguchi not an evacuee himself, living on a 9-by-9-foot grass mat in a junior high school gymnasium here with 1,000 other people.

To an outsider, much is striking about Japanfs response to two weeks of serial disasters: the stoicism and self-sacrifice; the quiet bravery in the face of tragedy that seems almost woven into the national character. Just as striking, however, is that evacuees here live in a place that can kennel your dog, charge your cellphone, fix your dentures and even provide that nonnegotiable necessity of Japanese life, a steamy soak in a hot tub of water.

There is a free laundry service, too, although they are still working out clothes-drying kinks.

Just two weeks after this nationfs greatest catastrophe in decades, the citizens at Takada Junior High School No. 1, this townfs largest evacuee center, have managed to fashion a microcosm of the spotlessly organized and efficient Japan they so recently knew.

Theirs is a city where a hand sanitizer sits on every table; where face masks, which Japanese wear the way other people wear sunglasses, are dispensed by the box. It is a place where you do not just trade your muddy shoes for slippers at the front door, but also shed the slippers at the gymnasium door lest you carry a mote of dust from the hallways into the living areas.

gItfs hard to gather these people to live together here,h Tsutomu Nakai, the soft-spoken 61-year-old retiree who manages the center, said on Thursday. gThey all have different lifestyles and different personalities. But so far, people have volunteered to help each other, and it works very well.h

None of this is to suggest that Takada Junior High is the Waldorf. There is immense suffering and personal misery here: grieving survivors, financial ruin, smelly bodies, no running water, frigid outdoor toilets, endless boredom and the prospect of sleeping on a hard floor with complete strangers for weeks \ even months \ to come.

But this, too, seems to be part of the national character: a passion for order and civility so deep-rooted that the chaos and despair of 1,000 strangers somehow is subdued to the level of disarray expected at the monthly meeting of a book-loversf club.

The spirit is captured by the hand-drawn signs that adorn the gym: gLetfs be grateful that we are aliveh; gCheer up, Takatah; gLetfs communicate and bond our hearts.h

The messages are lived in simple ways. One expects that 1,000 evacuees would have access to a doctor, and the Japan Red Cross has opened a well-staffed clinic on the first floor. But one might not expect the two dentists next door, who decided on March 17 to volunteer their services and opened shop the next day, treating about 15 patients daily with the help of staff members whose own homes were lost in the tsunami.

gI donft have any other place to work, because my office washed away,h said Masanori Yoshiday, 60. gWe can rebuild the office later.h

The dentists were followed by Shoichi Yanashita, a 66-year-old barber and a fellow evacuee, who was giving free haircuts on Thursday with scissors and a razor borrowed from a friend in a nearby town. gWe have to support each other,h he said, gand this is what I know how to do.h

Hair cutting and dentistry joined a long list of services, donated and otherwise: volunteer bicycle-repairing, a shuttle bus ferrying evacuees from center to center, pet cages donated by local veterinarians, free laundering of refugeesf clothes by local high-school students.

Drying remains a problem. gWe have to dry the ladiesf underwear where people canft see it. So we put it in two classrooms on the second floor, and then we lock the doors,h said Mr. Nakai, the evacuee center manager. Classes at the school have been suspended since the disaster.

Asked whether he has had to deal with petty thievery, personality conflicts or any other social ills that beset strangers unwillingly thrown together, Mr. Nakai replied: gNothing at all. They donft even argue.h

Not quite true, said Hiroe Sasaki, a 42-year-old evacuee. gWe had only one blanket for each person on the first day,h she said. gPeople did get stressed. Some shouted at each other.h

And now? gThey wouldnft tell me,h she said, gbut I know some people arenft happy that other families have more blankets than they do.h

Ms. Sasaki staffs the help desk in the gymnasium, the urban center of this makeshift town. To the right is the lending library. To the left is a cardboard mailbox where evacuees can deposit postcards \ also available at the desk \ that are delivered to other centers around town.

Opposite her desk are recycling bins for burnable trash, plastic, glass and metal (subdivided into aluminum and steel). On the desk and adjacent shelves, free for the asking, are batteries, hand and foot warmers, cotton gloves, pens and paper, plastic trash bags and eye drops for the tree pollen that is spreading with the arrival of spring. A small box holds cellphones that have been charged at the power strip behind her chair. Beside the chair is a wireless microphone used to deliver the news through the gymnasiumfs sound system, heralded by the four-chime alert often heard in train stations and airports.

This week, Japanfs Self Defense Force soldiers offered a much-coveted new service: two hot tubs for men and women, holding 25 bathers at a time, at a nearly elementary school that also houses evacuees. Now the Takada center offers daily shuttle buses to the tubs, which sit side by side in steam-saturated tents outside the school entrance.

The orderliness extends to the residents, who have assembled the detritus of two weeks on a gym floor \ donated clothes, blankets, folding chairs \ into neat barriers that provide a modicum of privacy from the neighbors. The gym floor is carved into neighborhoods, each with a representative who carries grievances to higher-ups.

Not that there are any grievances, of course \ at least those that people are willing to admit publicly in a culture that prizes the capacity for endurance.

gSome people gather around the space heater at nights because they canft sleep. The young people, especially, snore really loudly,h said Yukiko Yamaguchi, 73, who lost her home in the tsunami.

gBut itfs unconscious,h she added quickly. gYou canft complain about that.h

Moshe Komata contributed reporting.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Hiroshi Suzuki 2011/3/26 13:58
Steffi, that is a great story from the NY Times you've just posted. Those of us Americans who have been privileged to have lived in Japan at some point in our lives know and admire the dignity and strength of the Japanese People. Here is part of an AOL news story that I want to share because like your story, it illustrates this remarkable quality:
In Soma, a hard-hit town along the Fukushima prefecture coast, rubble covered the block where Hiroshi Suzuki's home once stood. He watched as soldiers dug into mounds of timber had been neighbors' homes in search of bodies. Just three bodies have been pulled out.
"I never expected to have to live through anything like this," he said, mournfully. Suzuki is one of Soma's lucky, but the tsunami washed away the shop where he sold fish and seaweed.
"My business is gone. I don't think I will ever be able to recover," said Suzuki, 59.
Still, he managed to find a bright side. "The one good thing is the way everyone is pulling together and helping each other. No one is stealing or looting," he said.
"It makes me feel proud to be Japanese."
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Bernie 2011/3/26 19:56
Did you live at Hakuraku Mansion?
by Wally (guest) rate this post as useful

Walley Cox 2011/3/28 02:04
Walley, no but I did a lot of partying with you there along with tiny kovan and some officer Nurses, I lived in the barracks for the enlisted men. that's when we use to listen to Sgt Peppers lonely hearts club band. Lot of good times there. I use to also run with Wilbur Uhl if you remember him. Thanks for the reply. Bernie
by clive burnett bernie burnett rate this post as useful

Bernie 2011/3/28 03:41
Hey man, great to hear from you! I remember that you and Wilbur were big buds, and didn't you also run around with Coffendaffer? You and Wilbur were real tight with the nurses, so did you go to the party that the nurses threw on the roof garden at Hakuraku Mansion? There were a couple hundred people there--it was one of the greatest parties of all time. The doctors had a beer bottle throwing contest off the roof, which brought the Japanese police. It was a wonder we didn't have some casualties! Good times! What have you been doing all these years? And, whatever happened to Uhl?
by Wally (guest) rate this post as useful

area 2 2011/3/28 06:17
we lived in base housing the place was called area 2. we had lived there from april of79 to march of80. then we moved to nagi another base housing area. we where in the navy. hoped this has helped you.
by jackie crane (guest) rate this post as useful

Kaoru-san 2011/3/30 03:43
How are you doing ?
We are not getting as much information as we did.
Fukushima sounds bad.
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Fukushima 2011/3/30 08:08

Fukushima has a big trouble now though Yokohama is safe. It thinks of it in the condition similar to level 7. The reactor core has melted. To lower the temperature, water is drained off. It only throws water that contains the radioactivity into the sea.

The tap water of the prefecture in the vicinity has been polluted. The radioactivity is weak. When milk is made from tap water for the baby, it might be exposed to radiation. Babies are drinking the milk made from the mineral water. Tokyo Electric Power Company and the government have been perplexed to measures. Tsunami of the northern part coast sacrificed several relatives of my mom. The victim exceeded 30,000 people.

The 7th fleet is doing very big help. Thank you. Cooling the reactor core of the nuclear plant is a big problem for the time being.

The red bridge where Matsushima was was destroyed by Tsunami...
by Kaoru (guest) rate this post as useful

Big Trouble 2011/3/30 22:11
Thank you for the update. I'm glad to hear that you are well and Yokohama is safe. I'm sorry to hear that you lost several of your mother's relatives to the tsunami.
Fukushima will be fixed eventually and the other damage repaired. It is nearly impossible to plan for and respond to a disaster of a magnitude that has never occurred before but I'm sure Japan is capable of resolving this. What cannot be replaced are the victims of the disaster.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Kaoru 2011/3/31 09:47
I am so sorry to hear about your mothers family, please extend to her our sympathy from your friends here in America.
I am heartsick over the death and destruction, and the nuclear raidation. Our prayers and support are with Japan and her brave and resourceful people that we have come to know and respect.
I have been watching Japan TV on our cable system here. The stories of survival and the help they are giving each other is inspiring.
Maybe my Japanese is getting better also...well..maybe a little..
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Kaoru-san 2011/3/31 13:27
I am very sorry to hear about your loss of family members - my condolences to your mother and your family.

My husband's brother, who is a professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, an engineering school, is running a forum on the Japan nuclear reactor problems next week.

He is very interested to know:

1 - Is there any radioactive pollution in your water system in Tokyo or Yokohama?

2 - We had not heard that the level of damage was 7. Where can we read about that? Is it similar to Chernobyl? Is the reactor core really melted?

Thank you very much.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Bernie 2011/3/31 13:40
By the way, do you remember Mike Albrinck? He and I were big buds and roommates at Hakuraku. He started a unit page on Military.com that you might want to check out. Once you log onto www.military.com, there is a search box in the top center of the page. Click on Units right above it, and then type Army in the box. It will take you to a page that has another box which asks you to enter the unit name. In that box type: 106th General Hospital, Japan, and click OK. You will get another page that says Best matches for the 106th General Hospital, Japan. Click on the blue underlined 106th General Hospital, Japan, and it will take you to the unit page.
by Wally (guest) rate this post as useful

Pollution 2011/3/31 14:55
Steffi san and all

I should say facts and figures. A small amount of iodine was contained in a part of Tokyo now. It seems to be safe now. The pollution of water service is not warned.

Information is very confused. The level of the damage is 6 now. But, the improvement is not done. US and France's engineers are directing the prevention of the leak of radiation of the plant. The polluted water is stored to other pools sealed up.
by Kaoru (guest) rate this post as useful

Kaoru 2011/3/31 15:43
I would like to add my voice to those of Dave-san, Peter, and Steffi -- am so sorry to hear about the trouble in Japan, and I send my condolences to you on the loss of your relatives in Northern Japan.

Tonight I watched PBS's Nova, featuring an hour-long documentary on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami -- very well done. It will undoubtedly be repeated on future broadcasts and is also available via the internet at pbs.org in case anyone wants to look for it. Steffi, this is something your brother-in-law might want to pursue.
by Barbara (guest) rate this post as useful

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