Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 14, 2011

Friday, 11th March 2011 – Disaster in Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami strikes

It was a  relatively quiet day for myself  – intended to spend part of it out in the garden but didn’t quite get around to doing so – weather a bit suspect at times, and I seemed to get tied up with tasks inside, including preparing radio programs for the next few days. I was expecting Susie back some time later this afternoon, from Bendigo but didn’t really know when, or whether she would be expecting and/or wanting a meal this evening.

During the afternoon, had a planned visit from a couple of local air conditioning maintenance people  –  the unit in/on our roof had not been services for over five years [we had it dome when we moved in here in 2005]. Quite a big unit, a Brivis Networker, providing both heating and cooling as required throughout the year. The ‘cooling’ aspect doesn’t get a great deal of use, and that was certainly the case, this summer just past, one of the coolest for many years, but the heater, mainly because of Susan’s residing here, is considerably over-used in my view – both because of the number of times she is here during the day hours of winter, and her night time habits of studying, etc, into the early hours of the morning. While that use will probably be much lower this year [hopefully meaning a slightly winter gas accounts] with Susan studying up in Bendigo during the week, I wanted to have it serviced and checked before another winter arrived.  Anyway, apparently everything was working okay – a bit of a cleanout of the system was needed [something I could have done but wasn’t aware of it] which it was suggested was a possible reason why heat was not getting down to ‘my’ end of the house as effectively as the rest of the  place.  The comment was made that the unit was one of the larger ones of it nature.

Went out for a walk at around 5pm – it was at that time that I received a response to my enquiry of Susan, regarding her return to Sunbury  – expect her quite late, don’t worry about dinner!

It was also about that time, that for thousands of people in Japan, the end of their lives, either directly, or as they had known it, basically came to an end and/or changed for ever.  An earthquake hit Japan  just before  5pm tonight, daylight saving time, and this was followed by huge tragic tsunami. I discovered this when I returned from my walk, and would watch the ‘live’ reports coming through from Japanese television for the next hour or so before I went out to the radio station.  Perhaps the following ABC report of the interim coverage, best summarises the situation tonight.

“Large areas of Japan’s northern Pacific coast have been swamped by a devastating tsunami, engulfing entire towns following a major 8.9 offshore quake. The massive wave of water, as high as 10 metres in some parts, reached more than five kilometres inland. The meteorological agency issued its top-level evacuation alerts for the entire Japanese coast amid warnings of a tsunami of between six and 10 metres. Towns and farms around Sendai city in northern Japan have been engulfed by a seven-metre tsunami, while a four-metre wave swamped parts of Kamaishi on the Pacific coast.  Residents have been ordered to high ground and stay away from the coast as tsunamis can strike in several waves.   Seismologists say the quake was 160 times more powerful than the one that devastated Christchurch last month.

  • Wall of water crosses Japan’s east coast
  • Large parts of Miyagi prefecture engulfed
  • Homes flooded, cars and boats washed away
  • No leaks of radioactive material from power plants
  • BOM says no tsunami warning for Australia
  • Contact DFAT on 1300 555 135

Japanese television has shown pictures of a wall of water kilometres wide moving its way across the countryside, engulfing everything in its path.  The Cosmo oil refinery in Chiba prefecture outside Tokyo has exploded, sending flames dozens of metres into the air, with firefighters unable to contain the inferno. It is one of more than 40 blazes burning across Japan.  “An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicentre within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,” the agency said. A tsunami warning has been issued across the wider Pacific including Russia, the territories of Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Micronesia and Hawaii.  Russia has evacuated 11,000 people from areas that could be affected, including Kuril islands and Sakhalin island. Hawaii has also ordered evacuations.  The Bureau of Meteorology says there is no tsunami threat to Australia.  The quake, already considered one of the worst in Japan’s history, struck about 382 kilometres north-east of Tokyo at a depth of 24 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.  The USGS reported at least eight strong aftershocks, including a 6.8 quake on the mainland 66 kilometres north-east of Tokyo”.

Certainly, the scenes on the TV screen were quite chilling, almost hard to believe the power of that tsunami as it literally engulfed towns, roads, cars, trucks, boats, etc, and swallowed them up like toys .  Someone used that analogy on Facebook tonight – words to the affect that  ‘while I was watching horrifying video yesterday morning of that wave sweeping across farmland with cars in the distance, all I could think of was h…ow they looked like the toy cars in Godzilla. I feel appropriately shamed, but still…’.- while the reports of deaths were quite moderate at first, it was obvious that with half of one city wiped away by the tsunami with 10,000 people missing there alone, that we were in for a terrible outcome.  I found myself, as always, feeling quite helpless, at what almost seemed like some kind of horror movie on the TV – yet it was all for real, happening on our screens in real time – as I watched hundreds of cars, etc, being swept along  like some kind of massive avalanche of flotsam, I had to assume that there were people in many of those vehicles. Terrible situation. Perhaps someone else’s more light hearted attitude might be the better way to think – from the same Face book entry [which I think is an American source] we read that  ‘Anyway, as with all disasters like this, the scope of it all is mind-boggling and a little humor is absolutely required,  especially since none of us are about to put on hard hats and overalls and fly over to move rubble. Feel a bit helpless really… There’s a definite cultural difference in attitude towards these things. Over here, any kind of tragedy like this is treated with utter seriousness and spoken of in hushed tones. We re-edit movies and kill tv episodes that involve anything similar to the event for fear of offending someone. The Japanese embrace these things. I like their way better.’

I’d planned to go out tonight, and spend three hours on the radio – watching and listening to what was going on in Japan,  and my mood to do so, changed a little.  However, I went ahead as planned, and would spend nearly 3 ½ hours on air tonight –  all of it, jazz music, both traditional and contemporary.  While I had the TV monitor on in the studio, keeping an eye on both the tragic unfolding of the Japanese disaster, and the Australian Football Pre Season Grand Final [Collingwood vs Essendon], I also really enjoyed the music I was playing tonight. The trouble is, as this was not a regular time spot of mine, the fact that there was three hours of jazz on air for those who might have been interested, would not been known, and that, together with the fact that the football final was on the TV, well I had to wonder, again, throughout the night, whether anyone was listening!!  This is the 3rd Friday night I have filled in a vacant 3 hours over the past 5 or 6 weeks, and during that time, have not received one phone call! That of course, doesn’t mean no-one is listening – unless you are a talk back show, people don’t generally ring a radio station. Nevertheless, as I’ve noted previously, some kind of feedback is occasionally nice to get. Tonight, I offered to play requests – nobody had any!!  On radio 8pm to 11.23pm – all jazz – no response from anyone

Incidentally, the Collingwood Magpies, who you may recall, won the 2010 AFL Premiership, began their back to back campaign in good fashion, by winning tonight’s Pre-Season Final against the Essendon Bombers  – Mick Malthouse’s first victory as coach in a pre-season competition was harder than expected given the reigning premiers dominated the opening half but were pushed to the death by the rejuvenated Bombers, under new coach and former player, James Heard,  before winning 1.15.9 (108) to Essendon’s 0.13.8 (86).

Meanwhile, in the World Cup cricket tournament, some more results from the past few days are to hand.

Match 25: 9th March [Group B]: India 5 for 191 defeated Netherlands 189, at Delhi

Match 26: 10th March [Group A]: Sri Lanka 6 for 327 defeated Zimbabwe 188 at Pallekele

Match 27: 11th March [Group B]: West Indies 275 defeated Ireland 231

Match 28: 11th March [Group B]: Bangladesh 8 for 227 defeated England 225  [another shock loss to the English team, but I haven’t heard from any of my English friends as yet, keeping a low profile I think ].



  1. japan is in a crisis right now

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