Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
April 12 LA Times Article

April 12 LA Times Article

Ratings: (0)|Views: 5 |Likes:
Published by Braven Smillie

More info:

Published by: Braven Smillie on Apr 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

04/12/2011

pdf

text

original

 
9Recommend
16
(0)
Surv iv ors chat each other near an area dev astated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami inOnagawa, Miy agi prefecture in northeastern Japan. (Lee Jin-man / AP Photo / April 10, 2011)
OP-ED
What was most impressive on coming home to Sendai, Japan, after the quake and tsunamiwas how few homes had been destroyed, and how rapidly life here is returning to normal.
By Braven Smillie
April 12, 2011
Subscribe/Manage Account Place Ad LAT Store Jobs Cars Real Estate Rentals Classifieds Custom Publishing
OPINION
LOCAL U.S. WORLD BUSINESS SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT HEALTH LIVING TRAVELOPINIONSHOPWeekly Ad
IN THE NEWS:WINKLEVOSS TWINS FEDERAL DEBT LIMIT SYNAGOGUE EXPLOSION ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION LAKERS
Search
Japan's well-built society 
21Share
I recently returned to my home here in suburban Sendai,Japan, having fled with my family soon after theearthquakeand tsunami. Everything changed for this region on thatafternoon of March 11. People lost their lives and theirhomes, and that should not be minimized. But what impressedme most on coming back alone to pick up the pieces was how few homes were destroyed, and how rapidly life here isreturning to normal.Three weeks ago, kilometer-long lines of desperate motoristshad blocked roads near gas stations, nearly preventing usfrom driving out. Now the lines are just a dozen cars deep, andmoving. Also gone are the lines of people that once snaked forhundreds of yards from the entrances of blacked-out grocery stores. Gone are the harried store clerks fumbling withmegaphones as they explained rationing rules. Simpleinconvenience has replaced a sense of impending panic.I pulled into our driveway, scanning the walls for cracks, thenvisited neighbors to give them customary gifts and to chat.The ongoing return to orderly life outside our home
L.A. Times on Facebook 
Federal appeals court upholdsinjunction blocking Arizonaimmigration law
2,513 people shared this.
Obama to draw sharp contrastwith GOP over deficit
304 people shared this.
Chicago school bans some 
Teachers Under Fire »
Op-Ed:
Why is there so much contempt forteachers?
Editorial Cartoons »
Click to see the full cartoon and more »
53KLike
advertisement
EDITORIALS OP-ED LETTERS OPINION L.A. READERS' REPWhat California canlearn from theChile, New Zealandand Japan quakesWhen the shakingstarts, the waterrushes in, or thefallout looms, what are you going todo? Three writers' tips for copingwith disaster in the modern worldWill Angelenoslearn from theJapan quake?RELATED
Sign In
or
Sign Up
53K Like
2011/04/12 Japan earthquake: Returning home to latimes.com//la-oe-smillie-sendai-1/4
 
contrasted with the remnants of chaos we'd left inside. Wallhangings were strewn everywhere, and a chair from one roomhad inexplicably migrated to another. They were reminders of just how severely this place had been shaken, and what awonder it was that so many homes here were left standing.Having lived in Japan since 1989, I've spent decadesnonchalantly riding out minor quakes. Now I jump at each of the frequent aftershocks that bring back the experiences of March 11. On that quiet Friday afternoon, a routine window-rattling rumble grew into a rolling, jerking ride as the wallsseemed to dart out and snatch at us. Try to recall your worstfalling dream and you'll have a sense of what it is like to loseall sense of confidence in your walls, floor and ceiling, andthen even the ability to stand.When the shaking finally stopped that day, I jogged out into alight snow to collect my daughters Tina and Elena from theirnearby elementary school. As I arrived on the playground, Iwas frustrated at how difficult it was to find my children, or todistinguish any of the faces of the children I knew. There wassomething common in their appearance. Every kid had thesame mask-like facial expression — a thousand-yard stare that is astonishing to see on a child.My 10-year-old, Christina, later gave a glimpse into the experiences that produced those shockedexpressions: "It shook from the floor, and almost everybody was crying.... And our teacher said,'Duck down under your desk and save your head!' It was like we were on a big boat and we wereholding on to the feet of our desks and it was going back and forth and back and forth, like rowing aboat." The shock and terror were real. But not one child or teacher at the school was seriously hurt.As the assembled children waited for their parents, we looked across the playground, watching long,low, quick swells pass across the surface. Sometimes the ground seemed to rotate around us inimpossible ways. We heard a series of distant explosions, and a few much closer. How, I thought, hadthe school building remained intact? Shouldn't there be rubble?The March 11 quake produced some of the most intense ground shaking and tsunami surges ever tohit a populated area. I have seen the areas where entire towns — and the families who lived in them —were literally washed away. It is hard even to grasp destruction on that level. It is harder still to grasphow much more of the earthquake zone remains totally intact. And I don't just mean physicalstructures; our societal structures have held fast as well.On my return, I am not having to sift through rubble; I'm only having to get the gas reconnected. Thislife-and-death difference was made by things that we usually regard as mundane: building codes,evacuation drills, honest contractors.On the day of the quake, after our initial relief at having survived, we had to improvise sources of heat, light, sustenance. Almost as bad as the lack of electricity, gas and water was the lack of knowing.This gnawing uncertainty grew over the next few days, especially after cellphone service was restoredand we began to learn of the overheating nuclear reactors inFukushima, about 50 miles south. Newsreports showed a bull's-eye of concentric circles on a map of our region, with red in the middle, wherethe reactors were burning, and shading to orange and yellow farther out. We were outside the yellow part, but not far enough. In the end, it was that expanding bull's-eye map that clinched our decision toleave.Hours of searching yielded four seats on a flight out of the local airport in Akita, but to get theremeant a drive of more than six hours on mountain roads. We had about 23 liters left in the tank. Butwas it enough? In deep snow on uncertain roads, there would be no margin for error.We set out, driving first through town and then on rural roads that gradually climbed into low mountains. Around dark, I watched the odometer and fuel gauge pass the point at which we couldturn back. More miles and hours passed, eating up precious fuel on the climb. I became so focused onmileage that I even slowed the windshield wipers down, hoping it would save fuel during the trip.We made it. But after a period of relief, I began to feel a little guilty. Had I left others behind tomanage when we should be pitching in too? After 17 days away, it was time to go home.I returned to Sendai in advance of my family. It seems that many families with young children alsoleft after the earthquake. Now they are trickling back in, still a bit nervous as they monitor news of the nuclear plant cleanup and ride out frequent aftershocks, sometimes rivaling the original quake inintensity. School administrators are scrambling to figure out how many students they will have forthe new academic year, which started April 11.
The Latest |
NEWS AS IT HAPPENS
Bill Dwyre: Angels, season are still warming up
 
-L.A. Times - Sports
 
04/11/2011, 11:35 p.m.
Dodgers have two special Ks and one bad break in6-1 win over Giants
 
- L.A. Times - Sports
 
04/11/2011,11:30 p.m.
Looking at what Lakers need to do to secure No. 2seed in the West and home-court implicationsagainst Miami and Boston
 
- Lakers Blog
 
04/11/2011,11:24 p.m.
Angels rookie Tyler Chatwood gets rude receptionin a 4-0 loss to Cleveland
 
- L.A. Times - Sports04/11/2011, 11:05 p.m.
Giants upstage Frank McCourt again in attack onfan
 
- L.A. Times - Sports
 
04/11/2011, 10:55 p.m.
 
Get the Opinion L.A. Newsletter
The best in Southern California opinionjournalism.See a sample | Sign up
OPINION: MOST VIEWED
1. Roth IRAs: A real 'fiscalFrankenstein'2. Why nuclear power is still agood choice3. Tim Rutten: Paul Ryan'sbudget blueprint would pushthe aged into poverty 4. Why is there so muchcontempt for teachers?5. Doyle McManus: The fighton Capitol Hill wasn't aboutmoney; it was about politicalpower6. Photo gallery: Aftermath of a nuclear meltdown atChernobyl7. Should there be a 'fat tax'?8. Social experiment: Know thy neighbor9. It's time to let theChowchilla kidnappers go free10: Patt Morrison Asks: JaneHarman, the 'best Republicanin the Democratic Party'
Save. Share. Connect.
RSS » Twitter » Facebook » Mobile » Alerts »
ADS BY GOOGLE
Prepare for a disaster
Americans aren't prepared for thenext mega-disaster. Learn why.
www.SmartPlanet.com
2011/04/12 Japan earthquake: Returning home to latimes.com//la-oe-smillie-sendai-2/4
 
9Recommend
16
(0)
ADS BY GOOGLE
<公式>日本生命
林真理子さん書き下ろしエッセイ
 
簡単メールアドレス登録
!
www.clubstars.jp
Sarah Gim's irresistibleservings of virtual foodShelter is barely a refuge forJapanese survivorsMaple syrup the hot new superfood?Michele Bachmann hasniche appealMissouri's bloody Civil Warbattles
People talk about where gas lines are the shortest and where fresh eggs are on sale again. Friends pullup in front of my house asking me to grab a shovel and join them in a day of volunteer work clearingdebris in the nearby tsunami zone. There are no stories of looting or violence, because those thingswould be unthinkable. The Japanese people and their culture have a tenacity and resilience that comeout in times like these. And barring some massive failure to contain the nuclear mess in Fukushima,we may very well look back on the aftermath of this disaster, despite the tragedy and loss of life, as asocietal success story.Braven Smillie, who was born and raised in San Diego, is a freelance translator in Sendai.
Copy right © 2011,Los Angeles Times
21Share
RELATED STORIES
From the L.A. Times
7.1 aftershock hits JapanJapan hit with magnitude 7.1 aftershock; tsunami warning briefly issuedNo West Coast tsunami expected after Japan’s strong earthquake
From KTLA 
Japan to Evacuate More Towns Around Crippled Nuclear Plant |ktla.com6.6 Quake Jolts Japan Coast, Tsunami Warning Issued |ktla.com7.4 Quake Strikes Off Japan Coast, Tsunami Alert Issued |ktla.com
Around the Web
Japan rattled by 7.1 aftershock; tsunami warning issued |orlandosentinel.com7.4-Magnitude Quake Strikes Japan; Tsunami Warning Issued |courant.com
Comments (0)
Add comments | Discussion FAQCurrently there are no comments. Be the first to comment!
MOST VIEWEDMOST COMMENTED
With tension in the air, Giants and Dodgersagain take the fieldLAPD officers who complained about ticketquotas are awarded $2 millionNicolas Cage's national treasure recoveredTyler Chatwood's debut brings back memoriesfor other Angels pitchersGlobal Crossing to be acquired by Level 3CommunicationsHulu is popular, but that wasn't the goalLeaders of Conservative Judaism press forchange as movement's numbers drop.Court upholds judge's ban on Arizonaimmigration law Obama to draw sharp contrast with GOP overdeficitLakers, your NBA champs, say worrying is forchumps
2011/04/12 Japan earthquake: Returning home to latimes.com//la-oe-smillie-sendai-3/4

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->