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The sun rising over Japan
September 12, 2011 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Japan: Six months after the tsunami.

Some pictures have a neat clicking mechanism.
The original tsunami/earthquake post (with some infocus links therein).
posted by Wyatt (30 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Stunning pics. Thanks for posting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:13 PM on September 12, 2011


Photo #26: Naoto Matsumura.

Here's a Japan Times article on him from just last week.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:14 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The before and after volume of cleanup work is mind boggling, even in the six month time frame.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:15 PM on September 12, 2011


Amazing photos, truly. Are they incinerating/recycling most of the debris? dumping it at sea? I can't imagine they'd use it for landfill, given the (in)stability issues.
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:20 PM on September 12, 2011


That last one's pretty hard to handle.

"Wakana Kumagai, age 6, smiles as she looks at a camera in front of a portrait and an urn containing ashes of her father Kazuyuki, who was killed by the March 11 tsunami, in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi prefecture on September 11, 2011. Kazuyuki had called his wife Yoshiko just after the March 11 earthquake to tell her to take their children to Omagari elementary school which was serving as a shelter. He was found near the shelter four days after the tsunami, Yoshiko said."
posted by Houstonian at 5:46 PM on September 12, 2011


Amazing pictures. Some of the before pictures it looks like it's just a small one lane road but in the after picture its a major road. It's amazing how much clean up has been done, I wouldn't even know where to start.
posted by lilkeith07 at 5:48 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to squeeze the fat little cheeks of that Statue of Liberty.
posted by DU at 5:53 PM on September 12, 2011


I remember seeing video of practice runs of a certain northern city I can't recall, in which workers had only a short window to close a normally open gate that allow passage thru a tsunami barrier wall. It was 30ft high at least. I'm sure they were rushing out there to close it when the sirens rang, but they had less then 25 minutes i think in this case, which was cutting it close. I often wonder if those guys made it to close the famous gate. But from the reports it sounds like the tsunami was higher than that, in many places. I just can't get that out of my head... I guess because I remember them and was rooting for them when it happened, but I don't know how it turned out.
posted by uni verse at 5:54 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Safecast is continuing to measure radiation levels (previously). Tesla donated a roadster to their fleet of radiation measuring vehicles.
posted by honest knave at 6:00 PM on September 12, 2011


But from the reports it sounds like the tsunami was higher than that, in many places.

Yeah. The tsunami wall was typically around 75-100 feet high.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:23 PM on September 12, 2011


Wow, that was amazing. About half way through I started wondering how a post-Katrina slide show would compare. Then I started wincing in anticipation.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:29 PM on September 12, 2011


In a certain way to me, the "after" pictures are just as hard to look at as the "before". As stated above, not seeing any rebuilding even six months later is just as heartbreaking as seeing post-Katrina neighborhoods or the hole in the ground after 9/11. Peoples lives don't stop but you take away their family members, homes, their businesses, their jobs, their cars...it would be very difficult for me to "endeavor to persevere," as the movie quote goes.
.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:29 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


As much as has been done, it'll take years to finish. Even down near where I am, in Chiba, there is still noticeable damage. Just south of where I live is all reclaimed land. Every time my wife and I go down there, for shopping or whatnot, we are thankful we didn't buy a house there. Sidewalks are still buckled, areas are still cordoned off. The area around Kaihin Makuhari station, which used to have the eerie flatness that comes with reclaimed land is so warped there are warning signs all over. Even creepier, most of the buildings and pedestrian bridges have literally risen out of the ground by between 1-2 feet. Buildings that were finished a year or two ago now have asphalt ramps leading up to the doors that used to be flush with the sidewalk. Even the train station has risen noticeably. I know the Costco near us had to be closed suddenly (middle of the day) for monthlong repairs.

Of course, this is the tiny stuff, the things that might be gotten to someday, after they manage to remove the ships from residential neighborhoods.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:30 PM on September 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


PG, part of the problem with the rebuilding is that, in a lot of cases, there's no one there to rebuild. As in Katrina, many people who were evacuated to different prefectures are trying to rebuild their lives in their new places. The ones who left, who didn't die, not all of them want to go back to the areas affected. People sheltering in Saitama who've found jobs there will be more likely to stay, rather than head back and deal with uncertainty and unemployment.

Young people have been leaving rural Japan for decades. This is only going to speed that up.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:34 PM on September 12, 2011


Yeah, I'm also impressed with the cleanup. Like Ghidorah says, there aren't that many people around those badly affected areas anymore - why would they be? I'd imagine that in a lot of countries, those places would still look like wasteland, but at least there they've been able to clean things up in half a year. And without cleaning up, you can't rebuild. I think it's quite inspiring.
posted by Metro Gnome at 8:05 PM on September 12, 2011


A volunteer lights a candle by a damaged replica of the Statue of Liberty during an event to pay tribute to victims of both the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the March 11 earthquake in Ishinomaki, northeastern Japan, on September 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

It's kind of mind-boggling that they would be commemorating our little thing 10 years ago when their huge horrible thing is just 6 months in the past. Does anyone in the US even think about the earthquake anymore? I know I'd forgotten about it until I read the thread.

Does Japan still need monetary help and, if so, where do we send it?
posted by Deathalicious at 9:00 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


i keep hoping that somewhere among the devastation in Japan, that innovation and new ideas about nuclear energy will come about. and that this and the rebuilding will lift Japan out of it's seemingly permanent economic malaise. the Japanese have proven themselves to be a technologically advanced society, and if ever there was a need to innovate, this is it. this post and this one about portions of Japan darkened from reduced energy availability have had me thinking about what opportunities could arise from the March 11 tragedy.
posted by ninjew at 9:16 PM on September 12, 2011


Deathalicious, one of the ongoing issues is that, while there has been a pretty sizable outpouring of money, the logistics is evidently horribly messed up, and large amounts of relief funds have yet to get anywhere they can be used.

I said in the early going that, had this disaster happened in any other country, the results would have been far, far worse, and I still believe that. My faith in the government's ability to set things right in the aftermath, however, keeps getting lower and lower.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:31 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel lousy comparing a horrible disaster to another disaster, but it took the USA eight months to officially "clean up" the WTC. That was less than ten buildings in one of the richest areas of the world.
posted by meowzilla at 9:49 PM on September 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Atlantic Monthly's InFocus feature continues to deliver breathtaking stuff. Deathalicious, you nailed it. I'm curious where some of those ships stranded so far inland will be another 6 months from now, or two years from now. In one of the B/A clickable pics, one of the medium-size boats looks to have been taken away, but a big boat remains.
posted by Lukenlogs at 9:50 PM on September 12, 2011


The pictures with the big ships in them really got to me. I'm used to seeing photos of small craft in marinas being shoved around but the size of those ships and where they ended up are just blowing me away. The power of that tsunami had to be incredible.
posted by tommasz at 5:21 AM on September 13, 2011


Not to inject politics into this, but I can't help thinking that if this had happened in a densely populated portion of the US, there's no way that this amount of progress and clean-up would've occurred. We'd have Eric Fucking Cantor blocking any aid until he could find programs to cut to pay for it, and everyone blaming the President that he hadn't predicted and prevented the earthquake.

Japan has been suffering from the same type of economic despair that we're in for over 10 years, and yet they seem to be on the mend.
posted by scblackman at 6:15 AM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Deathalicious, one of the ongoing issues is that, while there has been a pretty sizable outpouring of money, the logistics is evidently horribly messed up,

So perhaps we can send them some tidier logistics then? Or perhaps come by and do their laundry and bake them some casseroles so they can focus on rebuilding.

Man, I wish things were not so messed up right now.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:33 AM on September 13, 2011


sblackman: but I can't help thinking that if this had happened in a densely populated portion of the US, there's no way that this amount of progress and clean-up would've occurred. We'd have Eric Fucking Cantor blocking any aid until he could find programs to cut to pay for it, and everyone blaming the President that he hadn't predicted and prevented the earthquake.

Republicans blocked an effort Monday by Senate Democrats to quickly pass a $7 billion aid package for victims of recent natural disasters like Hurricane Irene, tornadoes in the Midwest and the South and floods along the Mississippi, Missouri and other rivers.
posted by FfejL at 8:00 AM on September 13, 2011


Republicans blocked an effort Monday by Senate Democrats to quickly pass a $7 billion aid package for victims of recent natural disasters like Hurricane Irene, tornadoes in the Midwest and the South and floods along the Mississippi, Missouri and other rivers.

And yet, how many of those victims will turn right around and keep voting Republicans in? That's the part that's truly saddening.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 AM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Japanese people are astounding and what they've done so far in cleaning up the spectacularly gigantic mountains, entire landscapes, of debris is so hope engendering. They have been awesomely dynamic, energetic, positive in their surviving this staggeringly awful tsunami/earthquake/nuclear reactor catastrophe.

I don't think the people of the US have, at this time in their history, any of the "Let's work together and get this task done!" spirit that the Japanese have shown in handling this devastation of their country. If a quarter or a fifth of America had been swamped and shredded by a tsunami I can't even imagine the ensuing chaos here, that did not happen in Japan.

These photographs are amazingly inspiring.
posted by nickyskye at 8:46 AM on September 13, 2011


I've been really surprised as well to see how much wreckage has been cleared from the coastal villages that were inundated, especially when I compare with how long the leaning and collapsed buildings were left in place in Kobe after the Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. For months I used to ride the Hankyu train past a condo that had pancaked down onto a red car in the first-floor parking bay, squeezing it like a zit, wondering when it was going to be removed. A building that was teetering over a street at an angle finally collected enough rainwater to fall over on its side like a tree.

Like Ghidorah says, the longstanding cynicism toward government in Japan (and Japanese people are cynical about almost nothing else) has been justifiably deepened by both the government's crisis response and revelations about its incompetence in disaster prevention.

I'm trying with difficulty to keep my head above water now.
posted by planetkyoto at 10:11 AM on September 13, 2011


It's kind of mind-boggling that they would be commemorating our little thing 10 years ago

Worth remembering: there were 24 Japanese nationals killed in the attacks.

I was struck by the tectonic subsidence visible in photos 21, 24, and 28. These areas will be difficult for anyone wishing to rebuild, and may need to be abandoned.

I would expect that the industry most easily re-established is going to be the fisheries. Even so, they require quite a bit of supporting infrastructure, from drydocks to fuel depots to, well, a supply of labor. Even an independent operator who didn't lose his boat, or had it replaced by insurance, will be hard-pressed to start up operations again in a place like this. As for many other jobs, factories probably won't come back in many cases, and things like restaurants and groceries depend on a supply of employed workers. It becomes a chicken-and-egg problem.
posted by dhartung at 11:31 AM on September 13, 2011


What an amazing amount of human labor must have gone into each of these "after" images here.
posted by ms.codex at 3:18 PM on September 13, 2011


1 million urged to evacuate as typhoon nears Japan

Typhoon Roke on Track for Leaking Nuke Plant
posted by homunculus at 2:06 PM on September 20, 2011


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