In response to those expressing concerns about our condition at the edge of chaos, at this point, we are fine and looking for opportunities to help others to be the same. We are kind of old pros at this kind of thing; I seem to have lived near the epicenter of every major California over the last few decades and have had to dig out more than once. Also spent much of my childhood fighting LA fires away from our house. Plus, we're kind of used to doing without, so it takes a lot to take us out.
Something I am concerned about is that the urgency to volunteer diminish as soon as the media attention is gone. Right now, there are so many volunteers that we risk getting in the way of the recovery. Won't be long that the volunteers will diminish while the need rises the most. For now, the International relief efforts are being channeled through the Misawa Air base because we are the closest to all the major damage. Relief teams fly into our back yard, get briefings on the base, spend the night in our fitness center, then load buses and helicopters to take them down or up the road.
I had the opportunity to provide some translation services for the American Red Cross to help them interface with the Hachinohe City Hall for relief services and supplies; that was kind of cool. Otherwise, signed up to dig ditches or do whatever necessary to help out.
The only help I might need is to be allowed time off from school so I can have that off my mind during the recovery stage. The disaster is still unfolding; millions without power, roving power outages for everyone else, earth still moving, tidal wave alerts all day. As I write, the news is showing the number of missing persons by county; thousands still not accounted for. If that's not enough, nuclear power plants keep blowing their lids and melting down, massive whirlpools are sucking down ships, and that rascally volcano started spewing lava again. Oh yeah, there's a massive storm heading our way, so it will be raining--or worse. Kind of like living in a ridiculous disaster movie; though I would like to suspend disbelief during the reality.
From an academic perspective, now that I have power and media, it's interesting to compare coverage between Japanese and American news outlets. The Japanese seem to focus on raw news coverage and telling the story of what is happening while it is happening in a highly professional manner. CNN and other American media seem to immediately jump into emotionally politicizing the event to promote domestic agendas. And what's up with the CNN anchor babes? Since when did teen clubbing attire [my wife calls it "hootchi clothes"] become the uniform of newscasters? Bottom line, Japanese tv seems to say, watch us for the news, while CNN seems to be say watch us for the emotion, advocacy, and skin.