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Content about Meanderings

February 9, 2014
"Think outside the box" is not only an incredibly uncreative way to say "be creative", those who chant this mantra usually have no idea what the box looks like. 
 
Now research is showing that the think-outside-the-box cliché is "dangerous" and "flawed" myth. The "new" discovery that made it's way to Psychology Today comes straight from the old, and should sound familiar to my students:
 
Learn the proven fundamentals well enough to creatively apply them in dynamically changing context.
"Think outside the box" is not only an incredibly uncreative way to say "be creative", those who chant this trite mantra usually have no idea what the box looks like. 
 
March 17, 2013

The farmer said the marker commemorated 198 samurai who were killed at that spot during a war, and the stones were marking their eternal tomb—which we had just turned into our personal playground, oops.

The farmers below said we should not climb that stream because it was thick, BIG jungle filled with restless spirits. We had proceeded anyway, because we wanted to find a shrine that someone had told us was buried deep in the jungle. 

September 12, 2011

Beneath superficial signs of recovery are anxiety and frustration among survivors facing an uncertain future. They are growing increasingly impatient with a government they describe as too slow and without direction.

AP/Kyodo News

TOKYO –  As the world commemorated the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, Sunday was doubly significant for Japan. It marked six months since the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, a date now seared in the national consciousness.
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/09/11/japan-marks-6-months-since-earth...

July 3, 2011

Japan disaster documentary interviews Brent Duncan in Noda Village debris fields

A Japanese documentary about the disaster areas in Iwate Prefrecture one month after the initial stages of disaster included an interview with me. This blog entry contains the background story about and excerpts from Higashi Nippon Daishinsai: Iwate" (東日本大震災:岩手県野田村[抜粋] The Northeastern Japan Disaster: Iwate

May 27, 2011

High atop a bluff, Brent Duncan and his wife Penny watched as the Pacific Ocean overpowered the shoreline and blanketed communities along the northeastern coast of Japan. As surge after surge of water rushed inland, Duncan, a lead faculty member with University of Phoenix, knew the low-lying areas would be badly damaged. When the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami finally ran their course, hundreds of miles of Japan’s coastline lay devastated and tens of thousands of people were dead or missing...

Faculty Matters Magazine published an article (Summer, 2011) about recovery and relief operations following the 2011 Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Following is an excerpt from "Japan's unprecedented disaster" by Carlye Dash (2011):

May 1, 2011

Charity is not typically part of traditional Japanese culture. However, as a response to disasters like the Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, thousands of Japanese are going against culture to offer selfless service for strangers. This article about a volunteer trend that has emerged from the aftermath of an unprecedented disaster suggests and important question to consider: Will tradition crush Japan's trend toward western-style charity practices or are we witnessing a major societal transformation?

Charity is not typically part of traditional Japanese culture. However, as a response to disasters like the Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, thousands of Japanese are going against culture to offer selfless service for strangers. This article about a volunteer trend that has emerged from the aftermath of an unprecedented disaster suggests and important question to consider: Will tradition crush Japan's trend toward western-style charity practices or are we witnessing a major societal transformation?

April 24, 2011

The media is starting to recognize the emerging phase of the disaster that struck Japan on March 11, 2011: survivor suicide. The question becomes, what can we do, if anything, to stop the survivor-suicide phase of disaster? A key part of the challenge is to influence change using existing practice and infrastructure within the established culture. That means teaching locals how to administer to one another, not imposing programs, practice, and morals as outsiders. 

Some Japanese friends told us a story that is making the rounds through the grapevine about a Fukushima farmer who killed himself when he learned that he had to destroy his crop of radioactive cabbage. This grapevine story appeared in the Los Angeles Times today in a story titled "Japan fears post-quake rise in suicides."

April 21, 2011

Massive tsunamis generated by a 9.0 earthquake battered the coast of northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. On March 12, a tsunami of Misawa Air Base personnel volunteer to help. This video shows highlights of the first 30 days of their volunteer recovery efforts.

Captain Tyler Harris, USAF 35th Fighter Wing, asked me to create a video to show Pacific Air Forces Commander General Gary North the volunteer activities of Misawa Air Base personnel in the month after the Northeast Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. After watching this video with base personnel, General North joined Base Commander Colonel Rothstein and other base personnel in a volunteer cleanup activity in Hachinohe.

April 21, 2011

On March 11, 2011, a bride met her destiny in a seaside wedding chapel high above the beach in Noda Village, Japan. Today, she awaits her groom's return.

On March 11, 2011, a bride met her destiny in a seaside wedding chapel high above the beach in Noda Village, Japan. Today, she awaits her groom's return.

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April 18, 2011

 

Been a busy week. A few notes to catch you up.

April 10, 2011

Failing to consider the loss of heritage from disaster can mean that crisis will only get worse for survivors.

April 5, 2011

A letter from Professor Michael Shackleton illuminates the urgency for life-sustaining necessities and trauma relief in disaster areas that have yet to be reached by government, military, and aid workers.

Those interested in what is happening in the areas in Japan most devastated by tsunami will find this letter to be quite interesting, if not troubling. My summary:

March 27, 2011

Climb to viral status crashed when media fled Japan without covering the story.

March 26, 2011

Airmen, Sailors, and civilians from the Misawa Air base were joined by members of the French Civil Fire Fighting Squad as Red Cross volunteers to help Japanese business owners and fishermen clear tsunami debris from their wharf and warehouses. 

Tidal waves generated by a 9.0 earthquake off the coast of northeastern Japan destroyed the Hachinohe Wharf and its fishing industry on March 11, 2011.

March 16, 2011

The earth's axis shifted on March 11, 2011, when an off-the-scale quake jolted Northern Japan. Seeing the event before and after it unfolds illustrates the face of a disaster; watch the bouncing X to draw the pattern. 

https://youtu.be/nwpRfB3Bslg

When the increasing intensity and frequency of earthquakes in Northern Japan started to remind me of the foreshocks of the Loma Prieta Quake that hit the Santa Cruz, CA area in 1989, I started gathering earthquake intensity data from the Japan Meteorological Agency. A few days later--March 11, 2011--the earth's axis shifted when an off-the-scale quake jolted Northern Japan.

March 15, 2011

Misawa Air Base has become the hub for international relief efforts. Quite interesting to talk with my "homeboys" from the LA Fire Department on the base. One of my students is a dentist for the Japanese Self Defense Force who is being mobilized to help match dental records with bodies. Another is a JSDF officer responsible for coordinating military response in Sendai. Most of my other students are US military and contractors who are heavily engaged in providing rescue and relief services.

March 14, 2011

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.