Here we are again...I was working an 11-hour shift yesterday for Radio PA & KYW Sports, but during the lulls, I've been keep an eye on what is happening over in Japan. The BBC and NHK, through the magic of Internet streaming have allowed me to keep up on things. The old news junkie in me is coming back, but I wish it was for something other than this.
Friends of mine here in the US have been commenting, and thankfully they are feeling as bad as I am about what is going on in that land. I don't think you can look at some of that footage, and not be affected in some way by it.
I have friends over there, and I've no idea how they're doing, or even where they are. I can only hope they're all right, but look at how many are missing. The death toll is going to be high, that is unavoidable.
What little I've seen has been that of destruction. One of my old friends commented about Godzilla...he was not being funny, I understand his humor. Another commented that it looked like a disaster film, but this was for real. You can't make a movie this realistic, no matter what you try.
That town near Sendai that was wiped out, that's the worst. 17,500 people lived there; 10,000 are missing. The only building of any size still standing is the hospital, and that took heavy damage. That's just one of many towns that got hammered by this.
The Japanese people do astound me; from all the footage I've seen, there is a sense of fear, true, but also a sense of calmness, and a strength that says, "We'll get through this."
That to me is amazing. Even in the kids, you kind of see it. You have to admire that.
In any case, the big worry right now is the nuclear plant. The point has been made that the release of radiation was very low, and if that's to be believed, then people are lucky. But there's more to deal with, and I hope they have it in hand. I don't believe we've another Chernobyl on our hands, but it bears watching.
So that said...whatever can we do right now? I made a donation to the Red Cross, because I felt I had to do something. It does not make, to paraphrase Living Colour, "make my guilty conscience to go away." There may be more opportunities for us to help in other ways, so we'll see. A number of aid funds are pledging support, and the international community has as well.
Must move on...let's hang in with the people over there.
Update for Monday: the picture seems to not be getting a lot better. I was struck by a particular scene the BBC shot of a woman who escaped the tsunami, then returned to find the entire place she'd been wiped away.
She explained that she was looking for landmarks, but she couldn't recognize anything. The woman looked absolutely stunned. I think her expression, posture and general look of shock pretty much is the face of the nation right now.
More nuclear difficulties; I know nothing about that sort of engineering, and what those people face must be beyond comprehension right now.
My old radio friend Joe noted that the "Today" show ran some soundtrack music under footage. Just like NBC and that hideous program...leave it to America to choreograph human suffering! Hell, why not just lay down "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi, or some Lady Gaga while you're at it?!?
Dan, the bassist in my band noted that we probably could not follow what Japan is doing right now, and I agree. Only those who have been in real disaster zones, such as those who survived Katrina, might know.
All we can do continue to hope for the best...already, life is slowly returning to work there. That's good to see, but shortages, outages and a break of routine will be in place for that nation for some time.
Let's all hope we never have to experience what they have.