Saturday, March 19, 2011


The final day of classes is now March 23rd, and I will be required to move out of my homestay by March 26th.

I don't understand this at all. There is absolutely no reason for anyone here in Kyoto to be evacuated. And yet, we're being told to leave. Sure, it's only a 'suggestion'... one backed up by the removal of our places to stay in Japan, and the cessation of all classes. Really, do they think we're morons? They might as well hand down a direct order and have done with it!

I should have seen this coming though. Really, it started with the Department of Defense. They ordered their personnel not to travel to Japan. Never mind that Okinawa (to take one example) is completely unaffected by the earthquake or the nuclear plant, it's part of Japan. The State Department travel warning also suggests that U.S. citizens not travel to Japan, and advises those in the country already to consider leaving.

The worst part is, it wouldn't even have been all that hard for them to actually do it right. Here, let me take a shot: "We strongly urge U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the Kanto and Touhoku regions of Japan, including Tokyo and areas north. U.S. citizens in those areas should consider departing immediately." Rather, though, the State Department and Department of Defense elected to go with a policy that shows a staggering lack of information or care on basic geography, and now Columbia and KCJS are doing the same.

Japan's reaction to this disaster has been exemplary. In the face of one of the most powerful earthquakes ever, the country took action immediately, in accordance with the preparations that have been carefully laid over years of having to deal with exactly this kind of disaster. In the face of something that human engineering simply cannot stand up to without damage, the workers at Fukushima Dai-ichi have been working tirelessly to limit the damage as best they can.

And perhaps most importantly, the citizens have not been panicking. Surely, if anyone should be worried, it would be people in Kyoto, in Nagoya... and yet, people on the other side of the entire world are panicking! In New York City, in Washington D.C., people with no informed knowledge of the situation here in Kyoto, with no understanding of climate patterns or nuclear physics or basic geography, have decided that people in Kyoto, in Hiroshima, in Okinawa are in danger and should leave.

I don't understand.

1 comment:

  1. 0859 Sat 19 March 2011 Balt

    An excellent and insightful blog. I think it needs to be shared with Brandeis/Columbia and Department of State.

    It would appear that from the USA, Japan is a tiny place far away and what is happening in the North must be effecting the whole.