Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Shizuoka prefecture - along the coast between Tokyo and Osaka - isn't having a good week so far. Yesterday, at 5 in the morning, they had a shindo 6, magnitude 6.4 earthquake - strong enough that it woke us up in Osaka. Which was when a typhoon was passing by and drenching the area. It seems only one person died from the earthquake, while at least 13 people have died from the typhoon across the country and dozens more still missing. For all the fear of earthquakes, typhoons are actually both more common and more dangerous.

It lead to a slightly absurd scene on the morning news yesterday where the screen was overlaid with competing disaster information text scrollers and maps, all but covering the announcer. He was busy listing closed train lines and roads, and for some reason adding which disaster was responsible for each closure, as if that matters a whole lot to people unable to travel or even get to work.

This news managed to get top billing for only one day before being pushed back again by this week's real-life soap opera drama of Noriko Sakai - actress/talent with a wholesome Mommy's girl image - and her husband being arrested for drug possession. Apparently this "disaster" is more important to people than a typhoon; the typhoon can't cry and fake repentance on a live press conference, I guess.


MTC said...

Herr Morén -

Sakai Noriko is stunningly beautiful, granted. Claiming that she has a "wholesome Mommy's girl image" might be a bit of a stretch, though. No matter how impressive a show she put on, folks tended to remember stuff -- like that her younger brother is a member of the Yamaguchi Gumi (incidently, he was arrested on amphetamine charges in July), that "due to her family's situation" she spent her elementary school years in a place other than her father's home and that her manager committed suicide.

Sakai's story is poignant because her uncommon beauty offered her an avenue to escape the weirdness surrounding her. In the end, she just could not keep the demons down.

Janne Morén said...

Didn't want to get into any details - I was well and truly tired of the whole thing within hours of it hitting the media and now it's been a whole week of nothing but this. But yes, it's rather that she had this image of having stayed pure - staying "nice" - in the face of her circumstances. Which, I guess, was what made her an attractive anti-drug spokesperson too. I guess that line of work won't be forthcoming again for a while.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I enjoyed reading some articles on your blog!
Incidentally, do you have a contempt for Japan?

Janne Morén said...

Incidentally, do you have a contempt for Japan?

Huh? No. I don't feel contempt for Japan. Why should I? It's a pleasant country to live in. If I didn't like living here I wouldn't have stayed, after all.

Like any other society it has both good and bad points. The sometimes rather excessive focus on celebrities is arguably a bad point - but one shared with most other societies out there. And if you've looked over what I write you can guess that I find the Japanese political system to be another bad point. Of course, the reason such things stand out as bad - the reason it's worth writing about - is precisely because mostly things are fairly good.