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Mar. 24th, 2011

Asia the Invincible (armor)


Burial - Link Only

As Tsunami Robbed Life, It Also Robs Rite of Death


But across coastal northeast Japan, tradition has collided this month with mathematical reality. The number of dead and missing from the March 11 tsunami has climbed past 22,000, and in the small towns and rural villages where most people died, there are by far too many bodies to burn.

Mar. 23rd, 2011

Seven Samurai



To be honest, the stuff in the article about trying to order up a 6-month-old healthy baby girl didn't especially anger me. I knew it was coming. That sort of attitude is all over the place with Chinese adoption. It happened in the wake of Haiti's earthquake, too: disaster capitalism trading in human flesh. Disgustingly predictable. But something else in this article did actually make me really mad.

Foreigners Looking to Adopt Japanese Earthquake Orphans Need Not Apply


Tom Defilipo, president of Joint Council on International Children Services, said that stress on lineage also makes the Japanese society “very averse to adoptions.”

“Very few adoptions take place in Japan domestically and only about 30-34 last year internationally” despite having “about 400 children’s homes in the country and about 25,000 children approximately in those homes,” Defilipo told FoxNews.com. “Bloodlines are exceptionally important, so the whole idea of adopting or raising a child that’s not your own or isn’t part of your extended family is relatively unheard of.”

Still, Ogaway, Osborne, and Defilipo all agree that the children whose parents died in the earthquake will likely be absorbed into extended families. It is, they say, far too early for any of the children to be considered for adoption because Japanese authorities are still searching to find which children’s parents are just missing, which are confirmed dead and which of those children have other family to care for them.

Tom Defilipo, president of Joint Council on International Children Services, is completely full of shit, his generalizations about Japanese culture are racist, and his organization as a whole is corrupt and only serves the interest of rich white heterosexual first-world adopters.

There is domestic adoption in Japan. It is not "unheard" of. I have a history of adoption in my own family, in Japan.

I just want to make sure people know not to trust this awful spokesperson.

Mar. 18th, 2011

I own an almanac.


"reservoir of prejudice"

Few jokes went around right after the Tucson shooting in spite of the heated rhetoric. However, it might have been easier to get away with jokes about Japan - or at least easier than it would have been if this happened in America. Journal of Media Psychology editor Stuart Fischoff told the Los Angeles Times that this may reflect some remaining "culturally accepted prejudice" against the Japanese.

When the Haiti earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami took place, there weren't any controversial jokes or jabs. If people were joking, they did it away from their computers or behind closed doors. But those who aren't doing that this week may not have done it to reflect prejudice nonetheless. Since the backlash against them was immediate, it shows that only a small minority thought they were funny.


But at the heart of the matter are the sentiments themselves, said Stuart Fischoff, senior editor of the Journal of Media Psychology, who sees a "reservoir of prejudice" against the Japanese people that's been unearthed by the disaster. See: tweets that reference Pearl Harbor.

"No doubt, there's a mordant sense of humor that comes out in times of stress," Fischoff said. "But in this case it's bringing up culturally accepted prejudice against the Japanese. We didn't see this during Haiti."
Quoted all over the place.



Fandom Nightmare

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Mar. 17th, 2011

Asia the Invincible (armor)


Radiation Panic in China

Tonight we had two Chinese students over to dinner. It's spring break at their college and they don't have much to do at an empty campus.

The dinner was great.  When I dropped them back at the college, we had a talk about the situation in Japan. From what they've heard on the internet and from their families, there's a lot of panic. Everyone has bought up all the salt in grocery stories because they've heard that iodine protects against radiation.

One of them asked me if I thought the Japanese government could have started the earthquake by setting off a nuclear bomb in the ocean.  She said she was worried it might be true because there'd been an earthquake warning a minute before the earthquake happened. I tried to argue against this theory using logic, and hopefully I convinced her. Just like 9/11 here, the conspiracy theories are moving pretty fast. I just hope they don't cohere into something damaging.

It felt bizarre spending so much time reassuring them that "things would be OK". I said something sympathetic about the horrible death toll of the Sichuan earthquake, and how I thought that the death toll from the tsunami would hopefully not reach 10,000. But then they countered by saying the Japan situation was much worse because of the radiation that would kill more people.

They were astonished that my dad had actually flown back to Tokyo, and I kept telling them, "it's not that bad, it won't be as bad as Chernobyl, things will be OK."

I spoke to my dad this morning, actually. His flight got into Narita with no delay. The train was down, so he complained about having to take a very expensive taxi from the airport. He says his apartment is fine, with no earthquake damage. He'd like to go to Nagano but you have to queue up for hours and hours to get gas, so his chances aren't good. He's going to wait for about a week and then see if the gas situation is better.  I told him to call me every day.
Asia the Invincible (armor)


Heroism and Headlines

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Mar. 15th, 2011



This is a Very Sad Article from the Asahi Shimbun

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Asia the Invincible (armor)


Right-Wing Idiocy...

... does not seem terribly different in Japan.

Tokyo governor apologises for calling tsunami 'divine punishment': Shintaro Ishihara said the tsunami was retribution for the 'egoism' of the Japanese people
Asia the Invincible (armor)



I grew up as a nominal Buddhist, but for the most part, it wasn't a big presence in my life.

About four years ago, I deepened my faith and committed myself to Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. The following is the "Golden Chain" prayer used by BCA, Buddhist Churches of America, the U.S. branch of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. It was created by a convert in 1915 in Hawaii.


I am a link in Amida Buddha's Golden Chain of Love that stretches around the world. I must keep my link bright and strong.

I will try to be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect all who are weaker than myself.

I will try to think pure and beautiful thoughts, to say pure and beautiful words, and to do pure and beautiful deeds, knowing that on what I do now depends not only my happiness or unhappiness, but also those of others.

May every link in Amida Buddha's Golden Chain of Love become bright and strong, and may we all attain Perfect Peace.

Namo Amida Butsu

In Jodo Shinshu we are not supposed to pray for outcomes. This is often a difficult rule to follow, because it goes against human psychology, although it's not as if you go to hell if you break it; it's really more of a way to to encourage right thinking. But the way JS discourages praying for outcomes as a possible expression of egoism struck me as very fair. The problem I've always had with this kind of prayer is, if it really works in a simplistic way, then people who are more popular and well-known are more psychically fortunate than obscure people. I don't like the idea that a sick celebrity with a million people praying for them will have a better outcome than a sick obscure person.

But it's hard. My father spent the night in Honolulu and his flight leaves for Tokyo in the morning. I hope his flight is canceled, but I can't make that true by wishing it. I can pray to be strong and accept the situation, while acknowledging that I am not as strong as I wish I could be. In fact, I'll never be that strong, and I need to accept that as well.

My faith has made thinking about death a bit easier. This past weekend, I look at my kids laughing and playing, and I'm happy for them, but sometimes I think about all the children who've been washed to the bottom of the ocean. I can pray to give thanks for their brief lives, their happiness and their laughter for the time they were on this earth.

Mar. 14th, 2011

I own an almanac.


Uh oh.


About 140,000 people within a radius of 20 to 30 kilometers from the plant were ordered to stay indoors, Kyodo News reported, citing the prefectural government. The wind near the Fukushima plant was blowing from the east-north-east at noon, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

[Uh oh. Wind from ENE is not the optimal...]

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110314/ap_on_bi_ge/as_japan_earthquake_nuclear_crisis has some as well...

Okay, *now* I'm sick to my stomach. I'm hoping this isn't the standard Japanese "what cancer? no cancer, Sato-san, please don't worry, you're just tired..." sort of response.


UPDATE: http://mitnse.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/
From here:http://james-nicoll.livejournal.com/2940806.html (James' blog tends to have a few hard science types running around in it.)

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