Japanese Marvelous Life Saving Technology in earthquake

I am regular reader of magazine The week. This week there is a article by a person who was in Japan when it happened. We all are talking about the havoc created by earth quake in nuclear .reactors. But interesting fact is that due to earthquake no building however fell down. I am putting the article by Anita pratap which is based on tokyo. This article is on positive aspect of human endeavor,against harsh nature fury..

People have not fully grasped how terrifyingly powerful the March 11 earthquake was. Imagine a force that is 8,000 times stronger than the recent New Zealand quake, a force so great that it pushed Japan’s land mass eight feet closer to America, a force that even shook the planet, shifting the earth’s axis by four inches! Yet, in Tokyo, the city of skyscrapers, not one building fell.

Two years in Tokyo make one rather casual about earthquakes. Mild ones strike every week, some so weak that you don’t notice them; others last 10-20 seconds. When the March 11 earthquake struck, my initial reaction was “Oh well, another earthquake.”

But suddenly things turned ominous. The shaking became so intense that standing upright became difficult. Our two-storey residence was rattling as if a giant wicked witch was shaking the earth like a child’s rattle. I was sure the roof would come clattering down. There was the deafening sound of tectonic plates crashing below one’s feet. The shaking, rumbling and heaving must have gone on for at least two minutes before I realised, “Oh my God, this is the biggie.” When we moved to Tokyo, our Japanese friends had told us, “You are brave to come now. The giant earthquake is 70 years overdue.”

When the shaking finally stopped, I rushed to our terrace to see if the 60-storey building about a kilometre away still stood. I was sure that it would have disappeared. I was certain every tall building would have been reduced to a heap of rubble by this mother of an earthquake. I stared in disbelief. There the Mori Tower stood, the giant, glass-sheathed monster of a building, looking as it always did—a spaceship that had parked itself in our midst. I looked around. Not one window pane in any of the buildings nearby had even cracked! I looked at myself. Not a scratch. I looked at our well-stocked library. Not one book had fallen.

I was humbled by human brilliance. Imagine the ingenuity of the Japanese quake-proof technology that had withstood an earthquake that even shook the planet. The technology is expensive, but worth every penny—it makes the difference between life and death.
As I knew this earthquake would be headline news in a matter of minutes, I called my loved ones in India, Norway and Australia to say we had survived a powerful earthquake. Just as well I did. Within half an hour, mobiles and landlines jammed as a stunned world watched an epic tragedy unfold. But amazingly, throughout this ordeal, the internet worked flawlessly. I was able to send and receive mails, make and receive phone calls on Skype. Again, I marvelled at the genius of technology.

But that quickly changed as I watched the television footage of a tsunami caught live. I have never ever been more stunned. The earthquake had struck a meagre 130km from the coast. So within minutes, a 10-metre-high tsunami tore into Japan’s northeast coast at the speed of a jumbo jet, uprooting, crushing, wrecking and tossing around everything that stood in its path—ships, cars, trucks, farmlands, houses and even factories. TV anchors were saying the death toll in the earthquake was about three. And I was silently screaming at them, “What rubbish are you saying? Are you not watching your own footage of this tsunami? Whole villages have been swept away. This is thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people perishing before our eyes!”

I was humbled by the petrifying power of nature. I have never seen such force before and I hope I never will. The overwhelming feeling I had while watching it was how utterly powerless we are. Nature tossed cars, boats and houses like worthless toys. Possessions that humans obsessed over, slaved a whole lifetime to accumulate, envied and yearned to own, were broken, twisted, mangled and cast aside like scrap. Prosperous towns and villages reduced to a junkyard, in a matter of minutes.

As I watched the destruction, I could not help but think that humankind would be better off returning to their Shinto (Japan’s animist religion), Hindu and pagan roots. We need to resurrect our reverence for nature, enshrined in these old religions but now forgotten in our mindless quest to plunder the planet for our greed. The worthlessness and transience of our new religion, materialism, were all too evident.

Friday, March 11, 2.46 p.m. is a moment that all of us who were in Tokyo and the other affected areas, and who are alive to tell our tales, will remember for the rest of our lives. It is like the moment John F. Kennedy was assassinated or 9/11 happened—remaining etched in our memories forever. This was like all of the world’s worst catastrophes combined together: measuring 9 on the Richter scale, the earthquake was among one of the worst to hit the world, followed by a terrifying tsunami and a nuclear emergency. It was like the catastrophic events from Noah’s Great Flood to 9/11 were all combined at one time and in one place.

Over the past two years, I have ?come to admire many Japanese traits—carefulness, diligence, mindfulness, politeness, caring, honesty, safety standards, punctuality, cleanliness and social ethic. When the quake struck, my Japanese friend was trap-ped on the 37th floor of a skyscraper that was swaying like a palm tree. Truly scary! The elevators shut down automatically and all the Japanese walked down the stairs in a calm and orderly fashion. In most other countries, if the earthquake had not killed people, the stampede would have.

I also marvel at Japan’s disaster preparedness. Authorities conduct regular drills, bring earthquake simulators so we can experience the rattling of a magnitude 7 earthquake, and instruct residents to stock plenty of food, medicines and water, and expect electricity and water supply to stall for three days. But in Tokyo there has been no disruption. At home, we have stocks for a couple of weeks. We have iodine tablets, masks and anti-radiation suits.

The aftershocks continue. The nuclear radiation fears fluctuate. TV channels do what they seem very good at—confuse and aggravate panic. But in the streets of Tokyo, the Japanese go about their daily lives with their fabled calm and civility.
Anita Pratap, author and former ?journalist, currently lives in Tokyo.


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