Some observations following the quake/ tsunami: - I live in Osaka which was only lightly shaken by the quake and unaffected by the tsunami. It is very much 'business' as usual here -- no days off work or major interruptions of infrastructure. That said, there is a general specter of despair and worry that sneaks beneath the normalcy. People here have a vivid recollection of 1995 and they are holding their breath... - Nevertheless, people are out shopping, partying, laughing, etc. There's an odd patriotism to it: "We must shop to support the economy" they say. I was on Dotonbori last Sunday and it was fucking PACKED. - I'm not privy to the nature of conversations outside Japan, but I do think there has been a rush to panic, particularly in the English-speaking media, with fears surrounding the Fukushima plant. Don't get me wrong, it's not be taken lightly -- radiation is scary & scary -- but the nature of news comes in a way that really eclipses the tragedy here: the 10,000+ deaths and devastation of one of Japan's most beautiful regions. I assure you that the quake and the tsunami are (so far) much, much, much worse in realistic terms than the trouble at Fukushima Dai-ichi. - The sense I get from the foreign community here is this: There was a massive quake. There was a horrible tsunami. There are thousands of people dead. An entire region is devastated. And yet, in spite of all this -- no one panicked. People looked left and right and wondered where the panic was. There is a "panic to panic" as the crisis at Fukushima develops and afterhsocks keep people up at night. Now people are glued to the news and are getting out while they can. There doesn't seem to be much good news or relief. - I knew more than a couple of people that came to Japan and essentially saw it as a playground -- magic anime vidyagame Naruto land. Suddenly the earth shifts and it's a horrific tragedy -- bodies wash up on shore and the world feels likes its fucking ending -- fun's over. This is reality -- this is really, really, really real. "I thought Japan was safe -- but holy shit! Let's GTFO." I think this and then I think I'm being too critical, though. Honestly, I can't blame them. It feels lucky enough not to be in the center of such a messy situation -- or to feel any direct, negative impacts. No one I know died, and there isn't much of a chance I'll be irradiated by a windy day. Can't say for sure what I would do if I were in Kanto or further north. My heart goes out to those that are.