Tokyobling's Blog

Boring Tokyo: On Panic And the Business Of Fear

Posted in Opinion by tokyobling on March 18, 2011

First of all let me apologize to all of you, and especially those of you who take the time to comment. I do not have time to reply to these at the moment. There might be a day in the far future where I can sit down and reply to all of your fantastic comments one by one. But trust me when I say that I read, and my friends read, all comments, and every comment counts. It makes our lives a little bit better.

It is the 18th of March, it’s now night time in Japan and it’s been a great day. Today was graduation day for most schools in Japan and the streets were full of kids in their finest school uniforms clutching flowers, posing in front of the school gates with their parents. I saw some children crying, because they were leaving the schools were they had spent 6, 9 or 12 years. It was emotional but happy. Even the police officers had their finest uniforms on and smiled at the happy scenes of proud children and their parents.

Also, the shops were full of produce, the trains were running, on time as usual. Tokyo was as clean as a whistle, for some reason even the litterbugs have stopped littering and the sanitation department is doing a great job as usual keeping our city spotless.

In Ikebukuro I saw a group of Chinese tourists busy shopping, all carrying huge bags and arguing about which shampoos would make the best souvenirs for friends back home. I think they were having a great time. I remember shopping in China when I was younger, and I sure had a great time.

But none of this made the news abroad, as usual. Foreign media keeps ignoring the real situation in Japan, both the good parts and the bad parts. In his speech to the nation Cabinet Secretary and national hero in the making, Yukio Edano said out loud what most people in Japan have been thinking since the initial trouble with the nuclear power plant became known:

“Our primary concern now is to help the people in the affected areas. The situation with the power plant is being monitored and handled by an international group consisting of the Japanese government, nuclear specialists, the US and Japanese militaries, the civil defense and the IAEA.”

This was earlier this morning, and I have talked about this press conference with a lot of people inside and outside Japan, both foreigners and Japanese and everyone, so far, agrees that he is completely right.

In the meantime life goes on in Tokyo and the rest of Japan. The sakura (cherry blossoms) trees are blooming and a huge groundswell support is sending tremendous amounts of food and supplies to the affected areas.

Instead, and quite to the disbelief of everyone in Japan, foreign governments have started calling foreigners away from Japan. Pressured no doubt by a public that is scared into an unnecessary state of panic due to the irresponsible, criminal behavior of international media. I won’t name and shame, but you all know who you are, shamelessly copying images of ruined buildings with headlines mentioning Tokyo with words like ghost town, panic, exodus.

Shame on you.

So while we don’t blame foreigners who are leaving the country, we realize that they are being pressured and scared into a state of panic by the media, their friends and families overseas. This media induced panic is not only criminal, it is also unnecessary, inhumane and expensive. People’s lives are being wrecked needlessly. People are leaving careers and homes because newspapers are scaring them into believing they are in danger. Levels of mental health are dropping rapidly in the foreign community and I meet many more foreigners in full blown depressions than I meet Japanese who suffer psychologically.

This has to stop. NOW. There is no other way to put it, hence I am asking you all, to contact your local news media when you find “incredible” news stories that just don’t make sense. Scrutinize pictures and headlines. Make sure they are true and relevant to the story they are illustrating. Don’t let the media get away with this assault on our friends and families. It’s time to fight back.

I have been on foreign news radio shows almost daily since this started, and no matter how many times I tell them they refuse to believe me. “You are at work? I thought Tokyo was evacuated! You’re eating out tonight? I thought there was no food in Japan!” And so on. And we all know what the real villains in the tabloids and TV news are doing: The Sun, CNN, even the BBC. So let’s contact them, one at a time, until they get the point. Send them to this blog, send them my photos. Tell them to contact me if they don’t believe you. I am open for interviews 24 hours. All days of the week.

In the coming few posts tonight I will show you photos that I took earlier today of this panicked ghost town they are talking of. It won’t be pretty. It won’t be easy. It will be boring. Tremendously boring photos of a city and a society in perfect working order.


4 Responses

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  1. saraljung said, on March 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    You’ll be happy to hear (but also guessing you already know) that the Japan disaster is no longer top news on the tabloids of Sweden’s websites, which must mean that it’s quite calm nowadays.


    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

      I’m was happy to hear that those clowns had found something new! I don’t follow Swedish media, just every now and then. Love you blog by the way!!!

      *Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been swamped with work and other communications, so much that I haven’t had time to reply to most comments on the blog. I’ll work harder from now on! I read all your comments as they came in and they all meant a lot to me. I wish I had had more time to reply to all of them, personally and in real time.


      • saraljung said, on March 28, 2011 at 11:36 am

        Thank you! That’s very kind of you! I’m afraid Falmouth UK is not as exciting as Tokyo, but it’s still very scenic and also good for focusing on studies.

        Don’t worry about the late reply, was just to let you know 🙂


        • tokyobling said, on March 31, 2011 at 5:52 am

          Ah, and we both know that far too many students spend far too much time focusing on stuff outside of their studies! Thanks for taking the time to visit my little corner of the online world! (^-^)


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