The news both local (to me in Japan), as well as international, has been showing the massive destruction in Japan from the magnitude 9 earthquake followed by the powerful tsunami one week ago. Without downplaying the seriousness of the situation, the severe destruction in some towns in the region, and the suffering of those involved, I think it’s important to point out that a majority of Japan was not directly affected.
The earthquake was off the coast, centered on the ocean floor, therefore the shaking of Japan in most cases, while severe, was less than the magnitude 8.9 rating of the quake at it’s source. The horrible tsunami hit the Pacific north-east coast and came as much as a mile or so inland in some areas. Many towns were leveled by it and thousands killed. We must do everything we can to help them, and this will likely be the most expensive natural disaster in history and the human suffering is enormous with over 6,000 deaths and 10,000 missing at this point. However, I think it is also important to remember that this represents a moderately small portion of this island nation of 127,000,000 people. Japan is by no means out for the count.
Away from the scenes of destruction, there are scenes of normality everywhere.
So please, keep Japan in your thoughts, make donations and send any help you can, but try not to let the images lead you into thinking that the whole nation is in such a dire situation. Japan will recover and it will still be a beautiful and exotic place that you should visit!