Thursday, March 17, 2011

The tribulations of the Japanese people

A couple of hours ago I teared up while listening to story on National Public Radio about the NHK Orchestra deciding to carry out a tour of the United States even though many of the players would have been very concerned about their families and two of its members wouldn't be with them because their homes had been destroyed. It may be a function of getting old but I have been reacting very emotionally at some of the coverage of the multiple disasters the Japanese people are facing. The extraordinary patience and quiet integrity they continue to show is very moving--more so than I can describe, so here is a link that sums up what I and probably many others are feeling.

WEBS OF SIGNIFICANCE: Japanese encounters over the years

The brief NPR story.


  1. You're not alone, I've shed more tears than a grown man should, myself. I have no direct connection to the Japanese people -- my parents living under(and around) their occupation more than half a century ago doesn't quite count. You might be right, it could be advancing age or just simply empathy.

    I've been riveted by the coverage on both NHK and AlJazeera English TV. I've tried to force myself to take a break but I keep flipping the remote back. NHK under normal circumstances excels at heartwarming, touching documentary-style stories. One regular program is even called My Hometown. With the triple-whammy disaster, NHK brings those same storytelling talents to their coverage with intimate and personal accounts about: the shelter residents, those searching for missing loved ones, the rescues, the losses, the volunteers, student graduations exercises (apparently, it's occurring now). It's all been maddening as NHK has been putting the only somewhat brighter side forward. At the same time, NHK provides pretty detailed comprehensive coverage on the attempts to stem the nuclear reactors from melting down. Finally, this morning, I heard the broadcasters starting to question the government efforts and pronouncements, albeit a bit late. /rambling

    If you stand it, the NHK stream is available here

    ABC News and Nightline have been providing good coverage, too, imo.

  2. I have been watching Al Jazeera English on and off for a couple of years and really got hooked during the events in Egypt. Kept switching to it when laconic twitterese messages would pop up like "National Democratic Party HQ Cairo on fire" and didn't switch off.

    Agree concerning the NHK coverage. Like everyone else NHK had been stuck with simply relaying the official narrative but they seem to go out of their way to pluck the heartstrings while staying as positive as one can be while reporting such a disaster, something I don't need any help with.

    For example I had been making a point of avoiding the ubiquitous video of the brave dog refusing to leave the side of badly injured dog until earlier today when I finally succumbed and watched it--the response of the Japanese news people was more moving than the footage of the dogs themselves.

  3. the response of the Japanese news people was more moving than the footage of the dogs themselves.

    I saw the video online but I haven't seen the response. I can only imagine! With NHK, between the round-the-clock loop of taped/live/rebroadcasts and 13 hour time difference my head has spun into a temporal delirium. :D

    I'm _really_ impressed with AJE. Since I don't have cable, I rely on them for worldwide coverage of breaking news. Besides detailed coverage of the 'big' ones like the Chilean mine, Gulf oil, Egypt/Libya, etc they cover news events, that never make it to my, formerly big, paper or broadcast TV. AJE has/sends reporters everywhere, something no one has the budget to do anymore. Heck, they cover Obama's statements live more often than the US news media. Right now, Obama's arrival on the tarmac in Brazil is being carried...

  4. AJE--the royal family of Qatar finances Al Jazeera and whatever their reasons for doing so, AJE has been indispensable. It was a little surprising at first to hear so many of the anchors and reporters do their stories in that unmistakable BBC English until I realized that their professional basis was newspeople who had suddenly been tossed onto the market when the BBC run and Saudi financed operation had shut down.

    There is an excellent although now dated documentary, "Control Room" about Al Jazeera just before and during the invasion of Iraq.