redmisoplz: 1月 (Default)
One thing I like about the field of International Education is that, for the most part, we have a good perspective on things when other people don't. But that's only "for the most part." Take, for example, this recent e-mail I got from DiversityAbroad.com. Diversity Abroad is usually a pretty awesome site. It's geared toward underrepresented populations in study abroad (i.e. ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, low income students, etc.), and has a lot of resources for making study abroad happen for these students. I really like them. Well, until they freaked like everybody else.

March 21st, 2011
Hard Times in Japan

Recently an earthquake erupted off the shore of the Tohoku region in Japan. The quake, measured as a 9.0 on the Richter scale, is the largest earthquake in recorded Japanese history. The massive quake caused a tsunami which devastated many northern coastal cities. Currently, the number of dead and missing has soared to 10,000.


Okay, so far, we're fine. Just the facts. That's what we need and want.

In addition to the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government is racing to contain a radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear complex near the affected areas to prevent.

Umm... yeah, but can we not make it sound like there's glowing ooze all over the prefecture?

Several of the Fukushima nuclear plants were damaged by the tsunami and are now releasing radiation. Cities around the exposed areas have been evacuated. A low level of radiation has already reached Tokyo, which is located 180 miles south of the Fukushima complex.

Yeah, but again, there's no ooze. Just a little higher than normal radiation. And there's been no mass exodus from the entire regions. Just people in the immediate vicinity and everyone else has been advised to stay indoors. Was that too hard to work into your little e-mail blurb?

And by dragging Tokyo into this, it makes the average person think, "ZOMG! Well if it's in TOKYO, then... AHHHHH!!" Because most Americans only have reference for Tokyo, and Tokyo = all of Japan. It just does. Sad but true.

Damage to the Fukushima reactors has also caused black-outs throughout Tokyo and other cities.

Well, if by "caused" you mean "the power company decided to cycle the energy," then yes, I guess it was a cause. But I can bet people will immediately think that the whole thing is in ruins and all of Tohoku and Kanto are sitting in the dark. From what I can tell given the reports friends in Japan have shared, such is not the case for Tokyo and the surrounding cities. Meanwhile, when things get a little hot on the Eastern seaboard of the U.S., the whole grid shuts down. (And why can't I find any reports about that when I google? Are they trying to cover it up?)

Staple food supplies in many of these cities have run dry due to people stocking up on provisional supplies.

Er... yeah, it was a challenge to buy stuff because people got a little scared and bought too much, but it's not exactly like there is no food supply and children in Tokyo are dying. For that you'll want to actually look at the trouble area -- you know, the one nobody's talking about.

The e-mail then goes on to list where you can donate, but never once tries to tell you the truth. Thanks, Diversity Abroad. Thanks.

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