Japan's had a quake the likes of which comes only once a millennium. There are so many people blogging and writing and going on about it, that I felt my two cents worth was seriously devalued.
The focus has been on the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, some 250km north of where I live in Chiba. But so-called Tokyo Disneyland (it's really in Chiba) was heavily damaged and the city of Urayasu in Chiba Prefecture had more than 100 homes damaged, mostly by liquefaction. Urayasu was build on reclaimed land as Tokyo's burgeoning population put tremendous pressure on available land. Where once the Shogun could watch whales playing in Tokyo Bay from his outlook from the castle donjon (now the Imperial Palace), reclaiming works started even before Japan began it's race toward industrialization, imperialism, and finally a unique form of democracy. Urayasu sits on land reclaimed from Tokyo Bay about 40 years ago. When the ripples arrived from the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean quake, the sand that comprised the reclaimed land went liquid. Huge cracks opened up in the Disneyland parking lot. The open areas of the amusement park were unsafe for a couple minutes while the earth danced. Visitors squatted to keep from being thrown from their feet. Remember that the epicenter is nearly 300 km away. That gives you an idea of the damage.
We hear a lot about Fukushima, where the nuclear plants are, about some of the little fishing villages just north of them, but the tsunami rushed ashore everywhere from Hokkaido in the north to Shizuoka in the south, a length of nearly 1000 km. Few nations have seen destruction of this scale. But Japan is not Haiti. Nor is it Indonesia. The comeback will be amazing to watch. Of course there will be complaints. Of course everything will not go smoothly. Of course the road will be rocky in some places, slippery in others. But the comeback will happen. Absolutely.
We Whipples have not run for the hills nor flown the country. Nor do we plan to.