Thursday, March 17, 2011

Letters from Tokyo (Vol. 2)

It is 7:15 am on Thursday, March 17, 2011 on another beautiful sunny day in Tokyo. The crows are cawing and it's great to be alive. Hear me? It's great to be alive!

I just walked out and saw some neighbors walking their dog. I said, "Good morning!" and they smiled and leisurely said, "Good morning!" back to me. I feel positive and I feel fantastic. This is the first day of the rest of my life and the best day so far... You know what? Tomorrow is going to be even better. 

The sun is shining and my Feng Shui Buddha
in my bamboo tree smiles that, "All is well."

I am getting organized with some friends and we will be starting some charity to deliver supplies to the poor folks in the stricken zones. When we have more information, I will update you. In the meantime, the great folks at Yahoo are cooperating with the Japan Red Cross and other charities in relief efforts. If you want to help out, please do by going here for more information. I thank you and may god bless you for your kindness.

In these last few days, I have been very critical of people spreading unsubstantiated rumors and frightening people. I thank the handful of wonderful folks I know who have stayed in Tokyo who have been offering a calm voice of reason in this cacophony of madness. Specifically, I'd like to  thank, Michael Keferl of Japan Trends, Michael Distacio of the charity organization Rock Challenge Japan, Lee at Tokyo Times, John Pender, J.J. Vicars and JT. There are more and I will thank them in due time.

These folks and I will be fine, thank you. You know why we and are families will be fine? It's because of a concept called self-fulfilling prophesy. Wikipedia has a good explanation:

self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior. Although examples of such prophecies can be found in literature as far back as ancient Greece and ancient India, it is 20th-century sociologist Robert K. Merton who is credited with coining the expression "self-fulfilling prophecy" and formalizing its structure and consequences. In his book Social Theory and Social Structure, Merton gives as a feature of the self-fulfilling prophecy: e.g. when Roxanna falsely believes her marriage will fail, her fears of such failure actually cause the marriage to fail.
The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come 'true'. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.[1]
In other words, a prophecy declared as truth when it is actually false may sufficiently influence people, either through fear or logical confusion, so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy.

I wonder if those who panic and expect the worst - in this situation or any other - might not benefit themselves with a serious examination of the concept of self-fulfilling prophesy? A good book to read on that is: The Power of the Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy.

Try it. It might change your life.

Anyway, let's move forward in a very positive light. I have criticized the doom-sayers enough. Please forgive me for criticizing you. Let's let bygones be bygones. All is forgiven. 

There is much work to do. Let's do it together!

Without much further ado, here is Vol. 2 of "Letters from Tokyo"

Letter #1:

I just can not help myself of recalling the line of Dirty Harry since you put up picture of him.

In situation like this he should say;

I know what you're thinking. "Did it explode six or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a nuclear the most powerful thing in the world, and would blow Japan clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - Ryo

Letter #2:

My local drugstore owner (in Kansai) told me iodine and potassium iodide are not stocked; only hospitals have that kind of stuff, he said.

In addition, I'm not sure that they are effective against cesium, uranium or plutonium radiation, which is what is coming out of Fukushima. If you have more info on this, please blog it. Some of us like to know! - Guy

(Does anyone know the answer to this question? - Mike)

Letter #3:

My son and daughter-in-law live in California. With all of the hype that radiation will hit the California coast, I did some checking. It is approximately 5,282 miles from Japan to California. I am not going to lose any sleep over it, and neither is he. 

I have been more concerned about the heartache and devastation that has taken place in Japan. As a wife, mother and grandmother, it is difficult news. - Mrs. R.

Letter #4:

The difference between fear and danger is psychological. It is like the difference between perception and reality. Perceiving that the potential worst case scenario is what should be dealt with as if it were reality leads to a tremendous waste of resources at a time when resources are scarce. Proximity, as you clearly point out in your post above Mike, to the real problem certainly alters the calculus of any risk management decision. In the end, "better safe than sorry" is a luxury that depends on your available resources, but honorable people will also weigh their responsibilities. The rich guy managers at Coke abadoning ship are wussies. Like you said: go ahead and send your families away, but consider those you serve (Japanese people) and employ.

I find it funny how people will freak out about doses of radiation that are far less than what the scanners at the airport give you; and that these same people say nothing about the scanners. So getting on a plane to avoid radiation is self-defeating. Fear and danger, indeed. - Mark 

Letter #5:

It also looks for all the world like our own TSA will irradiate us under order far worse than any of you will be irradiated by the worst of the nuclear plants melting down.

The only difference is that we will be arrested and publicly dissected by that very same 'what passes for a news media' for 'RESISTING' that exposure...

Go figure...

I guess Mencken had it right all along:

"...No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the average American..." --- H.L. Mencken

“...The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and thus clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary...” --- H.L. Mencken
- Steve

Letter #6:

Many people don't consider how to respond to danger or manage risk until they are faced with the "unimaginable". Here is a primer for those not familiar with risk management basics. It is better for people to make calm, rational decisions based on facts instead of emotional, knee-jerk reactions based on fear of the unknown. In risk management jargon, there are three ways to deal with risk: avoid, assume or transfer it. Before you decide which way to go, first you need to know:

1) What could happen (threat event)?
2) If it happened, how bad could it be (threat impact)?
3) How often could it happen (threat frequency)?
4) How certain are the answers to the first three questions (recognition of uncertainty)?

1) What can be done (risk mitigation)?
2) How much will it cost (over a time period)?
3) Is it cost effective (cost-benefit analysis)?

I hope this will help ease some anxiety and/or anger by offering a rational means of dealing with danger for those consumed with an irrational fear of uncertainty. Note that we must all assume some risk in life. - Mark Davis

Letter #7:

An American with Voice of America it using Twitter to report on what's going on close to the nuclear reactor.  He is up there. - Gary North

Letter #8:

His name was Fleming, and  he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while  trying to make a living for his family, he heard  a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He  dropped his tools
and ran to the  bog.
There, mired to his waist in black  muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and  struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved  the lad from what could have been a slow and  terrifying death.
The next  day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the  Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly  dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced  himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming  had saved.
'I want to repay  you,' said the nobleman. 'You saved my son's  life.'
'No, I can't accept  payment for what I did,' the Scottish farmer  replied waving off the offer. At that moment,  the farmer's own son came to the door of the  family hovel.
'Is that your  son?' the nobleman  asked.
'Yes,' the farmer  replied proudly.
'I'll make  you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of  education my own son will enjoy If the lad is  anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to  be a man we both will be proud of.' And that he  did.
Farmer Fleming's son attended the  very best schools and in time, graduated from  St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London,  and went on to become known throughout the world  as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the  discoverer of  Penicillin.
Years afterward,  the same nobleman's son who was saved from the  bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What  saved his life this time?  Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman?  Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son's  name?
Sir Winston  Churchill.
Someone once said: What  goes around comes around.
Work like  you don't need the money.
Love like  you've never been hurt.
Dance like  nobody's watching.
Sing like nobody's  listening.
Live like it's Heaven on  Earth.
It's National Friendship Week Send  this to everyone you consider A  FRIEND.
Pass this on, and brighten some  ones day.
I hope it works...
May there always be work for your hands to  do;
May your purse always hold a coin or  two;
May the sun always shine on your  windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to  follow each rain;
May the hand of a  friend always be near you;

May God fill your  heart with gladness to cheer you.
and may  you be in heaven a half hour before the devil  knows you're dead. - Lewis


Guy Jean said...

What does YOUR local yakkyoku say?
Ask for iodine (youso ヨウ素)and potassium iodide (youka karium ヨウ化カリウム)

mikeintokyorogers said...

I just called my local Yakkyoku - pharmacy
(Usui Yakkyoku in Yoga, Setagaya. Tel: 03-3707-2310)
They said that they do have it because it has been prescribed for one patient by the local doctor. I asked if they sell it to anyone and they said "No. You need a prescription to buy it."

Guy Jean said...

Good to know. Might be useful. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, except the chain letter is, as usual for chain letters, full of crap: