Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tokyo Food Crisis Hits Peak

The Tokyo Food Crisis has really hit the ceiling! The mass media are panicking! Is it the world destruction? Tokyo Trends has a more in-depth report. Here I give a bear-bones description.
The scare mongering is getting really ridiculous. Get this fact into your heads: The people living in Miyagi prefecture who have suffered and lost their homes (near the earthquake epicenter and nuclear meltdown), who have suffered from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, have a much higher danger of dying from a lack of water or shelter than nuclear exposure. 

Their biggest risk is dying from exposure.

This is the SHTF. Our problems are a joke compared to this.

I'm starting to get really pissed off at people, especially English speaking foreigners, who are causing the panic. Think about it; if you stand up in a crowded movie theater and yell, "Fire!" when there is no fire,  and cause a panic, then you deserve to get your ass kicked - or arrested and thrown in jail. I do not complain about people who have run away because they have children (unless they are dishonest like Coca-Cola Japan upper-executives). Being extra cautious about your children is just good plain common sense.

I only complain here about those who have sown the seeds of fear by sending out emails and spreading unsubstantiated rumors. It also surprises me greatly that I get information forwarded to me that is from Fox News and CNN as if it is gospel truth. Is it? Really? And where are Saddam's nooklar weapons?

Run away, fine, but don't cause a panic by shouting out to the world that the sky is falling and we're all going to die. Make no mistake about it, I have great respect for those intelligent people who took their children's safety concerns first - and quietly slipped out showing respect and not fanning the flames of panic.

Those screaming "Fire!" as they run for the exits need to be slapped up side the head.

You guys can complain all you want about me. I don't care. You didn't gather all the facts before you jumped. No problem. No one complains about you protecting your children and loved ones; but when you sow unsubstantiated rumors and panic, that's when you step across the line.

I am criticizing you directly in this post. Friend or not, discussion is the basis for respect, you should be adult enough to receive my criticism as I do yours.

The chances of dying from radiation in Japan are low even for the folks in Miyagi prefecture. At this time, they have a much higher chance of dying from exposure to the elements. I strongly criticized Drama Queens who are living in Tokyo for this and stand by my remarks. Those people who escaped are fine. Those who spread wild rumors are as*holes who have arguably criminal intent, or possibly criminal negligence, on their plates.

Disaster? Now, this is a disaster. In Tokyo, we have no disaster 

I have shot down innuendo and rumor with my blog post earlier today. Maybe I am wrong. You can prove it to me. Maybe I will die from radiation poisoning. I doubt it. 

Nevertheless, I am reporting facts. Not innuendo.

How many others can claim the same? 40 CEO's in Japan are a far cry from a reputable source as to nuclear problems in Japan. What the hell does the CEO of a potato chip company know about nuclear reactors? What kind of responsibility do you show when you freak people out with your "Japan Syndrome" nonsense? You 40 CEO's (you know who you are) do not deserve to be working with the proud Japanese people who are here living their daily lives and trying to do the best they can with the tools they have. 

Life deals you a hand of cards. You do the best you can with that hand. You guys who ran away are fine. Those who ran away and tried to justified their escape by convincing others to do the same can, as they say, "Kiss my ass." 

Throwing the cards in the air without thinking might be bullshit and I will put you up for it; unless, of course, you do your business quietly and do not scare-monger. The problem is for most foreigners is that they scare monger when they haven't a clue as to what they are talking about. I have given the facts here. Argue with me in an atmosphere of mutual respect and concern if you can.

It is becoming increasingly obvious, like Swine Flu, SARS, and Bird Flu, that this has been totally blown out of proportion. As a professional with 30 years experience in mass media scare mongering, I know my stuff. If you want to argue with me, then you'd better know yours too.

Pardon my French, but bullshit is just that: Bullshit. 

Anyway, today was Wednesday, March 16, 2011. It is now 7:48 pm, five days after the big earthquake. There are food and water shortages reported in Tokyo. Even I reported them a few days ago. But today? Today I went to Maruetsu grocery store. It is a huge chain-store in Japan. It closes at 9 pm. Let's see how their stock is holding up near closing time.

Maruetsu grocery store

Indeed the food shortage is critical in Tokyo. Just look at the photos and you'll see.

Incredible shortages, eh? Just like some third world country! Hell, I've seen worse shortages in American protectorates such as Guam and Saipan... Hawaii is often not much better!

Within a few days, Tokyo, Japan will even have the basic necessities like milk, eggs, and.... beer.  All hail and bow down before the glory of the free market! I just went to the grocery store. It is a Maruetsu store. Maruetsu is a famous chain store in Japan. I went there at 7:18 pm of Wednesday, March 16th, 2011. These are shots of the store. From this I invite you to judge for yourself the food crisis we are facing in Tokyo. I think you will be surprised:

Plenty of alcohol

BIG PROBLEM! No beer! 
(Those are alcohol-free beers sitting there.)

Plenty of drinks but no milk

Frozen food? Yep. Got that.

Obviously a critical shortage of meats and beef products.

OK, well... No bread, but most Japanese eat rice anyway.

Need seafood? We got seafood.

No bottled water but we got everything else that's bottled.

Plenty of vegetables

Wide shot of fruit and veggie stand to prove to you that I am 
not "spinning" the situation. There's plenty of food. 

Scare monger all you want... But a picture tells a thousand words. If you are not here on the ground, in Tokyo, then don't comment about it. There's enough ridiculous BS going around without people - who know nothing of the details of the problem - spreading rumors and scaring folks here.

Those of you who have been spreading rumors should really think deeply about what you have been doing. There are women and children here who are scared... Why? Because people like you have struck fear in their hearts. You should be ashamed of yourselves... Scaring innocent people like this...

What basis do you have for these actions? What sort of expert are you to spread rumors about nuclear accidents?

What is the difference between you and a person who yells, "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater?


Anonymous said...

Tell it like it is!

Anonymous said...

I hope you are right. If you're wrong, you just convinced a shitload of people (including those with children) to stay put and suffer. The Japanese government has been bullshitting everyone forever and you pointed that out many a time. Now, you're saying that they're telling the truth (they're saying that "everything is OK"). How does that work?

JT said...

I do not know what American media is reporting, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is replays of tsunami and showing the same empty bread shelf. Why did you even let them in the country?

I stopped watching (and owning) tv since 2001.

Mark Davis said...

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.

You have been a voice of reason Mike: well done.

J.J. Vicars said...

Very good, very well written and very true. Only one point I disagree with. Perhaps your experience is different than mine. The U.S. media has been spinning doomsday sensationalism since the start and many Americans back home are echoing it without any real knowledge of events. Americans and other round-eyes living in Japan, including myself, have been online nonstop trying to thwart the hysteria with factual reports. Again, maybe your experience is different than mine. I don't know any CEO types nor do I care to. Outside of that point it's a great article and a point that needs to be reinforced strongly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I appreciate the first hand reporting.

Nicole said...

Anonymous said...

I can see where you are coming from...I myself get angered a bit at doomsdayers....however this is quite a different scenario. This is nuclear, this is not oil in a sea, or pole shifts, or some webbot(that makes you pay for information) claiming a doomsday scenario is near; this is about radiation and a a nuclear disaster. Nuclear plants aren't supposed to blow up like that one did a few days ago. If people decide to evacuate en mass, that is their own choice, freedom of movement, to move to see as their safety seems fit.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Someone hopes I'm right because, "The Japanese government has been bullshitting everyone forever and you pointed that out many a time. Now, you're saying that they're telling the truth (they're saying that "everything is OK"). How does that work?" Where did I ever say the Japanese government is saying the truth in my blog? If you knew what was going on here, you'd know that they aren't saying anything. Either way, I never said they are telling the truth. Please reread the post. Like I said, photos tell a thousand words.

Here's are the facts about radiation levels. Judge for yourself.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

BIG THANKS TO Mark, J.J. Vicars and JT! It's nice to have more common sense in this insane world.

elisabeth said...

What a relief to see that you’re not starving to death over there anyway! I really hope there won’t be a big nuclear disaster though.. in Swedish media they urge people to evacuate and be cautious, and they stress that it’s VERY SERIOUS. I guess it may be scare mongering.. nevertheless, I just donated some money to the Japanese red cross, ‘cause I can imagine you’ll need help building up everything the tsunami destroyed.

Anonymous said...

Came here from ZH. Thanks for sharing your on-the-ground perspective.

RJ said...

Aren't you, in a way, doing the exact same thing? Sure, there are people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Sure, there's so much misinformation going around and some people don't know what to think...

My boyfriend is currently 2 hours east of Tokyo on the coast. The food remaining in the stores, like the pictures you showed, are perishables.

Since the earthquake, he has had a total of two hours of running water. His electricity has gone out around 30 times. Just yesterday, the 6.x aftershock you guys received triggered tsunami warnings in his town. He's also only 40 miles away from the evacuation line.

If a strong hurricane is likely to disrupt services and cause damage, people preemptively leave. The response in and around Tokyo, especially at the airport, appears calm and organized. People have fears. They're leaving because of those fears when things north of you appear to not be going well.

As for American news media, it hasn't been reporting much on the idea of food shortage. Most of the attention is focused on the reactors, the towns hit by the tsunami, and statements made by American officials and the American embassy.

I am being completely rational now: There is a potential for things in the Tokyo area to become not safe in a very quick way. I'm not referring to dangerous levels of radiation that may cause acute symptoms, but levels that could increase the chance for future health issues.

Even without fear mongering, a chance of that is enough for those who can leave to leave when they can rather than when they should...


mike in tokyo rogers said...

No RJ. I'm not at all. You've never been in a real disaster, have you? When there are no perishables, then you have a problem. If your boyfriend is living in Japan and he wasn't smart enough to store up enough canned food and water for 2 weeks, then I suggest you get a new boyfriend who is not so brain dead.
Here's my latest. Direct From Tokyo: Japan Nuclear Disaster Update &
Strong Criticism of Western Media Sensationalism:

mike in tokyo rogers said...

PS: I am in Setagaya-ku in Tokyo, our power has not gone out once. Please read carefully. I plainly stated that I am talking about Tokyo. We have a pretty good power grid here. 2 hours away? You can tell him to blog about that.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I thought you were having rolling black outs. At least that's what you wrote earlier.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Nope. Not in Tokyo. They announced we would have blackouts... They even stated the times... Then, 3 hours later they said, "No blackouts." This has happened twice.

Now, when I was in Isehara in Kanagawa prefecture, we had a blackout and I wrote about that. Sorry if I didn't make my location completely clear to you.

Anonymous said...

WHAT A BUNCH OF OVER-HYPED B.S.! On day one after the quake, MSN posted a story with a headline about "Panic in Tokyo". No doubt the so-called "journalist" wrote the story from his/her upper-level hotel room without actually bothering to go downstairs an outside the door. What "panic". If there is or was, then he/she should please show us a video of it as they usually do with an article. They won't, because they can't. I live in Tokyo (in Setagaya) and have been out every day since the initial quake. I have witnessed no long lines at stores, and certainly people aren't running down the street screaming, pulling out their hair, or falling down praying. Certainly they are stressed and concerned, but you would never know it by their actions. No crying in their beer. Yes, some greedy individuals are grabbing off the shelves and hoarding many more items than they can possibly need, making problems for everyone. Toilet paper remains a bit scarce, eggs were in relatively short supply, and cup noodles rapidly disappeared. But this is the same kind of unconscionable behavior that greeted the oil shock in the 70s. Stocks of most foods were and are plentiful, and today I found eggs and everything else. No long lines (there never were in my area from day one), no pushing, shoving, or arguing. The Japanese people are for the most part very stoic and resilient and will overcome this "crisis" in just the same way as they always have before. It is mostly just some of my fellow "gaijin" and foreign media types who suffer from the "panic". I guess some of us are more susceptible to paranoia than are others.

What really makes me mad, though, is the foreign media falsely reporting the conditions here. But I should remember that it helps sell papers and boost media ratings.

The people who really earn the right to "panic" are those poor souls up north who are having to live through their nightmare. But other than when the tsunamis were rushing in, even though they have lost everything and have had to experience such dire circumstances, there has been no panic displayed.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Thank you Anonymous! In Setagaya, eh? I owe you a beer!

Anonymous said...

I had the same perspectives. Why people especially foreign people get so panic and overact as well. In Finland here, people rushed to buy iodine pills T_T which I find it super ridiculous. I have exchange to Japan in Oct and all my relatives are such doomsayers when just warning me that I would get exposed to radiation in OCTOBER!!!. Seriously!!! Nuclear issue is really a big issue but i think Japan will fully handle it soon:)

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