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Showing posts from March, 2011

Apocalypse Now - Part 2 現代啟示錄-下卷

The sakura season in Tokyo has barely began, but the city is already draped in dazzling shades of pink and white. The blossoms arrived just in time to welcome the all-important day of April 1, when, by tradition, the first day of school coincides with the first day of work for hundreds of thousands of university graduates entering the work force. Crisp white shirts, new black suits and brown leather attaché are as ubiquitous as the spring blossoms themselves.

This year, the triple threat of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis have cast a thick shadow on the season of hope and renewal. Each day citizens wake up to the new reality of a nation teetering on the brink of a Chernobyl-type disaster. Nearly a month after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, TEPCO, operator of the damaged Fukushima (福島) nuclear plants, remains utterly incapable of containing the radiation leaks. 
To cool down the overheating reactors, sea water, fresh water and water with neutron-absorbing boric acid were …

Apocalypse Now - Part 1 現代啟示錄-上卷

On the early spring day of 11 March 2011, as citizens were busily preparing for the upcoming cherry blossom season, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck northeastern Japan, the biggest seismic event ever recorded in the country’s history. The powerful quake unleashed a 3o-foot high tsunami that swept across the Pacific coast of Honshu (本州) Island and leveled everything in its path. 
By the time the tremors ended and the water receded, entire cities and towns as far as the eye could see were reduced to a landfill of sludge and rubble. Sendai (仙台), the closest major city to the epicenter with a population of one million, was pummeled beyond recognition. Successive explosions at nuclear facilities near the quake zone spewed radioactive materials into the air. If this was Mother Nature’s way of proving her dominion over man, she had done so many times over.

Around 2:30pm Hong Kong time, 45 minutes after the big temblor hit, I received an email from someone in the Tokyo office titled “EARTHQ…