March 19, 2011

Japan's catastrophe, and Taiyo update

A friend told me about the debate going on regarding the reaction of fans and people in general after the earthquake, but I'm more concerned about the way the foreign media is treating this catastrophe.

I myself got really, really scared for my friends living in Japan and yes, for my four favourite idols and their families too, when I checked the news on the Internet on March 11th first thing in the morning and found out about the huge earthquake, and the tsunami that devastated the northeast coast. The first thing I thought was: 'the tsunami hit Sendai... oh, God, Hikaru's hometown...', and my heart went out to him. Not because Hikaru and his family are more important than all the other people from Sendai and the other affected areas, but simply because that's the most immediate connotation the name has for me: Sendai=Hikaru's hometown.

And then, the news had just broken out and everything was very confusing. It was not clear exactly which areas had been affected by the quake and, as it was reported to have been an 8.9 (later revised to 9) magnitude quake (you don't need to be an expert in geology to know how huge that is), so for the first few hours I was truly frightened for my friends and the fantastic four in Tokyo. Later I learned that Tokyo had been hardly damaged, so (after getting confirmation from my friends that they were okay) I assumed Yabu, Taiyô, Hikaru and Shoon should be safe too.

My point is that I think there's nothing wrong with (and no reason to be ashamed for) worrying about your idols' safety. After all, I cried when Ya-Ya-yah broke up, and when Shoon stopped appearing in SC, and then when he left Johnny's, so all the more reason to worry about them in those first hours of confusion after the catastrophe. [And seeing the way the situation has evolved, and the potential - emphasis on potential - risks posed by the nuclear plant at Fukushima, there's reason for worrying for everybody in Japan.]

Quite another thing, of course, is spreading rumours about a certain idol hospitalized for a hand injury (?! just by using your common sense you should realize that is absurd) for instance, or reporting an idol as missing on the person finder tool launched by Google. That's not even funny. That tool was designed for helping families and friends to find their loved ones. You shouldn't report somebody as missing without knowing whether that person is really missing or not, and you shouldn't give some rumour you heard online as 'reliable information' for that person being alive.

As for finding people's attitudes/reactions annoying, like the #prayforjapan hashtag on Twitter or people 'asking' others to pray... well, if I find something annoying but it doesn't harm nobody, I just shake my head or roll my eyes and look elsewhere.

While I personally consider the Twitter #prayforjapan thing somewhat shallow (praying, like religion is, in my opinion, something very private and personal, not for show), when somebody says 'let's pray', it's just because it's the usual thing a believer would say, just like you say 'bless you' when somebody sneezes, it's just a habit. You're not really asking anybody to pray.

Also, some atheists find it annoying that some believers try to 'convert' them, but isn't it annoying too that some atheists think they need to liberate believers from the 'irrational yoke of religion' (yes, they campaign for it) or to enlighten them, letting them know for instance, that praying makes no difference and that they should be aware it's just a way of comforting themselves? I think the agnostic views, which I in a way share, are a lot more honest. Atheists don't believe in a supreme, omniscient being, yet they claim to know things they have no way of knowing, like 'God doesn't exist' or 'praying makes no difference'. Agnostics at least say 'God might or might not exist, I don't know'.

For me God, since I have no way of knowing whether He exists or not, is mostly a romantic idea, like world peace, or true love, or any perfect thing. And I'm a romantic, so no matter what I'll keep on believing, because I like to think there's something more, and because I'd like to get some answers when I die - I'm very curious, you see. The idea of God has been a comfort for me too when I've gone through difficult moments, and I've been raised in the belief that there's a God, so I don't want to do without Him anymore than I'd want to do without my family, my home, my friends or all the things I've grown up with and are a part of who I am.

Back to what's happening in Japan, I think some of the foreign media have done a lot of harm with their sensationalism, blowing things out of proportion and creating an unnecessary hysteria. I was never a fan of Twitter, but I ended up following a Twitter list of foreigners in Japan (some Spaniards among them) and the Twitter of an awesome Japanese journalist who tweets in perfect Spanish, Taniguchi Takeshi, and I was so much better informed of what was really happening. Some media made it look as if Tokyo was in total chaos: no food or batteries in supermarkets, constant power cuts, people close to hysterics because of the nuclear threat and from what these residents say, that's far from the truth.

And the same goes for the problems with the nuclear plant at Fukushima. While the situation is very serious, saying it's going to be the apocalypse does not help things at all. Somebody's created a Journalist Wall of Shame on the Net, and I think it's a great idea because really, reading some newspapers these days and seeing how they're using this tragedy makes me sick. Latest news is that work in the Fukushima nuclear plant seems to be bearing fruits, but better be cautious and wait to see what happens. I hope they'll manage to control the situation, that they'll succeed. The brave Fukushima Fifty, the fifty workers who are risking their lives to fix things at the nuclear plant, deserve to succeed. Also, survivors and evacuees need a lot more help than they're getting, so if you'd like to help and don't know how to, click here.

Fandom-wise, Yabu and Hikaru were reported to be safe by JE. Shoon's graduation ceremony was cancelled because of the current situation, and there's no news as to whether he's still in Taiwan or back in Japan. I feel sad we'll miss that chance of perhaps spotting him since the ceremony was going to be broadcast live and because it's a pity he won't be able to have that ceremony to remember such an important event, but naturally it's understandable. Also, the Urakara episode in which Taiyô makes a guest appearance has been delayed and should air on TV Tokyo next Friday (March 25th, 0:12~0:53 Japan time). And, in case you missed AXEL's tweet this morning, the URAKARA website has been updated with Taiyô's picture and some info on his coming episode!! \^___^/ Some Japanese fans have said an actor from the Tumbling 2 stageplay mentioned in their blog that Taiyô was safe, but I haven't been able to find that blogpost, so I have a feeling somebody made that up. :/

More or less what it says is that Taiyô's character, Takematsu Takaaki (武松孝明), in spite of being a shy boy, helps his older brother, Kenji, rob a bank, but it looks like there's more behind that robbery than meets the eye.

POST A COMMENT (LiveJournal) :: READ COMMENTS (LiveJournal)


Sue said...

It's make me very happy see Taiyo!! *O* really, a lot!! He looks so good, and lovely!! Thanks for the pic <3

Irea said...

¡Sue! ¡¡¡¡Hola!!!! ^___^ ¡Qué alegría leerte! ¡Te he echado de menos! :D Está guapo,verdad? Estoy deseando ver ese episodio. ;)

Anonymous said...

It's really TAIYO~!!
Kyaaa~ I miss him so much!! XD

K said...

i think it's Takematsu ^^

Irea said...

@fify-inoo: It is! XD Can't wait for next Friday, ne?

@K: Ah, it is indeed! Thank you, K! <3 For some stupid reason I checked the kanji online and it only gave the 'bu' reading, and it didn't sound right to me.

Thennary Nak said...

I find myself pretty much agreeing with everything you wrote. Somehow I'm not surprised that we have similar views on religion. And I really like that those saying that people worried about idols after the disaster are shallow should stop making assumptions because those 'shallow' people can worry just as much about the rest of the people in Japan at the same time.

As someone who likes KARA I'm really excited about Taiyou's episode as it puts two things I like together. I can't wait to watch it.

flo-century said...

news about TAIYO again!! i'm so happy know him safe.. (i knew that 2 days after the earthquake, so actually i was so worried bout him)

He looks cute.. ah, finally i can see him on a drama.. Thank you,KARA (i've never thought that i will say thanks to all this girls. lol)
i can't wait until his performance!! XD

thanks so much, dear.. ^___^

Irea said...

@Thennary Nak:
Hey! :) Yes, I don't think it's shallow at all to worry for an idol as much as for other people. It's called empathy, ne? You can feel empathy towards somebody you don't even know. Oh, you're a KARA fan? I have to admit I hadn't heard of them before. I just watched the episode, and I naturally wish Taiyô had been given more lines/screentime, but it's a good first step for him. :) And I find some humourous moments quite cute and funny. ^-^v

Irea said...

@flo-century: Well, there has been no official notice on his safety, but there hasn't been any notice otherwise, so assume he's safe or they wouldn't have aired his guest appearance in URAKARA today. Yes, it's a somewhat brief appearance, but it's a good first step, IMO. :)