It's not Often I'm Lost for Words But

Hello, friends. I hope your year got off to a colorful start. I was going to post pretty pics on Jan 1, but as you can imagine, my year so far has been surreal, because nobody we know have been directly affected beyond the first jolt, and there've been no disaster-specific communications with them. Media coverage from Japan is more available to us cf. 2011, but mixed with much idiocy on X, while there've been bugger all in NZ except the picture of the burning plane.
As of now, 9AM Japan time, here are things that stick to my mind:
*The quake was equal to the size of 1995 Hanshin/Awaji (Osaka/Kobe) Quake, but the Sea of Japan side is not as densely populated, which is probably why NZ media only covered the removal of the Tsunami warning, but not the quake. It was much shallower and oh-so-much longer than the usual big quakes.  
* As of this morning Jan 3, bullet trains are running on schedule. This is partly due to their rail often being physically elevated or otherwise far from everyday traffic, especially outside large cities, so it's easier to inspect. From Dec-30-ish to Jan-3-ish has traditionally been when many travel to be with family, and now that Haneda is in turmoil, this was doubly needed. Whether folks can go home from their respective train station is another issue, re. road closure, petrol shortage, etc. Some flights resumed to/from the region, also.
* Speaking of flights, the plane which was hit by the JAL passenger plane belonged to Japan Coast Guard, about to deliver supplies/equipment to their division/s in the quake-hit regions. You may have heard everybody on JAL escaped, but five of six on the Coast Guard plane perished, with the captain in critical condition. 
* Any time is bad for disasters, but it's really bad now, because for about a year anti-mask/anti-vax folks have been loud, and the latest is that the earthquake was man-made. As with many other disasters, a variety of anti-[group/nation/ethnicity/individual] posts are exploding. Also, since former PM's assassination, dubious political contributions have come more to the fore, with public hearing held last month, (I'm not 100% sure about this,) so trust in the government and media is lower than low.
* It's raining in the quake-hit region today, with warnings for the wider region over the next few days. And it's the colder part of Japan, getting colder until Marchish. And it's still shaking; usually shakes as strong as the original can happen for a week. I have no words.
* I have to add this, though. Taiwan is also super quick and generous every time we face disaster. Some of their people were there, from memory, on Jan 2 already. So very appreciated.

I talked to Mom yesterday at an hour earlier than the usual time. I wasn't sure if she knew it was New Year's Day. She now speaks unclearly and I'm hard of hearing, so it was hardly a conversation, same as the last several months. I'm glad I changed the time, because the quake hit half an hour after we hung up. I wonder if I should call again soon, or leave her in peace, as she many not even know about the last few days. 

OK, enough.
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While reading about Gaza, and sometimes vaguely wondering how that's going to affect my Syrie project, I also try to keep up Ukraine. It's been excruciating keeping updated every day on both fronts, and I now avoid photos/vids, but I try to pick up at least the big stuff.

Since New Year's Eve I dropped a handful of comments trying to be sympathetic/encouraging. On one, I said something to the extent, "I hope and pray the madness will end soon, and Ukraine can start rebuilding in peace," and was taken aback when I got around 40 likes from folks with names in Cyrillic in a few minutes. Then of course a non-Ukrainian person jumped on the opportunity saying hoping and praying is worthless without action; I agreed, but "I don't disclose my minuscule contribution 'public'". Then this nUp edited his response so my response looked silly, then a nUpII jumped in about how many $ their government has contributed, etc., etc. etc. You get the picture. For a while I left them, (neither were bots,) to themselves, but it was so the wrong place and nUpII started to get ugly, so I deleted my comment. 
Then a friend posted about the cost of living in NZ, and his friend jumped on my comment, so I thought maybe it is/was me, and deleted that comment, too. I can see how this mine could have been misunderstood in this case, but golly, I couldn't be bothered, because he was challenging my "basic values and eagerness for consumption". Mate, you don't know how cheap I've been the last 20 odd years. I'll stop commenting altogether for a while. 

Re. donations, though, as I said in my last post, small amounts repeated do add up. For Ukraine I buy PDFs on Etsy, because I got started shortly after Feb 2021 when there weren't active solicitations from Ukraine yet, (remember when folks outside Ukraine started promoting Ukraine-based AirBnB and Etsy?); it's easy; and even though I know it's needed, I can't bring myself to donate towards weapons; and I'd already established something of a relationship with one vendor in particular. My $ has gone to Yuliia in the main. We've used half a dozen of her recipes, and they've all been easy to follow, delicious, and for this iffy baker, successful, not to mention her stunning photography. I can do more if NZ$ is stronger against US$, but, again, "Thank you, Pension." 
As of January 1, 2024: 
US$10 = NZ$15.82 =381.41 UAH (Ukrainian Hryvni)
And here are some examples of prices in Ukraine as of last month, although we can imagine there are vast differences between regions, and most importantly, availability.

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Now this one is guaranteed uplifting. 
I have an online Australian-in-the-Philippines boat designer friend named Michael. (What am I saying! He's an Aussie; of course his close friends call him Mick!) He has different POVs and passions from mine, which are ever so intriguing and valuable, even when I don't fully understand, because boat folks use as much jargon as we do.

On Jan 1, he posted a 15 second clip from a video which intrigued me, so I watched the whole 1:05:19. And boy, was it worth it! Let the space/math/science bits wash over you if you prefer, but listen to the gist of the message, and enjoy the unapologetically upbeat host. I think I can use it in the way I weave this year.

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Today is Day 11/22 of Ben's summer holiday, and unlike other years we've done zero house projects so far, sleeping in, reading, screening, eating carbohydrate instead. (It's been too hot to cook/eat proper meals, so I hate to check our blood sugar levels.) Today we start slowly, and try to get a few things off the decades-old To Do list.

I hope I didn't bring you down too much. Think of colors! Think of textures! Think of evenly-tensioned warps!! But also, let's keep in mind so many around the world who are having a terrible time.


Meg said...

Jan 3. There was a huge fire in the restaurant district of Kokura Kita, Kitakyushu today. In "normal" times, this would dominate the news hour with dramatic footage on loop for about a week, but not this week.

Meg said...

Jan 3. 山手線内、刃物切り付け事件。5名怪我。

Meg said...

Jan 4. 西新宿の火事なんて新宿だからニュースになっているけど、今までの事件に比べたら子供の遊びみたいだわ。

Meg said...

It now seems the Japanese PM declined Taiwanese rescuers' help, resulting in the Taiwanese govt releasing staff who were ready to go to Japan. Only monetary donation was accepted. This is possibly because the difficulty of access to the affected areas.

Meg said...

This Coast Guard plane had made two trips in the 24 hours prior to the accident to the quake-hit regions delivering goods. The pilot meanwhile flew seven hours towards Okinawa on a different plane to observe the continuing territorial dispute with China.

On Jan 4, a JAL maintenance vehicle crashed into a different Coast Guard plane, taking it out of action.

The more you read, the weirder everything gets. I tell you, incidents occurring in Japan now render to juicy conspiracy theories.