Japan Times looks at stayjin

For a change, Japan Times takes a reasonably proficient and quite positive look at stayjin 18 months on.

First, we have "Mitch", a Canadian trainjin who took a week-long break from Tokyo to stay in Osaka. He says:

"A few Japanese friends indicated that they felt I was overreacting by leaving Tokyo, but I never sensed any real resentment from anyone over my decision," he says.


"I didn’t feel any resentment towards the people who chose to leave Japan," he says. "In fact, I half-expected I would soon join them if the situation continued to deteriorate."

Good, good. Next we have John Loynes who, as a resident of Iwaki city, can truthfully claim to be a Tohoku victim.

As to why he and his family decided to stay in Fukushima when, seemingly at the time, a large proportion of the non-Japanese population was leaving the country, Loynes says he did not feel it was necessary to leave after reading information from sources he trusted, such as the chief science adviser to the British government.

Yay for good old British common sense!

"[…] I would have liked maybe a smidge more stoicism from the British Embassy, such as endorsing the evacuation zones suggested by the Japanese and Americans."

I’m not sure what he’s trying to say here. This story, for instance, indicates that the US stopped endorsing the Japanese zones, and initially the UK advised everyone in Tokyo and north to evacuate. However, if you’re being interviewed, you cannot stop and check Google to make sure what you are saying is correct, so perhaps he was just mis-remembering information?

"The majority of foods, whilst not completely unaffected, are still safe to eat," he says. "In fact, we’re eating the local vegetables."

I predict that quote will make EneNews. :facepalm:

Leave a comment ?


  1. >> This story, for instance, indicates that the US stopped endorsing the Japanese zones,

    I remember thinking at the time, when the discrepancies about safe zones arose, that a lethal (or dangerous) dose must equal total volume released divided by population affected, so the area to be considered dangerous must have something to do with population density.

    Assume 1000 units of radiation released.
    Assume also that 1 unit is enough to make someone sick.
    Assuming even distribution, (which predictions must, because they cannot predict wind direction – for the sake of this argument) means that a circular area around the plant which houses 1000 people must be dangerous.

    If the population density is 1000 people/sq. meter, then the evacuation zone is 1 sq. meter. If density is 1 person/sq. meter, then it is 1000 sq. meters.

    If the Americans were working off tables developed for American evacuation procedures, wouldn’t they naturally assume a larger evacuation area since (average) population density is lower?

    Okay, I am probably missing something(*), what is it? :???: :neutral:

    (*) Alcohol has been consumed. :razz:

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t that chief science advisor say that there was no way that a meltdown had occurred? The science advisor’s speech was one of the main things that allowed me to stay calm (in Kanto, so it was just panic, but still), and then when it was shown that meltdowns had occurred, I thought “well, gee”.

    @Sixth Sense: I was under the impression that America’s decision wasn’t based on good data, but I don’t have a link for you. What you’re saying makes sense, and it makes sense that even if you don’t know what’s going on, you make it as big as you comfortably can.

  3. @beneaththewheel:

    Sir John Beddington’s advice was that a meltdown was certainly possible, could be horrible for the local area, but would not be a threat to somewhere like Tokyo. And he was right.

  4. I wish I could relate to the flyjin/stayjin thing. I am married and have put down roots here. If I chose to go back to my country, I’d pretty much be homeless because I have nowhere to go, so it’s not even a choice for me. If something as horrible as the disaster in Tohoku should happen in Kansai, I’ll just have to first hope we don’t die, and then hope we still have a few pieces of wood standing up to keep over our heads afterward. Leaving isn’t an option for me, and I bet the case is the same for a lot of foreigners. To me, it would be a luxury to have the choice to just run away if I felt like it. When the worst happens, hopefully our neighborhood will unite as best we can to help each other and get along through it.

  5. @Tiles: Absolutely. I found it extremely difficult to relate to people skipping away when my wife had to go into work on Tuesday. Leaving would have meant risking losing our livelihood.

    I visited the Immigration Bureau in Kawasaki to get my new visa on that Tuesday and there were easily over a hundred people waiting for a reentry permit so they could fly home. All I could think was “I don’t think I could even do that…”

  6. @Sixth Sense:

    Sorry, I can see what you’re thinking, but adding population to the equation doesn’t make much sense because the people do not consume and eliminate the radiation from the equation. It would be similar to saying how bad your sunburn gets depends on how many people were at the beach.

    A diffusion problem most definitely can (and should) assume an uneven distribution. It would usually assume a prevailing wind and then some sort of inverse square relation or a simple model of a plume shaped like a teardrop aligned with the wind. And figure out where the concentration of contaminants becomes tolerable at distance x downwind. If you want to be covered if the wind direction changes, then maybe use that distance and draw a circle while you wait for the computer model results.

    Besides, you’ve seen such things in disaster movies, right? Jeff Goldblum-ish sciencey B-movie actor unrolls a map with a series of ovals, the central one being blood red of course, with the impactsite/supervolcano/dirtybomb at one end and just happening to enclose a major population center and/or orphanage for crippled children (depending on the movie budget) at the other end.

    Assuming that the spread itself is totally circular (possible, if no wind) and even (virtually impossible, it would at least follow an inverse square rule) would be so irresponsible that I’d expect a TEPCO exec to propose it. Without wind or something diffusion is very, very slow..try pouring sugar in your coffee and not stirring it, just wait for it to naturally diffuse.. bring a book, no Hemingway. :wink:

    I don’t see how population density would factor in – except perhaps in the logistics of evacuating all the people in a short time. Which, as we have learned, the 20-30km radius cost at least 500 lives in the case of Fukushima (seriously ill patients not surviving the move from a hospital)..does that mean a 50km radius would have cost 1000? 2000? How about 100km?
    Probably even worse in both cases. As you’d have to start evacuating entire cities, Fukushima city, then Sendai city, I think.

    Evacuation orders are probably just as much (if not more) about what you can evacuate vs. what you should evacuate. Works both ways. Seems like some areas outside the 30km zone to the NW which are “safe” have much higher contamination than a lot of the southern half of the “dangerous” zone.

  7. @Level3:

    I am probably confusing it with a “lethal dose” type calculation.
    The sunburn comparison makes sense, but I was thinking in terms of the radioactive “poison cloud” – caesium (or whatever) building up in people’s tyhroids.
    More people means less caesium per thyroid. No?

    My point about even distribution was in relation to direction. Of course an inverse square rule (or something like it) would apply.
    But when drawing up a _generic_ evacuation plan,
    if nothing is known about prevailing winds then
    a circle would be assumed.

    And don’t forget, Jeff Goldblum’s ex-wife works in the orphanage! :razz:

  8. @Tiles:

    I hear ya!

    I can’t remember which was first; hearing about the “flyjin”, or my wife telling me that one of the families in the “renrakumo” (who calls who when there’s some emergency news from the kid’s school) had gone AWOL to Osaka because of the apparent Nuclear threat (she gave me a look that said; “Have you heard anything?). I remember thinking, “Wow, some people can drop everything and run!”.

    Then I thought of my job, pension, savings, family, in-laws, friends, kids’ friends, daily routine, and everything I’ve known for the last twenty years (in the space of about a tenth of a second…), and realised (as I have known for a long time,) that I will never leave where I am now, as long as I am alive.

    I hold no animosity towards those who left, but I felt a tiny bit of sadness that they were never able to put down any roots strong enough to hold them here.
    And in a strange way, I felt a little bit of satisfaction that I have managed to establish such deep roots here myself, and was proud of what I have achieved here.

    And of course, I felt sympathy for those who had been hit hardest. My wife’s family hails from Fukushima, and there was talk for a while of us taking in relatives as ‘refugees”, but it proved unnecessary.

    All in all, the 3/11 tragedy confirmed in my mind that this is where I should be, and I am lucky to be here.

    Horses for courses, I suppose… :???:

  9. The flyjin thing isn’t about who could or couldn’t leave. It’s about the manner of leaving for those who had the choice.

    The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis as a trauma were experienced collectively. Around those people who had the choice were colleagues who didn’t have that choice, who had to stay and get through the next few months, who maybe had relatives further north, who maybe lost people. And generally, these were Japanese colleagues.

    In that light, a “screw this, I’m outta here” attitude seemed to typify the worst aspects of
    i homo gaijinus.
    Expats who were here to party but never really saw the locals as real people, or people worthy of an equivalent respect as a westerner.

    The real picture is more complicated. People were under all kinds of pressure from home; quite a few could not cope with processing information about Fukushima, and it has to be said Japanese partners in some cases were bigger movers for leaving.

    But at the same time, there were clearly people fucking off home who, quite frankly, deserve all the contempt the flyjin debate sends their way. They are not very good at the best bits of being human.

  10. Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    So the man himself has acknowledged his Hawaii presence.

  11. @Chrysanthemum Sniffer:

    Yikes. That post is a healthy brew of paranoia and PC bullshit. Genetics and medicine is so fun, because self-annointed social critics with an BA in social “science” who watched a documentray about Mendel once feel for some reason that they can make valuable, informed commentary on it. :lol: But then, this guy also was demanding real scientists bow to his opinions on Fukushima radiation. Real surprise that he allowed that informed 2nd comment through. But only to belittle it, I guess.

    Since he seems determined not to choose his battles, then at least go all out. Go down to the clinic and try to volunteer. Bring a camera and do it Michael Moore style. Seriously. It’s right in his town, and he has the free time. Then put it on Youtube.

    Everyone will think he’s doing a parody and has been funded by the anti-PC movement. But he might even be able spin that into a Kickstart, doing exactly what he wants. His donors will think it’s a parody.

    BTW I’ll bet 1000 yen someone will bring up Nazi experimentation or eugenics within the first 10 fan comments. Any takers?

    “sui generis”? :roll:

    Does he mean Ovis Japonica?
    Maybe Homo flyjin? :lol:

  12. @Level3:

    “Sui generis Galapagos”? Err…the Galapagos animals were interesting to Darwin not because they were unique, but because they were slightly different to known mainland animals (and from each other on the different islands).

  13. Compare and contrast:

    I’m currently researching on the University of Hawaii Manoa Campus

    Versus his view on Mike Guest:

    He says UBC only, no mention of Regent College. He has misrepresented his educational background.

    Of course, Mr Arudou’s online CV does make clear he is with the East-West Center not the University of Hawaii, but it does look to me that he is tooting his 120 dB horn attached to a Nissan Micra. :roll:

  14. @Level3: Mr Arudou cannot volunteer, it says quite clearly.

  15. Surprising amount of reason, which I assume he sees as “Apologism”, in his comments. (Hey, I’m only tuning in to comments today to see if the argument goes Godwin within 10 posts.) I think I smell more bannings in the near future.

    So, as he keeps digging his hole, he writes without a hint of seeing the irony:
    “..there’s plenty of evidence that science of this nature brings out a lot of bad habits in people who lack a requisite degree of mitigating/qualifying evidence or education… ”

    Indeed it does. Indeed it does. :lol: :facepalm:

  16. On a separate issue, it appears everyone’s favourite former volleyball correspondent has been trying to get YouTube to take down Victor-oyaji’s vlog about him (made at the time the whole shitstorm happened, and really quite tame.)

  17. @VK:

    So maybe he was the one who called Victor’s work (his own schoool) trying to get him fired.

  18. @Ken Y-N:

    Nice. Yet another piece of evidence in support of Voldy’s First Law

    When Voldy takes a stand, it is probably hypocritical.

    But he did put “Campus” in there, so he’s technically telling the truth, you see.

    If he ever comes to Japan or attends a legit academic conference again, maybe certain people would love to ask him about this in a public forum.

  19. People should all be very cautious about pitting themselves against someone whose studies “for the past 25 years have been on the abuses of genetics for political purposes”.

    That’s not to be confused with twenty five years of reading newspapers, web browsing, talking with friends, contributing to online forums, and blogging. That’s twenty five years of studies.

  20. @Justin Thyme:

    I’m surprised in 25 years he hasn’t discovered that race is a social, not a genetic category. The “abuse of genetics” implies medical experimentation, not prejudice.

  21. Twenty-five years. Good God.

    You know, if I’d studied piano for twenty-five years, I don’t think I’d be patting myself on the back every time I belted out the first four bars of Chopsticks.

  22. @iago:

    :lol: Awesome – everything about your comment. Cannot stop laughing. The ‘Good God’ is exquisite and the ‘belted out’ just does the trick.

  23. The other huge irony is that the knowledge that Japanese DNA is not exactly homogeneous is due to the very kind of research he is so angry about. Classifying people by genetics/race/whatever you want to call it and examining their DNA on that basis rather than what passport they hold gave him the the ammo which he is misusing to tilt at this windmill.

    Who knows, maybe this research is yet another study into the variations in Japanese DNA or the effects of such or something. It might yield more ammo for him.

    But judging things with almost no information and without waiting for results is so much easier, eh? :facepalm:

  24. There is also the automatic assumption that the ad must have been promoted by Japanese or Japanese-American researchers themselves as a statement of ethnic chauvinism, rather than investigating other possible reasons for it. If, say, caucasians were trying to take advantage of Japanese volunteers, then that could be considered offensive for a different set of reasons.

  25. @VK:

    Re-skimmed it, and yeah, looks like he’s saying if one did happen (which he found unlikely, it would still be a local problem. I misremembered. :oops:

    Here’s a link for anyone who wants a read :razz: :


  26. I just finally read the discussion of a call for Japanese-descent volunteers for drug trials. Buddha wept.

    Humanities majors can be such a precious bunch sometimes, can’t they?

  27. Well, it looks like against my expectations, nobody brought up Nazi medical experiments. There even seem to be some fairly informed people trying to get the guy to see reality. (They must all be sockpuppets of the evil pharmaceutical companies! Ban them!!! :lol: ) Not surprisingly, he sticks to his view that it’s all offensively racist…

    Not that he’ll actually do anything about it, a place being so racist right in his own town, in a country that is very convenient to litigious people who want to cry “Racist!”..or just activists with a Flip camera and a Youtube account

    He used to have a legitimate excuse of being way the hell up in Sapporo, far removed from Ishihara Country. What is it now?

    Surely he could use the issue to get his foot in the door, use his status as a JT writer to get an interview (if they don’t Google him first), maybe even learn what they’re actually up to, maybe even write a legitimate news story that could turn out to have a racism angle anyway (just like he wants!) along the lines that have been hinted at (maybe Japanese drug approval process is racist, tests on non-Japanese human beings not good enough?…though it seems to work out plenty good enough for people of Japanese descent living in the USA who have access to new drugs/treatments years earlier than their cousins, and us gaijin :headdesk: , back in Japan. Anyone hear of huge numbers of Japanese-Americans dying from adverse drug reactions that don’t occur in people with genes from the other 98%+ of humanity that isn’t from Japan?)

    Just have to be willing to throw away preconceptions and act professional.

  28. @Level3:

    Oops, I should have said, nobody mentioned Nazi medical experiments in the comments he chose to let through.


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