Misquoting Mishaps and Peeing into the Wind: Wednesday 16th March

When I woke up this morning I was surprised to find that the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and that I still had all of my own skin. Or at least I would have been surprised if I was looking at myself from the perspective of a doom saying, irresponsible, and above all wrong Tabloid Newshound. I am yet to confirm if I have been made infertile, and may have difficulties in proving such a scenario to be mutually exclusive from my numerous visits to the local Sento. I was outraged this morning to find that the New York Times had printed my quotation, and accredited it to a MR Samuel Illingworth, and so I sent a very snotty email off to their news desk to ask for a correction to be printed. Said email contained multiple grammar and spelling mistakes, but hopefully that should prove undeniably that I have a doctorate in Physics!

As you can see meat is very hard to come by in Tokyo at the moment, what with all the food shortages…

Life seems to be pretty much getting back to normal here in Tokyo. The streets are still pretty quiet, but I think that this has more to do with the fact that many companies have decided to close, so as to conserve electricity. From my time spent here so far, the Japanese appear to be a very abstemious and considerate people, and so whilst some panic buying has been done, it is mainly the Gaijin that are doing so. My local supermarket still has a fairly decent selection of breads, milk, and vegetables, as well as being fully stocked on everything else, including the obligatory selection of undeterminable meat based products. I hate to think of the unbridled selfish panic that the current situation would result in, if it were to have happened in a country of capitalist excess; a tag which these days is not just applicable to the USA, but to most of the developed world. In fact the only annoying thing to have happened today was the incredibly strong winds, which occurred as a result of… the weather. There are still so many things that make me smile on a daily basis, and remind me why I love this country so much, and why I am so determined to stay unless advised to do otherwise. One such incidence occurred on my walk home from the supermarket in the early evening. I rounded a corner to see an old man with his tackle out, relieving himself in one of the nearby drains. Needless to say the aforementioned strong winds meant that this was a very bad idea.



About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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19 Responses to Misquoting Mishaps and Peeing into the Wind: Wednesday 16th March

  1. Chris says:

    Apparently the FCO say get the F out of there. Actually they don’t, but it would be funny if they did. Where do the press go to get the pics of empty supermarkets? Are they buying the food themselves?

    • truehamlet says:


      This whole situation is just so confusing. Nothing is transparent, and my only hope is that the Japanese media learn how to share information, and the Western media learn how to stay calm!

  2. Chris says:

    Mr Sam Illingworth – I bet you were fuming – I told you he would despise you, he probably did it on purpose.
    Actually your title has now been removed entirely – you are relegated to “friend of Edmund Harbord”
    What freaks me out is that the ‘Ads by Google’ is for “Radiation protection: Lead blankets / shielding mats for radiation protection.” They don’t miss a trick do they.

  3. truehamlet says:

    I wish I could say that I was surprised.

  4. Chris says:

    The current FCO advice page
    Mate, it’s hard to know what’s going on. The wind was blowing from the plant into Tokyo yesterday, but today was blowing out into the pacific (thank you Olof). The situation is certainly grave, with official dose readings from the plant exceeding safe levels for a year, but what that means over a broader range is anyone’s guess really. My over-riding concern is of course for your health and safety, so personally I’d be happy if you high tailed it out of there, but I’ll admit it is a classic knee-jerk extreme reaction, and I’m a complete chicken!!!

    • truehamlet says:

      The real difficulty is that the Japanese Media are effectively like Pravda, and the Western media jump on any Nuclear issue instantly, which makes the Japanese Authorities far less likely to release any information. Also, don’t worry. I am stubborn, but I am not stupid. As soon as I hear any advice from people (and I am very well placed for this because of my scholarship) informing me to so, then I intend to leave.

  5. Chris says:

    Well, you are in the best position out of all of us to know what to do. The levels in Tokyo have been reported as low, and if the wind is blowing away into the sea then that is obviously good news. The BBC and SKY have reporters out there in Tokyo, so it can’t be THAT bad. Sensible precautions, such as don’t go out running and breathing in huge lungfuls of air. If the BBC suddenly pulls it’s reporters out of there then head to the airport. Also, if a huge mob of mutants start marauding the streets looking for brains, it may be time to get going (sorry if that’s a bit flippant).
    Anyway, it’s good to talk to you Sam, been missing you about the dept. I’ll be signing off now – I’ll read your next post tomorrow.

  6. Chris says:

    Forget the possible radiation damage, it is clear something has already happened to your brain long ago. I quote from your ‘About TrueHamlet’ section:
    “…and two unified bodies lying motionless in a filed somewhere…”


  7. Chris says:

    Just read BBC news (the ‘calmest’ of the western media). Apparently electricity could be restored to the area around the plant soon, and if the pumps are still in good order things could dramatically get better. I have no idea if the local news would dare speculate on anything like this or hype it up to buggery to reasssure people, but thought I would pass it on.
    This may be another flippant point, but I thought they had robots and automated things that were able to go into these kinds of disaster zones and assess the situation and do stuff to help. I remember watching it on ‘Tomorrow’s World’ two decades ago. Are we seriously saying that these were all just pipe-dreams? It’s Japan, the home of advanced robotics. How come none of the little suckers are getting involved in this. The world has just had its first robot marathon FFS!!! Maybe we’ve been getting too anthropomorphic with out little silicon friends and should be putting them to better use. Sony must have a thousand Aibos knocking around that they could send into the zone with meters on their backs surely. This is not a piss-take, I am at least 70% serious with this.

  8. Chris says:

    You know what I said about the BBC being calm – forget it:
    ‘Cash machines at one bank went down for a couple of hours on Thursday afternoon – prompting speculation that some people may be stocking up on reserves of cash in case the situation deteriorates.’
    Seriously?! Ifthat’s true then there must be a meteor strike about to hit Leicester that I have not been told about becasue the cash machine’s here are always down.

    • truehamlet says:

      These are the problems of a rolling newsfeed. They need a steady sustenance of BS to keep them going, feeding on the helpless and insecure like Geoff Capes at an all you can eat crepe breakfast parlor.

  9. Chris says:

    Nice analogy

  10. Chris says:

    I should be saving up some of the newspapers here – you’d have a field day. Although Japan is the main lead story for most of them (the Sun has so far thought better of making some pun based headline) I noticed that the other big story of the day is that “99% of TV viewers agree that ‘Midsommer Murders’ should remain all white”.
    If you haven’t heard, there is a big hoo-ha about everybody’s favourite quaint death-stricken village having an apparently all white cast, with the show’s producer saying that a racial element ‘wouldn’t work’. http://tinyurl.com/6zqgyjm
    As you can guess, the newspaper in question with that tasteful tagline is the Daily Mail. OK, Britain is still an overwhelmingly white country, despite what the Daily Mail would say in any other edition of their ‘news’paper, so most villages would have a majority of white people – but to just refuse to put any diversity in there does seem a little odd. Trouble is they will probably capitulate and put a non-white Brit in there as the mass murdering fiend of the week, with the end credits saying ‘There, happy now!’

  11. Chris says:

    Another odd story of the week was regarding Libya. Colonel Nutjob Gaddafi’s son had a swanky house in London, and last week it got broken into and taken over by squatters – I reckon the offices of the Daily Mail really had to sit down for a good few hours to work out who’s side they were on for that one. If the squatters were not political dissidents offering the home as a safe haven to any Libyan who had fled the country, but had instead been on benefits I reckon they would have swung round to Gadaffi’s side. In fact, if any of them were perhaps from single parent homes or had expressed no interest in teh upcoming royal wedding they definitely would have switched.

    • truehamlet says:

      Perhaps two birds could be killed with one stone. Who doesn’t want to see John Nettles bang Gaddafi to rights?

  12. Chris says:

    I could just see Gaddafi walking around a quaint local village, he’d probably think he owned it outright. If Mr Carter at the post office hadn’t put the correct postage on his parcel resulting in a small fine, he’d have the titular postmaster tortured then shot. In steps John Nettles to solve the case, and subsequently gets caught up with a largely indifferent UN (well, Gadaffi’s cottage does sit atop a vast reserve of oil) resulting in, not a prison sentence, but the placement of sanctions on fruit pastels and twixs.

  13. Chris says:

    And you are the man to do it.
    Actually I had better crack on with work. Typhoeus has been down so it’s been ok, but I have a few things to crak on with. I’m not going to keep harping on about what’s going on where you are, you are bound to be sick of it by now, but if you need any info don’t hesitate to get in touch.
    Before I go, I need to tell you about a little web-tool I’ve been playing with, with mostly unsuccessful results. Have you any interest in making sweet music? If so you need to give this a try: http://www.audiotool.com. It’s a virtual sound studio, and it’s pretty all-encompasisng. It can seem quite technical, but there are some useful tutorials on youtube. If you fancy something a little more sedate then you need to try http://www.isleoftune.com (if you haven’t done so already).
    This is Chris, signing off, speak to you tomorrow, or later

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