*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Six Japanese TV channels as the quake hit, and liquefaction

Next time you're coerced into paying your NHK fee, remember their warning was a couple minutes sooner than the others if it helps.

Few to no fatalities in Kanto, but there is a lot of damage in the parts of Kanagawa, Tokyo and Chiba that were built on reclaimed land.  Got the information from 'Fucked Gaijin' (NSFW), and from a colleague whose house is partly off its foundation and ankle deep in mud.  I sometimes have work in Makuhari Messe, but I wonder if I will anymore, not that it will affect my life in any way like so many others in Tohoku.  At a wild, but conservative guess, up to a million people live on reclaimed land in Kanto (as there are over thirty million in total).  Even before the liquefaction along the port in the '95 Kobe quake, engineers must have known the risk of building that way in Japan.  Utterly irresponsible.  Feel sorry for anyone with property on reclaimed land: damaged or not, it's worthless.

The ground quality makes as much difference as the building.  I was here during '95, watching the Kobe earthquake from Saitama: about the only time I was glad to be in Saitama.  Much of the 'reclaimed land' along the Kobe harbour had 'subsidence' due to 'liquefaction': two words this Torontonian never had to understand before.   If there's one country you want people to consider these words in a literal, not metaphorical sense, it's Japan:
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.- Matthew 7:24-27
My wife and child were tossed about in the eighth floor of our building, but unharmed along with the building, because it's on decent ground 10km from Tokyo Bay. I found the earthquake unexceptional, but I was on the third floor of a post-earthquake code building near Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Stationn, which is not on 'reclaimed land'. Well, in fact most of Kanto is reclaimed land. It was all swamp before Mr. Tokugawa got his bright idea.


  1. I think you are probably conservative in your estimate. I only learned recently that all of Ueno is reclaimed land. It isn't like pretty much the entirety of the Tokyo waterfront, but it was tidal estuary.

    The one thing that could save large buildings (impossible for SFR) is whether they took the foundations to bedrock.

    I found it (un)ironic that DisneySea experienced tidal surge damage and flooding.

  2. Except that people would be hurt, or lose their jobs, I'd love to have had the Disney Monstrosities go under the waves.