Japanese tsunami from a Toledo, Ohio perspective…

Much of my spring break was spent at Bowling Green State University in Toledo, Ohio, the site of my younger brother’s annual championship swimming meet. There were hundreds of spectators in the stands, many of which were discussing the recent natural disaster in Japan. Because there is not much else to do while at a swimming meet in Northern Ohio, I had no choice but to eavesdrop on these discussions.

Although I am no expert on tsunamis, I do consider myself to be more educated than the average person thanks to our natural disaster discussions in class. With the limited knowledge that I have, it was clear to me that the general population has little to no insight into what causes a tsunami. I heard everything from high winds and tropical storms to underwater volcanoes and global warming. Unless I am mistaken, I remember discussing that the most common cause of large-scale tsunamis is the shifting of tectonic plates.

I was also intrigued by the number of references that were made to the John Cusack movie, 2012. It seemed that every other conversation ended with the line, “well they say the world is going to end in 2012 anyway…just like that movie.” The real panic was incited after the media began to cover the potential problems with the Japanese nuclear sites. Now, not only was there the natural disaster of the tsunami; there was also the added man-made threat. At this point, I really did begin to feel like I was living out some sort of weird apocalyptic movie which, for some strange reason, was set in Toledo, Ohio. Thank goodness M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t in the area or we may have had The Happening 2 to look forward to.

In all seriousness, the Japanese tsunami was a truly devastating event in terms of its economic impact and human death toll. The last figure that I saw was that there were 21,000 people missing or deceased. It serves as a sobering reminder that sometimes the supposed exaggerations in movies such as 2012 are closer to the truth than we may have first thought. Thankfully, it seems that many people around the world are reaching out to aid Japan and its citizens during this time of need.

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