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Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Lucy Birmingham , David McNeill

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23. April 2014
In March of 2011, a 9.0 earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan, unleashing a tsunami onto the densely populated coast. Over 19,000 people would be left dead, or missing, and the disaster triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl: a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant. As the world offered support, people everywhere wondered how the Japanese, facing such horrific destruction, were able to exhibit such calm, selflessness, and fortitude in picking up the pieces. Blending history, science, and gripping storytelling, Strong in the Rain vividly explores the country beyond the headlines,as well as the personal and national stories behind the earthquake. Following the narratives of six individuals, including a worker in the Fukushima nuclear plant who returned to work during the meltdown and the mayor of a coastal town who stayed round the clock on the job without knowing the fate of his family, it offers a glimpse of the surprising ways the Japanese people stood strong in the face of disaster.

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'Birmingham and McNeill have created a compassionate and important book which both gives valuable information about one of the most important events of the last few years, and helps call to account both the Japanese government and TEPCO...Strongly recommended.' -The Book Bag

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Lucy Birmingham is Time magazine's Tokyo-based reporter and covered the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. Since coming to Japan in the mid-1980s, her articles have appeared in Bloomberg News, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe. She is also an editor and scriptwriter for NHK, Japan's national television and radio broadcaster. A board member of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, she lives in Tokyo. David McNeill is the Japan correspondent for The Independent and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He writes for The Irish Times and The Japan Times, while teaching at Sophia University in Tokyo. His work has appeared in Newsweek, New Scientist, Marie Claire, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune, and on the BBC. He lives in Tokyo.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.4 von 5 Sternen  13 Rezensionen
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Someday a real rain will come and bring the truth to light in the land of the rising sun 13. Januar 2013
Von Jake Adelstein - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"Strong In The Rain" is a book with the literary density of uranium, it penetrates deeply and leaves the reader with a personal and factual understanding of of Japan's 3/11 mega-disaster that a simple narrative could never do.
The most appropriate expression I can use to describe the book is from the Japanese 痛感 (tsukan) literally to "feel pain" the metaphorical meaning being "to keenly know" something. I wasn't in Japan when the earthquake and the meltdown devastated the nation; I came back 10 days later. This book makes me feel like I was there--like I lived through it. It's that powerful and evocative. I know both the authors, so maybe I'm not objective. But this is a powerful and almost majestic book. It's a book I wish I had written...or could write.

It is a book about some amazing Japanese heroes, like the Mayor Sakurai, who fought the yakuza, the complacent press, the Japanese government, and the nuclear industrial complex that is sometimes referred to as "the nuclear village" or by those in the underworld as "the nuclear mafia." He's not an action hero--he's a man of action, a man who changed the coverage of the nuclear meltdown with a simple heartfelt video uploaded onto You Tube in two languages.
He becomes the embodiment in the text of the Japanese spirit and character.

Ms. Birmingham and Mr. McNeill deftly weave together the accounts of the victims and heroes into a Rashomon like account of 3/11 that creates a 4D picture of the tragedy and it does it without the moral relativism or ambiguity of Akutagawa; some problems are painted in shades of grey, but the authors have the courage to put things in black and white where it matters. Sometimes, there is a right and a wrong, a true and false.

You don't have to be a Japanophile to appreciate the human drama in these stories. Anyone who lives in a country where there is nuclear power and natural calamity will find something of interest in this tome.
The message of "Strong In The Rain" in its tale of foreign and Japanese heroes and villains--and there are both, remains with the reader long after the book is done. Because the book forces us to face the core of our existence: what is it to survive, who do you save and who do you leave, when do we stand up and when do we shut up? What is it be a hero? The book provides the questions and some answers. The book is very dense in that important facts are sometime buried in one or two simple sentences. Blink and you miss something important. It's not an easy read but it is rewarding.

Entire books could be written on the cowardliness of the mainstream Japanese press--SIR does it in a few paragraphs.
Books about disasters come and go, there half-lives are very short. How many books were there on the financial crisis? How many diatribes written about Goldman Sachs? Most of them are no longer on the bookshelves and only a few will remain in the libraries.
"Strong In The Rain" is a book that I think will weather the passage of time very well. Because there are universal truths in the book about heroism, mortality, disaster and Japanese culture that still be relevant long after the physical evidence of Japan's greatest natural and man-made (nuclear meltdown) disaster are covered up in dirt and concrete.
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Important testimonies 10. Dezember 2012
Von Ian C. Ruxton - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a book by two seasoned journalists at the top of their profession who happen also to be long-term Tokyo residents, and thus perfectly placed to write this chronicle. It certainly deserves such attention, if only because the world came so close to a major nuclear catastrophe on March 11, 2011. The book is well-constructed, selecting six people from different walks of life (the mayor, the fisherman, the housewife, the foreign teacher, the power plant worker, the high school graduate) and showing how the events unfolded on each of them in different parts of the disaster zone. What stands out is not only the courage and resilience of the Japanese people as individuals and the strength of their well-documented group mentality, but also the troubling arrogance and lack of foresight of the giant Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and worse still the scorn poured on whistleblowers, the ignoring of expert advice and the attempts made to cover up the seriousness of what occurred.

It is important that nobody forgets what happened in Fukushima, and after the dust has settled since last year this book is a welcome contribution to preventing just such an unfortunate outcome. Inevitably since the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and meltdown the wisdom of building 54 nuclear power plants in a country so prone to earthquakes (including one plant in Fukui prefecture directly over a fault line) has come into question. Almost all of them are currently shut down with corresponding increases to consumers of about 8% nationwide in the cost of electricity at the time of writing this in 2012, but this is a price most Japan residents will gladly pay for greater safety. Meanwhile outside Japan nuclear power plant construction programs have been halted, and in some countries abandoned altogether. As another long-time Japan resident I salute and thank the authors for their exceptional efforts in telling this story so accurately and comprehensively.

The title 'Strong in the Rain' is from a translated poem by the Tohoku poet Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933). Mother Nature can sometimes deal all of us a bad hand. We all need to learn to be strong on those occasions, and this phrase embodies the tough and indomitable spirit of Northern Japan.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen crime story 29. Dezember 2012
Von Nancy Allen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Without a doubt this is the greatest crime read of the year. In total it is the story of how the company known as TEPCO controlled the Japanese press and covered up what really happened in the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Two brave reporters who lived in Japan during the tsunami and earthquake mix personal stories of people who experienced the disaster and a detailed exposure of how the Japanese media, and then the world press, underplayed the unraveling of the nuclear accident. Beautifully written and footnoted, this compelling book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the nuclear and information world we live in.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen reliving a disaster 9. August 2013
Von S. L. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I bought this book last November not thinking it was going to move me as much as it did. I was living in Tokyo at the time of the earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster but had also lived for a few years in a small, coastal town in Miyagi, one that was very badly damaged by the tsunami. Along with my family and friends, I lived through the initial fear of not knowing if everyone was okay. Once everyone was all accounted for we began dealing with the real terror of the nuclear meltdown, the unknown as it were, largely because we all felt we weren't getting the real story from the government. How true that has come to be. Most people I know struggled with deciding to stay or go. Family ties, jobs, personal financial situations, visa issues and not wanting to abandon a country they'd come to love were all concerns that kept most of us there. When we did finally leave, it was not easy on a personal or emotional level. On a logical level though we knew it was the right thing to do, not the least being because of the constant lies told to the people by the Japanese government and TEPCO. Reading this book brought back all of the horror of those days, weeks and months. To say it is well-written and informative does little to convey the emotion that this book evoked, not just in me, but in everyone to whom I recommended it, all of those family and friends who also went through the disaster. Even if you have never been to Japan or don't know anyone in Japan, read it to gain some understanding of the sheer terror of what it is like to go through an event that passes for a few minutes of evening news to most. Read it also so that you can feel even some of the anger the rest of us did at the poor response, obfuscation and bungling of what may prove to be the worst nuclear disaster ever.
5.0 von 5 Sternen I came away in awe of the survival instincts of human beings... 23. September 2014
Von Peter Patrick Smith - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The only way for me to comprehend tragedy on a huge scale is to understand it from the perspective of real people, with names and stories. Lucy Birmingham delivers that and then some in this very emotive telling of the 2011 Tsunami and resulting nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in Japan. I came away in awe of the survival instincts of human beings and the immense and destructive power of mother-nature. Peter Smith, Author, Hiring Squirrels.
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