Japan Beyond the News Cycle

Detail of Hokusai's Red Fuji via WikiCommons

Detail of Hokusai's Red Fuji via WikiCommons

Because the news cycle is unforgiving, the aftermath of Japan’s triumvirate of disasters is already starting to slip off the front pages of some newspapers around the world. For readers wishing to stay in touch with events in Japan, Galleycat has published a useful list of the social media contacts of English-language writers living in the country. The tweets by these writers give the curious and the concerned a more immediate sense of what it’s like to be living through these events.

The list includes Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice and a guest of last year’s Melbourne Writers Festival. An investigative journalist with a taste for the underworld, Jake hasn’t lost any of his wiseguy charm despite the bleak events of recent days. Here he is tweeting about the Fukushima disaster: “A tiny amount of radiation can’t be any worse than the clove cigarettes I used to chain smoke. Except they taste better.” Writer and translator Matt Alt gives us a sense of how events are playing out at street level: “Noticing a lot of foreign chains have closed shop; H&M, Ikea seem to be shuttered across Kanto.” Ashley Thompson refers us to this time-lapse map of the earthquake and its aftershocks, while writer Christopher Belton tweets, “Dear Overseas Media #5: People will have to consume 1kg of contaminated spinach every day for a year for it to have an effect on health.”

Update: here’s an article on the challenging task old media reporters face of covering the Fukushima disaster.