Japan is incredibly well-equipped for disaster

For your reference, as approximately the lowest person on the org chart for Ogaki City (it’s in Gifu, which is fairly close to Nagoya, which is 200 miles from Tokyo, which is 200 miles from Miyagi, which was severely affected by the earthquake), my duties in the event of a disaster were:

  • Ascertain my personal safety.
  • Report to the next person on the phone tree for my office, which we drilled once a year.
  • Await mobalization in case response efforts required English or Spanish translation.

Ogaki has approximately 150,000 people.  The city’s disaster preparedness plan lists exactly how many come from English-speaking countries.  It is less than two dozen.  Why have a maintained list of English translators at the ready?  Because Japanese does not have a word for excessive preparation.

Excellent perspective on the tsunami disaster in Japan. (via @tkinson)

Busy weekend

We had a very busy weekend.  Saturday Linn, Sean, Cam and I put up plasterboard in the shoffice (shed/office). Lots of hard graft all day and much much appreciation for my helpers who slogged long and hard! Now I'm doing the long slog of multiple layers of plaster over the joins, which will be followed by the pain tjob.

Sunday we went for lunch with Holly's aunts and grandmothers at an amazing little cafe in the back streets of Annandale. Stellar food and well worth the (quite long) wait.

Then yesterday afternoon I took Louis for a wander around the Addison Road Centre and we stumbled upon a giant rainbow dog fresh from a Mardi Gras float. Must try and take Louis to see the parade next year.

Just reporting the news at The Australian

Follow up question (from The Australian journalist): "So you'd like people to pay more for petrol and diesel, Senator?"

Christine: "My view is it would be fantastic to have really good public transport in Australia. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have very fast trains, wouldn't it be great to have a decent metro system in Melbourne and Sydney, wouldn't it be great to have electric cars, wouldn't it be great to redesign our cities so that people are less car-dependent and they're healthier and happier at the same time, and experience better air quality. They are the questions that need to be asked and that's what people want. If you want to get transformation and innovation, you only get it by transferring to the technologies that are low carbon and that's where we're coming from in this scenario to make sure we drive that kind of innovation in Australia."

Qn: "So you're signalling that petrol will be included?"

Christine: "Well, the transport sector is.."

QN interrupting: "When you say the transport sector, you're talking freight or people's ordinary cars?"

Did this journo already have his story written and just needed to stick the quote in the appropriate placeholder?

Serious barbecue

The Serious Eats Barbecue Style Guide

This slideshow of amazing barbecue is very inspiring. I'd love to do a road trip through the BBQ states of the US, though tourism in the USA isn't very appealing given you stand a good chance of being sexually assaulted in an airport checkpoint.