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Why did those foreigners who decided to leave Japan in the aftermath of the March 11 disaster come in for so much derision from some people who labeled them with words like 'flyjin?'

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This whole fly-jin thing is pitting foreigners who stayed versus foreigners who fleed. Unfortunately, it isn't so simple because my personal take has always been that everyone has their own personal reasons.... folks with kids for example would have a very good reason for maybe wanting to be cautious.

There are of course groups of foreigners who for some reason or another have this rather superiority complex... or maybe even the opposite (inferior complex and have to always prove they know a lot about Japanese culture and society to everyone else). You know the types; the ones who feel they've earned their "wings" based on their years living in this country along with the amount they've learned in that time regarding the different facets of everyday Japanese life resulting in "achieving a higher level" of knowledge and expertise compared to other foreigners (I guess in their eyes, they would label these other lesser foreigners as n00bie gaijin).

Some foreigners who spend serious amounts of time blogging about their life in Japan come across this way. I know most done mean it but some do have this serious condescending style in their approach to sharing their idea of Japanese culture to the rest of the world. A few of those sites (not going to name them here but some are known sites in the gaijin J-blog community) clearly also had a chip on their shoulder directly after March 11th regarding the whole thing about foreigners fleeing the country and causing this foreigner versus foreigner derision in the first place.

My stance has always been that each individuals circumstances are unique and if a foreigner felt it was in their best interest to leave based upon their own situations, then I don't see why some other foreigners felt it was any of their personal business and taking it to a level of creating another subclass. When you look at these folks, they come across as class A morons.

However, I also felt that if someone was leaving on their own decision (weren't being directed by their employer to leave as some companies did), they at least owed their employer some form of simple notice and the reason why. This is just plain common courtesy which I know is very lacking in todays society. Yes, I know some companies are cr*p but in this day and age where jobs are not a dime a dozen, you don't want to burn the bridge or leave a less than desirable impression of yourself no matter how crummy that firm is. I personally would give far more leeway to someone who at least informed me they were concerned for their personal safety or whatever other reason as opposed to someone who packed up and quickly skipped town for a few days without saying anything (communicating intentions goes a long way when it comes to employment). Regardless though, I wouldn't go about classifying these folks in the derogatory manner that some did in terms of the whole fly-jin thing.

IMHO, the ones who intend to engage in that going forward are the ones with the problem as all they are doing is showing what really small minds they have. They really aren't that much better than the ones doing the tasteless scaremongering.

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The derision is unfortunate, but in some cases, the decision to leave was based on inaccurate information and panic. I mentioned two other cases on another thread. One was an Australian woman who just left straight for Narita, bought a ticket and after she got home, she emailed her boss and said she wouldn't be coming back. Then she called her landlord to say the same and that he could sell all her stuff.

The other case was told to me by my friend who works at a moving company. He said they had received countless calls from clients who had already left and were calling the office from their home country to say they wouldn't be back, not even to pack, and could the moving company pack everything up and send it to them. They even requested a radiation check on their stuff.

For many companies who employed foreign staff, it wasn't easy when some of those workers took off with no notice. They still have a business to run and it isn't easy to find a replacement quickly.

For example, in the case of the Australian woman mentioned above, it wouldn't have killed her to give two weeks' notice, then contact her landlord, pack up her staff and then return home.

In my opinion, this whole fiasco can be attributed to sensationalized reporting by foreign media and by unnecessary advisories by foreign embassies.

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Honne -- good post. (Although I'm not sure what your rant in your second and third paragraphs has to do with this topic. Are you simply trying to demonstrate your "superirity complex"? Or inferiority? Which is it?) In any case, this whole "flyin" thing is pure nonsense and bigotry, IMO. No one has the right to cast dispertions on people who had different priorities than themselves or saw the situation differently. Respectfully, people who have lived in Japan for any length of time know that TEPCO has a history of corporate malfeasance and short-changing safety. Likely they know that the J-government also has a history of being less than tranparent in communicationg information during times of crisis, as well as horrendous crisis management skills. If they chose to conclude from this history that they would potentially be better taking their families outside the country, that cannot be deemed anything less than reasonable. No different than the Japanese folks who took their families south.

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As long as they don't expect to have a job waiting when they come back after realizing they panicked for no reason, anyone is free to go. Even if the power plant blew up, Tokyo is far enough away that there wouldn't be immediate danger. So, those that overreacted and abandoned their jobs for no valid reason don't deserve any special treatment. It is all those lining up for reentry permits that got on the nerves of many people, I assume. They want to be here for the good times, but will not stick around when things get a bit tough. They seem to be saying that others can do the hard job of keeping things going while they are gone, but they want special treatment and expect jobs waiting for them when they come back.

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To each his own..it just appalls me that some 'flyjin' actually lied about their reason to leave, 2 people in my company and some I've read about made excuses about relatives having sudden surgeries or falling ill....ridiculous...why not be professional and say they were going home due to the situation here?? Both 'flyjin' did not respond to calls and emails and just called from the airport to say they were going home...and then came back expecting to receive the royal treatment...

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I hate people on FB and othersites telling me for the sake of my children's health that I should leave Japan. The stir of emotions it creates in me is considerable. Just wish people did not shoot their mouths off so much. As for "flyjin", I have mixed feelings. If you had the holiday time, and was worried about your children, and lived near the area, then taking off for a few weeks or so, not a bad thing. But those that paniced and took off and now are back, should not be saying how much they love Japan, and like living here. I considered what to do if things when to hell, but I was not about to just throw down everything and leave. And yes, some of these people did it with out showing much consideration to other people. They do not deserve any respect. I also wish most of them will admit the truth and that they paniced instead of saying they were just being cautious.

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Honne, I'm sorry to hear you were offended by people calling you "flyjin". May I remind you that just as it is your right to panic and run away at the first hint of imagined personal danger, it is also the right of others to mock you for it. Y'know, there's no laws against giving your opinion of people.

My stance has always been that each individuals circumstances are unique and if a foreigner felt it was appropriate to label someone who packed up and left without notice a flyjin, then I don't see why some other foreigners felt it was any of their personal business and taking it to a level of writing long, spergy comments on the Internet about it. When you look at these folks, they come across as class A morons.

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I really haven't heard Japanese discussing this very much. One foreigner in my employer's branch office left (and returned a few days ago) and one person grumbled at the time that we couldn't approve a budget request because of that, but it was just an excuse. Somebody else could have done it. And it wasn't really a delay because the fiscal year hadn't started. We just couldn't take care of the paperwork ahead of time.

There was an article or two in Japanese papers, but it does seem to be a foreigner vs foreigner issue. The derision is coming primarily from other foreigners. What I saw on TV was Japanese wondering if their government wasn't lying to them and if foreigners had more information than they had. The English language news was filled with sensational conjecture and little information, however. In some cases, foreign news stories were reporting gossip from foreign English teachers who may or may not understand Japanese. Plenty of Japanese also headed to the Kansai area, by the way.

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Absolutely everyone's right to leave Japan at this time. I wouldn't call those people 'flyjin'.

My irritation would be if those now returning would expect to get their old job back after being away for however long they were away...perhaps a minimum of a week....perhaps longer. If they did a similar thing back in their home country ie. take a holiday with minimum notice, they'd probably lose their job. Same thing should happen here.

Perhaps in many Japanese companies, Japanese doing the same thing would lose their job. Just because the person is a 'foreigner' it doesn't mean they should be treated like everyone else.

Think about it. If every employee expected to return to their job after taking a sudden 'holiday' for a couple of weeks, companies would very quickly go out of business. The rest of us who stayed had to work all the harder to make up for the people who left on 'holiday'.

By all means leave Japan. But do not expect to fall back into the same job with the same company you left. And do not expect a hearty welcome from colleagues (Japanese or foreign) if this happens.

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seems you just can't win if you're a foreigner, damned if you don't, damned if you do. Actually who cares. I suppose I was a "flyjin" the day I left my country to settle here in Japan--wow! about a quarter century ago already.

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@Honne:

I agree with everything you said.

@Otokam:

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and I agree with you that no one should be shooting their mouths off, and telling you what you should feel is best for your kids. At the same time, it's pretty double standard of you to at the same time shoot your mouth off, about the foreigners who "panicked" and left, and are now back. Unless you're an expert on radiation leaks and know for certain how far it would've spread, then you are really in no position to shoot off your mouth as you don't know their situation, same as how the people on FB and other sites are in no position to shoot off their mouths about you and your circumstance. Would you be prepared to take in their families had they have stayed, and did suffer from radiation sickiness? Live your life how you see fit, and let them live theirs.

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I suppose everyone who stayed here or left had their reasons for doing so, just as they have their reasons for doing so every other day of the year when there is no nuclear disaster. You really can't expect someone to go to a foreign country and feel they will have "roots" enough to die there from radiation sickness or aftershocks without spending a very long time there or having some very profound experience there. That just doen't happen to everyone everyday. Their family and friends and culture and everything they know is back home in another country. So good luck to em. Ont he other hand, those staying no matter what are just as likely to do so for shallow reasons as those leaving. Everybody s got their circumstances and their own ways of interpreting and ignoring thier own truth.

That said, today was the first time I hear the word "fly-jin" and that's a mighty good word! I will have to put it to use!

Yes, as otokam or weather said above, easily startled people can be amusing. Just remember, ppl who left w/o giving notice, paying rent, getting their stuff out of the apt etc, it had nothing to do with being gaijin or with nukes. They would have had liklihood to do similar thing if they found a new job w/in this country last minute, just leabe their old one, or if they hadd suddenly decided to get married and move w/in this countyr last minute. ie it shows a certain amount of irresponsibility. When the tunami comes, pure flight is the only answer, but most other times it is important to spend the necessary minutes to acknowledge those around you who are a part of your life however briefly.

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PS

How bad would things have to get before we could we call it "an afflocalypse of fly-jin"?

Would it be rude of me to imitate a NZ or Ozzie accent and proudly declare myself to be a

"stay-jin"? (stie-jin)

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I'm not one who will criticize anyone who decided (decides) to leave based on recent events. It's a personal decision, and some don't have a compelling reason to stay and face any perceived risk. The decision to stay or go is about what is best for you and your family, and I don't know how anyone can argue with that.

That being said, I don't understand how some are so quick to leave. This is my home and my life is here, and I can't imagine pulling up and moving just like that. Do those that left early not have friends and colleagues they care deeply about? I certainly don't understand how someone could be as unprofessional as to leave their business or clients in the lurch by leaving without notice or trying to find a way to mitigate their absence. If you are going to leave you need to act like an adult and a professional about it.

I don't see how the word "flyjin" is derogatory, though. Pretty funny, IMO.

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I remember when i was young kids would name call each other with silly made up names. Then we got to our teens and apart from those socially inept or badly brought up, the name calling stopped.

People who deride are making themselevs feel good, it is bullying in a verbal rather than physical form. It is also as some have said a form of feeling superior, rather like Hyacinth Bucket does on Keeping Up Appearances.

I would suggest people get on with their own lives, behave decently with morals, stop being so sensitive to what others feel about them and to put it bluntly, mind your own business re others choices.

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I think this is just some stuff and nonsense kicked up on the internet.

I stayed in Japan throughout the situation, but some of my friends left. Do I feel some kind of superiority over them because of this? No.

Will I shun or mock them because they left Japan, and I stayed? No.

Will it alter any of my prior relationships? No.

I still feel greater affinity with other gaijins than I do with Japanese, and this probably won't change. Each had to make a decision based on their own needs, and their own evaluation of risk exposure.

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Where does this term "fly jin" originate from anyway? Well, not from any gaijin. And the news picked up on it. Of course, they never mentioned any of their own so called brave and courageous having fled to deemed safer places. Bunch of hypocrites. And I am sick and tired of gaijin claiming they stayed for this and that reason. Good for you, but don't criticize people who for whatever reason left Fukushima or Japan. Yeah, when they interviewed a couple of gaijin why they were leaving and saying they heard it was dangerous etc., I thought 'you nitwits'. And when I got emails from the embassy mentioning they had arranged seats on planes leaving Japan, I thought 'you nitwits'. But people are not all the same. I didn't even consider leaving my town or Japan for that matter and I am not a hero. It just didn't come up. You know what? It's my experience that people with big mouths are usually the biggest cowards when sh!t really hits the fan.

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Where does this term "fly jin" originate from anyway? Well, not from any gaijin.

Oh, I am quite sure it did come from a foreigner.

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This stuff just shows that ignorance & stupidity are still rather common, on both sides of this flyjin bit.

Those that left/stayed properly communicated things reagrding work/family, cool with me, those that didnt, well there the ones I refered to above.

This stuff happens with any disaster that happens in the world

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@smarticus "The other case was told to me by my friend who works at a moving company. He said they had received countless calls from clients who had already left and were calling the office from their home country to say they wouldn't be back, not even to pack, and could the moving company pack everything up and send it to them. They even requested a radiation check on their stuff."

I wonder did the company comply out of good old famous Japanese service or did they charge extra (like for buying radiative monitors,the extra work involved) or how about tell where to go like you might expect elsewhere? After all the customers selfish behaviour and problems they caused.

"Why did those foreigners who decided to leave Japan in the aftermath of the March 11 disaster come in for so much derision "

Is this a serious question?? Like there aren't enough countless examples.

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@Honne: I couldn't agree with everything you said. The comment has little to do with whether you are a Japan "expert" or not or whether you are snob or not, whether you blog or not, etc, etc, whether you feel left out, inferior, etc, etc,

Its more to do with behaving rationally or not based on the facts or even listening to the facts.

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@toguro you talking about "Would you be prepared to take in their families had they have stayed, and did suffer from radiation sickiness? ". Out of curiosity at the time or the days after did you ever think from the news or other sources that was really a possibility for the members of the public in Japan? I say that against the background of many news at the time and official advice from many places of minimal caner or other physical health issues. You have more radiation in Rome or risk if you took a long haul flight ( ironically to escape). People probably forgot about their diets and smoking is probably contributing more to the possibility of cancer. Or is it not about looking for facts at the time but instead act then look for info later? Stress, Depression will be a bigger problem if you look post Chernobyl, which this never was / could ever be ( obviously that last bit was widely present info straight away - but the other info was).

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Even if the power plant blew up, Tokyo is far enough away that there wouldn't be immediate danger.

Not all foreigners live in Tokyo - I sure as heck never would. My friends that evacuated all left from the Fukushima area - within 50-60km of Dai-ichi. I can assure everyone - foreign or Japanese - that no-one would want to call them "fly-jin" in front of me. The people who use the term are only game enough to do so online.

Richard III sums it up perfectly:

I think this is just some stuff and nonsense kicked up on the internet. I stayed in Japan throughout the situation, but some of my friends left. Do I feel some kind of superiority over them because of this? No. Will I shun or mock them because they left Japan, and I stayed? No. Will it alter any of my prior relationships? No.

My thoughts exactly!

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@Honne:

right on.

The rest can go buy that " i am not a flyjin tee shirt " in any languages other than Japanese ( as the locals don't give a hoot ) and feel good about it.

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They showed no sentiment of 'giri'. I think Patrick Smash you did the right thing. They also demonstrated that they didn't trust the J-Government at all. We have been repeatedly told that it was safe, except the near surroundings of Fukushima. So, there was no reason at any point to flee Tokyo. I find it very selfish to come here, live the sweet life and at the slightest problem just leave everything and everyone behind. I lived through the Lebanon war, villages got bombed before my eyes, I lived in a bunker most of the time but out of consideration for my colleagues, I didn't leave there either even though that situation was far more serious than this one. Duty and honor.

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Even if the power plant blew up, Tokyo is far enough away that there wouldn't be immediate danger.

Are you sure about that?

The Tokyo tap water was contaminated enough when the wind changed and it rained after hydrogen caused an explosion over one of the reactors.

If one of the reactors had actually blewn up, all the plant staff would have had to be evacuated and so there would not have been anyone left to cool down the other reactors. Eventually all six reactors would have blown up.

Tokyo is not all that far away. I certainly would not want to be around if the entire Kanto region needs to be evacuated. I would have felt much more at ease if I could leave, but I didn't.

I suspect many of those most critical of the "flyjins" are those who wanted to leave but chose not to, for whatever reason (pressure, money, lazy, ...).

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No problems with "flyjin" (first time I've heard this term), only problems with those returning now expecting to get their jobs back, not going to happen...

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"Why"? Sensationalist news media and nuclear hysteria is why.

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"The Tokyo tap water was contaminated enough when the wind changed and it rained after hydrogen caused an explosion over one of the reactors."

Wouldnt have even made the news in other countries as their standards are alot less strict. Sometimes strict standards cause fear in some who dont understand that.

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I am with Badge213.

How many also left without paying(notifying landlord/utilities) and are back now to face unpaid rent, electricity, etc bills that came in while they were away.

Those bills don't go away and will pile up while a person is away but in the end "someone" needs to pay those.

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"I suspect many of those most critical of the "flyjins" are those who wanted to leave but chose not to, for whatever reason (pressure, money, lazy, ...)."

you suspect very wrong...

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There's this restaurant I know that hires students from the college near by, some of the student wait staff essentially dissapeared without any notice. It hurts businesses, and I don't expect them to get their jobs back if they ever decide to return.

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I would say if some flyjin were not so lazy as to do some research or read beyond the headlines, then they would cause less problems in their selfish wake.

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The "I'm better than you" complex. You see it in some foreigners and you see it in Japanese and the Japanese media. Scr*w the Jp media - the Japanese wouldn't go anywhere near New Zealand after their earthquake - so ironic given what happened afterwards in Japan. Where's the criticism aimed at the Japanese who fled Tokyo?

I don't care if many foreigners went back to their own country. For tourists, they were going to go home anyway. They've got no responsibility to stay. As for residents, it's not easy when friends and relatives are phoning you everyday, worried sick and begging you to go home.

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Look at it as an opportunity, looking for jobs left by people who left Japan? Now's the time! I made sure my face was shown at the head office a few days after the quake, during the height of the "exodus" portrayed in the media.

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Looks like someone is already capitalizing on it too, some guy already has flyjin.com

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No problems with "flyjin" (first time I've heard this term), only problems with those returning now expecting to get their jobs back, not going to happen...

Maybe down in Tokyo companies will be more strict towards giving employment to returning evacuees. I can understand companies would be peeved if individuals just upped and left with zero notice. But up here in Tohoku (Fukushima at least) all those people I know of who left WILL be going back into their previous jobs - hopefully soon! They and their families will be warmly welcomed back by us. We are working hard towards getting things going again, rather than bearing grudges and bitterness towards friends.

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Back from work and going through the comments from the day makes for an interesting read. I did use the f-word some time ago and got deleted, so it seems to be a delicate definition for some, like the n-word in the USA. Of course I never intended it to label every single foreigner in Narita with that, heck no, I have a 6 months old baby, I got plenty of calls from my parents and sis' back in Germany, but after some research on the net, e.g. Wikipedia, American Embassy, bbc, I was rather fast convinced that there was absolutely no need to run, stay alert for a week we did, to drive to West Japan should a strong aftershock or something else put forward the worst case scenario - but it was still only for the worry of the baby, nothing more. To use that famous saying "Come for the beauty, stay for the people", or "Come for the money, fly for the panic". I don't feel better than them, or think I understand "Japan" more, it is just such an incomprehensible "decision", waste of past efforts, time and money. Alas, the digital future will bring forward many more of these kind, what with int'l companies, facebook and skype, all with disregard for "local", getting closer and closer to the Matrix, aren't we?!

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for those that left when reactor 2 blew, they made the right decision because radiation levels were the worst on this day and the following day (as acknowledged by experts and reported in the news). Who knows what could have happened next. One's and one's families safety is the utmost importance. Fortunately the situation is somewhat more stable, but if any of the other reactors start to make a turn for the worst..I will make the same decision without a doubt.

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To the guy above with the Fukushima friends: Nobody is criticizing people who evacuated from Fukushima. That's where the evacuation zone is. Of COURSE people have to get out of there!

The people who fled Tokyo for Kansai or fled Kansai for North America or whatever are what people are talking about. Oh dear lord -- MAGIC RADIATION is coming for us in Tokyo! Gotta split! No time to pack or pay bills or give notice at my job, GET ME OUT OF HERE! (but give me my job back later)

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@BurakuminDes

But up here in Tohoku (Fukushima at least) all those people I know of who left WILL be going back into their previous jobs - hopefully soon!

You in Fukushima are in a completely different circumstance than the rest of people. I can't imagine anyone criticizing those who fled Fukushima!!!

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byejin flyjin, why wouldn't they? it's not like Japan actually would like them to stick around.No dual citizenship. foreign identification certificates and being labelled by the indegenous population as outsiders. The nature of itenerant workers is mobility. Japan was facing a crisis, Media hysteria was rampant and the fact that gaijin is the single biggest identifying label on these people it is obvious they are not actually integrated or integral to the society they were in. Loyalty is a two way street. Oh by the way what about the Japanese that fled Japan or high tailed it to western Japan? Surely less loyalty from them. Maybe they can be called something like "nigonejins" Good luck to them and I hope they have happy lives back where ever they came from.

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Maybe down in Tokyo companies will be more strict towards giving employment to returning evacuees. I can understand companies would be peeved if individuals just upped and left with zero notice. But up here in Tohoku (Fukushima at least) all those people I know of who left WILL be going back into their previous jobs - hopefully soon! They and their families will be warmly welcomed back by us. We are working hard towards getting things going again, rather than bearing grudges and bitterness towards friends.

That's all fine. What if you were the boss of a company in Osaka and had some of your foreign staff just dissapear. I doubt people would be so friendly to warmly welcome them back if they decide to show up.

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That's all fine. What if you were the boss of a company in Osaka and had some of your foreign staff just dissapear. I doubt people would be so friendly to warmly welcome them back if they decide to show up.

As I have previously stated, I would be peeved if that happened - without any notification, etc. But I am certain flexibility will be shown in many cases - I don't anticipate a flood of newbies coming in to replace those who did leave. I am also certain the situation won't affect friendships between people who stayed and those who left.

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What? Flyjin? I didn't know they call me that..that's mean!

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Some people trust in themselves, not TEPCO. Seems like the intelligent choice.

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flyjin is a nice word. This is the first time I've read about it, though.

I think it applies to certain types who, as mentioned above, panic easily, feel little sense of personal responsibility, regard the world as their private travel oyster and those living in it as semi-cartoon characters, think they deserve a lot of things while others do not, are selfish etc.

Whether it applies to everyone who left the country in late March-early April is difficult to say. I will try to use the word, though.

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Why? Because some people who live here think they are above the rest of us. That is why they are here. They never fit in back home. So they spend there time coming up with ideas to deride anyone they please. I left because I live in Fukushima and have a young son. Anyone who has a problem with that can go pound salt! A lot of people were encouraged by their families back home or by their governments to get out.

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Oops (their time)

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I read an article in one of the J weeklies this weekend. The gist was, "I dont blame the foreigners for leaving. The food, the security, the smiles, etc. that they came to Japan for are gone now. We Japanese need to work hard to make Japan better. When they come back, we know we will have succeeded."

Isn't that nice? What a great sentiment. But this is called "the Japanese kiss-off". As soon as you smile and nod your approval, you are basically saying, "Yes. It's true Japan. I am a vapid tourist. A sightseer. I do not give a whit about this country or its people. I am not in it for the long haul and I do not deserve a say in how things go. Ever."

I did not come to Japan to see smiles and take pictures.

My easy answer to the question is that I would never label a person by calling them a flyjin. Nevertheless, I believe that the people who fled from affected areas earned my contempt for leaving their neighbors and friends in imminent danger. That is reprehensible and is only justified by sheer panic. Sheer terror. People needed help. People needed solidarity. This is why school teachers at public schools DID NOT shirk their duties in the slightest in my area. Nobody did. They walked through the snow to do home visits to make sure ALL of their students were ok. It was MOVING to see each teacher come to our door. They all had families of their own. Postal workers delivered on foot because they had no gas for their vehicles. Newspapers were delivered. Milk was delivered to households until it ran out. People have a duty to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. You do it for the next guy. For the community.

One of my children had a graduation ceremony. How many were absent? Out of about 150 kids, how many gaps in the line? ZERO. ZERO. They were all there. I am glad we were there too. It was important. Extremely important. Dressed in our best when some had not showered for a week.

Others did not feel in imminent danger, but left anyway. Then why leave? Why not help others? Still a very poor show.

Many many many of the people I have seen posting on this site have been agitating for voting and other rights to be extended to non-citizens. Kiss that goodbye. Japanese people, and I as well, got a chance to see what the most responsible and influential foreigners do when the going gets rough.

There are obvious exceptions. Like myself, frankly, and TKO, and even the quiet calm of USNINJAPAN and SMORKJAN helped people to be calm. Too bad that people will just assume that we are like all the other foreigners.

Just tourists.

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Burakumin. Don't know what I would do in Fukushima. Really don't know. If I were beyond 30 km, I would just stay inside. Or mostly stay inside. However, if I were within 30 km but not within 20, I would have left, advising others to do so, because of the small probability of things getting worse. That is, I would have stayed put until 3.12, probably moving back at about 3.16.

My situation is that one government told me I was in so much danger that I had to evacuate. They called me personally to tell me so. Another told me I was safe. I knew the facts and made the right choice. I took the road less travelled, and it has make all the difference.

All the foreigners I know decided to flee before their governments advised them, but after they saw foreign press reports. I know almost the exact timing.

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One last thing. Judgment. Who wants to employ someone who can't trust Japanese, can't believe their eyes, can't trust their employees or employers, and knows less about Japan than the lowliest reporter for Fox News or CNN? Ignorant. Scared. Pushing for the lifeboats instead of helping women and children. Derision? People who can't make decisions based on facts have no business making decisions that affect others.

People made bad decisions based on bad information from bad sources instead of just using sense, looking around, and paying attention to the facts. I was not following JT at the time, but I have looked at the logs, and you can see that people who decided to leave went through a pretty obvious pattern: worry, fatique, despair, cynicism, suspicion, panic and pessimism.

The JA ads, as corny as they are, are designed to keep people reasonable and not let people move to later stages.

It is what we do in the worst of times that makes a difference. This event will define a generation. I never felt endangered. I am extremely proud of people who remained calm and helped others.

Finally I guess, these events brought out the best and worst in people. The contrast that sticks in my mind is not FOREIGNER/JAPANESE it is Fukushima/Tokyo. As in: here you have Tepco people willing to die to save everyone else, and people in Tokyo can't restrain themselves from buying up all the toilet paper available.

I lived in Tokyo once. As Burakumin has observed, it is a mystery why anyone would want to live there, and I can add "the people" as a reason not to. These are the bankers and business managers and decision makers who are guiding us all, and I have seen more civilized behavior from people who have lost everything and are living in a shelter. SHAME.

Moderator: Please tone down your rhetoric.

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I left Japan in 2009 after spending 5 wonderful years living in a fantastic country which I miss dearly. I am American, my wife is Japanese. In the days following the terrible chain of tragedies that struck Japan in March, I recommended that my non-Japanese friends with no necessity to be there leave. The reason I recommended that they leave was not due to an unreasonable fear of radiation. The reason was simple. Japan was in disarray and many resources (food, water, fuel, etc.) were scarce. Many non-Japanese with the ability (company, personal or state-sponsored) to leave Japan who chose not to, were using precious resources that should be left for those who needed them most and who were not able to leave. If I had been still living in Tokyo in the days following this disaster, I would've felt so guilty if I'd chosen to remain and work for my employer while consuming precious resources (food, water, fuel, electricity, etc.)when the reality is that my job could've been done (at least temporarily) from offshore. Sure, if there were a way that I could've contributed to the relief efforts while staying onshore, I would've probably chosen to do so. However, the reality is that my Japanese ability (somewhere between JLPT 3 & 2) wouldn't have been good enough amidst the chaotic atmosphere that unfolded to be of real help. Meanwhile, keeping my family in a resource-constrained area at a time when the Japanese gov't is advising infants (I have a 1yr-old) not to consume tap water, would've also made me uneasy about remaining in Tokyo during this time.

If this somehow makes me a "flygin", so be it.

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IMHO, those who left the country aren't likely to attempt a return, so the "problem" of whether a company should hire them back is probably moot. When someone leaves after a huge earthquake and subsequent big aftershocks, they're likely not going to turn around and go back.

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Anyone using these inane terms who did not live through the danger, either real or perceived, should hold their tongues. It is just too easy to speculate what you WOULD have done. I also know many Japanese (at least where I live 60km west of the reactors) who fled to other parts of Japan. And I know some who are still looking to get out of the country over concerns for their childrens future welfare. Don`t you have a term for them? Come on big shots! My wife worked with a university student here. He was a part-timer. He was gone without word as soon as the first reactor blew. Guess where his daddy works? TEPCO. I guess we will see in about 20 years when these kids reach adulthood and childbearing age. They are finding out near Chernobyl as I type this.

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at the same time, I think there are people like myself who have been here 14 years and are always on the borderline of wanting to go back home anyway.The rigmarole of just trying to get a spouse visa renewed and the grind of daily life as a foreigner in Japan can be quite tiring.I know many long termers who have just upped and gone of late.I guess things like the Tsunami just cemented some people's feelings who were sitting on the fence.

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Wasn't the original 'fly-jin' article just an opinion piece by Mariko Sanchanta in the on-line Wall Street Journal on March 23rd, entitled "Expatriates Tiptoe Back to the Office" that got picked by some of the foreigners' forums in Japan, and then went viral? It sounded like she made up the word herself. I've never heard a Japanese use the expression.

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The rigmarole of just trying to get a spouse visa renewed and the grind of daily life as a foreigner in Japan can be quite tiring.

After 14 years you're still messing with spouse visas and 'life as a foreigner'? No wonder you find it tiring....

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It's not fair to call them Flyjin.

The bottom line is safety and then of course quality of life. If you don't have to stay here it's easy to say goodbye.

So don't call them Flyjin....they're just smart people who are in control of their own lives instead of the government in control of yours.

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I work in Tokyo and found that the vast majority of long-timers with permanent jobs did not leave Tokyo. Seems this phenomenon is more short-timers. Also, in my office, many many Japanese returned to hometowns out of harms way--not me. I don't blame anyone for leaving. Right after the tsunami it was unclear how bad things would get and with the group mentality, if everyone finally decided to evacuate because the situation got too bad, then those who "valiantly" stayed behind in Tokyo would have been toast.

In addition, after the tsunami, there was a sense of unease in Tokyo that something bad would happen. Perhaps N.Korea would take the opportunity to lob a missile, or some right wingers would go after foreigners. These are not far-fetched ideas considering they could not even deliver gas, milk, bread or water!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't see how the word "flyjin" is derogatory, though. Pretty funny, IMO.

My opinion too. I am not going to get into my personal feelings on the topic though, would just come back here in few hours to read that I am a know-it-all who thinks he is better than everybody else. Also that I claim to have had access to information that just wasn't available, and that I don't respect other people's personal decision. Actually I have no problem with people leaving Japan, I may apply for flyjin status myself before too long, as I have my own personal terror. But it is called "summer", not radiation.

What is really interesting to me are not the foreigner vs. foreigner battles, they were predictable when members of a group have such different reactions to a situation. What I find interesting is the Japanese reaction. The only Japanese people I know who are angry about the Flyjin situation are my wife (but she has spent too much time living outside the country and so has lost her mysterious "Japaneseness" - hah, I wish that is what it was, but is just her being her) and people whose lives were directly affected, ie. job, home-stay guest ordered to leave country, etc. Everybody else I talk to either just doesn't care, or are baffled and wondering what these people were doing here in the first place. Me too. Stuff happens in Japan, and it can happen at anytime. Check the scoreboard if you don't know what I am talking about. As was said to me, "They chose to live here, we were never given that choice". Seems clear to me that a lot of people's risk assessment equations were missing a variable or two.

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What about the Jflys, the ones who relocated their families to Okinawa and Kyushu. I have met at least 15 familes just in Fukuoka city who have relocated down here temporarily from Tokyo and Tohoku. I know a Japanese family from Tokyo who have gone to the States for a while because they had family they could stay with. I didnt judge them for a second, they are looking after their families and doing what they think is right for their loved ones. Ive also spoken to many people who want to relocate family temporarily down here but mam/ dad Granma/Grandad dont want to move. Its all personal choice. If Japanese people had the choice to move (albeit temporarily) many more would take the chance i reckon. The problem is the Hjin (Hoarding Jin) loading up with enough provisions for a nuclear holocaust - now that`s selfish.

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@koriyamaboy

Anyone using these inane terms who did not live through the danger, either real or perceived, should hold their tongues. It is just too easy to speculate what you WOULD have done. I also know many Japanese (at least where I live 60km west of the reactors) who fled to other parts of Japan.

Even the most venomous commentator would not fault anyone for voluntarily evacuating when they lived 60km from Fukushima Daiichi.

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The snub heard 'round the world. Stories of the cold shoulder that many foreigners are receiving, and will continue to receive will spread through stories and social networks. This marks the beginning of the younger generation's view of Japan's xenophobia and their lack of cultural sensitivity toward foreigners.

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For me, the ultimate flyjin though are the embassy staff who put a notice on their hp telling everybody to get out if they are east of Fuji-san and than close shop to go to Kansai or even back home! I guess my thinking that they are supposed to look after their people is outdated and old fashioned.

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@seawolf - embassies act in their National Interests, not their nationals' interest.

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As a boss who has ataff leave, it is now impossible for me to rely on them. They ledft when they were most needed in Japan. If people worried about family, then putfamily on a plane or even go withn them to drop them wgherever and then come back. we had so many staff just left and then arrived in offcies in other countries and expected to be accomodated. For Japanese colleagues who see expats looked after with housing and good salaries and so on, it leaves a bitte taste. Especially senior staff who will surely have lost a degree of resepct from their Japanese staff and colleagues. And rhat for? surely they must have known earthquake risk in Japan is high? and the nuclear scare is just silly - people panic because nuclear is a "black box" - not because there is any real risk. Some people's reactions were plain silly and certainly deserving of a little bit of disapoointment.

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How about the Japanese who caused food and supply shortages in Tokyo by buying 50 bottles of water each (not to mention toilet paper, tissues, diapers...) after the earthquake?

I think this is a better example of failing your social responsibility than foreigners thinking of their personal and families' safety.

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Totally agree with Mittsu above. The chickens who ran scared and jumped ship are now coming back and asking for forgiveness while local staff had to do their job and bite the bullet while they were away.

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Hm, this is all interesting. I live far far away from the mess, but I still had family members and friends call because they were worried about me even though I had sent countless messages stating that I was completely fine.

I feel that in this whole case, hindsight is 20/20, don't you think?

I'm sure that if things had gone differently (and it seemed that on more than one occasion it could have) the people who left would have been deemed smart for leaving at the right time. Those who stayed would be pitied and be considered stubborn.

Really, it's all just a matter of perspective.

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some flyjin in the office came up with the lame excuse that he had to travel back home to tend to his sick grandmother. He felt he needed to be at her side at this "difficult time". This guy was pathetic..can never trust him again.

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Totally agree with Mittsu above. The chickens who ran scared and jumped ship are now coming back and asking for forgiveness while local staff had to do their job and bite the bullet while they were away.

What total pretentiousness. The Japanese in Tokyo and non-emergency zones who hoarded food and supplies neglected how they could "help Japan". Any foreigner who chose to leave did right.

For those of you who think you can judge these people are snobs, plain and simple.

And for the record, I stayed in Tokyo while many Japanese I work with fled town.

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See a few straw men arguments here. One, nobody is talking about people leaving Fukushima, they are talking about people leaving Tokyo. Two, Japanese people who left generally did so without making a mad dash to the airport and abandoning their jobs. It was school holidays anyways, and often they had family in western Japan to stay with. With the general post-quake situation as well as the Fukushima situation they made the call to leave. I know one woman who did so, and she now seems a bit embarrassed that she did, but I don't think she has any reason to be. Will agree on the hoarding point though, the level of toilet paper hoarding has been described as if trees had become extinct, it was and maybe still is at insane levels.

Also, to add to Mittsu's point, if you get on that internet thing (I believe Smorkian is the poster who has been telling people for weeks they should try using it) you will learn there is a whole field of academic study on risk assessment. Things played out exactly how the experts said they would. The instinctive way to deal with the risk of radiation is to run away, the instinctive way to deal with earthquake risk is to ignore it. Now, I had always assumed that other foreigners were like me, that they accepted the earthquake risk as a price of living here, but clearly most people just ignored it. The problem is that the radiation response is pretty harmless, maybe some individuals screwed-up their jobs and personal lives by jumping the gun, but it doesn't get anybody killed. But the response to earthquake risk is what gets people killed, because they and society are not prepared when they come. We live in time when buying a Geiger counter is considered prudent, but planning for earthquakes is fear-mongering. Moving from a non-earthquake area into an active earthquake zone is done casually, but an incident at a nuclear plant makes the place suddenly too dangerous? It's a head-shaker, and that has been my opinion from the start.

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I am a Flyjin and proud of it! I saw more Japanese on the plane than foreigners heading out,so what were they? Then more foreigner heading back than Japanese.

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Japanese people who left generally did so without making a mad dash to the airport and abandoning their jobs.

Wrong. The Japanese did the mad dash to their families' homes in other parts of Japan. The Japanese also refused to show up to work.

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I know one woman who did so, and she now seems a bit embarrassed that she did, but I don't think she has any reason to be.

agreed on this. Anyone who decided to leave should not be embarrassed at all.

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All this makes me smile. It's easy to parade now that the situation is almost under control in Fukushima. Truth is that the week following the earthquake even Kan didn't know "what the hell was going on". The nuclear plant was a mess and we can just consider ourselves lucky everything went well, with just small amounts of radioactive materials released in the atmosphere. Leaving was the right thing to do before a possible complete chaos, by that I mean Narita and Haneda stopped, all trains packed with people trying to escape, etc. Japanese had basically nowhere to go so they stayed in Japan, piling up packs of water at home.

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People needed to judge what was right for themselves. How is their leaving hurting Japan? Food and supply hoarding by Japanese was a failure to society.

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There is no need to complain bitterly. I see it as a personal decision. The media is the one that should be blamed to creating panic. I stayed not because I was convinced by the government information regarding the nuclear disaster, I stayed because I had that confidence to do so. If it was Japanese nationals living in a foreign country and something like that happen, they would probably be the first one to leave. So there is no need to use such terms as "Flyjin". Some of my friends left and before they did I advised them if they didn't have any confidence, they could. Hard times either bring people together or tear them apart.

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@888naff: I have to be honest with you, and answer no, I didn't think so, but that is sort of the point. No one knew, not even the so called experts. My point is, I'm not going to fault anyone for making a decision, based on what they felt was best for themselves, or their families. It's not my place to judge them, especially when I'm far enough away from the situation, and quite safe from it.

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I wonder what the term 'flyjin' really means and who came up with it? If we want to look at it in a mild way, it could just refer to the term 'to fly', meaning people who take an airplane and just fly away. But it could also refer to a 'fly', meaning the insect. In this case it would compare to a fly that comes, sucks out all the good things until the bellie is full and at the slightest sign of smoke leaves. We all know that the flies will be back after the smoke has gone. So, which one is it?

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My point is, I'm not going to fault anyone for making a decision, based on what they felt was best for themselves, or their families.

Exactly! I wish others (Japanese and foreigners-trying-not-to-be-foreign) wouldn't be so quick to judge.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think the term is on the spot. I don't think those who left are under fire from Japanese though. Japanese in general show understanding and see the fleeing foreigners following what their countries tell them to do. The general advice for all of us was to consider leaving. Interpretation for each case is different - that's why many left and many stayed.

The bitter taste is there though.The latest events just confirmed why Japanese see us always as a temporary visitors. Often we get teased when asked "when are you going back to your country" and I always use joke to make such people feel uneasy. But in the current situation I am on their side - as part of this society we also have some responsibilities.

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No one knew, not even the so called experts

That is a Flyjin myth. Every expert in the world knew that there was no danger of airborne radiation reaching Tokyo in hazardous amounts. Tokyo was at a distance that was safe after Chernobyl. Aha, but the Russians and the scientists lied!!! The radiation spread all over Europe and caused sickness and death! Hey maybe, but if true then fat lot of good it is doing you sitting in Osaka.

I will repeat, I have no problem with people doing what they did, I have a problem with people making stuff up to try and justify it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@GJDailleult: "Hey maybe, but if true then fat lot of good it is doing you sitting in Osaka." That's why it was best just to leave Japan lol

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That is a Flyjin myth. Every expert in the world knew that there was no danger of airborne radiation reaching Tokyo in hazardous amounts.

GJDailleult -- really? Please site "every expert" who stated this unchatergorically between March 12th and the 15th. And, even if that was true, which it isn't, you have simplified the reason for folks leaving simply because they had this hysterical fear of radiation. That is nonsense. Many people left because there were predictions -- by many experts -- of continued, strong aftershocks, which did occur. Also, there were wide-spread shortages of food, milk, and rolling blackouts. Maybe folks left simply because they did not want to put their families at risk due to these uncertainties. Especially since they were possibly going to leave the next week anyway for Spring Break. Stop painting everyone with your silly and simplistic "hysteria" logic.

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@ foxie - please read my earlier post - the original 'fly-jin' article was just an opinion piece by Mariko Sanchanta in the on-line Wall Street Journal on March 23rd, entitled "Expatriates Tiptoe Back to the Office" that got picked by some of the foreigners' forums in Japan, and then went viral? It sounded like she made up the word herself. I've never heard a Japanese use the expression.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This silly argument is gaijin vs gaijin. In fact, the Japanese media talks about the hardships by certain industries because of less gaijin. They want them back for the economy. They finally are forced to take a look inside and ask why the world doubted their government's voice of calm.

IMO, judging or painting a wide brush to categorically define a group of people is paramount to being a hypocrite.

Full disclosure: I am a raised internationally Japanese citizen. I moved my wife and small children to Osaka from Tokyo asap. I followed them the next day to stay for a week and half in a hotel with them. I communicated to my company. I was worried about getting fired only a little but I would lose my job over risking my baby's health. It was my choice with the limited and conflicting info available. In that first week, nobody could stand up with confidence and say Kanto would be safe. I don't judge anybody who decided to stay or leave nor do I think one group is smarter or braver than the other. Interpret the official info as you wish and believe who you wish. At the end, I am proud of my family's action of accurately implementing a safety contingency plan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

porter - excellent post! thanks for recounting your thought process.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Porter Nothing to add, you said it all

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@herefornow

Please site "every expert" who stated this unchatergorically between March 12th and the 15th.

The WHO for one has been saying this since the beginning. I don't know if it is archived on their site or not.

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smorkian - people had to make their own judgement for what was best for them and their families. Even assuming the radiation was fine, there was a basic lack of supplies in stores, not to mention the threat of rolling blackouts, train troubles, and still more strong aftershocks (not to mention the well-announced prediction of a major quake for tokyo in the days after 3/11). Anyone who chose to leave made a reasonable decision, as did those who chose to stay.

Some apparently have done a poor job of leaving in an adult fashion

What does that mean?? Do you even know? If you are criticizing people who left the next day, why? Should they have waited 1 week before making a decision just so they could suffer more inconvenience? They made a judgement and took actions that made them feel safe.

How did the people leaving hurt Japan? None of the self-important people criticizing those who left seem to be able to answer this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What does that mean?? Do you even know? If you are criticizing people who left the next day, why? Should they have waited 1 week before making a decision just so they could suffer more inconvenience?

I can tell you what it means. I am referring to the people who pulled up stakes and fled the country without even telling anyone until they left. An adult would talk face-to-face to their boss and explain why they are leaving. People didn't have to delay leaving, just approach it with consideration for the people who are affected by their decision.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smorkian,

You have a reasonable point about people at least informing their bosses that they are leaving. That is the adult thing to do.

But if l can borrow your statement and change it a bit "Some apparently have done a poor job of leaving in an adult fashion" to some who stayed are doing a poor job of acting like adults by critisising and name calling against those who did leave.

Who does it really affect if you stayed or went, it is between you and your employer not you and the finger pointing hordes who want you lynched for putting your own safety first.

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The WHO for one has been saying this since the beginning. I don't know if it is archived on their site or not.

Smorkian -- yup, and the USNC was saying the situation at that time was highly unstable and could go in either direction. And, it was difficult to make a definitive statement due to lack of good information from the Japanese government. So what?

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Maybe a littel misunderstood. My point is that as an employer i will find it difficult to rely on those who ran away (yes, some of my J staff also did). If for earthquake because we are going to have another big one sometime - silly: if for nuclear because I question their judgement and i also question why they believe it is ok to fail to meet your duty to arrive at work, why it is ok to expect those colleagues who stayed to keep the company going, how you think it is right to expect to keep your job and exactly how you expect your colleagues to respect you for your show of solidarity and sense of duty. Send family by all means (although still stupid) but people can't just take off and expect nothing to change. Hoarding is a different discussion - this one is about "do I stay or do I go".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh, and leavers didn't "hurt Japan". Just let themselves down and hurt themselves. The ones that have returned and i have spoken to seem to feel a sense of shame at their hasty and selfish reaction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the foreigners including myself are opportunistic people. They come and work or run the business is purely for self interest. Not because they love Japan so much. Some will married or live together with local spouse. They may become neutralized resident. The reality is they do not want the burden from earthquake and Tsunami pron-ed nation. However they want to enjoy the fruits of economic opportunity. Flyjin is suitable word for most of these people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Athletes.

Agree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Mittsu: for most of us foreigners who live here, work is not our life, Japan is not our country. It should be easy enough for you to understand why it was easy to leave, no? I don't feel any shame, I just feel lucky.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For the " brave " ones who stayed, I do hope you support the tax increase as proposed by the government wholeheartedly.

Cheers

0 ( +1 / -1 )

oberst.

You got it wrong there. Anyone who will stay in japan will get hit with tax-increases soon, regardless if they support them or not.

The door is open and a plane waiting for people that don't want to pay those.

Cheerio.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

revip. Lucky why exactly? sure, work isn't our life but some sense of duty to employer and fellow employees must be expected, no? If no, then people shouldn't expect to avoid a degree of oppprobium or, in extreme cases, losing job.

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@Zen, of course everyone has to pay extra. The point is " support wholeheartedly "............ I refer to JT's article " 60-70% of public backs higher taxes for disaster recovery: media polls "

Read the messages posted so far..........

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Mittsu. Lucky because I could choose to leave. And I am not one of those who expected to avoid "oppprobium" or losing my job, avoiding nuclear risks was more important. My employer and fellow employees understand that. I think it all depends on what your top priorities are in life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agree with Mittsu.

Yesterday a big quake occurred, at my friends company close to the epic-centre 2 guys showed up to check if things were ok.

One was a retail guy who put stuff/merchandise back on the shelf's and another was my friend who checked out the servers, etc.

One guy was japanese, another foreign(mixed company) his assistant didn't even bother to call in to check.

Nothing to do with nationality but in times like this you soon find out which staff you can rely on foreign or local. And it is your choice which you want to be and it will show when promotions and raised are handed out next time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An adult would talk face-to-face to their boss and explain why they are leaving.

People couldn't get to work, the trains weren't running. So no chance for "face-to-face". You're making a judgment about alleged stories of questionable veracity.

Oh, and leavers didn't "hurt Japan". Just let themselves down and hurt themselves.

how? They had no problems with water, toilet paper, blackouts, train delays, or aftershocks. Sounds like they were "winning" to me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most of the foreigners including myself are opportunistic people. They come and work or run the business is purely for self interest. Not because they love Japan so much. Some will married or live together with local spouse. They may become neutralized resident. The reality is they do not want the burden from earthquake and Tsunami pron-ed nation. However they want to enjoy the fruits of economic opportunity. Flyjin is suitable word for most of these people.

This statement is incomprehensible, and the little that could be understood, completely wrong. People had to judge for themselves what to do.

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@herefornow

Smorkian -- yup, and the USNC was saying the situation at that time was highly unstable and could go in either direction.

The USNRC is a political organization headed by a bureaucrat. Their help was rejected so the head of the USNRC went before congress and made incredibly irresponsible and arrogant statements about the conditions at Fukushima (something they clearly had no inside knowledge of) and the bulletproof safety of US plants in the face of similar disasters. I don't see how anything they say can be trusted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@AdamB

But if l can borrow your statement and change it a bit "Some apparently have done a poor job of leaving in an adult fashion" to some who stayed are doing a poor job of acting like adults by critisising and name calling against those who did leave.

Agreed. There's no point in calling people who left or stayed names.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@manfromamerica

People couldn't get to work, the trains weren't running. So no chance for "face-to-face". You're making a judgment about alleged stories of questionable veracity.

Work with me here. If you can't get to work you can at least call you boss your landlord, your coworkers. You know what I mean.

Moderator: The question is not about who could make it work and who could not. It is about those foreigners who left Japan.

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The USNRC is a political organization headed by a bureaucrat.

as is the US embassy, which has been pretty useless regarding information during these events.

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If you can't get to work you can at least call you boss

Not when the phones are down you can't. It took me half a day to get in touch with my husband and confirm the rest of the family were safe - that was top priority. After that I could think about making work-related calls. If I'd been in a panic to get away, I probably wouldn't have called. Luckily there was no need to panic, though I can understand people on the east side of Fukushima feeling that there was. Anyone more than 50km or so away who panicked did so needlessly.

Moderator: All readers, we remind you that this question is not about whether you could get to work or not. It is about foreigners who left Japan amid the panic in the days following the disaster.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Stop painting everyone with your silly and simplistic "hysteria" logic.

herefornow- actually I am not painting everyone with hysteria logic. I happen to think there were/are a number of good reasons to have left Japan, especially if you were/are a short-timer anyways. But if a person DID leave because of hysteria, then stop feeling a need to justify yourself and attacking people who didn't leave. Hey, the foreign media came here with a plan to milk this to the hilt and some people got swept up in all that and reacted exactly how the guys who know this stuff predicted they would. Humans being humans, just admit it and move on.

As for the expert opinion, I spent a lot of time on science sites like MIT and science news sites in the days after the quake, because I had no intention of making a major decision based on the information provided by the news media. And it was the same everywhere, Fukushima a very bad situation but no threat to Tokyo. The reason you didn't see those guys in the media is because that didn't fit the story they were peddling.

And no I don't think I am such a smart guy for all that, just somebody very skeptical of the corporate media. If this has happened 15 years ago, pre-internet, I probably would have been at the airport myself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fukushima a very bad situation but no threat to Tokyo

You were very brave to base your "major decision" on MIT and science news sites...

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They may become neutralized resident.

That sums up exactly how I have been feeling the last 5 plus weeks, I have become neutralized!

As for the tax increases, for earthquake and tsunami victims, no problem. For bailing out and/or cleaning up after TEPCO, big problem. If the tax increases tips things so that some people decide to leave Japan for good it will be completely understandable.

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If they increase tax for this, it will be permanent.

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You were very brave to base your "major decision" on MIT and science news sites...

It seems to surprise some people still that there are people known as "scientists" who understand what radiation is and how it works. They know for example that exposure can not create a new animal by combining a gorilla and a whale! They also know that radiation can not be hidden and that what is going on in Fukushima can be monitored from anywhere, they are in fact doing it from Seattle and (I think) Austria. They also know that radiation weakens quickly as you move away from the source according to the laws of Newtonian physics, and they also know that there were 106 nuclear tests in the Pacific and 911 in Nevada. And of course the Tokyo situation has played out exactly as they said it would all along. Clearly I was an idiot for listening to them.

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GJD - revjp was just teasing you. But thank you for contributing a whole paragraph in response explaining what science is.

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People who left made an important decision based on the available information in the aftermath of the 5th worst earthquake in recorded history. Good for them for acting quickly.

Whether you left or stayed, it was your responsibility to choose which course of action was best for you and your family. I respect everyone's decision at that time.

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I have a question, as foreigners who left Japan during this crisis are being called derogitory names like flyjin. What are Japanese people or foreigners who stayed calling the Japanese who left for the same reasons or are the derogitory names kept for foreigners?

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AdamB.

Can't recall any names but they are not that well liked in my neighbourhood. Neither are the known hoarders. Many still paid their outstanding bills, etc neighbours aware where they are and can be traced in case of ...

Most people are upset with people that left with no notice/forwarding address/and so on.

Will they be back, where are they now, etc is what upsets people.

Like they say in Japan. When a duck takes of it should leave as few ripples as possible on the lake.

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OK. I will tone down my rhetoric. How about things I actually know?

I am a foreigner. I live in Miyagi.

I know that I definitely made a choice to stay and help. I knew that the radiation was not dangerous and I knew I was not endangering my family despite the fact that aftershocks were occurring by the hundreds, and despite the fact that I am a lot closer to Fukushima Daiichi than Tokyo people are.

I know that all the foreigners in my area left in the middle of the night in a snowstorm without telling anyone or packing things, etc. Not leaving. Fleeing. Really.

I know that no Japanese co-workers of mine left their posts. Except when there was no electrical power at all. No Japanese teachers or administrators at local schools left. All the foreign ones left. Doctors stayed. Shopkeepers stayed. All officers of the neighborhood association stayed. All the crossing guards stayed.

I know that many foreign professors at two local universities left without turning in grades or leaving contact information. Some were in charge of graduating students. I know of no cases of Japanese professors failing to submit grades.

I know that many, almost all, foreign students at one university fled the dorms and left all of their things there. The arriving students (Can you imagine? Kudos to them.) now have no place to live because the students who fled cannot be contacted and their belongings are not to be disturbed.

I know that a group of workers, when contacted in the early afternoon of 3.15 or 3.16, were too inebriated from a drinking party to answer basic questions from coworkers at one firm that I work with. Japanese people were struggling to work through incessant aftershocks while trying to get basic information from drunken foreigners in a crowded bar. During business hours.

These are cases with which I have had some personal contact. In each case, as you see, the burden of the foreigners' irresponsibility fell on Japanese people who were already overburdened. In the case of the graduating students, the basic desire for continuity and routine was thwarted by people in positions of responsibility. People they trusted.

Tone down my rhetoric. Yes. I think words can't describe how I feel anyway. I think Japanese people are far too polite to say anything. What I said about tourists above applies in that regard. If I did not give my point of view without any sugar-coating, everyone would just default to "It's an individual choice, what's the big deal?" and wonder why Japanese would view them with a jaded eye.

I also read the J press, and I know stories of orphans younger than 10 who apparently behave with greater responsibility and care for the people around them. And they are certainly a lot more alone and afraid than any foreigner I have ever met. What do you think? Will kids with that much courage and maturity be ok even though their parents aren't coming back? Yeah. That's life in Miyagi.

I encourage people to look at the JT logs for 3.13--3.17. They are very revealing. You can see exactly how people justified what they were doing at the time they made their decisions. People became deeply suspicious. They panicked and spread the panic.

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GJD - I didn't mean you were an idiot. You were looking for solid information in order to decide what to do and that's good! As a scientist, I couldn't agree more with what you did. But it's just wrong to write "the situation has played out exactly as they said". During the first few days, nobody knew how it was going to end up. Trust me when I say that we were very very lucky. Having to worry about a little iodine and cesium pollution in the water of Tokyo was nothing...

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Zenny11,

I like that saying sums things up well

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Klein2; Yeah sure, "every" foreigner behaves like that.

In other words where you live apart from yourself all foreigners were blind drunk, who runaway like chickens. at the same time all Japanese were doing their best. Say that "every" section of a community behaved badly is not true.

You said "all" foreigenrs left in the middle of the night in your area, sorry but these claims don't sound real. I don't live near Tokyo but don't know anyone here who left or considered leaving.

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Let's be fair.

Many people left because they thought it prudent to do so. Many people stayed for the same reason. Many more Japanese cleared out of Tokyo than people want to admit.

So what does this mean?

Simply that everyone made the best judement call they could based on what information they had, their personal considerations and their outlook of how things would unfold. It is profoundly unfair for one person to try to look down on anyone for exercising their best judgement and doing what they felt was prudent.

I am sick to death of hearing self rightious prats going on about how people should lose their jobs, or how they ran away. And I am tired of Japanese trying to suggest that only foreigners fled when clearly many more Japanese fled. Many people I know have just come back this week. Other Japanese say they will stay in Nagoya or elsewhere until things are resolved. Do you we have a derogitory term for Japanese who flew or trained away?

Lastly. To both sides. If all you did was flee, or stay and you failed to do something to help the people up north who were in need, then you have nothing on either side to be proud of. People who helped from home, from abroad or from anywhere are the people who can hold their heads up as having done the right thing. Even it was only giving something to a charity.

So enough of this idiotic nonsense and selfrighteous condemnation of other people for their choices. None of you has the right to impose your priorities on another person. Had those who stayed been wrong about the risks, I wonder what they would have to say.

I for one stayed in Japan with the exception of the long weekend where I took my sick partner out of the shaking for a couple days to rest. There we spent our time raising money for charities online. What did you who stayed the entire time do?

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less mouths to feed, less people putting a strain on the overloaded power grid, less people on the overcrowded reduced service trains. People leaving actually did a service in that respect.

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I didn't leave Japan, but I don't criticize the Gai jins who left, first of all, it's out of my business to do so, All of the Gai jins that I know who left, didn't really plan to leave for good, they left for the meantime, why not? Empty Grocery stores, Strong Aftershocks especiallly for those people who have kids, those aftershocks scared the kids, inconvinient black outs (many people's job in Tokyo rely on power without power no income) and of course the danger of nuclear power plant, when your family's safety is on the line, you don't gamble things. You go for the 100 percent sure bet for safety. Imagine if things go wrong how will you evacuate 38,000 million people out of Tokyo? And then after few weeks they came back, non of the "flyjins" that I know left for good. But I know Japanese people who left Tokyo for good. I know a lot of FLYJINS left Japan and Tokyo , but still managed to do something to help the Japanese people, they managed to raise funds for victims. And I know "A LOT" of people who didn't leave, but done nothing, just stayed at home showed to the rest of the world that they are calm and that they are not in panic and they will not leave Japan no matter what, so my question for these self rightous people, what does your "I didn't leave Japan" contribute?

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why some people have to make it such a big deal seeing people leave the country in time like this!

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BlackOut.

Because many are aware of the ripples and after-effects they caused as well as impacted by them.

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I believe that the people who fled from affected areas earned my contempt for leaving their neighbors and friends in imminent danger. That is reprehensible and is only justified by sheer panic. Sheer terror. People needed help. People needed solidarity

I've responded to your opinion concerning this subject before Klien2 and I've gotta call you on your utterly arrogant and self-gratifying comments yet again. Here in Sendai my Japanese relatives and co-workers were the ones that, after a week convinced me to take my family and leave; Expressing concern for my children (5 years and 9 months old) and that I shouldn't waste an opportunity they didn't have. My Japanese co-workers are right now chuckling over your comments about how I left them in "iminent danger".

The truth is, the government wanted people here to stay indoors as much as possible and take care of our own. Must've been nice with the teachers going door-to-door: we contacted ours by phone, as some of our students didn't have any doors to go to. You admit being told to evacuate but you immodestly state how "extremely important" it was for you to attend a ceremony. Well, don't know where you're at but ceremonies here were cancelled and a friend still in town said people were sitting on their hands staring at the walls. Maybe I should've volunteered eh? except I checked into it and was dissuaded from doing so as there were much more than enough volunteers already. So any foreigner handing out onigiri, cleaning tatami in the shelters, shovelling mud out of houses- ANY of them could have left and been replaced by a local Japanese (probably without a house themselves) doing the same job and the only difference would have been that the area would have been minus 1 consumer (and no human interest puff piece on the news "look at the gaijin chipping in!")

I'm sure you feel your efforts were honorable and although you attempt to make it seem like you're not patting yourself on the back, you end up almost twisting your arm off and sainting yourself by your 3rd rant (its a rant: just look at how many people agree with you after). Check your ego at the door and swallow your misjudged pride- you were a consumer who had the choice but refused to leave in an area that you admit was deficient of supplies. With bravado-induced help like that, who needs help? So you were unwittingly part of the problem and have the gall to come on here and start bashing people that were part of the solution but were, according to you, leaving out of "sheer panic"? Not really, more like sound logic.

tKoind2 said it right- self rightous condemnation indeed.

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Zenny11, in time like this? and they are foreigner. how big the ripples they will cause. i am sure it will be some, and we can not say all of them will leave and cause so much damage behind. anyway i don't see it as a big deal. people view thing differently. see if japanese won't leave host country in time of war or big nature disaster!

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I cannot blame anyone with small children for not wanting to stay. Same for pregnant women as small amount of radiation that would not phase me could be very harmful to them. I personally never considered leaving Tokyo, but the difficulty of evacuating with three cats and a dog made that decision a lot easier. Would I have been so "brave" were I a single guy with no real connections to Japan? Would like to think so, but who knows. I will admit that I got nervous when the US embassy started offering charter flights. Speaking of the term "flyjin," I learned it from my Japanese wife who works for a non-Japanese company whose non-Japanese staff mysteriously disappeared en masse only to reappear in Hong Kong the following Monday. Japanese staff were informed that they were not to leave and that they would be at their desks, business a usual. It would be an understatement to say that her use of the term was not complimentary in nature.

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BlackOut.

Strawman argument. The damage is always measured by the people left behind to clean it up.

I am in no way saying that japanese, etc would behave better.

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Japan is the safest place in the world, that's how Japanese people sees it , So I think many people in Japan and her loyalists(will do everything to please Japan people) couldn't accept the fact that Gai jins are leaving Japan because it's becoming dangerous here, And Japan being a DANGEROUS place. So many people here made issues out of it.If this things happened in America or Europe, will Japanese people living in that specific country stay ? or will do the same as what the FLYJINS did here? I remember one situation, where one Japanese National got murdered in one South East Asian country and all Japanese who were scheduled to travel in that country cancelled their flights. Did America made issue about Japanese people who fled out of America during 9-11? Why is this an issue and what does it prove? Leaving for safety doesnt mean you are in PANIC! Many of people in Japan didn't leave but were on PANIC , just look what happened to the grocery stores all over Tokyo! these are Japanese people who PANICKED, And in my opinion there are too many of them! and that is not a good sign. why dont we make a deal out them instead, educate them not to Panic.

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"I believe that the people who fled from affected areas earned my contempt for leaving their neighbors and friends in imminent danger. That is reprehensible and is only justified by sheer panic. Sheer terror. People needed help. People needed solidarity."

Let's be fair. Most foreigners probably don't even know their neighbors. Some of ours act as if they are afraid of us. Why would people be inspired to stay out of solidarity when they are treated as abject outsiders 99% of the time?

In any case, every family had to make that choice on their own. It is not your place to judge if it was panic or prudence. The danger was modest in Tokyo, but could well have been more so. What would you say if you were wrong?

My honest opinion. For people with families, taking the precaution was prudent, better wrong about leaving than wrong about staying.

And you still do not address the fact that many, many Japanese left. Why are you not calling them to accounts? It isn't fair. It is arrogant self rightiousness to try to impose your thinking on others and their families. You stayed. Good for you. Others left, good for them. Everyone has a right to choose!!

And those of you who condemn people for leaving, what did you do while you stayed here? Did you raise money, gather goods and send them north? Did you go north to help? Did you interact with your neighbors? Did you help make sure people had food and water? What did you do?

If you just stayed and did nothing, then you may as well have been gone.

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Zenny11, it is not a big deal in my view, that is what i want to say.

people come and go. the host have to clean up sometime, in other occasion they don't have to. i have seen those unwilling to leave, have no better place to go, no one welcome them or unable to lever by their own personal reason then they seem to angry and bitterly complain those left or think of leaving! make it such a big deal for those want to leave in time like this, that is just childish to me.

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ZENNY11 "Because many are aware of the ripples and after-effects they caused as well as impacted by them."

Then it's one owns problem if they panicked because of this, wether the Gai jins leave or not, these people who got panicked because of the "RIPPLES" are still Panic people, and will still be panicked later on.

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Blackout.

So all is good in your opinion and the flood and hell after you left. No worries for you? Let me tell you don't work that way in real life.

nemuregaijiin.

No-one is panicking but when you are out personal out-of-pocket for close to 1mill yen as my estate-agent friend is for 12 cases each it does impact.

Or you guys thing you can just leave, burn the bridges and all is good and forgiven? Think again.

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Zenny11, anyone every tell you that being too extreme is not good in real life too?

i talk about those make it big deal for people have a need to leave in this situation. i never say it all good to do damage to other.

and sorry about your estate-agent friend, by the way. but i think japan got it system to take a month or two deposit money. didn't your friend did?

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ZENNY11 That 12 cases of your estate agent friend is not the majority of Gai jins in Tokyo, So don't point to us that the 530,000 gai jins who left did all the same as the 12 gai jins, In fact I only heard that story from you. I had hanami with My friend who runs a Gaijin rent house and 30 of his gai jin tenants all over Tokyo left, but paid everything, some even paid a rent for next month just in case things get back to normal they can go back. your 12 cases are not the majority, not even a pinch of the gai jin population...

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Zenny11 : Majority of the gai jins who left paid all their bills or their company paid for it... you like it here too much to the point that you are becoming as extreme as the people here....there were 12 bad gai jins so all gai jins that will leave are bad, because of that 12..sigh

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Blackout.

I am not extreme.

Did you read the posts here where people left and told people to simply sell the stuff left behind to cover outstanding rental expenses?

Your deposit covers one month rent, removal of stuff from an apartment can be 60.000yen plus. No guarantee that resell value will cover it most likely will fall short. Than we start adding cleaning and fixing of stuff, etc(usually deducted from deposit).

Not even talking utilities, yet. How would a landlord in your country feel if it happened?

Still all good with you?

P.S.: Key-money, etc goes to the landlord and not the estate agent.

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Clearly, the percentage of Japanese people who left Tokyo is a tiny fraction of the percentage of foreigners who left, and I would bet that of those who did the percentage who left because of radiation fears was lower too. A straw man.

And revip, no problems. I think I have made it pretty clear in my posts that I am confused about the situation, not angry. Also, something that is never pointed out, for many foreigners in Japan they experienced their first major earthquake on March 11th. Not just an earthquake, but a subduction zone earthquake, an extremely rare event. If the stress of going through that affected how they reacted the next few days, that is understandable.

But I also know that even though I am not angry, plenty of people are, and that is their right to be. "Flyjin" is a derogatory word I see many people claiming. OK well the street goes both ways. Smug, sanctimonious, "don't respect other peoples' personal decision", "think they can fit into Japanese culture" etc. etc. I have seen plenty of that too. Give it a rest.

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nemureqaijin.

Might be a shock to you but 98% plus foreigners here don't get assistance from their work for accomodation, etc here.

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GJDailleult: You hit it right on! That decision is personal and needs to be respected not criticized by some people who thinks they are pleasing the Japanese people so that they will be socialy accepted and be admired in this country by staying till the end. Because many of the people who stayed here , their reason for staying is to prove to Japanese people and to themselves tha they are loyal to Japan no matter what... even though they are not helping.

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Nemurenaijin

Yawn, on your last post and so predictable and stereo-type.

What is your real gripe?

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Zenny11: many of the foreigners that I know who live here , their company is paying for their rent, and I am not saying 90 percent of the foreigners have the same situation... That's why I said "or their company paid for it" I based it from of the gaijins that I know who left! like for you, your real estate friend. But one thing I am sure is Majority of the Gaijins left paid everything before they left, don't base it from the 12 bad gai jins you know.

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enough already.............you who stay are TRUE heros, japan could not have survived without your presence.

Cheers

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Zenny11 : the same gripe as yours with "FLYJINS", if some people feel that they are not safe, they have the right to go back HOME to their countries, they are not Japanese in the first place, so for you to judge them as creating RAPPLES because of what they believe is I think so foolish.

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nemurenaijin.

What I am saying is you are basing your views on a very narrow margin and thus don't speak for the majority and also don't know how the majority is received here.

Your assumptions are wrong though. Talk to the guys/gals on the ground, read japanese forums, etc. Heck, read the posts here from people that are in touch.

No hard feelings.

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nemurenaijin: There were too many foreigners that left without paying rent, not only the 12 Zenny knows of, just watch TV. Not to mention the economic losses occured by those who left.

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Yep. There are a lot of Japanese pretty hurt that foreigners just left without saying anything. I know a girl pretty upset that there was not even a goodbye -thanks for everything until now. Just, not turning up.

But there were some pretty scared people back then. Watching explosions at nuclear power plants on TV is no fun.

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I'm foreigner who came to JP about 4 months ago. The only earthquake I've experienced was about week before the big one, so the big one was my second encounter. In my country we don't have any earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, tornados or whatever. I live north east from Sendai so the earthquake was quite big here and I understand people who left Japan after the earthquake. Let me explain why.

Imagine you are in foreign country. Big natural disaster happens (earthquake in this case). You have no electricity so you can't cook, your room is cold (if you still have one), water is not running (and later only cold one because no electricity), shops are closed, only few selling the rest of food they still have left since the earthquake. Mobile network barely works so your access to informations is very limited and when you manage to connect to internet through your mobile (after you spent 1,5h queuing for another 1,5h of charging of your phone) you see only confusing informations about the accident in Fukushima and pictures from places completely swept by water. Some countries are sending planes to evacuate their citizens from Japan. Your relatives and friends are asking you to return home. So, now you can decide. Would you stay in this foreign country or would you return back home to Japan?

As regards me, few days after the earthquake, when electricity still wasn't running, I decided to move to Tokyo and stay there for few days to see how situation progresses and decide either to leave or stay. Eventually I stayed and returned back to north after few days but I don't see anything wrong on some people's decision to leave Japan and return home. Nobody wants to suffer or even die when it's not inevitable...

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foxie: How reliable is media at this moment ? one of the reasons why they left is the media... point is , it's tragedy, it's normal to affect the economy in a bad way. But will you be still thinking of the economy in exchange to your family's safety? Especially if you are not from this country?

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Zenny11: well if your issue is about the gai jins who left and didnt pay their rents etc. then rant about them , but not to all foreigners who left, because again you are using these points to criticize everybody which is too extreme.

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nemurenaijin.

If economy in japan, etc takes a dive it is ok to leave? Would you leave your home-country if it's economy takes a similar dive or worse?

The way I see it all about values but if you can't stay in the current place of your choice how often and how far will you run and move on till you are satisfied?

Many people decided to make japan their home those that didn't left at the 1st sign of trouble.

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nemurenaijin.

AGAIN kill the message and NOT the messenger.

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yasukuni: why is it necessary to say "GOODBYE AND THANKS TO EVERYTHING" ceremony? to whom should they say that!??? can they really say that in times of stress and fear? They didn't leave because their tour package was over, they left because of the danger that they sense, I know a lot of friends who went back to their countries and continued doing charity works and raised funds for the tsunami victims even when they were out of Japan already. And many of the foreigners left only for a while and still planning to come back when these problems are fnished. Japanese people didn't leave because this is their home, but if they are in a different country and the same tragedy happens will they stay and be heroes too? People here, can't accept the fact that for the first time in history , Japan was seen as Dangerous and unsafe. And many people are hurt by that fact, Believing that it was the only safest country in the whole world.

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Zenny11: "Would you leave your home-country if it's economy takes a similar dive or worse?"

Yes if my safety and my loved ones' safety are at stake of course! I will find somewhere safe and will not risk the life of the people around me. I have to use my head and be clever for survival! You leave you can still help your home country's economy, plus the foreigners who left are of course not Japanese! and many of them have their non Japanese families living here, if they feel danger for themselves and families , why would they risk their lives to save the economy of the country that's not to them?

"The way I see it all about values but if you can't stay in the current place of your choice how often and how far will you run and move on till you are satisfied?"

It's human nature to go to move to a place where you will feel safe, And I will never stop moving until I feel safe. That's why humans have wisdom, to use it to save themselves, And running away from danger is CLEVER! or should I say common sense? I dont feel danger yet in Japan so I am here, and currently helping people who needs my help, but for the other foreigners who left, they do sense a danger , so I can't blame them and will never blame them .

So you think staying in a place eventhough it's dangerous is a brave thing to do?

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nemurenaigaijin, Japan has become my home country. My family is here, my house is here and my soul is here. Besides, I have never stayed longer in any other country than this one, not even my so called home country. I will do anything to support this country. I have encountered many dangerous situations in my life but I have never run away from any. I have lived for months without electricity in the past and I used to carry 50 liters of water to my water tank every day. I am also used to food shortages. I think that too many people take too many things for granted nowadays. You live with what you have! I think many people don't know what it really means to be unsafe. Please distinguish and look at real facts only.

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Foxie.

I doubt nemurenaijin will get it.

You can see it from his previous post and his trying to sling a barb at me.

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In answer to the question posed: Perhaps one reason is that those foreign friends/colleagues who stayed felt let down by others leaving so quickly. Who knows what other people are thinking?

It's just a simple case of looking out for oneself/one's family. Each to their own.

Perhaps there would be a feeling of resentment of those people returned 'as if nothing happened' ie. back into their job/position/role in management. Personally speaking, any respect I had for my foreign managers who were very quickly repatriated...and have since returned, went out the window. I stayed and several other foreign colleagues stayed...all Japanese colleagues stayed...ONLY foreign managers left. Why should any of us have any sense of respect for those managers?!?!

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The thng that really made me angry that some of those 'flyjins' who went back to my country went on to the local newspapers and gave very frightening reports even though they were living in Tokyo and Kyoto. As a result, my poor parents got flooded with telephone calls. And because of everyone's concern for me, my parents now feel obliged in inviting all of them for dinner. Anderson Cooper at least went to the sites, they never did and are seen as heroes nowadays. I bet they even got paid for it. Zenny, thanks.

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foxie: You are not getting my point, I am not saying that staying is not good, I stayed here, The whole point of arguement is, it is not a bad decision to leave especially for people who don't have family and relatives here, in your case of course you will stay. To criticize and to brand people who left as "FLYJINS" is not right and disrespectful... and you can't blame them for leaving. If you want to stay and you think this is your home until you die, FINE no one has the right to take that away from you, but repsect the other's decision too.

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@nemuregaijin.

Maybe a letter, email, phone call from the other country would have been a nice courtesy. They had been taught by this girl for some time. On the Friday of the earthquake, she wanted to just go home but she stayed and looked after kids and made sure they got home. Next week they just didn't come. As you say, they had their reasons, but a lot of Japanese who teach take the relationship perhaps more seriously than gaijin, and thought there would have been at least some notice.

My biggest problem with "flyjin" is that their leaving was meiwaku for lots of people who stayed and had to cover for them. If they come back they should acknowledge it. Some people wanted to leave but stayed out for good reasons. The worst thing is when flyjin caused problems by leaving, come back and want to be treated well, and then had the gall to accuse those who stayed of not caring about their kids.

Personally I have never called anyone a flyjin, and at first I thought it was just a joke. The only person I heard talk about flyjin referred to themselves as one and laughed about it.

Anyway, flyjin, gaijin, cryjin - who cares. Let's just stay safe and build a safer, happier Japan. Being called a flyjin is not such a horrible thing compared with what a lot of people have gone through. Harden up, princesses.

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For me the flyjins that left and then made a decision to come back after proper assessment of the risks and greater certainty around the power plant can be cut some slack...at least after all the mayhem/chaos created by int news media, rumour spreading, distrust with tepco/govt...anyone reasonable person would make a flight to safety (just imagine the situation during war and even recently when the ambassador of Japan in Ivory coast fled back home). But for those "goodbye"jins, that completely deserted Japan, even after proper assessment of risk, I'm sure the friends, bosses, neighbours they left behind are calling them "saite".

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How about the term "Nihordejin" for all those Tokyoites who horded goods that were desperately needed by those in Tohoku. I hate all these terms by while everyone is on the topic.........."Nihordejin"

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As a Foreigner who has lived here for 5 years and loves this country, I want to give a view based upon the practical reality of the situation for many people who are in the same situation as me.

When the Earthquake and Tsunami hit, we also got affected. At that point, we don't just say "hey, things are bad, better get out of here". We have family members calling us, worried about us, and asking us to return. They only see and hear what is reported in their own countries, and given the distance, and the fact that we don't want our families to worry, we needed to make a choice. It is a reality that most Foreigners living in Japan are here by themselves, with their families being overseas. So for these Foreigners (and I fit into this category), it is very unfair to blame them for leaving the country so they can make their families feel more relieved. For those who have families in Japan, most that I know, have chosen to stay, or have sent their family members home until things stabilize.

To our Japanese friends posting on these comments board, do you think it is right to blame us for making these choices? What would you do if you were us?

For me, I chose to stay in Japan, and I know many others who did the same. I can't speak for the others, but I tell you, the decision to leave or stay is not that easy. The reality is that most Foreigners are here for a short time, and when these things happen, they need to play a game of balancing their priorities, deciding if they should risk their health and live in a situation where most have no long term security, or did not have long term plans to stay here anyway. This is the reality of the situation, not only of foreigners working in Japan, but also of Japanese working overseas. You go there for a short term, and if things get difficult, you need to answer to your family and look at your long term interests.

Please note that most people in Japan work hard, and pay their taxes. Us Foreigners do the same, even though we know that we won't be getting most of the pension contribution back. So please be fair and look at this situation objectively.

As a last note, regarding those Foreigners who left without paying their rent or giving a decent courtesy to their Employers, that is another issue so please keep that seperate. I am sure that most of us "Gaijins" are as equally disgusted towards those actions as our Japanese friends are.

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At the end of the day....does it really matter?

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That is really unfair to call them flyjin. Everyone would have various reasons for leaving...not everyone is equipped to experience a massive disaster and still be able to cope; families at home may be begging them to come home...not easy to resist those pleas, especially if one is still quite young and fresh from leaving the nest anyway; perhaps some of those folks who left were on the verge of heading back home and took this as a sign that it is high time; some might have their homes in Japan totally destroyed and just do not have any way to find new housing or anywhere else to go but home...moving ahead and rebuilding a life is daunting enough for a native Japanese, but being from another country and without friends, family or some kind of support in Japan, starting all over with no foreseeable income might just be more than daunting. Everyone has got a story, but in Japan, many are very quick to judge without any background knowledge whatsoever...especially a lot of posters on here.

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"We gotta respect everyone's decisions" is the kind of opinion that annoys me most, as it seeks to excuse inexcusable behaviour based on panic, fear and ignorance. It's more like, "Hey, I don't like your decision but I don't want to take it up with you." Wuss.

As for people leaving because of their families begging them to: stand up to them. What are you, still in nappies? Why not start by asking them why they believe tabloid newspapers more than their own relative, and one who is on the ground at that.

@Proudgaijin: actually, the majority of legal foreigners here are long-termers.

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britling...congrats on your bravery and superiority, choosing to stay in the Tohoku area.

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Seriously though...we don't know the reasons for each and every person who did leave. As someone pointed out far earlier, not everyone who came to Japan (often on a temporary basis) has is rooted enough to want to stick around in a foreign country, wondering if they are going to be affected by radiation or the next aftershock. I would wager a guess that most who did leave were either still relative newbies or long timers on the verge of leaving anyway. Any foreigner who did leave from the devastated areas, has pretty darn good reason to. If it were someone who, for example, left Kansai because of what happened, ok, that is a different story.

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To say this is not my country, so I don't need to stay is a bit over the top too. We are all creatures living on the same planet. And if there is a problem on this planet, we need to solve it all together and act responsibly. Otherwise, fly to Mars. A Tokyo fireman said yesterday on TV about going to Fukushima 'I do it for the country'. He was wrong, he did it for the world.

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I think like most people here criticising the 'flyjin', I was talking about the ones who cleared out even though they were many miles from the Fukushima plants. If you were living in the post-tsunami disaster zone that the foreign media have mostly now forgotten about, you had several good reasons to get out. Likewise if you're close to the reactors.

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Bitter jealously. People don't like to suffer alone, after all.

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spudman:

...the fact that gaijin is the single biggest identifying label on these people it is obvious they are not actually integrated or integral to the society they were in. Loyalty is a two way street. Oh by the way what about the Japanese that fled Japan or high tailed it to western Japan?

QFT. Bears repeating and repeating. I guess everyone's experience here is different. I've been here for 15 years, and I hightailed it out with my family on the 16th of March (for 2 weeks -- after finding replacements/making calls, etc.)

We didn't believe the BS the government was spewing out then, and we still don't now. In fact, most of our neighbors don't believe them either. Even though we live in Tohoku, we never ended up getting a blast of radiation like Ibaraki or Chiba, even. Anyone who claims it was all apparent from 'all known experts and the like' that it was safe in Tokyo is full of it themselves. There was plenty of conflicting opinions in the field and the government was clearly holding back information. I vowed to protect my family and would rather play it safe than sorry.

I came back 2 weeks later -- exactly as I said I would -- to hear several self-righteous ex-pats call me a flyjin. One to my face. What an insult after the years of my life I poured into this place and the people here. Tohoku is not famous for it's bright and friendly people. Although I have many friends here, it has not been an easy ride! I paid my dues financially and emotionally, and I still am. All of that and I am still a GAIJIN. Yeah, that's right -- an OUTSIDER. Never fully allowed a proper say in anything important, and always hitting brick walls with the business community here. So why is it a surprise that I would take my family out when a nuclear plant that I could never get the chance to vote against blows up.

Reality check, people.

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@ horrified

Problem is some gaijin forgot they are gaijin and the fact that some gaijin made them look like a faithless gaijin made them angry gaijin who want to differentiate themselves as a true gaijin but then they are still gaijin to japanese's eyes.................how frustrating !!

Like i mentioned a few times, wear that " I am not a flyjin " tee shirt and be done with it.

Cheers, =)

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"The reality is that most Foreigners are here for a short time, and when these things happen, they need to play a game of balancing their priorities, deciding if they should risk their health and live in a situation where most have no long term security, or did not have long term plans to stay here anyway."

I agree.

500,000 = Foreigners leave after Mar 11

6,000 = Apply re-entry permits betw. Mar 15-22

Number from Kanto and other relatively/non affected areas that have attempted to return = Miniscule proportion of the whole.

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@horrified.

Your post made a lot of sense. I won't use the term flyjin even in jest from now on.

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We didn't believe the BS the government was spewing out then, and we still don't now.

Let's say it again. Radiation can not be hidden. It can be monitored by anybody, has been from the start. It can be monitored from a distance, and by running the figures and wind patterns through a computer they can figure out the radiation situation at Fukushima. Any government who saw a danger to their citizens would have been able to raise the alarm. They didn't. The we didn't believe the government, and we don't believe TEPCO lines, the question is why were you listening to the people who created the problem in the first place?

Anyone who claims it was all apparent from 'all known experts and the like' that it was safe in Tokyo is full of it themselves.

As brittling said "We gotta respect everyone's decisions" is the kind of opinion that annoys me most. Stop telling me I am full of myself and that I have to respect everyone's decision. I am not and if I want to joke about "Flyjins" I will. I made my decision, and I am not full of myself for making it, I was completely oblivious to what was going on with other foreigners at that time. I have no problem with other foreigners making a different decision, but looking at the calendar it is now April 19 and I am not yet dead from radiation poisoning.

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Britling. People made decisions that were right for them. It is arrogance at best and fained superiority at worst to stand in judgement over other people you know nothing about.

I am a long term resident of Japan with a family here. And the pressure from home was hell that week. My friends and family were sincere in their worry for us. We weighed the information available to us and made decisions that were right for us. In our case getting involved in relief efforts. But others did not have the freedom to select such a path. For them other priorities took precidence.

To all of you who condemn others for making the right decisions for themselves and their families. This is not the military, it is not a dictatorship and it is not some alpha male highschool competition. This is real life with real consequences and real considerations that every person has to weigh. And NO OTHER PERSON has the right to impose their will upon others or to condemn another person for exercising his or her freedom. To do so simply demonstrates your lack of understanding of the basic concepts of freedom and demonstrate your incapacity for empathy and compassion for others. You should limit this behavior to playground bully antics and not apply it to the real world.

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GJDailleult; Same goes for you. You have zero right to impose your standard for actions upon others. What gives you the right to condemn others? You do not have that right, shame on you!

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Oberst. I think you got it exactly right. Britling, GJDailleult and others who are so eager to condemn the people who left do appear to be trying to set themselves appart as "good Gajin" vs "flyjin". But the sad reality is that integration by any foreigner into Japanese society is illusory. You are, in the end, just a gajin.

Further, Japanese people know that Japanese left as well. They also know that Japanese fled the Philippines after the Chinese tour bus incident, NY after 911, Madrid after the bombing and I can go on. I think most people have the intelligence to understand that in times of crisis people will return to the place they feel safe. Nationality has nothing to do with this fact. Just ask all the Japanese who went west that week.

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the sad reality is that integration by any foreigner into Japanese society is illusory

I do wish people would stop writing this rubbish. If you believe you'll never be integrated, you never will be, it's a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you just get on with your life you should be too busy to notice or care what strangers think of you - it's their problem, not yours.

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Cleo I am sorry you don't like this, but it is a fact. I am more than "on with my life'.

I am deeply involved in community, in the arts, at work and with my Japanese family here. Yet I am always treated as an outsider any time something important comes along. Like renting a place to live, trying to get a credit card for the bank I have been with for 12 years, when applying for event spaces, when talking to partners for events we manage.

I am always referred to as the gaijin. No matter how well I speak Japanese, or how adapted to the customs around me.

So don't tell me to get on with my life, you know nothing about my life.

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tkoind2

I agree with cleo. What you wrote about integration by a foreigner into Japanese society being illusory is drivel. And spare us the list of wonderful things you do for your community. If you feel that you are not treated as part of your community, then the problem lies with you and your attitude, not with your neighbors.

Of course, you will always be referred to as a gaijin. So what? That doesn't mean you will be treated as an outsider.

Just get on with your life and don't worry about it (and yes, we do know plenty about your life, based on what you have written in your posts).

Moderator: Readers, please stay on topic and do not snipe at each other.

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Some people who left were already thinking of leaving after a lot of years here. Every morning at the station hearing politicians openly talk about how foreigners are destroying Japanese society and values or how the consideration of letting us vote in local elections would undermine the fabric of Japan.

Why would you expect people to stay when so many barriers are erected against outsiders. And the European and American outsiders are lucky. Talk to Philipinos, Chinese, Indians and ask if their loyalty made them want to stay.

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Partick. You cannot blame anyone for your choice to stay. It was your choice. No higher, no better and no more just than the person who decided to leave.

Let me ask you this. What if you had been wrong and not those who left? What if radiation had been a bigger issue? Or if water and food supplies had been worst? Then what? Would you have been happier to have these people stay and put their families at risk to satisfy your needs?

It is easy to look back now and say people may have been wrong about leaving. But the very real posibility existed that they could have been right about doing so.

It was prudent for people who wished to leave to do so. Gaijin and Japanese alike. And those people should consider deeply whether the conditions in Japan are right for them. Afteall, we all forget the risks of places we live because we love the city or our jobs are there. When we are reminded of those risks, we have to decide for ourselves whether those are warranted for us or not.

I am here to stay. My wife is here, her family is here. And while I have considerable human rights and political issues with Japan, I am here for the long run. I will not apologize for my critical view of things here. But I will also not sit by silently and do nothing. I fight for what I think is right, including the right of others to leave when they feel it is the right thing to do.

So please people, come down off the cross, no one made you stay. Take responsibility for your own choices and leave people in peace to live with their choices. You have no right to condemn others for doing what they felt was right for their lives. To do so is pure unadulterated arrogance and it does others an injustice.

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This crisis showed the wheat from the chaff.

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cracaphat. Yes it has... how?

It has shown us the people talk and the people who do things. I commend the people who have risen to the challenge to help the people in the north through their donations, their volunteerism and their support.

It has shown us who cares about people and who cares about other things first. I commend people who are understanding and support others through this crisis. This includes being understanding of those who decided to leave if it was the right thing for their situation.

Is has shown who we can depend upon and who we cannot. I have seen people rally to the support of friends, family and community. We have seen companies that tended to the individual needs of employees and others who did not care about those needs.

It has shown us the arrogance of some and the compassion of others.

So yes, it has showed the wheat from the chaff.

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yasukuni:

@horrified. Your post made a lot of sense. I won't use the term flyjin even in jest from now on.

Thank you for your comment. It's a unique culture here that has divided foreigners on this issue. It seems that many people are willing to overlook the shortcomings of life in Japan because they are having a positive experience with hope of a future.

I have to admit that I've been getting stonewalled in various ventures with the locals lately. The resistance of people in our area to new ideas (and a resistance to an international perspective in general) has made things tough for me recently. I even do come across outright racist attitudes, although that is rare. Mostly, it's just a prevailing mindset that is closed to anything but the shape of the current culture. That makes life an uphill climb for most foreigners. Especially for those who are social and are trying to lift up the locals with events, etc. It's been a continuous reminder that I'm temporary here -- even though I speak the language, pay my taxes, contribute to society and own a house and land. That is, in itself, the biggest insult that we live with.

Then, on top of that, have your some from your own cultural 'gaijin' group spit on you like this? It's as if you are saying what I've done here has no meaning -- no value.

Remember, we are in a recession in Tohoku. The last 2 years have been rougher than usual. All of the schools I know have been struggling with low enrollment. Combine that with general resistance to someone who doesn't fit in (i.e. Gaijin, people with physical or mental disabilities, etc.)It's not all bad, but these things cross your mind when there is a real storm brewing. And we are weathering a tornado right now.

Regarding weighing the possibilities of a large scale during the first week of the crisis -- I was also there -- we were all reading and discussing different commentaries. I know what the experts were saying. Japan was ignoring worst-case scenarios. To say that only the tabloids were dishing out these scenarios is erroneous. The US government was producing them. I was in favour of considering a worst-case scenario for the safety of my family. Now is not the time to be saying, "I told you so." It makes you look really smug and immature. With that attitude, you appear to be a person who doesn't really get out much.

It's been an eye-opener, to say the least. Like someone said above, 'disasters either bring people together or drive them apart.' Why not be a part of the crowd that is bringing everyone together.

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Patrick. What you don't get is that you have no right to judge how another person decided to protect his or her family in this crisis. There was adequate information from valid sources raising very serious red flags for people to be deeply concerned.

Now we were lucky that things so far have not been as bad as they could, but we could just as easily have been wrong about that.

You run your company the way you see fit. And people you reward and punish, well that is up to you too.

When you condemn others for their actions and complain about how their choices put you in a bad spot, you are blaming others for the consequences of your decision. No one made others leave, no one made you stay. It was YOUR choice. Live with the outcome of that choice rather than pointing fingers at people who elected to leave.

As for your business. Good for you for allowing people to leave for 17 days. And it is more than fair to say, "Ok, come back now or don't." This is balanced as you state your position and the worker can decide to return or not. Very fair.

Where I take issue with you is your condemnation of their decison to leave. It was not your call, it was theirs. They will live with the consequences as you will.

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tkoind2 - I have been reading Japantoday for a while now and I must say I admire you. Your posts are always inspiring. I wish there were more people like you here in Japan...

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What revjp said, except turned around 180 degrees.

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running like a frightened child based on articles from the Daily Mirror

I like that imagery, I think it's spot on. Some people, especially those with little or no Japanese language ability, probably did base their decisions on that kind of 'information' and panicked. Even the British Embassy was urging all Brits 'in Tokyo and to the north of Tokyo' to evacuate, and was bussing people out of Sendai. I don't condemn people who acted on that information and got out fast. They must have been terrified and seriously expecting Armageddon.

I also see Paddy's point of view; after a couple of weeks, things were much clearer and people were able to make a more sober decision to stay gone, or to come back. Paddy's got a business to run; he can't run it with people who are not there.

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I think there is also definitely a socioeconomic/class aspect going on here. Of all the foreigners around me, nearly everyone left, and they all did so with massive cash injections from their worrying parents. I even know a few people who used it as an opportunity to go on an all-expense-paid vacation to Hawaii, then back to their home country, then back to Japan after everything settled down.

My parents couldn't afford to fly me back home for a death in the family, and I certainly don't have the money to put into a two-way flight on my own. I was admittedly worried that the situation would escalate, but it saddened and discouraged me when I spoke with the US Embassy and they told me even in the very worst case scenario (life or death), the US government would still require me to pay them back for emergency transportation. This disaster has really given me a feeling for how thick the divide between the haves and have-nots is.

Leaving my job on a whim and globe-trotting around for a month or so is unthinkable to me. But that's what just about every privileged foreigner in my vicinity did. I think people like that should deservedly be embarrassed that they dropped everything, without expecting any consequences, and left behind their less fortunate peers who did not have the option of leaving, even if they wanted to.

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"I just don't see why I should have my livelihood and the livelihoods of many others ruined by those who ran and refused to return."

Well-said. Why is it so hard for people to understand that their actions have consequences?

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tkoind2 -

Let's be fair. 1. Many people left because they thought it prudent to do so. 2. Many people stayed for the same reason. 3. Many more Japanese cleared out of Tokyo than people want to admit.

Absolutely agree!

GJDailleult; Same goes for you. You have zero right to impose your standard for actions upon others. What gives you the right to condemn others? You do not have that right, shame on you!

Once again, absolutely agree! How anyone can pass judgment on personal decisions made during a crisis (and this was a HUGE crisis) is incredibly egotistical and wrong.

The competition among some foreigners here to be "more Japanese" is really out of place.

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Human Target. Let's be fair. Most people who left did not go on world tours or holiday package excursions. On the contrary, nearly every person I know who left worked remotely or moved to offices in the region in HKG or Singapore.

The non-long term people went home for the most part. But both these groups represented a signficant minority of people.

At the same time, many Japanese I know returned to family homes in the west of Japan. About 50% of my Japanese friends left Tokyo. Including many of the people I work with.

Why place all the blame on foreigners for leaving? When clearly Japanese and foreigners alike made decisions that they thought were right for them. And more enlightened managers, and yes Patrick I include you here too, let people have time off to alay their worries.

It is certainly fair to let someone go once you draw a line in the sand and say come back or else. But it is wrong for anyone to condemn others for leaving, Japanese and foreign alike, if that is what the person thought was best.

The real issue for all of us should be the better and more honest distribution of information by the key authorities in future. We should not have to second guess the government. We should not have so much confusion on the part of the embassies. In future I would hope for a better and more honest spread of information.

Sadly, the actions by Tepco and the Government continue to raise doubts about their integrity and their capacity to put the welfare of people above that of their own behinds.

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Patrick Smash:

I just don't see why I should have my livelihood and the livelihoods of many others ruined by those who ran and refused to return.

You make a good economic point. There is an ongoing disaster, however, and as a business owner, I take that into account. We all took a hit and are still taking a big hit. If my employees took off, I would not punish them for doing so. They didn't leave, however. I would close my business as long as I could. If you needed to replace them, well, then not much can be done. You are not to blame for them losing their positions.

However, if you just knock them off out of spite, then you won't get much sympathy from me. I lost 30% of one of my side jobs -- purely because my boss was able to get someone cheaper than me (and was waiting to do that for some time, now.) That is just wrong -- especially when I found a replacement before I left.

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@Yasukuni : "Maybe a letter, email, phone call from the other country would have been a nice courtesy"

Are these gaijin friends of yours the vast majority of the 500,000 gaijins who left? or just the handful case of your friend? because in my situation, it was different, all the gaijins I know who left , are still keeping in touch with everybody including their japanese friends tru facebook and mixi. like what i've mentioned over and over again, almost all of them started to contribute and helped tsunami victims by raising funds, some people raised 3,000 dollars money for the vicitms! if you wont beleive me, I am glad to introduce you to all of them. Did the news or media see that bright side of the story? did your friend or you, paid attention to that story? or you are only seeing the bad sides? That is my issue here and with these country, People are too extreme, because there were 20 foreigenrs who forgot to say good bye so all the 500,000 gai jins ar the same as them?

"My biggest problem with "flyjin" is that their leaving was meiwaku for lots of people who stayed and had to cover for them"

Meiwaku to people in what means? list it all down, are you 100% percent sure that this is the majority, or you are being too extreme again by the handful people who left and caused meiwaku? or even way before this earthquake even happened Japanese people are already seeing foreigners as "Meiwaku" ?

"Personally I have never called anyone a flyjin,"

yup you never called anybody a flyjin, but the way you judge all of the these foreigners who left are as degrading as what that word means. Or maybe worse.

"Anyway, flyjin, gaijin, cryjin - who cares. Let's just stay safe and build a safer, happier Japan. "

How can you start to build a happier Japan if your japanese neighbors thinks extreme about you as meiwaku?

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True. The numbers show a significant portion of those that left were from other parts of Asia, and I can't speak for them. But I think the term "flyjin" was probably created to apply to Westerners, most of whom are young and here only temporarily. And if you look at just that segment, I think frustration over economic differences may have played a big role in the original application of the term.

I am still paying off credit card bills and student loans stemming from my decision to study abroad here 5 years ago. It is incredibly frustrating that all the upper-middle-class English teachers and the bankers and their like were able to just throw up their hands and say, "screw it, I'm outta here," and enjoy a leniency period from their employers and have the kind of money to just reserve a last second spot on a plane like that.

At my job, I was told I could take time off if I wanted, but there was a very clear implication that my doing so would hurt business, and I also woudl not be paid for that time away, and when it comes down to it, taking two weeks off would have put me on the street, and I think there are other people in similar situations who feel they have the right to speak derisively of those in the privileged ranks that used their privilege to get out when they wanted to.

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nemurenaijin. very good points. We cannot rebuild if this stigma harms our ability to participate in society. Having other foreigners perpetuate this doesn't help matters. And I strongly suspect it has other motivations that have little to do with meiwaku or disasters.

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@Patricksmash : Human beings work for Survival and to live, I don't see the point of risking your life and your family's for the sake of the company? if there's an option to stay safe and survive. Will the company do something for them worse case scenario? will the company save their lives if things get worse? why not take that chance? while they still can , if they felt the threat of dangerm, Plus, dude you are running a business, it's business, not a romantic relationship, accept the fact that your employees will leave you , with or without earthquake, It's not a gift, it's business. Employees decide to move on and you should respect that.

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I think the one who left after 3/11, they had this wish to leave Japan sooner or later. They are not the ones who see themselves retiring in Japan. And they have their free will, what best time to use it than during a quake-tsunami-radiation time? I do support those who stayed, that's their wish. But if asked, I would say: stop day-dreaming and leave Japan, asap.

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patrick

I just don't see why I should have my livelihood and the livelihoods of many others ruined by those who ran and refused to return.

What??? You're livelihood is ruined because some people left??

And why do they owe you anything, much less their own personal safety?

It sounds like the issues you have are something deeper.

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I think there are other people in similar situations who feel they have the right to speak derisively of those in the privileged ranks that used their privilege to get out when they wanted to.

So it's jealousy? Leave the cheap emotions behind. Everyone had the right to chose what course of action was best for themselves and their families.

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Let's face a fact that Patrick must also face. There will be significant financial consequences for this disaster. Consequences that will cost jobs due to reduced family spending, rising taxes to pay for recovery and overall reduced production. This means there is a certain inevitablity that some jobs will be lost. So you may well have to let people go anyway.

Again workers and employers alike have to do what they need to do and what is right for them.

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"Some people who left here were also worried about how much support there would be for foreign people in the event of an expanded disaster. Especially when there had been comments in the news about the inability to handle issues with foreigners.

If we work, pay taxes, contribute to society then why should we be seen any differently than any other person? Do we separate Japanese from other people in the UK, America, France? Sure they are foreign residents, but they have rights protected in kind with those of other people. That question has been a long standing issue in Japan. Only one that apologists are willing to overlook.

But in time of emergency we need to know that all people will be viewed as people and cared for."

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Patrick. You have to live with that decision yourself whether it is just to punish someone for following their best judgement for family and loved ones or not.

My small company hosted an event on 4/2. Some people choose to leave Japan and did not return for the event. Others had left and came back for it. Others had stayed. I treat them all with equal respect for their actions. We adjusted to the circumstances as resilent people must. And we moved on to host a successful event.

I will, without doubt, invite those who did not return to future events. I hired them because I respect their skills and abilities. That has not changed.

All I would and should have expected from anyone was honesty, forthright statements of their intent and enough notice to adapt. I got that from every single person.

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Let's take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the sunshine today. There will be more worries coming sooner or later so why not move on for now? We all expressed our deep feelings and we know this debate is endless. To all of you, have a nice lunch! :)

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Patsmash: let me ask you this, what is your plan for your employees? just in case suddenly things go wrong? can you guarantee 100% safety for them and their families in case suddenly TEPCO announced a badnews and a very big earthquake happens?

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Nobody should blame on those who left.. they had their own reasons to leave, and those who stayed had our own reasons to stay.

Some of my husband's relatives in the U.S. called and said things to make me feel really bad for not leaving and they said I was very irresponsible for not taking the kids out of the country. I told them that I (and husband) have work, kids have school, we have our whole life here.. If we were visiting Japan for a few years, it would have been much easier to leave, but when you have your whole life here, it isn't that simple. I also told them that I was getting every possible information around me both in Japanese and in English, and I promised them that when we thought it certainly was dangerous to stay, we'd leave.. but right after the earthquake, it just wasn't the time. They told me what I was doing was not what any good parents would do, and made me cry.. but guess what.. I am glad I stayed with the family. I did not want to panic and get the kids out of Japan quick, because when parents panic, kids can sense something dangerous and make them nervous, and I didn't want to do that.

We are still worried about the radiation and all that, but we are glad that we tried our best to have our kids continue their normal daily life and they see their friends in school everyday..

Nobody should make people feel bad for leaving or not leaving. Everyone is in different situations and everyone has their own reasons..

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Large companies could afford to offer evacuation for families to reassure their workers. Some offered remote working or temporary relocation. Small companies do not have the resources for this, leaving workers to worry for the well being of loved ones on their own.

Nemurenaijin is right, what do you have in place Patrick to assure their well being if they do not do so on their own? Fukushima is far from over, if you expect people to stay in any eventuality, you must be prepared to provide assistance for them should things develop in a way that could be harmful.

From my point of view, the company that had plans, and yet people fled without warning, have cause to be upset. Those with no contingencies in place, should see flight as in indictment of this failure (or to be fair, inability) and be far more understanding.

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fishy.

Well said. One thing that eased my folks overseas a lot is that soon after the quake/tsunami we talked to them via Video-chat.

They could see and talk to me and their grandson of course they been worried over the last few weeks and the offer to fly us out was not mentioned but everyone knew it was there.

Ditto for son's Grandmother in Nagoya we called soon after(thx to IP-phone) which was not affected like land-lines and cel-phones were.

Son is happy that he stayed and he was playing with friends the day after the quake, etc.

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why do they owe you anything

Because he pays their wages?

there had been comments in the news about the inability to handle issues with foreigners

I saw a few mentions of the need to get information out in languages other than Japanese, and my local radio station was broadcasting in Japanese, English, Spanish, Chinese and some other language that I didn't recognise. What other 'issues' were there? (There were also 'comments in the (overseas) news' about Japan being a nuclear wasteland....they were wrong)

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Patrick, we agree on this point already as I have stated. My comments indicate why I think it is unfair to apply future judgements based on this situation to job retention. Not to your drawing a deadline for people to return to work.

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Hey STEVE, "You said "all" foreigenrs left in the middle of the night in your area, sorry but these claims don't sound real"

What's the matter, don't know your neighbors?

I live in an area of Sendai where I know all of the foreigners. I know where they live, usually what their jobs are, what country they are from, and about how long they intend to stay. I know how old their kids are, etc. I even know their religious beliefs, mostly.

They were all accounted for one day. I even knew what their state was. Whether they had electricity, water, heat, etc. I was sharing water, sharing food, and doing other things to help them.

They were gone the next day. All of them. All of them. Electrical power came back on, and they remained, but cable modems came up a couple of hours later. A heavy snow was coming in. After the snow had melted a little, I counted noses. I was the only one left of 17.

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Klein2; I live in a remote farming area where most people are seniors. In my village i am the only foreigner and the only within 5 km radius are 2 Chinese women and a Phillipino woman.

The nearest westerner lives over 8 Km from me. I know about my neigbours but not foreigners near to my place.

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who, exactly, was calling foreigners who left "flyjin"? I never heard this term from my Japanese friends.

I suspect it was the other foreigners who chose to stay, deriding those who chose to leave. To expand, I sensed that the VOCAL foreigners who stayed felt that foreigners leaving Japan in time of crises would somehow make them (the foreigners who stayed) look bad...

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Great Steve, so just don't call me a liar or say that what I say is so unbelievable and we will be just fine.

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I see a few people have got the gist of what I am saying.

First of all, I don't think of myself as a gaijin. I don't try to ingratiate myself with J or dress up in kimono or any of that. Although I am extremely unpopular with my views here, I spend as much effort defending "gaijin.flyjin" all over the place. I use all the excuses and explanations shown above. They are all convenient and seem to explain most cases.

Let me suggest that this is not about good Gaijin/ bad Gaijin or about Gaijin vs. Japanese. My beef has to do with belonging to a community. Not just a Japanese community. I am really talking about common decency in any community, and that is why I use strong language. In my community, to a man really.... In every instance, really, the Japanese did one thing, and the foreigners did another.

But Klein! You are saying it is a gaijin/Japanese thing! Says someone. No. Look. I am saying much more than that, and that is why everyone hates me.

If you are in Ishinomaki or Natori or Aomori, then life is so bad that everyone is running to get somewhere. It is just foolish to hang and stick it out. In Fukushima, things might be dicey. You do what you are told, and you have a reasonable expectation that you should probably move away. Chances are your communities in those cases are not functioning. SO you go. I am totally cool with that. In such a case, you have a reasonable fear of safety. You do what you do.

If you are in Kobe, you aren't going to do much good by staying. So why not take a vacation? OK. I am cool with that. You are not leaving because you feel endangered, your community is fine. Your coworkers are ok. So why not?

Those are individual decisions, individual consequences. There we are.

Where we have a problem is in that middle ground, where, in my extremely pompous presumption, I believe that an individual has a clear and undeniable responsibility to the community. ANY community. ANYWHERE. It is not fascism. It is not holier than thou. It is common decency and civility. Britling knows what this means and most Brits used to know what it means.

Digest that and then read on.

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patrick -

management's poor attitude towards employee's choices for personal safety will be a consideration when those employees choose to leave the company for better employment.

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klein2-

In every instance, really, the Japanese did one thing, and the foreigners did another.

completely incorrect. Japanese left Tokyo. foreigners left Tokyo. end of story.

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I live in an area of Sendai where I know all of the foreigners.

klein, why do you insist on making grand assumptions?

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Klein2; I never said you were a liar , i was suggesting exaggerating. If what you say is a fact, you must live in a wealthy area as the foreigners in my area would find it very hard to suddenly have funds to leave Japan.

you may also find that there a some in Jpaan who are not considered part of their local community and are treated badly by locals. I am accepted, whether that is because of my British nationality or what, but all situations are different. You say we all have a responsibility to community, i feel i do as they treat me fine most of the time. There are people in this type of rural Japan who are the local "leader" and if they don't like an outsider coming in foreign or japanese, they can make their life hell.

Bring part of the community os great for foreigners, but i cannot blame some for leaving or not caring when there is a problem as they must feel unwelcome.

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Klein2. Several thoughts.

I share a strong belief in responsibility to community. But if you are responsible also for a family, you must balance this against their best interests too. Also that responsibility must be something that can be manifest as practical applications. It does no one any good to just stay. If you stay, you should be doing so for a practical, helpful reason. Which I believe many foreigners in the disaster area did.

If you are unable to help, then you are adding to the burden and your responsibility is to leave. And then help raise funds and support from afar where you are no longer a strain on resources.

I disagree that Japanese did one thing and foriegners another. I have seen near identical behavior across the board. Perhaps the only difference is most Japanese who fled went home to places outside Tokyo. While the few foreigners I know went just somewhere farther away. But in essence they both left Tokyo as ManFromAmerica stated.

Man. I agree with you. Many people I talk to recently have realized that in a difficult time they are on their own. Many companies failed to have any plan for people, yet expected them to stay. This is not going to fly with many. Some are now talking of leaving for better managed companies. Others leaving to start companies where they can be prepared on their own.

Managers and owners need to think about this and avoid having no clue next time around.

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Patrick Smash:

What a company cannot do is have people sit on the sidelines forever while the company runs itself into the ground by not replacing missing staff. I cannot see why this is difficult to understand.

I can validate that. If you were clear to your staff early on that there is a time limit to return or your company has to carry on with different employees, then everyone is blameless. You are blameless and so are those who left. I don't share the view of choosing one staff member over another on the basis of "did you evacuate or not." That is vindicative in a time of crisis. Not cool.

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Uh. Part. II.

I have a family. I took care of them. The first thing I did when communications opened up was ask about Fukushima. My first email. We were using a dial up long distance to Hawaii just to send email. I asked literally one question to one person who I KNEW had the right answer. I got my answer in about three sentences.

And from that point, all I thought about was helping my community. Is that heroic? Am I patting myself on the back? Why would anyone think so? My greatest disappointment is that some people see that as any motivation at all. Why is what I did even unusual?

I said in the post above that the coasts and Fukushima were just messed up. People needed to get away from there. Kansai? Go ahead and go to Hawaii. Your communities are not affected.

But Sendai? Tokyo?

In Sendai, the communities were endangered. Supplies of everything were low and all utilities were out. Police were just gone. I shared everything I had, and others did too. We had community meetings and other events to keep cohesion and keep spirits up. We dealt with broken pipes. Freezing. Older people. Health problems. Families with infants. We needed crossing guards, school help. Clothing donations to 400,000 people in shelters who needed clothes fast.

I did what any civilized person would do. You do your part and support others. Even if you do nothing, you watch and you encourage others. Eyes. Hands. Give people what you can. Make coffee.

So in that "zone", I think I did the right thing. I was not in danger. I stayed. Other people in that zone, whom I judge as having equal or greater social responsibility, did not. Every other foreigner in my area, and many in similar areas, with similar hazards and responsibilities, bolted. I am sure some Japanese left, but not many. We knocked on doors every few days. Certainly for every empty house, there were another two or three full to the rafters with relatives from Natori or Wakabayashi ku. They needed food too. And furniture. And blankets. And everything else.

Then there is this other "zone"... Tokyo that I have heard about, where it seems that many people behaved far worse despite having no threat to their community. Wow. I think that maybe there is no community there to begin with, but it is just a hunch. Generally, foreigners feel at home there, and I guess I can understand that now. People just ocme and go. It totally explains the disagreement between TKO and CLEO. Cleo won't support me because I am way too abrasive, but I KNOW she knows what I am talking about.

If you understand the explanation above, you can understand why I am startled. People who fled and felt as though they were in imminent danger did not try to help others. They just ran. People who fled who were in no danger at all did not try to help anybody. They also fled. And then a lot of people just said, "Whatever. It is my personal choice." Then there are those who fled and taunted those who remained. I have seen some posting here.

I made my remarks in that context. I have nothing to say about Kansai, Fukushima, or people on the coast. People who could have helped their communities should have. At the very least, they should not have made problems for others. That is common decency and civility and humanity in my opinion, and I won't stop defending that in the strongest terms. When you start thinking it is a personal choice, sooner or later, say bye-bye to all the benefits of civilization.

Anyway, it has been an eye-opener to say the least. I stuck around to see amazing things. The best and worst of human nature.

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Manfromamerica. See above. You are right for Tokyo. Tokyo is not Japan. Tokyo is not my Japan. I know all the foreigners in my area. It is not an assumption. It is a fact. ANd it is not so grand. See Stevecpfc comments above. He has three or four, we have 17.

Steve. Not all left Japan, from what I know. They left Sendai. Up to now, I think 4 have returned. Many have not communicated at all. Many said they would return and won't. It is a problem for landlords and neighborhood associations, and even the utilities. Until the contract is over, landlords have trouble repairing pipes, etc.

Yeah. Anyway. Sorry for the long posts.

The whole thing makes me sad.

Most foreigners don't have a sense of community. The more "modern" they are, the less they have. Or could it be said that people who don't get what they want are less inclined to support a community? It also makes sense that Japanese will have a stronger sense of community in Japan, but really, why should foreigners be allowed to vote if they can just hop a plane when things get dicey?

Community either means something, or it doesn't. Nobody can have it both ways, even foreigners.

Moderator: Please do not post inflammatory remarks.

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@britling: "as it seeks to excuse inexcusable behaviour based on panic, fear and ignorance."

Not all the people who left are in Panic, How can you explain to their kids the after shocks that they feel, how can you ease their stress about it? grocery stores are out of stock with important things that you need for everyday, do you still think it's clever to stay with all these things going on around you? and can you assure us that despite of what's going on around you it's 100% safe to stay? I was in Sendai during the earthquake and I was there until March 15th, Yes you may think that the situation at the power plant is under control by TEPCO,but Im telling you man the aftershocks there was really strong enough to damage the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima and the damage to that might affect the on going process of fixing those reactors and can change the pace. We are talking about 6 or 7 intesnity aftershocks there man, those can still destroy buildings so don't sit back and relax, it things get worse, you are the one whose gonna thank all the gai jins who left. when are you gonna leave??? if the power plants totally exploded??? well good luck evacuating 38 million people out of Tokyo or Japan that time then.

"Why not start by asking them why they believe tabloid newspapers more than their own relative, and one who is on the ground at that."

I agree that some media companies sensationalized the reports too much, It is wrong to panic, but you got to admit, There is a big risk of Danger going on! a very serious one, and to ignore this is foolish.

Worrying and assuring safety is way too different from Panicking.

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Klein2,

I do understand what you are saying that you chose to stay and help, and that is noble of you (l am being genuine there). However you lost me with you diatribes aga inst those who left for personal reasons. You use words like fled, ran, etc. It is not your right to judge people for their actions, they had their reasons for leaving. They and they alone know what they are, you are not all seeing and know the reason why every single person left (or stayed for that matter). Take my situation for example, l am in this country for 2 years and then l will return to my home country and more than likely never come back to Japan. While l try to fit in to the community to some degree l feel no attachment to it at all and likely never will. I come from a area that doesnt have earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis or large populations so all this is new to me. Why then am l expected to stay and why if l leave do you then have the right to call me derogitory names? Having said what l said above, l have been through a natural disaster in my home country and l did the complete opposite to what l said above. I stayed and helped my neighbours and friends and did my bit. Why because it was my community and my home. This isnt and thats the big difference.

I owe this country nothing and this country owes me nothing, how many of the people you are critisising in the same situation as this. Maybe you should think of that before you tar everyone with your perfect world brush.

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patrick - if a company shows insensitivity to it's employees during a crisis, then they should not be surprised if their employees find employment elsewhere.

Even the employees who "stayed" do notice the company's attitude, so the company should be more concerned that they will leave.

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Leaving as soon as possible was the best way to avoid being trapped in Tokyo. You saw what happened with minor releases of I and Cs. Now imagine the cores completely melting down, dispersing far more dangerous particles in the environment. It would have been complete panic and chaos with no more flights to/from Japan and thus no way to escape. I guess at least a few clever people realized the danger was real.

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adamB-

very thoughtful post, and I think one of the best summaries of the issue so far. Thanks for posting that.

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KLEIN: "from what I know. They left Sendai. Up to now, I think 4 have returned. Many have not communicated at all."

I was in Sendai during the quake, I am continously keeping in touch with my friend and the family who helped me when I was stuck there, It is foolish to go back there after what happened, even Japanese people are starting to think to leave that city for the meantime because it needs to be re-build again, In fact my friend now is looking for a Job here in Tokyo and her family is thinking to move to Akita ken. The Gas just finally came back last week Wednesday, Since March 11 dude, 90 percent of the foreigners' jobs in Sendai are english teachers and the rest are Nihongo school students... After what happened , no body goes to English lessons, meaning no income for these english teachers who were only earning less money, so if they go back there, they will be just a burden to the people who are already in need of food and other important things, so going away for a while or for good is a big help for the people of Sendai especially for the people who has no where else to go.

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Klein2. "Most foreigners don't have a sense of community. The more "modern" they are, the less they have."

And you base this absurd assumption on what? I live in Tokyo. In the heart of this city I have a strong community of people around me. As does nearly everyone else I know.

"Tokyo that I have heard about, where it seems that many people behaved far worse despite having no threat to their community. Wow. I think that maybe there is no community there to begin with, but it is just a hunch."

An uninformed hunch and one demonstrating considerable ignorance of life in Tokyo and the reaction to this disaster. The VAST majority of people I know, foreign and Japanese alike behaved with grace, compassion and clarity. Whether they remained in Tokyo or elected to leave the city, everyone took efforts to see to the well being of loved ones. And every single one, did something tangible to provide relief to those in the north. Whether donating money, offering up goods, working with us on benefit events or helping family.

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Bottom line, the only people who can be proud of their behavior in this emergency, where those that put people first. That includes people who determined to take care of their families and leave, or to alay the worries of those abroad by leaving.

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Klein: "Most foreigners don't have a sense of community. The more "modern" they are, the less they have."

This is sooo foolish, That is what I am talking about! the media made efforts to show "FLYJINS" but no one really shows the Gaijins who are still in Japan and the Flyjins who left already but are still raising funds for Tsunami victims, dude I can show you and give you the list of foreign groups here in modern city TOKYO who are making best efforts to help , more than Japanese people who goes on with their lives and forgot what happened to their fellow country people in the north.

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Klein2 one more thing about the foreigners in Tokyo.

Did you know that some of the first responders with food and supplies to the north were foreigners who loaded up cars and drove up there to drop off supplies when none were getting to people?

Did you know that business owners like Pink Cow made their shops and restaurants into supply gathering spots so people could drop off donations for other groups ferrying supplies to drive north?

Did you know that a lot of the money for that came from foreigners working remotely from Kansai, HKG or other places?

Did you know that many fund raising events in Tokyo were inititated by foreigners? Some who had left and then returned after calming family and friends abroad?

You just don't know anything about Tokyo, about her people (Japanese and foreign). We were worried and with good reason. But we did not forget that the quake was frightening for us but lucky for us that it did not harm many people here. We knew that and we stood up to help people less lucky. Our communities did so.

Sure there were some who acted out of panic, but out of 38 million it was a tiny number friend. Tokyo has nothing to be shamed about. You, however, do for making absurd accusations and uninformed statements.

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it seems the more "Japanese-y" gaijin here are trying to teach the rest of us foreigners how to be less foreign. While I thank them for their efforts, it is very inappropriate within this topic.

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AdamB

You do owe this country something. This is your home. You are part of a community. Or if you prefer, you are a guest. In a time of crisis, we are all called upon to help our neighbors and families, whether we feel we belong or not. I know countless people who did leave - and in every single case, fear of the nuclear crisis was the motivating factor. Whether or not they felt as if they were part of the community never came into it. I tried to talk some of my acquaintances out of leaving and succeeded in doing so in the case of one family and one couple. I just didn't want to see anyone give in to fear and make life-altering decisions for the wrong reasons.

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tkoind2 - don't forget the "greedy foreign businessmen and corporations", including the ACCJ, who are collecting and delivering food, supplies and financial donations to the disaster areas.

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smartacus -

adam and the rest of us owe (1) taxes, and (2) obey the law.

That is it.

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smartacus.

You are both right and wrong here. Yes we have a responsibility to our communities. But we also have responsibility to family, to children and to our loved ones. In many cases those who left did so for the benefit of others. There is zero shame in that.

We cannot also expect every person to be strong. Some can endure hardship better than others. You have no right to judge those who elected to leave.

Bottom line is simple. Every single person has the right to decide what is the proper course of action. Japanese, Foreign does not matter. People need to do the rational thing for their situation. There is no one universal right thing to do.

Belief in absolute right and wrong is evil and wrong. The world is not so black and white and neither are the needs of human beings. And we have a responsibility to our community to understand that fact.

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I have to wonder if some of the grand-standers on this thread stayed for the teary-eyed noble reasons they give. I have the feeling more than a few have been stuck in shi**y jobs/situations that left them no choice.

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smartacus,

You say that l do owe this country something. As manfromamerica said l owe this country taxes which l pay and to obey the laws of this country which l do. As a guest (not long term resident) l owe no more, does that mean l dont give anymore. No, l did my bit as l best could and l am happy with that and thats all that matters. You need to understand l and people in my position are here for a very limited time. Most likely know no body here other than those we meet. All our family and loyalties lie elsewhere so when something like the recent disaster happen we do not have the ties that bind us to the community. I did not leave the country although we where offered the chance to leave until things settled down, but that being said if things were closer to where we are we would have left and not felt bad about it one bit. What annoys me is people that are basically calling people cowards for putting themselves first, in my book you look after yourself and your family first then worry about others. And only if you can be of any help. As another poster mentioned what about these people who left, do you know if they donated money, food, clothes or whatever. Maybe they did and maybe that was of more use than them staying.

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hoserfella - exactly

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Foreigners bashing foreigners. Why is that? Can't the foreigners who stayed and the foreigners who left get along? It's not even funny the number of foreigners who've stayed that I've heard about that have been deriding the foreigners who have fled. It's like they suddenly feel they have some pride and balls to show off. And then there are the foreigners who have fled who suddenly feel like they need to show off their supreme knowledge of radiation and disaster awareness. They feel that they are the smart ones for fleeing while others will perish for staying. I say enough already.

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Adam,

you are shortchanging yourself. You are not a "guest" in Japan. You are a legal, tax-paying resident who contributes to society. That said, you owe the most to yourself and your family. Any decision you or anyone made in the crisis must be respected.

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Well Adam.

"I owe this country nothing and this country owes me nothing"

We do understand each other. This is exactly what I am saying. People who felt like this, whether foreign or not, felt no "community" to protect or be a part of. What stuns me is that, in my "zone" in Sendai, apparently all the foreigners felt like this, and very very few Japanese did.

Look. Everyone who wants to flame: Just read what I wrote above. I am not going to change my mind, and if I am nuts, then we are all doomed. I mean, if I am whacko, then there is nobody standing up for the little guy, nobody to jump in there and cover your back. I am speaking up for civility and decency writ large, and if that makes no sense, well it probably never will. Maybe I live in the last little Mayberry or Springfield left on the planet. If so, then I am the luckiest man alive.

I have not and will not call people names. I won't post on this thread anymore.

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Have to sort-off agree with klein2 here.

I can understand that the local community might not welcome "you" if you feel your only obligations are to pay taxes and uphold the law and act accordingly.

But from what I read between the lines of some posters their opinions posted here are not how they truly feel but don't realise it yet.

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Klein2,

Please read again what l wrote. Why did l say what l said is, how easy is it to put down roots and become a part of a community if you are only going to be there for a short time and will not be returning. My point that l was trying to make is maybe some of the foreigners you are critical of (and you have been critical and you have called them flyjin) are in similar situations to me. And l do know of quite a few who are. It is hard to become part of a community in that respect, but it doesnt mean you dont care. I am not critical of your decisions, l think you did a good thing and if this occurred in my community in my home country l would more than likely behave similar to you. But l would not critisise those that leave what l have learnt from past experience is you have to make your own decisions and live with the outcome. But for people to be critical of your choices is not fair or nice. You dont live in some eutopia because my community at home is like this, you just need to remember some people are here for a short time and dont view this the same way as they would their permanant home.

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"Since March 11 dude, 90 percent of the foreigners' jobs in Sendai are english teachers and the rest are Nihongo school students... After what happened , no body goes to English lessons, meaning no income for these english teachers who were only earning less money,....they will be just a burden to the people who are already in need of food and other important things, so going away for a while or for good is a big help for the people of Sendai especially for the people who has no where else to go."

Yeah. I saw you were from Sendai. Sorry about the English teaching biz. You probably know that food has been plentiful at Asaichi downtown at least since the buses started running again, which I think was 3.13, so I think we can handle the food burden of having you here rather than leaving.

All I can do is shrug at your post. This is a decision you are making now or recently based on employment. I kind of see this as another topic really.

What I said about Tokyo is that MAYBE the foreigners in Tokyo who left MAYBE left because they felt no strong ties to their communities. I really made no definitive statement on why a bunch of people who were in no danger decided to leave Tokyo and cleared the market shelves. You try to explain that, I can't. However, my theory about community does go a long way toward explaining why the gaijin/foreigner leaver ratio seems higher here than in Tokyo. That was kind of my point.

TKO tries to lambaste me with many examples of people who did not leave Tokyo, but decided to pitch in and help instead. Obviously nobody is talking about them, so don't get caught up in that. I certainly won't. Obviously a few foreigners are working overtime, and their efforts are being undermined by others who bought plane tickets and skipped out on their rent.

OK. That really is it this time. Finished.

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"You probably know that food has been plentiful at Asaichi downtown at least since the buses started running again, which I think was 3.13"

No it wasn't, unless I've got the meaning of the word "plentiful" wrong. I saw line-ups around the block at the downtown supermarkets as my bus pulled out of Sendai 1 week and 1 day after the quake. And they were still rationing to 10 items each half a week later according to my mother-in-law; this is why we left, not fled. While you continued to contribute to the problem. Which you amusingly try to justify as your integral obligation to your community.

C'mon man, I've lived in Sendai 15 years. No Japanese really care if we left or not and you know it. This was all started by guys like you pulling out cheesy Robert Frost quotes about "taking the road less travelled".

How about this one from Bob Marley- "Judge not, until you judge yourself".

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KLEIN "I saw you were from Sendai. Sorry about the English teaching biz. You probably know that food has been plentiful at Asaichi downtown at least since the buses started running again, which I think was 3.13,"

You don't know what you are talking about, The resuming of the bus has got nothing to do with the limited food resources in the city. Resuming the bus will just bring the people to the city, but not feed them. I left Sendai on the 15th situation became worse, Convinience stores are all out of stock already, All things are sold out, All the vending machines are all out including black coffee and energy drinks were all gone, Cars are running out of gas, Gas stations can only fill up to 5 liters only . The resuming of the local bus didn't really help at all, I was there and experienced the whole situation, NO RELIEF GOODS COMING FROM ANY JAPANESE AGENCIES, The evacuation areas are just adding up all the resources that they have left to feed the evacuees,but nothing is coming out from other places, or from the National government. I was in line for a bus going for Niigata for 3 hours with hundreds of passengers majority are Chinese and Koreans from Japanese schools, but then the bus got cancelled because the way to Niigata became dangerous , and few kilometers from that Niigata bus station I moved to another long line bus station heading for Yamagata with again non stop hundreds of people mainly foreigners lining up, To try my luck of getting out of there before we start eating each other. Until the time i got into the bus, the numbers of people in the line was not changing, Imagine if all of these foreigners stayed together and compete with the locals for survival it's gonna be really messy. I am in touch with my friend every night checking the situation,Until now majority of the shops are still close and Shinkansen will only resume on Aprl 27th. let me know now how will you feed and bathe these thousands of foreigners in Sendai with their limited resources? where should they get their money to support themselves if their jobs are all gone?

"so I think we can handle the food burden of having you here rather than leaving"

First question, HOW Will you do it? easy to say I THINK WE CAN HANDLE but hard to say HOW . These people who lost their jobs and lost their source of income in a land doesn't belong to them , Why would they suffer to make every thing hard for themselves not to eat properly, just to prove to everyone that they stayed? Isn't it COMMON SENSE to go back to your HOME COUNTRY to have a proper meal and better living condition than staying and proving to people that you stayed until the end?

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KLEIN :"MAYBE the foreigners in Tokyo who left MAYBE left because they felt no strong ties to their communities"

Nope they left because they want them and their families to have peace of mind and be in a better situtation. What's wrong with that? Why not if you have an option to go?

Strong ties with communities??? nope because in Tokyo our neighbors here don't even go out of their apartments, or maybe they are not inside their apartments? I dont know where are they!? I invited them for a dinner at my place since we just moved in, but none of them came. We see them sometimes but they just smile and rush out of the main gate since being too much close and talking to a stranger is a no no rule here in Tokyo, especially if you cannot speak Japanese... I don't know the situation in your place though.But that's our situation of our community here in Tokyo.

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nemurenaijin.

You talking for all foreigners and all japanese in Tokyo(all 38 mill). Somehow don't think so. ;)

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Zenny11: Well when things get worst, how will you get ALL foreigners out of Tokyo then? plus the Japanese that will leave the country? give me a slotuion. then talk to me ok? ;-)

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Zenny11: with all these "I stayed in Japan thing", what good did it bring to people? do the Japanese people really care about you staying and acted like a loyal Gai jin? Yeah you stayed and what?

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Zenny11: answer the questio man, don't run away, Let's say that all Foreigners here including the 500,000 plus foreigners who left stayed. can you assure us now that we are 100 percent over from the problems? give us a statement that will convince me and the rest of the gaijin community in Japan that everyhting is totally ok now, non stop strong after shocks are still going on in that crippled nuclear power plant, There is no assurance of safety until TEPCO announced that everything is ok now! until then you can't assure safety, all you need is another earthquake, which you dont know when is it gonna happen to change the pace of whole nuclear drama situation thing. And if worst case scenario, 4 of them explode , Give me a solution on immediate evacuation plan for the entire foreign community in "Tokyo only" ( don't include Kanagawa, Chiba , Ibaraki. Niigata any place close to Fukushima ken.)?

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I stayed. Not to prove what a loyal little foreigner I am. Far from it. Just one simple reason:

Japan is my home now. I have family and friends here. Nothing heroic - just like the millions of Japanese who stayed and continue to stay around the Tohoku/Kanto region. I'm not expecting any thanks. Not expecting people to treat me any differently. I'm here to earn a living like everyone else.

And why should Japanese care?!?! Just because I'm foreign, doesn't make me 'special'.

The disaster that unfolded on March 11 was no respecter of age, sex, or nationality. HUMANS died. The only thanks or respect I should get from other people here is the respect due to any human being.

In saying all that...I have no respect for the managers in my company who bailed out at the earliest opportunity...only to return a few weeks later...all smiles and cheery. I'm treating them with professionalism...but respect?...no chance. Reason?...they chickened out, while many others didn't...of ALL nationalities.

I also have the same feeling of contempt for the 'hoarders'.

Perhaps, that'd be another good question to ask, 'Did you buy more than your usual foodstuffs or daily goods just after the earthquake? And, do you continue to maintain a larger than normal stock?'

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forinagai -- thank you so much for staying in Japan while I fled the country like a chicken. I couldn't have done it without you. You have my respect as a human being. After all, HUMANS died -- and you stayed. Thank you once again.

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this whole conversation is dumb. who cares if someone decides to leave for their home country or if they stayed. seems like it's just a chance for teh bashers to feel self-righteous and over-sanctimonious. The whole discussion's a bunch of crock. Every person's situation there is different. if you're there becasue you want to stay there forever that doesn't mean that someone else wanted to be there like you.. maybe it was just circumstance because they were military family and they don't want to be there in the first place. Maybe they're there just on vaccation. Maybe the disaster made them realize they left their own wonderful families back in another country and they want to go be with them. You can't judge based on your own purpose there or fault anyone for the decision they made. Pompous donkey arses.bunch'a bull. just reminds me that "when you're in a foreign country you're American, but when you're in America you're from a foreign country".. it's all about showing off and 'look what I did' because it intrigues people. Bashers are just using a horrendous disaster to "one-up" others. disrespectful. Start respecting and not everyone has the same circumstance as you so aren't inclined to make the same decisions all the time.

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Who cares? Well lets say some flyjin upped up and left Japan without paying the rest of his rent and leaving his company with no one to do the work. Well, next time one of us tries to rent an apartment or we try to get a job, maybe the owner of the apartment or business owner is going to be like "well the last foreigner...." , it makes it an already tougher situation that some of us already face.

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In addition to a lot of flyjin frequenting this comment column, I see a lot of them also fit the definition of cryjin. FYI - A cryjin is a flyjin with thin skin and no sense of humor. :) And no, Mariko Sanchanta's article was not the first mention of flyjin. It was made up by a blogger, I don't know who, but possibly the guy who licensed flyjindotcom.

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Those of you so proud that you stayed, please come down off your crosses, and pedistals already.

The vast majority of us stayed. Nothing shocking there because most of us live and work here. So what else would we do? A few people left. That was their perogative to do so.

This arrogance and condemnation reeks of selfsatifaction based on nothing more than existing in a space during a specific time. If you did nothing but maintain your routine, then you may as well have left for all the good you did people in need.

The only people who have any claim to standing on a pedistal are those who put their own well being aside to help others. The very few people who piled goods into cars and braved the conditions in the north to deliver supplies. And the only other people who have any claim to celebrating their staying in Japan are the people who supported those efforts by collecting, packing and loading goods or donating the funds and supplies to support the effort.

Just because you stayed in Japan along means NOTHING! So stop pointing fingers it reeks of selfadulation.

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Horrified - Did I say you were 'chicken'? No. I said the managers I work with were! Each person has their own circumstances. I have not, nor would I presume to judge your situation or any other person's situation (of whom I know nothing about).

I am, however, in a position to judge my managers' situation. Their situation certainly did NOT merit repatriation at their earliest convenience.

Also - I don't need your thanks. That's what the whole post was about. Obviously you have some kind of guilt complex if that's the tone of your reply to my post.

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I stayed, but if the rolls were reversed I'm sure the Japanese would all leave in a panic as well.

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Got to agree with Tkoind2.

Staying behind meant something for the people that did it, as did leaving for the ones that did it.

This thread makes me wonder who sits on the high horse here. Most of the guys that stayed behind been very much down to earth in their postings here, IMHO.

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agree = disagree.

Don't video-chat and type.

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Zenny11,

"This thread makes me wonder who sits on the high horse here. Most of the guys that stayed behind been very much down to earth in their postings here, IMHO." you have got to be joking. Please tell me your joking....

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I've managed to make it through the immediate aftermath; radiation fears, the daily aftershocks, so as I feel like I'm shaking all the time, the outages of both power, water and food, the panic that ensued, etc.- I've stayed through all this, and hung on.

But the new "recovery" taxes, increase of consumption tax, surcharges to electricity right before summer, that are being proposed just seem to me a good reason to consider leaving.

It is becoming drudgery to live here, and the quality of life and services is sinking.

This latest "aftermath" might just make me a "Flygin"...

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I am as much joking as you and others.

I get feedback from people that read JT but don't here post their comments about some posters are rather interesting. That includes people that left and stayed behind.

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I stayed, but if the rolls were reversed I'm sure the Japanese would all leave in a panic as well

They did leave. Many Japanese I know fled Tokyo.

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Pamelot. I hear what you are saying. Pre 3/11 the possible rise in Taxes, economic and political stagnation and shift to the right in local politics had us thinking it may be time to reconsider Japan.

The disaster initially made us feel more committed here. To family, to friends and to the cause of rebuilding. I suppose this will likely keep us here for some time to come too.

But the writing is very much on the wall, the economy is going to continue to waver if not decline. Politics are clearly heading to a more isolationist tone. And this flyjin thing, perpetuated more by our own foreign peers, will likely hurt us in our efforts to gain better footing in society. It may indeed be time to evaluate the long term wisdom of remaining in Japan. But for now, we plan to stay and help where we can and where the locals allow.

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One more note to all you people who are critical of the flyjin. I hope you know you are doing yourselves damage by perpetuating this conflict. Japanese won't see you and think you are the "one" who stayed. More likely people will lump us all together. That hurts everyone.

So why don't we collectively agree to accept what is done is done. And work instead on proving ourselves as the good citizens we are by helping out as much as we can with Japan's recovery.

What do you say?

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They did leave. Many Japanese I know fled Tokyo.

i say so what? people who wanted to leave left, people who wanted to stay stayed, whether they are japanese or foreign.

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tkoind2.

I agree, never posted against the guys that left but was worried if they left unpaid bills, etc behind.

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Most people here critical were more about how some people left and not that they left.

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tkoind2 - I say you are right, as usual

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But how many people really left so precipitously? Can you name more than a hand full of examples? We are defining the whole against a very tiny number of extreme examples. And again this just flys back in our collective faces when Japanese media or people look at it.

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Tkoind2.

Agree, it was a small percentage but those still cause worries concerns. I got news from a few companies that they will no longer hire foreigners due to how most of their foreign staff left.

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So same point. Why don't we just accept what happened and what people elected to do. Ignore the rare extremes and concentrate on the majority and their actions/motivations.

Then we can concentrate on demonstrating that we, collectively as foreigners, are here and are reliable and strong members of this society. We can do so by demonstrating our capacity for charity and our willingness to pitch in. This approach makes far more sense than pointing fingers at anyone.

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But Zenny, how does sensationalizing this help that problem? It doesn't.

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We are better off sounding the examples of people who did stay and who did help. If you want the Japanese, public and companies, to trust us, we need to highlight the actions of those who did good things.

E.g. People who drove supplies up north. People who got out there and raised donations. I know a few people who did so from other cities or countries after moving their families.

We need to promote the people who went north to lend a hand. There are endless positive examples. Why obsess on the rare exceptions. It does us harm and does our cause for winning trust harm.

Moderator: Sorry, but the question doesn't ask you about those people who went up north to help or whether or not they should be patted on the back. Please stay on topic.

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tkoind2.

sensationalizing helps increase funds, awareness, etc.

But not truly sure what you are talking about.

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Going on and on about a few, a very few, people who acted irresponsibly is sensationalizing the whole "flyjin" thing. That is what I am talking about. We should give it a rest and move on.

There are more important things to worry about. Things that will give us, as the foreign community, a chance to bury any concerns over this issue by demonstrating our actions here and now.

Just let it go, people did what they did. It cannot be changed. The worst offenders won't be back. And the majority of us did right by our families and our responsibilities. So why obsess? Let's move on.

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note; By right I mean acting responsibly if they left or didn't leave.

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I have read read quiet a few posters here that said don't attack the fly-jin(never did myself).

They also said staying behind means as the only responsibility for foreigners is to pay taxes and uphold the law, yet complained about lack of integration and respect from locals.

Later we heard how their own efforts after the quake surpassed the goverments and how unless you made efforts your staying meant nothing(sounds like some chest-pounding to me).

Now the same posters say calm down and it don't matter if you stayed or not but all need to work together.

So either those posters are involved or not?

Moderator: Readers, some of you are going around in circles and sniping at each other, while others seem obsessed with the topic, posting comments more than 50 times. From here on, repetitive posts will be removed.

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This will be reported soon if not already. These are official figures.

Tohoku Univ. had 1500 exchange students as of 3.11. 1000 have formally left. The dormitories, which normally hold 270 students, have 16 students now.

As I posted before, those rooms cannot be cleared to house the students who have come to attend classes.

Most of these are graduate level students.

The problem is extremely bad here. Certainly leaving and coming back is not so good, and it causes immense problems, but it appears that most are not coming back at all. The figures for regular students are not being reported, but I would guess they would be more "contrastive" than "comparable".

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Klein2,

If you are going to put figures out to make people look bad please tell the full story.

You left out the part where Tohoku Uni has cancelled all lectures until late April (date to be determined). You also left out the bit where the degree conferment ceremony, which was scheduled for March 25th, has been canceled. And you failed to mention the part where they are currently determining with foreign students who is going to finish their course here. You also failed to mention that part of the Uni and its equipment was damaged in the quake.

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AdamB : Well said dude!

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I think Klein2's point is that the students upped and left but left their dorm rooms full of stuff so that the rooms cannot now be used by other students who need them. Nothing wrong with leaving, lots wrong with leaving mess for others to clean up.

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Sort of agree with Cleo.

Cleanup takes time and money and how long should stuff be kept if there is no notification.

The previous tenant left my current apartment full of stuff, estate agent had to pay 70.000Yen to get it removed. Sale was zilch and he had to fork out removal bill and utilities.

Anyone trying to sell their junk to a 2nd-hand dealer here knows they might have to pay him to cart it off.

Than start adding in cleaning, etc bill which comes out of the deposit.

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Oh my God!!! Students who are known to be the cleanest and most responsible section of society left a mess!!! What have these foreign scoundrels done to blacken the reputations of us foreigners living here.

I cannot belive this has happend i am in shock hearing this news, this is more devastating than the actual disaster. Why should i suffer because of these evil doers?

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cleo: Who other students??? Are there new set of new students coming in to that area to replace the previous ones? with the sensationalized news outside Japan I think there are still no body coming in to those areas.

Part of business, sometimes you have to clean the mess up. Not just earning profit! that's life, It's not always go with the flow smoothly. Be ready for these expenses, if they can't, then don't run a business. period. These dormitories should've thought about these things way before , especially earthquakes and suicide cases( borders might kill themselves and leaves all the stuff) are really high in this country. be ready for expenses! not just profit!

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Are there new set of new students coming in to that area

Of course there are. April is the start of the new school year.

As for making a profit - if these dorms at Tohoku University are anything like the dorm my son was in at public uni, they're lent to the students very cheaply. There is no profit. It's not a business.

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Why did those foreigners who decided to leave Japan in the aftermath of the March 11 disaster come in for so much derision from some people who labeled them with words like 'flyjin?'

Isn't it obvious? They left based on irrational fears and left the non-flyjin to pick up the slack. They should be ridiculed.

Of course, those who stayed and some who help the relief efforts shouldn't be receive a gold medal either. They did what, in my opinion, any rational person with a decent sense of duty.

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Imagine what could be achieved if all these people whinging about "flyjin" used that energy for something positive. I also find it hard to believe there was a flight of foreigners who didnt pay their rent and left; maybe only true for Tokyo but I find it nigh on impossible to find an apartment that doesnt demand you have an automatic bank transfer..... so no choice really but to pay unless u cancel your contract. Also this is the kind of risk deposits/etc are for, so those who left in that manner wont get their deposits back, there you go. As for those who "came back to Japan on their high horses", I think some people have a bit of a persecution complex as nobody came back with horses let alone high horses. Stop spreading the hate. The only people that should be criticised are whiners.

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I sincerely doubt that people like Nigelboy can name a single individual who took flight without taking care of things. I doubt if they can name one or two that they could in any way demonstrate that it was 1% of those who elected to leave.

As for ridicule Nigelboy. What gives you the right to ridicule anyone? Were you even in Japan at the time? Do you know a single person who left Japan? Or their rationale for doing so? Selfrighteousness is far more pathetic than anything done by people leaving Japan.

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They left based on irrational fears and left the non-flyjin to pick up the slack. They should be ridiculed.

On March 15th, Tokyo radiation levels were 23 times higher than normal levels. What's irrational about not wanting your kids to breathe that air?

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On March 15th, Tokyo radiation levels were 23 times higher than normal levels

Leaving aside the fact that 'normal levels' are very very low in Tokyo, where do you get that figure of 23 times? The 15th March spike was 0.361 microsieverts/h, which is some 7 times the normal of around 0.05. The average person in Britain normally gets around 0.251 sieverts/hour, four times that if he lives in Cornwall. In southern India the normal background radiation is 3.42 microsieverts/hour. So rushing to get your kids away from Tokyo's 'high' levels of radiation is irrational, especially if you are rushing them to 'safety' in parts of the world with naturally high levels.

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Cleo if it makes PenelopePitstop feel better to move her kids, then why do you care about that? It was entirely her right to interpret the situation and respond in her own way.

A lot of the critics here fail to see that much of the pressure people were under was emotional. In my case I had 20-30 calls a day from concerned friends and family. Dozens of emails from our project fans and friends. All worried.

Some of my friends are from the energy industry and they were warning us to consider moving farther away.

We stayed in the end to make our event a charity fund raiser and to do that work. But it was hell to have to convince people who love us that it was the right choice.

For many, they left to put others at ease. Others left to err on the side of caution.

It was their right to do so. So leave them in peace. Your condemnation and critiques of these people are unfair and shameful.

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if it makes PenelopePitstop feel better to move her kids, then why do you care about that?

Maybe it would make her feel better to know that her kids are/were in no danger? I'm not 'condemning' anyone, apart from the sensationalist scaremongers who put unnecessary fear in the hearts of caring mums like PenelopePitstop.

Some of my friends are from the energy industry and they were warning us to consider moving farther away.

See? The advice of people who know what they're talking about is to 'consider moving' - that's a far, far cry from the 'Get out of Tokyo, NOW!' headlines of the gutter press that had your friends and family so unnecessarily worried.

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Of course Cleo... How did you plan to "get out of Tokyo" if/when things get worse?

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Cleo, in those few days no one knew how much more radiation would have been released. Fuel rod storage condition was a big question mark as was the ability of Tepco to cool those reactors.

It is all fine and well in hind site to say you were right. But what if you had been wrong? People made decisions based on their view of the problem. It could well have gone the other way, and then what would you be writing here? And would they be feeling critically of you for staying or just feeling concern for you for having been exposed?

Nearly every single person I know who left based on a combination of reasons. 1. Ongoing aftershocks were keeping them on edge. 2. Food and supply shortages were severe in their area. 3. Loved ones abroad were worried. and 4. Better safe than sorry with regards to Fukushima until it calms down.

I don't know anyone who responded to CNN or the news alone. Not one.

You should consider one more thing. Had things become much worst and the already evident panic in Tokyo's Japanese population had grown worst, then families would have been caught in the middle of that mess. Japanese and foreign alike who could leave, thought it prudent to do so for a while. Wise when one thinks of 38mil people trying to move at once had fear spread more.

The morning of the 18th my local train was filled with Japanese families leaving Tokyo with their kids in tow. So clearly not only foreigners felt this way.

You took a guess and decided to stay. So far that has been a good choice. But it easily could have been a very bad one if things had declined as a lot of very bright people in the industry thought it could.

Leave other people alone for their choices Cleo. This is not a social dictatorship. And they do not need your approval to act in their own best interests, whether right or wrong.

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<-- would have to agree with tkoind2

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One more thing. Cleo we went to Osaka on the 19th and 20th. My partner had not been eating or sleeping thanks to the shaking. We got to Osaka and rested for two days. Nice food, no shaking and could sleep in peace.

Those two days let us gear up for our charity event. Got everything organized by email, raised money online and let everyone who had been sending emails know that we were ok. A lot of our music fans were pretty stressed over their Japanese friends. We helped put them at ease.

Monday we took a 6:30 am train. Got back and held rehearsals. With all but one participant in the event present. Everyone was worried, most wanted to be out of Tokyo. But that event, jobs and other considerations had them in Tokyo.

For us this was the right choice. Leaving for two days gave us back our energy to carry on stronger. Returning let us do what we thought was the right thing to be doing, helping other people.

But I know some people who left. And it was right for them to do so. Some are back, some (mostly Japanese) have elected to relocate to the west of Japan. Good for all of them.

The bottom line here is that I support whatever people decided to do. Because for each person there was a right solution. Not the same as mine in most cases. But just as right as mine.

Can you understand and accept that simple concept? Right for you may not be right for the next person. It really is that simple.

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How did you plan to "get out of Tokyo" if/when things get worse?

lol I live closer to Fukushima than Tokyo. Can you believe I was actually advised to move to safety in Tokyo?

Leave other people alone for their choices

As I've said before, I have no problem with other people's choices. I do feel sorry for the people who were needlessly thrown into panic. The bone I have to pick is with the irresponsible scaremongers who tried hard to precipitate the very chaotic mass flight from Tokyo that you are rightly wary of.

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"I do feel sorry for the people who were needlessly thrown into panic." The only panic I saw in Tokyo Cleo was people buying tons of perishable foods from the 14th-18th and the run on water on the 21st.

As many of us have said, most people left based on a combination of factors that made sense for them.

"The bone I have to pick is with the irresponsible scaremongers..." Do you really think someone was intentionally trying to freak people out? Again, the possibility of a much more severe crisis was there and still is there to some degree. The media shared a wide range of ideas. BBC and CNN both had varied opinions on their shows. So how does that equate to fear mongering?

Then let's look at embassies. Some decided to err on the side of caution. Others responded more conservatively. Both had the well being of their citizens in mind. So where is the fear mongering here?

Did the Japanese flee Tokyo because of CNN? Our neighbors don't speak English, don't have cable TV. And yet, they left along with most of the other local families with kids. Were the responding to foreign media fears? Hardly!

You are pulling at straws here. There was not that much fear mongering out there. And I think very few people responded out of pure fear.

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Do you really think someone was intentionally trying to freak people out?

No, I think they were trying to sell newspapers.

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The only panic I saw in Tokyo....

You mentioned that you had 20-30 calls a day from concerned friends and family. Dozens of emails from our project fans and friends. All worried and that some of the people who left did so in response to emotional pressure from family members overseas. Not everyone panicking was in Tokyo. I feel as sorry for the Mum reading the Daily Mail in the UK and worrying about her ALT daughter in Tokyo as I do for the young mum in Chiba buying up all the bottled water she can find.

(Lots of people have complained about 'selfish' people in other parts of the country buying up bottled water that 'they don't need'. Lots of those people were buying it to send to family in the Kanto and Tohoku regions).

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No, I think they were trying to sell newspapers.

Personally my choice to leave for 2 weeks wasn't motivated by newspapers: as a journo, I know to take what I read with a pinch of salt... but as a parent, when I see my kids are freaking out because all their friends have left, including those whose parents work for nuclear companies, my job is to keep them safe but also to make them feel safe. I don't regret my choice of leaving when my embassy recommended its "non-essential" citizens leave Kanto... and I hope I won't have to regret coming back.

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How many people do you personally know who live and die by the word of the media? Anyone over three knows that the media is trying to sell add time and space. More people who buy the paper or tune in, the better.

But everyone knows that. So to blame the media doesn't sound entirely sincere to me. And I suspect very, very few people made their choice on that alone.

Afterall, we live in the internet age and most Gaijin are pretty net savy. We know how to check media from other places, check out the CDC sites, the WHO sites and other sites that offer information. We also know how to gather information and then filter it for a median position.

If someone who fled says it was media alone, I would be very surprised. As many have said, people acted out of complex reasons. Plain and simple.

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PenelopePitstop nailed it. We also had friends from Tepco and officers of the SDF move their families. Lots of senior business people moved their families. Are you trying to say these people were responding out of fear due to CNN?

My friends abroad are well educated, politically and socially savy people. They can also interpret the news. They can also use the internet and did so. The median message they could arrive at was that the situation posed potential threats. Like us, the will choose caution first where possible. And that is why they started asking us to move.

If you are so upset with the media, why join in on the flygin thing? Why not go after the media directly? I suspect because you are also savy enough to know that this is how they do business and that has been the case for a couple decades now.

The same conclusion in the only one that makes any sense Cleo. People did what they thought was the right thing to do. No one can ask any more of them. And we are all thankful that the worst possibilities did not manifest. Let's hope that luck continues.

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nevermind scaremongering, there is and has been a lot of whingemongering going on.

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Yes, let's keep our fingers crossed and our eyes opened. We should be mostly worried about another big earthquake finishing the Fukushima plant.

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If you are so upset with the media, why join in on the flygin thing?

I don't know what you mean by 'join in on the flyjin thing'. I have not called anyone a flyjin. I have not condemned anyone for leaving.

Why not go after the media directly?

Gladly. Can you point me in the direction of the JT media thread?

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Can you point me in the direction of the JT media thread?

LOL, good luck with that.

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I don't blame anyone for leaving the affected areas of Sendai and I don't think the term 'flyjin' should include those fleeing from affected areas.

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Labels, smabels....Basically it comes down to being responsible for your own choices. There is no right or wrong reason to stay or leave. The individual's choice is theirs.

If you left at the outset, when no one had any information as to the extent of the meltdown, then you can hardly be blamed for making an irrational decision. Even more so if you have kids or are prenant. Just erring on the side of caution.

However the fear of Japan goes on in the media even to where many events and trips here have been cancelled months into the future. There is evidence of panic and irrational fears.

Personally at this juncture I would be more worried about safety in many more cities than Tokyo. Fukushima is a concern to be sure. I can live with that choice.

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Here we go

I won't post on this thread anymore

Ok. But then you go on to say...

food has been plentiful at Asaichi downtown at least since the buses started running again, which I think was 3.13,

Has it? Folks- hit the JT Picture of the Day archives for March 17th. Notice the Sendai people? 2Klien's "community" which he has been attacking people like myself for apparently "fleeing in sheer terror" from? Do you think they would agree with his assessment of the situation?

That really is it this time. Finished

If you say so, then it must be true...

just don't call me a liar or say that what I say is so unbelievable

...then you come back again to give some stats that can't even be assessed since the school year doesn't start up until May. And when the numbers for those who officially left for good are finally crunched... well, for that entire flimsy arguement I have this to say- the history of foreigners taking off and leaving the Japanese in the lurch is only slightly shorter than the history of the first foreigners arriving in Japan. You can call those people flyjin- and I will too.

I've been looking at your past history- over 15 pages since the quake! Alot of it in the mid-morning and afternoon; those are prime time volunteer hours Yo! Shouldn't you have been out y'know doing all those things you chastised myself and many of my friends for avoiding?

JT readers and posters, I'm 39 years old, I've lived in Sendai since I was 25. I took (not fled) my wife, 5-year-old daughter and 9-month old son out of the zone and to Canada 8 days after the quake to not be a burden on a strained area by contributing to consumption (along with many other reasons). I care greatly for the community I live in and it was not nearly as easy to leave it as JKlien portrays in his numerous posts. I returned 2 weeks and one day ago. These are truths and if you're wondering who to believe, well I've called him out directly 3 times now on 2 different stories and (although we know he's reading because he's resonding to others) he has yet to respond to me. Who is really "fleeing in sheer terror"?

Moderator: Readers, enough of this sniping at each other.

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I sincerely doubt that people like Nigelboy can name a single individual who took flight without taking care of things. I doubt if they can name one or two that they could in any way demonstrate that it was 1% of those who elected to leave.

Why would anyone "name" somebody on this site? Your argument is based on anecdotal evidence. What's the point of me countering with another anecdotal evidence like "Well I know several foreigners who did this and that".

Statistics speak for themselves. From 3/12/11~4/1/11(20 day period) a total of 311,876 foreign residents left Japan while comapred to only 171,996 foreign resident left Japan during the entire month of March in 2010.

During the period of 3/12/11~3/25/11, an verage of 18,222 foreign residents left per day while only 5,548 foreign resients left per day on average during the entire month of March of 2010. This is more than three times the norm.

What do you have?

About 50% of my Japanese friends left Tokyo. Including many of the people I work with.

So you assume that based on that, many Tokyo residents left? Think about it for a second how ridiculous your statement is. If that ratio holds true, do you know how many people that would amount to? Tens of millions.

Did you know that some of the first responders with food and supplies to the north were foreigners who loaded up cars and drove up there to drop off supplies when none were getting to people?

Which of course, is utter BS. The main expressway that connects to the disaster area were closed from Utsunomiya. The only vehicles that had access were that of government approved vehicles (mostly JSDF, police, and government approved trucks that carried supplies).

Your entire argument is based primarily on "people you know" for which I'm not interested in engaging an anecdotal evidence pi$$ing contest.

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What about people heroes like me who stayed in Japan. am i a Stayjin or Gayjin or something. I want a label too. I want to feel special.

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Lack of information = emotions rule desicion-making. How can you blame anyone for leaving when governments (everywhere) withhold information, downplay risks, deceive with 'dose' language without differentiating distant sources from inhaled particles, etc.?

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This is the most telling comment on all of the threads.

"as a journo, I know to take what I read with a pinch of salt"

Quote of the year. Maybe "as a journo" you should do the right thing and start a campaign to call for honest reporting. And start with yourself. Is it such a crazy idea that people want to believe what they read and hear in the media - especially when they are making decisions about leaving a country temporarily or permanently.

Hopefully the world can clean up the media AND Fukushima at the same time. I wonder which would be harder?

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@stevecpfc. Maybe you can call yourself a toughguy-jin. Or a nofly-jin.

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Well...it is all about personal decisions. If people want to label you...so? 'Sticks and stones may hurt your bones, but names will never hurt you'. What's the problem if others call you 'flyjin'?

If it's such a free world, then let others call you names. :P

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I have no idea why anybody cares at all about this subject? Flyjin is so utterly non offensive. The only derision I have seen is here. In the social places I drink, not a single friend had one negative response to anyone thinking about going back home. Whenever a tragedy of such magnitude happens, it is normal to think about ones own mortality and want to see family. If your family and roots are in your community, then you stay there. If your family are oceans away, you want to go there. If you have kids and there is ANY potential threat to them, you would not be a good parent if you didnt even CONSIDER the option of getting them out of harms way (even potential). This is the biggest NON issue I have read this year on JT. It was created to ruffle feathers and with 345 plus comments it has obviously worked.

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Kaptankichigai - I guess most cudntleavejin are a little angry with the flyjin for several reasons (hurting their image of good gaijin is one). And then the flyjin feel a little bad because, well yes they left.

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And then the flyjin feel a little bad because, well yes they left.

No, I'm just annoyed at the stayjins judging (harshly) the flyjins for a personal choice that isn't anyone else's business. Something terrible happened in this country, and instead of pulling together and showing empathy, we are criticizing and throwing stones.

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I mean, 348 comments shows that we are here dealing with a little more... As already pointed out by tko, klein and others, we are touching to the idea of integration, community, one's country, etc. You see, we are expats in Japan and deep inside we all care about how people see us, judge us. Luckily, the Japanese can understand our choices better than some fellow gaijins. Still, leaving abroad is not so easy, we all have to make choices when things like this happen. I have often tried to explain that to my Japanese coworkers who too often think leaving abroad is really too kakkoii

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I meant "living abroad"

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Stevepfc "What about people heroes like me who stayed in Japan. am i a Stayjin or Gayjin or something. I want a label too. I want to feel special."

You are a special person Steve. But hardly a hero just for existing in a specific time and place.

The ONLY heroes in this situation are the people who put their own concerns aside to help others. Doesn't matter where they did so. As long as they helped in some way, they are heroes.

The gaijin who stayed in Tokyo at the bars or watching TV reports or DVDs at home can congratulate themselves til they turn blue. Won't change the fact that their presence in the country mean noting at all. I know a lady in Oregon who raised $20,000 for charity on Sat the 19th by just working facebook and appealing to her many friends. She is a true hero.

What did the most vocal lot of you do to help while you stayed?

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@revjp-(hurting their image of good gaijin is one)- Why does leaving after a natural disaster perpetuate a "bad" gaijin image? Do you REALLY think anyone gives a damn what the neighborhood gaijin did? Talk about an inflated sense of self worth! People are pretty wrapped up in their own dramas and feelings about what to do with their lives to care about ours.. So many people are still suffering REAL loss- why are we concerned about our "image"? Nobody cares except us. Apartments were left full of stuff? it happens all the time, all over Japan by all types of people. If anything, people will understand it NOW more than EVER. This fighting is just the same old fight amongst self righteous foreigners wanting to look down on other foreigners and now they have yet another excuse.

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revip. Well said. I agree. It is about a lot more. And living abroad is only cool until you start doing it. Then you quickly realize it is just living, but with a whole new list of things to learn, struggle with and adapt to. It is certainly not for everyone, I have no regrets and hope to keep at it.

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tkoind2.

This shouldn't be about whose generosity, help is bigger. That attitude in my eyes is as bad as the guys slamming "fly-jins".

All I ever said I cared about the messes/impact that some left behind, most people that stayed behind did help out but don't need the ego-stroking by posting what and how much they did.

The help that was given is judged by the recipients only.

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I can't believe people are still arguing about this. zenny, you chose what you felt was best for you. Others made the same or different choices. Nothing wrong there.

Let's please move on and stop the juvenile "flyjin" namecalling. The only topic to really discuss is how can Japan (Japanese and foreign communities included) move on in this continuing tragedy.

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@revjp "You see, we are expats in Japan and deep inside we all care about how people see us, judge us"-Speak for yourself on this one please.

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Zenny, people claiming to be heroes don't deserve that title. People who have actually been heroes do. It isn't about who did how much. It is about whether staying makes one a hero or not. Just staying does not make one a hero. Period!

The help that was given is judged by the recipients only. Then go ask the shelter in Iwate that a group of Japanese and foreigners who stayed helped out on the 13th when they bypassed blockades to get food to a shelter where they were nearly out. Or go ask the families who were inside the 20KM Fukushima zone two weeks ago when GPOP volunteers (J and Gaijin again) drove up at their own peril to drop off food for people who refused to evacuate. Or talk to the people who drove up bottles of gasoline on the 14-15th so that people could get some generators running. Or the people who didn't sleep for the better part of a week because they were packing goods to ship up and running around Tokyo on trains to pick up donations because they could not get anyone to drive. These are heroes. Not some person who just stayed. If you stayed or left that was personal and entirely up to you. But don't claim to be a hero like StevePFC when there were real heroes out there do heroic things to help!

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Kaptankichigai - you are lucky then not to care about how people see you

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tkoind2.

You sound like a hero and a persont ath did better than EVERYBODY else. You would be a bigger hero to me if you stopped repeating how much you did. ;(

Moderator: Readers, this thread is not about heroes. Please stop going around in circles.

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@revip- its not called luck, its called maturity. You lose the insecurities of how people view you when you grow up.

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tkoind2.

There are many more than your "examples" that did and do things quietly, etc.

I am sure many posters here helped, actually many already hinted as much but I doubt they would like to be used as examples. Here is the diff for me, when people don't use examples to drive their point.

Over and out.

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@Kaptankichigai - Thanks Dad lol. Seriously, it all depends on your culture and the way you sense people around you. Japanese do care about how other people see them, that's why we have a kind of "peaceful" society

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Zenny11. I just don't agree that those who claim some higher status because they just stayed in Tokyo is justified. People who helped should be acknowledged. That is simply it.

And in a debate or discussion, it is perfectly valid to make points with examples. I think that is a given.

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@revip- i agree with that statement. So in that regard, how will we be viewed if we continue to fight amongst ourselves about who are the "good" gaijin and who are the "bad"? United we stand...and all that other stuff Dad used to say.

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tkoind2.

What is simple is that most people that stayed helped in their own capacities, and that is Japanese and Foreigners. Neither of which are asking for acknowledgment or recognition.

So what if there a few Internet tough guys, most foreigners I know haven't even heard the term "fly-jin".

But I do see some people that helped and stayed trying to claim a higher status vs people they perceived that did nothing.

Nuff said.

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Utterly agree, we shouldn't be fighting amongst ourselves.

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zenny, tkoind2 has been extremely fair in his posts, and he has explained time and again that he supports everyone's decision regardless of what they decided. i don't understand why you keep arguing with him.

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@nemuregaijin. I just got back to this thread noticing that you took a lot of offense at one of my posts... Wow 367 posts!!

Look, I'll say it again. I don't blame people for going to Osaka, Okinawa or Orange County. I really don't. The only time offline I heard the word "flyjin" is when someone used it to describe themselves and they laughed! And I didn't condemn them. I actually understood how they felt.

As for my "meiwaku" comment, I wasn't saying ALL who left caused problems by leaving!!! I was just mentioning a Japanese girl I know who I worked with who was sad that her students left, have still no come back, and there has been no contact. I am NOT saying all, or even 10% of "flyjin" caused meiwaku or any kind of problem. I have no idea! I even explained to my friend that some people were freaked out and left as fast as they could.

So, I don't think my post was really that disgraceful. Let's just put it this way. A lot of people who left are glad they left and are happy to feel safer back home.. That's cool. Nobody says gaijin have to come to Japan and live their whole lives here. Second, some left then came back and think they didn't have to leave in the first place. But some also feel that it was better to get out of the country for a while. Heck, holidays are nice.

This is obviously a super sensitive issue for some. I guess I'm the kind of person who doesn't take offense...gaijin, eigojin, haafu, flyjin. I think there are worse things you can be called.

I dunno, I just hope the economy gets better, people get new housing, everyone gets genki, and the guys working at Fukushima stay healthy. Peace.

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Interestingly enough, Mormon missionaries all left Tokyo. Not on bikes either!

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Readers, this thread is not about heroes. Please stop going around in circles

I've got to agree with the moderator here. Those who are repeating this nonsense clearly doesn't have a strong argument for they are basically trying to "offset" the irrational foreigners that left.

Why sugarcoat these flyjins? Let's face it. They left for self preservation based on irrational fears. Imagine if most of the residents in Tokyo acted the way the flyjins did. I'll bet that most who did stay are singing a different tune.

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I just don't agree that those who claim some higher status because they just stayed in Tokyo is justified.

They are higher by default. I'm sorry if that dissapoints you. For every Joe Smith that flew, there are Mr.Jones or Mr. Sato that took up the slack whether it be making deliveries, teaching classes, preparing monthly reports, or whatever. And if and when Mr. Smith decides to come back, he needs to realize that there is a place for him to come back because 99.9% of the Tokyo residents used common sense. And if employer, neighbors, or friends don't welcome you with open arms, tough XXXX.

If they ridicule you behind your back, consider yourself lucky. But please spare your "justification" to those who stayed by making such BS ex post facto reasons (i.e. my family back home were concerned, we did a favor by not consuming limited resources, we were never part of the "community").

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I'm fed up with this mollycoddling of the flyjin. They should be critized. They panicked and ran, basing their decision on irrational fears, not the well publicised opinions of scientists and engineers. In most cases they bolted suddenly leaving those of us who stayed having to do our own work and cover their absence. Also many Japanese here got the extra stress of wondering if the flyjin's governments knew something the JP government wasn't telling them. Then the flyjin waltz back saying "don't dare judge us, it was a personal decision"?!! Yeah, right. I guarantee that most people saying "hey dude, I don't mind", are privately quite annoyed with you.

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@tkoind - Just staying may not make us heroes, but it at least shows we can be relied on a bit more.

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Nigelboy if you want to think you are above other people then go ahead. You seem to love this word "irrational". Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Many people made decisions, to stay, to leave etc, noone should be criticised for that decision which was made in a time of national crisis. "there are Mr.Jones or Mr. Sato that took up the slack whether it be making deliveries, teaching classes, preparing monthly reports, or whatever" What Slack? A number of those who left made arrangements to work remotely from other offices in Asia/elsewhere, some people took all their paid holiday in one go. Yes maybe some left without consulting their company etc, and that is bad and I guess they will have to deal with the consequences of that. Everyone is in a different situation workwise. So far nobody has complained about people "not welcoming them back".... the only people to have mentioned it are hecklers such as yourself. You are entitled not to welcome these people back but dont expect everyone else to join in your irrational rant. Actually im joking about the irrational part, for yourself this decision may seem rational I just wanted to try and use the word like so many have been doing lately.

What is a "Bs ex post facto" reason by the way? Those are legitimate concerns, except maybe for the "we are not part of the community anyway", though I do sympathise slightly with the fact that they felt left out of the community, whether or not this was their own fault originally is a different kettle of fish. In the end people made decisions, they will have to deal with the consequences whether they be now or later, in the end whether you believe in Karma or God we will all have to face the music in the end. So stop making bad Karma! sont spread the hate!

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Out of curiousity you judge those Japanese people that left Tokyo equally harsh??

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nigelboy - strong/harsh words indeed. I totally agree with you! The people who fled from Tokyo and its immediate surrounding did so out of irrational fear. I do love that word....irrational.

If only those people took the time to read/listen to what the real experts were saying what could've happened at Fukushima. Even in the worst case scenario, a 'perfect storm' situation, the worst that would've happened was that by staying indoors for a couple of hours would've protected Tokyo. THAT was based on the worst case happening. So as far as fear from radiation was concerned...yes, the fear (in Tokyo area) was totally irrational.

As for leaving because of 'family concerns'. What a stupid excuse! It's kinda like saying that those people who chose to stay in Tokyo have family who don't care about us or that, if we have family here, that we don't care about them. Stupid excuse. Most of us have family or friends who wanted us out of here.

Taking up slack. Yes, some people left in an orderly way and may have continued to work while overseas or in another part of Japan. But there were many of us left in Tokyo (Japanese and foreign) who had to work all that much harder because some people left like frightened rabbits. Of course, we will never welcome those people back with open arms. Why should we? Why should we continue to act as if those people did nothing wrong?!

Anyone, Japanese or foreign, who didn't follow their company's policy regarding their paid vacation deserve to get fired. Simple. If they keep their job...they should consider themselves very lucky. I'm sure that on the surface there will be smiles, but smiles can hide our true feelings regarding such flyjins or flynihonjins.

Perhaps the derision these people experience is one of the consequences of their decision- so learn to live with the derision.

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Allright thats enough. A huge number of people died and there is a mass of destruction and bereivement left behind. STOP using this event for your PATHETIC one-upmanship.

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None of it makes any difference. We are still all foreigners and thats what we will still be seen as 50 years from now. If you need to give yourself an ego inflation with something as ridiculous as "I STAYED" then you are seriously over compensating for some real insecurities. NONE of it matters AT ALL! NOBODY CARES. Japanese people have ALOT of things to worry about and what the foreign community did or did not do is a fly on sx*t to them. There are still REAL problems to deal with.

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I heard some Japanese talking in fitness club sauna about flyjin. What they said was: it is better they are out as in emergency they would not know how to behave in evacuation shelter, if more bad things were to come. And gaijin use a lot of energy, they said.

The latter is certainly true: I had one American eikaiwasensei neighbor once, and always when he was home I could hear his air con going - he slept with it on etc. with windows tightly closed. I myself opened windows and used a fan...

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Seriously, this is a business opportunity as the sentiments on both camps is strong.

make the tee-shirt............1. I am a stayjin, I helped. ( for extra 500 yen, comes with medal)

I was a flyjin, I am sorry, forgive me. I am a flyjin, too bad you have to stay. flyjin/stayjin, who the fu$%E care ?

cheers

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japan has had a massive disaster, people are still dying, thousands have lost their homes and livelyhoods. Yet we have some hear banging on and on about this, as if it really matters in the big scheme of things. I have done things to help, but that is my business, i stayed in Japan (although according to many on JT i hate Japan).

If people want to feel superior,feel free, you have my pity. I don't think i am better or worse than any other foreigner re this. In fact, what others do unless it severely effects me or my family, is none of my business.

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y3chome - agree with you. Meanwhile, those of us who stayed and perhaps returned were/are in a position to help. Unlike many of those people who, at the first sign of danger, ran to the hills...or to their home country.

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forinagai,

Firstly may l congratulate you on your nobel sacrifice. Your medal for your bravery is in the mail.

However as you so smuggly said "those who at the first sign of danger ran to their "home" country" therein lays the point. A lot of those that left went to the safety of their home country. Now why would they do that? Cowardice, not manly enough. No more like wanted in uncertain times to be in familar surroundings where they can be with family and understand what is happening. What these people did was not cowardly, they did not run. They made a decision to put their own safety first and for many it would have been a hard decision to make. But all you and your like posters on here see are people who ran away while big brave you stayed and lived through the disaster.

Think of it this way, if worst case had of happened l bet you would have been at the airport screaming that your home government save you and that they didnt do enough for you. Give it a break you made your choices they made theirs and no-one has the right to critise for someones personal choice.

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Wrong, we absolutely have the right to criticize people for personal choices that increased the workload for those of us who had to cover their absences, and be asked by Japanese colleagues and friends if there was anything the foreigners were being told by their governments that the population here wasn't being held. Be under no illusions, the flyjins decision to fly on their pisspoor understanding of radiology risks increased workload and stress for many of those remaining in Japan. Their 'personal choice' impacted others.

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Their 'personal choice' impacted others.

I'd love to know how my taking my kids to HK for 2 weeks impacted anyone. Their school was closed and I work from home. Stop it with the generalizations already! Half the people who left are back already...

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AdamB - They didn't run?!?! Did you see the same shots of the immigration center and airport as I did? OK, I'll give you that. They didn't run. They walked in an orderly manner and left their company with enough time to cover for their absence.

They protected themselves...by becoming flyjin - i.e. flying out of the country to protect themselves.

Thank you for the offer of a medal. What I did was not brave.Not at all. It was certainly a lot braver than flying out of the country in an orderly manner, giving the company the usual notice for taking an extended vacation, and in looking after my own or family's personal safety in another country.

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Penelope - of course we all generalize. The flyjins we are ALL taking about are those who left the rest of us here with extra work and extra BS to put up with. THOSE who took longer than normal holidays. If every employee were to do the same as those who left irresponsibly, companies would close rather quickly!

I wonder if my company would be happy if I decided to take a 2-3 week holiday with 2 day's notice....I don't think so!!

Of course THOSE people were not cowards....just looking after themselves.

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scotchegg;An incresed workload and questions from other employees? That sounds hell, you have a right to be mad at the "flyjin" evil doers.

The rest of you complaining like old women with nothing better to do; Instead of speniding so muchh time here moaning, use the energy to help the victims.

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What kind of jobs and workplaces exactly are we talking here, when we talk about flyjin running on 1 day's notice and others having to do their job and take double BS?

I know some workplaces where the employees did not have a choice: they were told to go to Narita or Kansai area by their superiors.

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oberst:

Seriously, this is a business opportunity as the sentiments on both camps is strong. make the tee-shirt............1. I am a stayjin, I helped. ( for extra 500 yen, comes with medal) 2. I was a flyjin, I am sorry, forgive me. 3. I am a flyjin, too bad you have to stay. 4. flyjin/stayjin, who the fu$%E care ?

Haha! Actually for flyjin it should be a pair of running shoes with wings embroidered on the sides. The medal for stayjin would be great -- along with a handkerchief to go with the tears -- "Where did everybody go? Wah!" lol

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flyjin .... haha its like a flying carpet Aladin !!!! no worries they're coming back ...

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The flyjins we are ALL talking about are those who left the rest of us here with extra work and extra BS to put up with. THOSE who took longer than normal holidays. If every employee were to do the same as those who left irresponsibly, companies would close rather quickly!

Hey ! Nobody stopped you from leaving too. But you chose not to leave, why grudge those who did! You made your choice just like those who left when they made theirs. It is just too bad that your choice had made you feel as if you had taken the short end of the stick. A choice is a choice.

If you had graciously accepted and respected the decisions that the flyjins made, do you think you would feel so uptight now, enough to bicker about it and exhibiting the small mind you have? Where is your professionalism and maturity?

By the way, it is still not too late to be a flyjin you know. What's so difficult about being a flyjin? Would this make you happier? Nobody is keeping you, not even the Japanese. Free will. No one is indespensible !

Chill out and grow up!

For your info my grandparents became aware of this thread and the silly bickering amongst the gaijins here. They are having a good laugh. Why, because this bickering is all so childish and silly. I am sure there others elsewhere in the world too could be having their chuckles about this. This is an internet site isn't it?

Have some pride.

Enough already. This is sickening !

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Out of curiousity you judge those Japanese people that left Tokyo equally harsh??

Did they give notice to landlords and bosses? If not, yes!

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scotchegg et al; scared of a little bit of hard work? If it is the extra work you had to pick up and your company doesnt recognise it, then it is an issue you take up with the company not those who left. If you were financially compensated for this extra work then there are no grounds for complaint are there. And while some left their companies in the lurch, many others worked remotely from offices in APAC region, so what is your point? My previous post was deleted i guess it was too emotive. I will tone it down. This is a crisis that has cost lives, and there are many shattered lives remaining. It is shameful to use this as a chance for petty one-upmanship.

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Did they give notice to landlords and bosses? If not, yes!

so do you assume it was just gaijin who left the country who did this? and if so, why? based on what?(apart from anecdotal references)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i would agree thought that scarporing without informing relevant people employers/ etc or not contacting them from abroad is not a responsible thing to do. However if your rent comes out of your bank account as is the standard in Japan, I guess the landlords dont really care. Never lived in the inaka so i dont know if there are many who pay cash every month etc but i imagine the majority have autobank transfer no?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

come on , just give me a break, what is wrong if I m a 'flyjin'? what is the big problem if I take care of my self first? Everybody is selffish! Eventhough the Japanese themself!They know what they are doing. Don't pretending they are innocence.If they really want to be earth hero, then tell me why they poured down the radiation water in to the sea.I think in the rest of my life we could have a chance to see a real Godzilla finally.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Questions for the people that left, not aimed at people that were transferred out, etc by their companies.

What did leaving for 2-3 weeks achieve? What would you have done if the situation in japan had not improved or gone worse in those 2-3 weeks?

Not an attack simply curious, many japanese I know are also wondering the same about their country-men that left for kansai, etc and let me tell you japanese are a lot less likely to forget and forgive IME.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What would you have done if the situation in japan had not improved or gone worse in those 2-3 weeks?

I think you'd get more of sincere response if you'd first answer that question yourself with some humility in tow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

400th post, wow

0 ( +0 / -0 )

horrified.

Answer it or not your choice, as for the humility ....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

as for the humility ....

...yes, I can see it's a long way off. Better luck getting a bite next time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

horrified.

The one fishing for a bite is you not me. I asked a simple question and no replies so all is good this end. What I got instead was your post.

Have better luck next time. ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zenny11,

"What did leaving for 2-3 weeks achieve?" It allowed them time in a non stressfull environment to relax and decide their options and what their next move would be. "What would you have done if the situation in japan had not improved or gone worse in those 2-3 weeks?" Again being away from Japan they could have clearly thought things through and decided whether to come back or not if things hadnt imrpved or taken a turn for the worse.

Now one for you. You said "Questions for the people that left, not aimed at people that were transferred out, etc by their companies." What do you think of the following situation, the company is a large multinational Japanese company with affiliates around the world. Some of the affiliates had personal in Japan at the time of the crisis and recalled their employees to their home countries. On return to Japan the employees where then sent home permanantly ny the Japanese mother company as it was deemed that they where not genuine in there being in Japan to learn. What is your opinion on this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AdamB.

Tough one to answer, haven't heard of any such cases.

To be honest I didn't expect anyone to reply. Given that some people took their family to an even more radioactive place than Tokyo at that time.

What I do know is that my estate-agent/caretaker is bitching about foreigners leaving and he got to clean up the mess as well as the local combinis complaining that staff left with no notice.

Not sure why everyone assumes this topic is all about people in top-companies and from certain locations/backgrounds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, Zenny, can't hear you over the sound of my running footsteps carrying me far away from Japan (and ripping off your landlord in the process -- MuwaHAHAHAHAHAwaHAHA!) Yes I am an evil FLYJIN! Yes, that's right! I want to FLYYYYYY AWAAAAAAAAAAAAY! (to quote Lenny Kravitz)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zenny11,

I heard it last night from someone that works in the company involved. It seems the Japanese managers questioned their desire to learn as during the crisis they returned to their home countries. Despite the fact their home company called them back and had them working from their home offices for their time there. No to me that is the opposite side of the coin. Mind you l dont expect much better as when the initial earthquake happened the managers wouldnt let the employees leave there multi storey building. As they said it was new and safe and the employees should only worry when they see surrounding building collapse. I guess tha sums up their safety concious attitude.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

so do you assume it was just gaijin who left the country who did this?

What does that have to do with my post? The question further upthread was 'would you be as hard on Japanese who left?' and I said 'Yes, if they left without notice to employers and landlords' because such behavior is inconsiderate. I would feel angry at anyone who acted that way. Never said it was only gaijin who did it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Many people made decisions, to stay, to leave etc, noone should be criticised for that decision which was made in a time of national crisis.

Listen bud. We're not talking about the evacuees from the disaster hit area. We're talking about resients of Tokyo who were never in a national crisis. That's the point.

What Slack? A number of those who left made arrangements to work remotely from other offices in Asia/elsewhere, some people took all their paid holiday in one go. Yes maybe some left without consulting their company etc, and that is bad and I guess they will have to deal with the consequences of that.

Do you ever get tired of "making" up excuses? Do you ever question why these people were in Tokyo in the first place? How about this? They were working in Tokyo because they are needed in Tokyo. Why is this so hard to comprehend? I don't know what kind of company you worked for in the past but "paid" vacations are scheduled and arranged with your employers well in advance. You simply don't give a day or two notice and tell your boss that you're going to take your "paid" vacations. When you do that, you are considered "selfish". Why is this so hard to understand?

Again. This isn't about giving a medal to those who stayed. This isn't about bravery to those who stayed. The people that stayed are those who made rational decisions with a sense of duty (employment/civic). This is why I gave the example of "what if 99.9% of the Tokyo residents acted like flyjins". Tokyo is a functioning civilization during the post 3/11 and will remain so if and when these flyijins return simply because 99.9% of the Tokyo residents stayed.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I hate people on FB and othersites telling me for the sake of my children's health that I should leave Japan.

Funny, because I have thousands of friends on FB and not a single one of them has suggested this!

-4 ( +0 / -3 )

What a stupid Question is this...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Since I didn't come here to see, encounter or socialize with other foreigners, I'm frankly actually pleased by the exodus, and to be honest hope those who left will not come back. Having said that, I do think it's probably a prudent time for many non Japanese residents here to consider relocating elsewhere as we learn more and more about fallout and widespread contamination of food sources.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Now that 4 months have passed since this unbelievable disaster I think we can look back and say that those who left made a good choice. Given the fallout, contamination of the food source and willful spreading of it throughout Japan the risks do outweigh the benefits of staying.

I left Tokyo on 3/14 for Kyushu and then Japan altogether about 3 weeks later. I knew that the government was openly lying and downplaying things (I got a lot of flack for it by saying so to all of my friends in Japan). I also knew back then that the food would be contaminated and that they would sell it to the people. Low and behold as I feared those very things came to be true. The Japanese government and all responsible for these events need to be held fully accountable and given capital punishment. All of them, this includes the media and the announcers who delivered these lies to the people of Japan. They deserve no less.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Flyjin what? Never heard of it until just now.

Another of these so-called 'popular' expressions only used online.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Never mind Flyout-jin, there's plenty like me would love to be Fly-in-jin.

Would love to work in Japan, Fukushima or not. I would imagine there's many more like me.

The few that left in a great hurry, well they received plenty media coverage, but there's plenty more wanting in, so it's no slight on Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

WHO caresd?! Most nationalists want Gaijin OUT anyway. the less there is the Less they get crazy over it. id BE LOVING IT! right now being a gaijin & having 600 gaijin go back home who were in the city i was Living in.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@SirDaav,

Really? Are you sure? Do you really believe it a benefit for your life to work here?

In 15 years here I have learned from working in about six different Japanese companies:

You are a foreigner - so you misunderstand and make mistakes. You should be more Japanese (because the foreign way is the wrong way). You need to smile, be happy, be polite, be 'Japanese' - yet.... You will work with some unhappy, p* off, impolite Japanese people - and foreigners of course. Don't expect your company to follow the law - some will go out of their way to avoid following legalities for YOU the foreigner, and Japanese staff too, but especially you. What do YOU know that Japanese already don't? And even if you think your way better or more efficient or more productive - your way CANNOT be the right way because it isn't Japanese.

When I came first in 1992, I knew little, was told little etc. there was no internet to learn more realities of Japan. I learned the hard way. Now you have a choice: listen to varied people's truths about working/living here, or ignore them and learn the hard way yourself.

There may be some who have not experienced what I'm talking about, but I guaruntee you: there are thousands who know exactly what I'm talking about.

I now work for a foreign company here: it is SO much better. I don't get reminded of my 'alien' status so often.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

*Today is the first time I heard "Flyjin." I live in Japan, but I don't really do the "foreigner" thing. I speak Japanese pretty well and as such, I am not dependent on anybody for translation. No I wasn't born that way. It took 4 years of extremely hard work and study to get this good. I hate Anime and Manga, so I learned Japanese through kokugo books and drills and by reading medical documents while I was hospitalized. Most people tell me I sound like a professor when I speak Japanese. Good.... It means I am conveying information. Now I'd like to convey my experiences...

It's funny how these people are talking about giving their boss "Two weeks notice." Radiation gives you no notice and can kill you within a matter of days. If someone was working in Fukushima and ditched their job, they are smart for not wasting time with idiotic formalities (What? you need to have an uchiawase about when to plan the kaigi that will decide when the meeting about my resignation ceremony will be held? No thanks. Nomikai? No thanks, I'll keep my 5000 yen).

People don't have weeks with nuclear radiation. It's minutes or hours. Hesitating to give anyone notice would be the stupidest thing you could do. The safest thing to do is escape immediately. Downplaying the danger just because you can't see it is just as stupid as panicking. Unless you are a nuclear expert and can prove me wrong (at which point I STILL would say "better safe than sorry") your gut knows what I am saying is right, even if your head is trying to convince it otherwise.

My boss tried to convince me to go home after I was hospitalized for a disease and received botched medical treatment, and then again after I was stalked by a mentally ill person and I had to go to the police SIX TIMES to get anything done. Two events that were entirely not my fault and entirely out of my control (and two events that are covered by the taxes I pay). Then suddenly the worst disaster in decades occurs and my boss wants me to stay and encourages me to only listen to "correct" (i.e. Japanese) news. Now we find out more and more of that "correct" news he was listening to was covering up a lot of incompetence and not giving everyone all the facts about produce, meat, and water being contaminated. It would be great if we could just get my boss down to two faces. His tatemae has its own tatemae

My sense of "Don't tread on me" is quite strong. I would think no higher or lower of anyone for leaving or staying. As long as they've broken no laws and not affected me negatively, then who cares? I can't respect or disrespect people I don't know anything about. Everyone has to earn my respect by getting to know me (sorry old gum-sucking xenophobic elderly people of Japan, I don't celebrate keirou no hi).

I would be more inclined to ridicule people for living in a country where the citizens (oh excuse me, subjects) cannot elect their own prime minister-of-the-week, and where there is still an "emperor" who has no empire and is simply born into power. Why rag on people for leaving a situation that is confusing, unclear, awash in government lies, and potentially dangerous?? Ever hear the term "Better safe than sorry?" Fukushima may or may not be dangerous. If you flee, you have covered both possibilities. If you stay, your risk one of those possibilities. Can you prove to the "Flyjin" and to yourself that it is safe to be in Fukushima? Not convince. Prove.

Just look at some pictures of the deformed children born after Chernobyl and listen to a physicist's lecture about how long radioactive particles take to decay.....and it would be enough to convince most people NOT to even come to Japan.... EVER.

I can guess whoever is calling people "Flyjin" doesn't live anywhere near Fukushima. ANOTHER report last Tuesday confirmed that the radiation levels in some locations between Dai-ichi to the north and another nuclear plant to the south were the highest since this disaster started. Over 100 millisieverts....

Looks like I was right to evacuate from where I was living... 60 miles away from Dai-Ichi in a poverty stricken rural community in northern Tochigi.

I gave my boss notice and wrapped up everything with my apartment of course. There was simply no incentive for me to stay. My pay was horrible, my apartment was literally a slum, the jr. high school I got transferred to just had the WORST neolithic-era, unnecessarily severe, male chauvanist teachers (I'm not even a chick btw). 3 years or work I had with elementary school kids was effectively ruined. During the earthquake a huge metal vent fell directly on my desk (luckily I was teaching a class with other things falling from the ceiling of the just-finished schoolhouse).

Finally I had experienced the most hostile attitude toward teaching and learning English (and learning it correctly) from nearly everyone EXCEPT kids under 10. I had elementary school kids pronouncing words better than their own Japanese English teachers... Trying to undo this "Shou ga nai" bullshit that poison's everyone's brain in the countryside was seriously a lost cause. Eigo wa muzukashikute dekinai. Shou ga nai.

Every day was a battle against the notion that somehow Katakana is a good way to represent a Germanic language formed by Anglo-Saxons two continents away 1500 years ago.... I felt so hopeless, and all but one of my schools treated English as if it was a joke (despite the huge section on the high school entrance exam). So... you tell me.... Why even bother sticking it out? Rodney Dangerfield would have had a field day with the lack of respect...

Fukushima was essentially the same as where I was living. Very rural, and the closest 7-11 to me was 8 km away. It is nothing like living in Tokyo or Yokohama. THERE IS NOTHING OUT THERE! Everyone has already moved to the cities.

Actually the term "Flyjin" should be worn as a badge of pragmaticism. *

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Phillipp,

You are my hero:)

Spot on. Perfect. Exactly.

Unfortunately there are too many people too (purposefully) blind to agree.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Phillip, You said it perfectly.

Even the Japanese are leaving,

What is it with all the foreigners trying to be saints?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Flyjin.com

Flyjin: A foreigner or expat in Japan (gaijin) who heads for Narita (or Kansai) at the first sign of a nuclear holocaust. Not a Japanese word and not familiar to or used by Japanese, flyjin was coined by English-speaking Twitter users.

Alternately fly-jin, fly jin, #flyjin, flykokujin, フライ人, フライジン. Somebody put it up her I thought it was a joke, but somebody really made this new homepage about Flyjin!! Bikkuri!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a double edge sword for "gains" so, no radiation,,, next question please!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a derisive question !!

Foreigners who left Japan in the aftermath of March 11 disaster helped to relieve the strain on extremely scarce food, water and electricity supplies at that time. Those who had a chance to leave the country did so. Labelling with terms like flyjins, stayjins or gaijins is as dirty and primitive as racist's mentality. So why did they return back? Well, the best answer to that will be "I don't know, and how about minding one's own god damn business".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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