Few countries know bad weather like Japan, where typhoons hit regularly and winds can reach up to 94 mph, as they did earlier this year. And judging by some of the engineering and planning in the coastal mega-city of Tokyo, few countries are better prepared. As Hurricane Sandy makes landfall on the U.S. East Coast, here are some Japanese lessons for what is this week an American problem.
1) Obsessive drilling. Schools and office buildings hold regular and rigorous emergency drills, with even the prime minister sometimes participating to underscore their importance.
2) Massive underground drainage. The enormous, almost haunting chambers underneath the Tokyo district of Edogawa are meant to reduce flooding from storms by 80 percent.
3) Swaying skyscrapers. Many of Tokyo's buildings are designed to withstand powerful earthquakes, which also makes them well-suited to handle typhoon-strength winds.
4) Fear. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Risk Research found that Japanese citizens were far more likely to be prepared for major storms - planning escape routes, bolstering such home improvements as roofs and drainage, and taking out insurance policies - if they reported that they were "fearful" or "very fearful" of such a storm, as many people did.
The government of Japan has bestowed one of that nation's highest honors on a Japanese-American, a former U.S. Soldier and World War II veteran, for his work furthering relationships between the Japanese and Americans. (army.mil )
This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times )