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30 August 2011 @ 10:37 am
The common sense of the general society and the knowledge of experts, such completely contradictory things are never few in this world. It’s the same about a disaster & an accident. Including information of the mass media as well, the common sense of societey has taken root in the old view of a disaster. However, occasionally there is a big contradiction between the common sense of societe and the knowledge of experts, because the knowledge of experts changes daily depending on study and research. For instance,as an example for this let’s pick up the subject of panic.
First a question to the readers. From the following (1) and (2), which do you think is correct?

(1) When getting involved in an earthquake or fire, many people fall into panic.
(2) Even when getting involved in an earthquake or fire, many people don’t fall into panic.

The answer is (2).
Encountering a disaster or an accident, it is difficult to keep your composure. Feeling fear and anxiety is something very natural I suppose. However, this alone is not connected to an ocurring panic, which is given rise to by a large number of people immediately fighting, like enemies who get into each other’s way, trample on each other, squashing killed and injured people. In other words, panic as an unusual behaviour is something that doesn’t really happen during many disasters or accidents. Panic is uncommon, for it is the “common sense” of experts.

(translated excerpt from:hirotada HIROSE: ‘Why people fail to run away in time’ -  Shûeisha Paperback)

I think this really shows the Japanese Way of thinking about such things as panic very well. It's sort of like a glimpse into Japanese society and how they might view certain things differently from our understanding.
feeling: coldcold
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so watch as I start to smile...gerbyl on August 30th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
I think what this article meant is that what we in the west call "panic" is not really panic as in their sense of the word. When the earthquake disaster hit Japan, people here were saying how brave and strong the Japanese people interviewed on TV were, because they were so calm and not "panicking" as we understand it. They were compared to Samurai and whatnot. In reality, I don't know how much "samurai" is left in the mind of a modern day Japanese housewife, you know....probably not that much. Truth was, they were just as afraid of everything, but their "code of conduct" (honne vs tatemae) made them put on a mask for the outside world. I think what we - you and me - feel, is fear & anxiety (and we call that panic here), and according to the article that's not "panic". So we might actually do have the same feelings as any average Japanese person, but just classify it differently.

I'm glad you enjoy my translations, I really enjoy doing them, and it keeps me practicing my Japanese skills in different aspects of vocab (you know, not just one and the same subject field) + those essay excerpts are always such an interesting read. I feel a little "accomplished"-high every time I finished one :D
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so watch as I start to smile...gerbyl on August 30th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
It depends on the subject of the translations. Those essays who are a bit more scientific require more vocab-research than others. For this particular one, I had to look up about 10-15 % of the words/grammar. When just reading for myself without having to translate I might only have to look up 5%. The rest of the 10% required for translating is mostly when I kinda know what the word or phrase wants to say, but just making sure I'm using the most approriate word. I'm a bit OCD when it comes to translations, wanting to phrase it the most accurate and best way possible, while still sounding normal in the language I'm translating it to. That's the tricky part most of the times.
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so watch as I start to smile...gerbyl on August 31st, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
exactly! And I can't stand seeing a translation that is not correct. Or sometimes it might be correct in conveying the meaning, but I feel I could have made it more correct. It's like someone let the door open and I have to close it or some other stupid OCD situation LOL