JAPAN: Tremors and Tembatsu

This floating world is but a phantasm.

It is a momentary smoke.

— Hakuin (an 18th century Zen monk)

Tokyo is no phantasm. The world's second most populous city is an all too real concentration of 11.5 million jam-packed people. Many of them nonetheless feared last week that Tokyo might soon become a momentary smoke, with millions dead among unparalleled destruction. One reason for their fears was rational enough: all Japan has recently experienced unusual earthquake activity. Tokyo itself has felt 29 minor earthquake jolts this year — two last week. The other reason is superstitious: even the most modernized...

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