就算身处西方国家任何一个舒适惬意的城市郊区，耀西龟（Yoshi Kameya）都不会显得格格不入。站在他的冷冻食品公司的瓦砾堆旁边，他从亮蓝色的North Face夹克衫里掏出一部iPhone，开始浏览自己所拍的海啸灾后照片。
Yoshi Kameya wouldn't be out of place in any of the Western world's cozy city suburbs. Standing near the rubble that used to be his frozen-food company, he pulled an iPhone out of his bright blue North Face jacket to flip through photos he had taken of the tsunami damage.
The confident, cosmopolitan 43-year-old said he had enough food. But when a seaweed-wrapped rice ball was offered, his hand snatched it before his mouth could say thank you.
Mr. Kameya's hungry hand reflected one of the many unsettling aspects of Japan's tragedy. The disaster has thrown one of the world's wealthiest countries off its axis, leaving once-affluent victims in desperation, while underscoring how even the best-prepared places aren't immune from disaster. The developed-world technologies residents fill their homes and pockets with weren't much help, either.
The 2004 tsunami, which this reporter covered for The Wall Street Journal, was different. In terms of lives lost, it was far, far worse: 200,000 people dead across Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other countries, compared with 11,000 confirmed dead and more than 16,500 missing.
But in other ways, that disaster was easier to comprehend. The scale of visible damage was actually smaller in many areas, and the relative lack of dependence on technologies such as mobile phones, cars and complex supply chains sometimes proved to be an advantage for those who survived.
In Sri Lanka, a line of beachfront resorts and fishing villages was flattened. However, since the communities were smaller and poorer, damage was often limited to simple settlements hugging the seashore, and were easier to rebuild. In Japan, piles of rubble including cars and homes stretch for miles inland. While this is partly because the deadly waves had traveled hundreds of miles before they hit Sri Lanka, it was also because most victims there didn't have cars, televisions, two-story homes, kitchen tables or the closets full of clothes.
The cost of damage from Japan's tsunami may be as high as $300 billion, economists estimate. The Indian Ocean wave caused about $10 billion in damage.
In Koggala, Sri Lanka, then-24-year-old Rosmand Wickramanayake had to bury his father, mother, sister and brother in the sand after the deadly waves came and went. A year later, life for his remaining family, which includes another brother, an uncle and others, had basically returned to normal.
The few thousand dollars they got from the government was enough to rebuild a one-car-garage-size hut, and restart a small shop. It's impossible to gauge how the family was doing emotionally, but economically their simple lives had been relatively simple to fix.
Survivors like Mr. Wickramanayake also didn't have to worry too much about food after an initial emergency period passed. He was usually only one or two middlemen away from suppliers of his basic necessities. If one fish vendor was killed or a market was washed away, he switched to another. Farmers with chickens or coconuts outside the tsunami-soaked zone were never far away.
In Japan, like other wealthy countries, residents are now cut off from the farmers and factories that feed and clothe them. Consumers in the developed world often ignore how store-bought products like apples, milk, shoes, rice, brooms, fish and soap get to the shelves. Now, with the power out, highways closed and trains frozen, the constant flow of products has been severed.
2011-03-31 12:02 编辑：icetonado