Friday, 18 March 2011

Earthquake Weekaversary

Usually weeks pass by extremely fast here in Tokyo, but this week has been the slowest week ever.

I felt now was the right time, a week since "the big one" that I should update everyone and hopefully inform them of my experience here in Tokyo.

The overblown media attention has got my friends and family back home in hysterics worried about my safety here in Japan. So it needs to be said that I am safe and well.

People should firstly understand that most of the damage occurred around the Sendai/Fukushima area which is around 300km away. The destruction in Minami Sanriku was largely caused by the tsunami that followed the tremors. This photo essay by Max Hodges shows some tearful, but dramatic images.

Please have a good look at a map of Japan, people!

There have been so many reports of higher radiation in Tokyo, but from what I read even in a worse-case scenario of a meltdown or windblown radioactive debris and acid rain, the risk being far away here is reasonably low.

This video is a good representation of the Fukushima plant as depicted with Nuclear Reactor Boy wanting to have a poo.

Although there have been reports of rolling blackouts, I have yet to experience any shortage of power. It's strange seeing the vending machines switched off. Surely that will be enough to supply a small town of electricity! The train schedules have been cut back to save electricity but knowing exactly how they're running is still a bit vague.

The supermarkets and convenience stores are still devoid of bread, milk and noodles, (and toilet paper!) from people's unnecessary panic buying, but other foodstuffs are plentiful and I am not worried about that at all.

Reports that people are panicking and leaving Tokyo in droves is just not true. I was out yesterday and today people are going about their normal business as calmly as before.

What may be of concern are the ongoing aftershocks.

Usually in Tokyo it's not unusual to feel earthquakes, but ever since last Friday there have been so many I've lost count. What is a little more comforting is that they are about the usual strength (between 4.6-6), and last only around ten seconds. I'm not scared, but it does put one "on edge".

I am weary, but not so much from what is happening around me. The calls to come home make me tired. Four years here I have a lot to prepare, and with that a lot of "baggage". I'm not quite ready to leave just yet. Still a lot of unfinished business.

Before this all happened, I had already planned a short time-out of Japan. So, next week I'll be in another country, and have a much-needed reprieve from what's going on.