Considering the suffering in many towns and the rural communities in Tohoku, I feel lucky. I moved to this town because I thought it would be safe, and so far, knock-on-wood, it has been just wonderful. Yesterday and today, we felt the effects of the planned power outages, however, and I can only try to imagine what people are going through in Tohoku region, in shelters, having lost everything.
The schedule for when the electricity will be cut is impossible to understand, and my city hall makes public announcements on the outdoor PA system, which I think was installed before WW2. It sounds something like: "Bing-bong-bang, This is-this-is-is City hall-city hall-alall, We are now-a now-wow, Going to tell you something really important-tant-tant..." and from there on it gets increasingly impossibly to understand a single word. This means a planned power outage is imminent. OK, good, I can handle that.
Last night I had supper with Robert, a friend who runs his own business, cool website, do get in touch with him for hiking and mountain running experiences in the west Tokyo and Saitama area! Perfect if you feel you need to get out of Tokyo.
We sat by the light of a small torch and shared stories and then suddenly there was another big quake, but I swear I can't remember it. Later, the lights came back on and we listened to his Pink Floyd albums and some Blues, I think it was Blind Willie Johnson, Dark was the night perhaps. Today the planned outage was in the daytime, so I headed over to the vegetable patch I'm preparing (remember my post about Kaname-ishi on March 11...) and got back home just in time for darkness. Fortunately, then the lights came back on, but I had mentally prepared myself for the worst.
Planned outages means we know what is coming, which is nice. But walking home on streets with some cars, and no traffic lights working, was not so fun. The big intersections had pairs of police officers directing traffic, but many smaller roads were free-for-all. All shops and restaurants in town were closed during the outage, except for Seven-Eleven, which operated with low lights and only one register, and lots of staff. They had some food, but of course not like on a regular day. Actually, their truck just arrived as I entered. Some people are urgently calling for a complete shut-down of all vending machines, as they waste a lot of electricity. Good idea, however, when no shops are open, make sure the vending machines work as they may be the last line of supply. Difficult call, obviously, as so many nuclear power plants are shut down and TEPCO just can't supply the "juice" (har-har).
Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Okayama, Nagasaki, Kyushu, Shikoku, Hokkaido - everything is all right. Yes, terrible conditions in 4-5 prefectures up north. I am not going to be-little their suffering, but this is actually a large country with 120 million people. We will carry through. This place will be a better place after this.
For some strange reason, in spite of rice supplies being stock-piled, almost all shops have run out of rice in the entire region, and that is clearly due to lack of planning and no sense of logistics. Still after-shocks coming irregularly, but I'm safe and here is Mr Bean to cheer us all up a little bit:
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe