Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Okay Following the Earthquake & Tsunami

Just a quick note to say that I am okay following the earthquake and tsunami which have devastated much of the coastal regions of Tohoku. We are not out of the woods yet: the situation at Fukushima #1 Nuclear Plan is worrisome, aftershocks are continuing every day, much of Tokyo is undergoing rotating blackouts to conserve electricity, and food supplies are running low (though nothing like the critical shortages that are being reported in the hardest-hit areas).

Right now I am wondering: should I get the hell out of Tokyo? All the evidence is contradictory. People around Tokyo are just going about their daily business. Everyone seems very calm. More people are wearing masks than usual, but is that because of radiation fears, or because hay fever season has begun? Trains are running, people are shopping. Meanwhile, some countries are advising their citizens to leave the capital region. The official news is that the situation at the nuclear power plant has stabilized, but foreign media is always reporting something alarming. Who's right? Is the foreign media trying to whip up a frenzy? Or is the domestic media trying to keep a lid on panic? I have no idea anymore.

Before this all happened, I had been planning to go to Kyushu during my vacation; now seems like a good time to go. I'm not working right now and my Jodo 5th-dan grading has been postponed ... which effectively means that I have nothing to stick around Tokyo for, at the moment! So in the next couple days, I might go on a road trip for a week or so. I hope the situation here will have stabilized by then.

Meanwhile, if you can afford to donate some money to help the survivors and the effort to rebuild, I hope you will inquire at an aid agency in your country and give what you can. Japan thanks you!


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