As I mentioned in my previous Earthquake Update post, we had a pretty scary shake but didn't suffer much actual damage in our area. It seems that it was actually a little less severe here even than it was in central Tokyo. However, it has still been somewhat of a roller-coaster of emotions. For the first 2 days I was so on edge, something I didn't realise fully how much until my whole body began aching from holding in so much tension. However, the last couple of days have been much calmer. We're both still glued to our laptops and Twitter, wanting to stay up on any developments, but we've also left the TV off for good portions of the day. Our thoughts are of course with everyone in the affected areas but it's been good for our mental health to not watch those devastating images over and over.
There's still the concern of a possible big aftershock. They said yesterday there was a 70% chance of a 7+ aftershock within 3 days, but that has now been lowered to a 40% chance. The main issue is the ongoing worry about the situation at the nuclear plants. Where we are in the Western suburbs of Tokyo, we're about 240 km away from the Fukushima Daiichi (No. 1) Nuclear Plant. There are lots of opinions from one extreme to the other, so it's hard to know which is right. We're just hoping that it doesn't end up being something terrible.
A little closer to home, our daily life has started to be affected by the shortage of both power and supplies of food and other essentials. Due to the nuclear plant issues, and the fact that several plants are still essentially turned off despite the cooling problems, the usual demand for electricity in the Tokyo and Kanto area outstrips the current supply. So they have laid out a plan for rolling blackouts to help limit usage. They are closely monitoring the power and blackouts will be implemented when and as needed. Today, because of the voluntary effort by individuals and companies to conserve power, as well as the low number of trains running, they only needed to go ahead with the blackout in one of the five areas. (Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba, Saitama, Yamanashi, and other surrounding prefectures of Kanto are included). We've been warned of more possible outages tomorrow though as more of Tokyo gets back to work. And they say that these rolling blackouts may continue for several weeks.
|No bread here!|
|No packaged fish or meat at all!|
While life in the capital is slowly beginning to return to normal, the effects of the disaster will surely be felt for a long time to come. If you'd like to, here are some suggestions of how you can help.
Japanese Newspapers: Ted's Coffeehouse 2
Map: BBC News
Supermarket shelves: Yours truly, taken on Sunday afternoon