A Small Sense of Normality

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Disaster, Life in general, Rants and Raves

Its been 17 days since the big earthquake, and there have been literally hundreds of subsequent earthquakes since.  We even had an earthquake early this morning, but of course it was no where close to be being as bad as the one on March 11th.   Sometimes I feel the building shaking even when the building isn’t shaking.  Even little rattle, every little sway makes me think we’re having another earthquake.  But even with all of this, I feel that a small sense of normality is returning.

I no longer have to take taxis and the bullet train to work (although I did kind of enjoyed that).  I am able to find small bottles of water here and there, and there is no real shortage of food.   My area doesn’t seem to be too effected by the schedule power outs.  Although I am grateful to have electricity on tap 24/7 (or at least when I am at home),  I would be more than happy to do with out if it meant that it would help someone else out.  Right now, I only use the dining room lights with a single LED light bulb to conserve electricity.

The hoarding and the glutenous behavior still continues, which saddens me.  I wish that people would realize that there are people and small who rely on stuff like fresh uncontaminated water, yet they still buy water and milk by the case, and I still see empty shelves at the supermarket.

But the one thing that makes me sick the most is the whole Tokyo Dome fiasco.  For those who don’t know, Tokyo dome is a huge indoor sports arena located in Tokyo.  It is often used to host night events like big sporting events and concerts.  The Tokyo Yomiuri Giants baseball team was suppose to have their opening night game there this week, but several people as well as government officials protested that they should really consider canceling in consideration of the current power outage situation.  However league owners say that they will only merely postpone the game, and will eventually hold an indoor game with full lighting sometime within the next few weeks.  I don’t understand why there is a need to have a night game in an indoor arena.  Baseball is an outdoor sport that is intended to be played during the day.  And guess what?  If you have the game at an outdoor stadium, or even in a plane Jane ball park, people will come!

I don’t think these people will ever understand unless their electricity is shut off for several hours day..sad and childish indeed!

 

In the Midst of Chaos

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Disaster, Life in general, Rants and Raves

It”s been crazy, to say the least. It’s amazing how one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, can become a third world nation overnight. No food or water at the stores, long lines to get supplies, power rationing and scheduled outages, no gas, public transportation crippled during peak hours, and bone shaking aftershocks in the middle of the night currently sums up the situation now.

Japan has gotten a lot of praises for being a nation of model citizens in times like these because there has been no violent crimes or looting, which usually takes place after major disasters like this. As a matter fact, there have been reports of vending machine owners opening up machines and handing out free drinks to people to help out. For the most part, I agree that Japan is a very admirable nation in that respect. However, there is one thing that Japan is extremely guilty of which is really starting to affect the many, and that is hoarding.

Within 12 hours of the first M9.0 earthquake, it became absolutely impossible find bottled water ANYWHERE.  It’s wasn’t as if buildings crumbled  and that the water was shut off (at least not in my area), and yet people here felt compelled to run to the super market and hoard.  I agree that in the aftermath of a natural disaster, it is important to reasonably stock “enough” food and water so that you can survive a week or two, but there are bounds of reasons for everything.  Buying out whole shelves of milk for example is completely illogical and irrational.  Milk is a perishable food that cannot be stored for long periods of time, so whoever decided to stock milk is a complete idiot and just made it difficult for everyone else who really needs it.

In addition to food and water, people are also hoarding fuel.  This has caused public transportation to stop or limit their services in may areas.  What really makes me upset about this, is not only the fact that people are taking more than they need, but they needless waste it.  Case in point, on the way to the airport yesterday to pick up family, I was overtaken by so many people needless speeding (going speeds exceeding 130km/hr) when they should be conserving fuel.  Another case in point. one of those cars that overtook me was a Lamborghini Diablo.  REALLY? a Lamborghini during a time when people are lining up 2 to 3 hours to get gas…REALLY??   Some people just don’t get the graveness of this situation.

Transportation has been steadily getting worse, because the company that owns the troubled nuclear power station in Fukushima prefecture, started rationing power to different areas of the country, while other areas are left completely without power for 3 hour blocks.  Being a very power hungry nation, Japan highly depends on electric power to run its vast network of commuter trains.  Without these trains, the nation is pretty much crippled. People are unable to get to work or home, traffic lights cease to function cause mass gridlock on the roads, and homes are without heat and electricity for several hours at a time.

Luckily for me, I live in an area which seems to be exempt for the schedule outages.  I am not sure what the reasoning behind this is, but I am not complaining.  Some have speculated that its because there’s a large community of senior citizens in this area, including senior citizen homes, so a three hour outage may cause too much grief and hard-aches among the elderly.

Unluckily for me, I depend on the bus system to take me to the station every morning, and this morning I found a sign at the bus stop saying that they were limiting service from today.  I had no choice bu to take a taxi to the station everyday last week.  Admittedly, it was pretty nice to be able to take a taxi to the train station and then the bullet to Tokyo where I work, but I would  trade that just to regain a sense of normality.

The Aftermath

Author: mirai  //  Category: Life in general, Rants and Raves

It’s been two days since what is believed to be the worst natural disaster Japan has ever experienced.  In addition to a magnitude 9.0 earthquake (upgraded from a previously reported M8.8 -which is only the 4th largest earthquake in recorded history), there was also a series on tsunamis that wiped out many areas in northern Japan.  And to make to things even worse, there are now fears of a possible meltdown of a nuclear reactor in that area.

In my area, things are relatively unaffected.  I came home to find that our laundry pole had fell off its hinges, but that’s about it.  Not even a broken dish, or picture frame out of place, so I am truly counting my lucky stars.  I do however, feel that food supplies might become an issue in the next few days, as people react to the disaster and overstock their supplies.  I went the convenience store today only to find that a lot of the non-perishable goods to be gone, along with water supplies.  But at this point, I a not too concerned about running out of food our water because most of the infrastructure in this area is up and running, so supplies will most likely replenish in time.

Our area continues to experience an occasional jolts here and there, but nothing too big.  In general, earthquakes don’t frighten me, but if we have another one like the one two days ago, and I am alone, I might be a bit scared.

Tomorrow’s Monday, which means another day at work.  Honestly speaking, I’ve contemplated not going, but I think my company depends on me to be there.  We all need to pitch in an do our part in times like this, so I will be there as I normally am.

 

For everyone else , take care!!  Miwa…haven’t heard from you…hope that you’re okay in Sendai.  Check in if you can!

 

Biggest Baddest Earthquake EVER!

Author: mirai  //  Category: Life in general

We had a MAJOR earthquake today.  I am so use to earthquakes in Japan, that even moderately big earthquakes that make some people cringe with fear, don’t phase me.  But today’s earthquake was different.   I actually feared for my life as I crawled underneath my desk and just hoped that the ceiling didn’t fall on me.

Since our three executive managers were in Singapore on business, the head of Operations, the HR director, and myself (the head of IT) were effectively senior management for the Tokyo office, therefore it was our responsibility ensure the safety of everybody in the office and lead the building evacuations, and business contingency operations.  I remained pretty calm through the ordeal on the surface level, but in reality, I was fearing for my life as the building rocked and swayed for what it seemed like an eternity.  Even when the big one stopped, several little ones continued to turn our building into a swaying monster as it creaked and crawled for several hours.  People were on the verge of panicking as images 20 ft tsunami’s swallowed whole entire neighborhoods as we all helplessly watched it live as it happened on the news.   Luckily, the only real damage that happened in our office was a few ceiling tiles that fell, but it was enough to frighten several people.  As I write this, the building continues to vibrate and shake at times, but not as nearly as bad as it did earlier today.  Unfortunately, the people up in Miyagi prefecture are  not as fortunate, as they continue to get pounded with fierce aftershocks and tsunamis.

Miyagi…our hearts and thought are with you!!