So as days pass by since the earthquake, there is less developments, other than in the sky-rocketing number of deaths & missing – there are now estimated of 12,800 dead & missing. Scenes of devastation and horror stories are all that people can now show on the news with the occasional update about the state of the nuclear reactors.
As far as that’s concerned – today there was a small explosion in reactor 2, though it’s been contained, and some holes have been discovered in the walls of reactor 4. Radiation, as a result of wind direction, has been detected in Setagaya-ku, which is the most populated ward of Tokyo, but this at minimal levels. Furthermore, the radiation levels in the area are ‘harmful to human health’ but this only within the 20km radius, on top of their standards being legal limits which are very conservative.
The government seem to be on top of it, providing iodine where needed (though I think they’re been a little slow to evacuate people). IF an explosion were to happen, that is a huge IF, it would only go up 500m, compared to over 9000m at Chernobyl. Most likely it would leak into the ground, in which case the government could box it in.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s scary shit, this has been a horrendous event, and I am deeply shocked by it, but people are overreacting. The media only reports on the area (understandably) but know that the rest of Japan – i.e. all the big cities, are mainly operating as usual. People are panic buying noodles (which doesn’t make sense to me because don’t you need electricity to heat them up??), toilet paper and water, which therefore means other people who really need it don’t get it.
And it’s difficult not to make all of this and other hearsay stories about major earthquakes happening here and there make you lose your cool.
Actually it’s been noted that Japan has reacted better than the earthquake in 1995. Well, you’d expect them to learn wouldn’t you! At the time the government was severely criticised for sitting on their chairs in Tokyo and doing next to nothing, and surprisingly most of the money donated to disaster relief at the time was by the Japanese mafia, the Yakuza. This time communication is much better between the disaster area and the big guys in Tokyo, and the speed of disaster relief has been notably faster. However, there are still complaints that many people are not getting what they should be.
The most urgent point, one of the failures during the Hanshin quake, was that there wasn’t enough medical staff. Currently people are saying that Japan can maybe just make do, but with the huge death toll this time round, they’re desperate for medical aid workers from overseas.
This is all information I gather on the news and from the internet, so maybe you’ve heard it, maybe you know better than me.
Trying to stay positive despite all of this, I visited a neko café (cat café) today, it was quite amusing. My friend and I got a lunch special which included 50 minutes of play time with the cats and some tuna to feed them. These cats were not about the petting and all about the food. One of them actually jumped up to hold on to my arm, at least 1m30 into the air! There were at least 25 of them as well, and one of them had one green eye and one blue eye… freaky! It was cute, but part of the fun of cats is playing with them and petting them!
These cafes have become quite popular in Japan, and I was surprised that there were about 4 other couples in there, on a Tuesday lunchtime! There are also rabbit cafes, and dog cafes but the latter is for bringing your dog to rather than actually petting them. I guess maid cafes could be put into this category, though I’m sure for most men that go to these, it’s more of a sex-factor than a kawaii thing.