Tokyo post-earthquake

Hanami

I’ve now been in Tokyo for almost a week.
It’s not all that different from before the earthquake. Until now I was staying in asakusa, the old area of Tokyo which is usually swarming with tourists. It was definitely quieter, especially as far as foreign tourists were concerned, and some shops were still closed. Many convini’s have turned off some lights suchs as those outside and those inside the fridge units. And akihabara (electric town) is not as electrically lit, nor is shibuya quite as vibrant, in terms of light. Saying that, the streets, especially in such popular spots as harajuku and shibuya are not nearly lacking in people – I can hardly tell the difference in that respect. Toilet paper is still well-stocked, surprisingly enough, and the only shortage really is still bottled water. I have so far felt 3after shocks, 2 in short succession when I was in my room, and one earlier today whilst at starbucks. All were at least 5 in magnitude. It’s so strange, this kind of stuff never happens in europe, and even though ive felt my fair share now, I can help my heart skip a beat every time I realize it’s an earthquake, and whether this is ‘the big one’.

The status of the plants is still fairly dire, with the scientists desperately seeking to find a way to get ahead of be problems rather than continuously catching up with them. Last new attempt I read of was to spray with resin, trying to solidify the radioactive particles to prevent them from becoming airborne. As a great consolation, the Japanese have FINALLY given in and sought support from the americans, which they really ought to have done weeks ago. The speed with which the government have responded is turning out to be more like the Kobe earthquake than I thought, which is extremely disappointing. All I know now is that it’s not life threatening and all one can do is wait and see at this point in time. They have found one of the leaks in the concrete casing, and first attempt to fill with concrete has failed, and today’s attempt with polymer absorbant hasnt been successful either…

This brings back thoughts of last year’s Gulf of Mexico spill, where all emergency systems in place failed, and they tried desperately with any potential solution.

A quick little update on my, rather disastrous situation. The suitcase i’d forwarded from Nagoya arrived broken, and it took the transport company about 4 days to pick up the suitcase – as a result ive had to move halfway across tokyo without a suitcase, i.e. about 3 trips back and forth between Asakusa and Harajuku (about 1 hr each way including walking time). My futon has now, however, finally arrived and despite the room being a dorm, i’m really enjoying living so incredibly central.
It’s quite difficult, even now, to find a job if you don’t want a year’s contract so I’ve decided to give up that search. But on the upside – i will possibly be interviewed on a Japanese breakfast TV show next week!

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