where the writers are
March 14, 2011


If someone asks me which country is the most ready for tsunami, I will still reply it is Japan.  If Japan wasn't, yes, the disaster could have been in much worse situation.  The whole country could be completely incapacitated by now.  So, I expect we'll be limping here and there in order to recover.  I already hear the secondary disasters here and there.  The exterior of the second nuclear reactor exploded today.  They have six all together there.  The core energy is not affected, but it is scary.


This disaster was not Magnitude 7.  Not even 8.8.  It was 9.0.  I heard that the difference in energy between 8.8 and 9.0 is much larger that the number suggests.  And the wait for the tsunami wasn't standard one-hour, but it took only 9 minutes.  At the time of crisis, one hour is short.  9 minutes was probably like a blink of eye for those survivors.  The tsunami pushed toward inland with tremendous force, surging to build like a huge dark wall (one reporter mentioned 30 meters high, but I haven't confirmed), travelling up to 5 kilometers nonstop, and then, it pulled back as forcefully as before.  In Fukushima, they had a very impressive, long tsunami guarding wall.  It was 10 meter high, but the tsunami went past it.

Because of more nuclear reactors' failure, we had announcements last night about energy conservation by groups. The power company, Tokyo Denryoku, divided the area into five groups, and their schedules were announced, but gave no other detail.  Many free phone numbers were announced, but when I called two numbers for my area, I heard the message, "It is crowded right now, so please call back."  The web site for the detail was listed, but I received an error on my cell phone.  This morning, I heard the schedule for the group one was cancelled.  It was scheduled to be out of power from 6:20 am to 10 am.  Then one hour later, they announced again to say that they might resume according to their original decision.  Most transportation companies seem to contribute in conserving energy by stopping their services here and there.  Some train and power services could stop without prior notice.  But some confusion cannot be avoided.  My cell phone has been erratic, but I can see my email.

Before I returned to Japan last week, I almost bought a one-week railway pass to visit Miyagi, the northeast, now the disaster area.  I wanted to travel to Aizu Wakamatu before April.  In April, all new classes start, so I was thinking of a short trip to visit there.  But because of high yen plus Federal Express charge, the cost of the pass became similar to one regular round trip ticket I could buy at any station.  Besides, I didn't think I could take maximum advantage from one week pass.  So, I didn't buy it.  It isn't a blood related ancestor, but my grandfather left a photo in which he and his siblings posed with their smiles in front of a temple, and the back of the photo shows the name of one ancestor who died in the war before Meiji Restoration took place.  That samurai is the ancestor of an older sister of my grandfather.  In the traditional Japanese families, if women married, she belonged to her husband's family, so she worships their ancestors also.  I searched the internet and found a match with the name on the back of the photo.  On a Web site, an old grave stone with the name appeared as a historical site.  That samurai belonged to Tosa Clan (Shikoku, south) who went to support Aizu Clan (the northeast) to fight the last battle.  They were on the Shogun side, Kan-gun.  They lost to the Emperor side, and he died in that war, Boshin War.

Now I don't think I can travel to Miyagi for a long time unless someone needs me there.

As I wrote this on March 14, 10:02 am, my apartment in Yokohama was swaying.  It's Magnitude 6.2, the depth was 10 kilo meters in Ibaraagi prefecture.  I tried to call out, but my phone is not working.  I received the message, "The line is filled up, please call later."  Today, I could access the power company's web site, but when I clicked my area for the power conservation schedule, I received an error. 

One good news is that I heard many foreign aid teams are in Japan.  I think Japan has learned from the past criticisms especially after the Kobe Earthquake, and this time, she could accept many offers.  Good.  Probably, some members of those teams speak Japanese or they brought their own interpreters or maybe Japan could provide some interpreters.