March 16, 2011
Yesterday morning, there was an explosion at the First Fukushima Nuclear Reactor site. Tokyo Denryoku (The power company for the northeast and the kanto plain) reported that the suppression pool area of the second nuclear reactor vessel had some damage. Also, the fourth reactor had started a fire before the second reactor's problem. And the radiation amount was shooting up. The news was scariest of all.
The first and the third reactors already had explosions, but they came from the outer structures of the vessels, not from the core structures. But, still I was scare watching the news. All these reports are clearly very bad news. Winds are blowing, and 500,000 people or so are closely affected, and the rest of Japan and other countries like China and Korea will be affected if the situation doesn't improve. Radiation is our main concern.
Japan asked the U.S. for help to neutralize reactors. I also heard the water supply trucks were sent to the Fukushima reactor site, filled with sea water. Japanese Government stepped in to remove communication gaps with Tokyo Denryoku. PM Kan is said to be extremely dissatisfied when he received no report for one hour from Tokyo Denryoku while the television kept reporting about the second reactor's incident.
In the meantime, we need to save electricity. As I mentioned in the previous blog, Tokyo Denryoku divided their supply area into five groups. For some reason, my area appears in both Group 3 and Group 5. The day before yesterday, I expected no power after 5 pm to 7 pm, and yesterday morning, from 6:20 am to 10 am, but it didn't actually happen. But yesterday, while I was having my lunch at a local noodle shop, the power went down. The shop serves the best noodle, but I will blog about it some other time.
Before I entered the shop, I saw a long line of cars in front of a gas station. Both sides of the main Kamakura Kaido Boulevard have a gas station. When I paid and went out, there were no cars in both stations. The sign, "Closed due to gas shortage. The schedule for tomorrow is undecided."
The local swimming club near my home is usually open from early morning till late at night, but they show a sign, "Closed from Tuesday to Friday." I was surprised that a local hot springs called Super Sento was open. I was naked lying down on a running warm water surface, watching the dark sky when magnitude 6.4 hit. I stood up with the young woman next to me. Six or seven women came out of two hot tubs nearby. We don't want to be stranded in a cold and dark night in our birthday suits, so we walked into the building. After I dressed and walked out of the facility, I found all the foot massage machines were gone. A worker said they were sent for repairs. I thought it odd. Did all four foot massage machines become out of order at the same time? Then, I passed the line of five or six body massage chairs. One showed a sign, out of order. The second had the same sign. I checked all of them. All were out of order. Oh, I thought. That was the reason why a spokesman on television recommended to turning off breakers if possible.
Right now, my place is affected by the power cuts. I left my refrigerator plugged in, but the rest, I unplugged all. I've gone to a convenience store and bought a package of masks just in case. I'll go buy a few more items if stores are open.