Thursday, March 17, 2011

In the days that follow

It is now six days after the quake. With all that's been happening in Japan it's hard to believe a week has almost passed. At the same time the past six days have have stretched on forever, stretching everyones nerves along with with them. Looking at Tokyo you can tell something is wrong. The lights are off, the streets are bare, the shelves are nearly empty and the trains are... Well they are running again but only just.

The bustling city of Tokyo has lost it's bustle.

However, for all that, life goes on. There's no other option really. In the last two days I've been shopping, eaten out, gone to the pub, played pool at a nearby pool hall and I even got a haircut.

Sure, half the lights in the hair salon were off to conserve electricity and the department store I "borrowed" a role of toilet paper from closed its doors at 6 yesterday but they carried on.

Ok, I feel a little guilty about the haircut but I really needed one and my previous appointment was cancelled. I had booked it for last Friday!

The point is, while we can we are living the best we know how.

Right now I'm in a coffee shop enjoying a soy latte and a break from the harsh winds that have been scouring Tokyo raw for the past two days. As I look around I can see a girl balancing her accounts, an old guy trying to work out a sudoku puzzle in the newspaper, another old guy reading a book, a cute little girl playing some random game on her iPod... In essence I see people living.

Sure they are worried and saddened about what is happening just a little north of here but they are safe for now.

People worry about the Nuclear reactors to the north. The media here in Japan down plays the situation so as not to cause a panic. Overseas however the disaster is hyped to extremes. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. What I can tell you is, as of now, today, there is no immediate danger. The reactors are still in trouble and the people of Fukushima are suffering terribly, especially the brave men and women giving their lives to control and contain the problem but, let me repeat this one more time, we are ok.

What we need now, rather than panic and fear, is your support and understanding.

Some people are leaving Tokyo and the surrounding areas and I don't blame them. I understand their fear. I share it too. However many others are choosing to stay. For me, I'm going to hold out as long as I possibly can. There is no reason to run yet. I'm nervous, sure, but I can't help think that leaving may do more damage than good in the end, and as this place and its people have given me so much over the years I feel like it would be wrong of me to just pack up and leave in such a time of need.

That being said, if things do take a turn for the worse (fingers crossed they don't) I will have no choice but to go home. That day will be a very sad day indeed.

For now my friends are holding strong and in their strength I also find the strength to carry on.

Tonight I'm heading south to Osaka. Not because I'm worried but to ease the worries of everyone back home. I'll take a couple of days, rest, drink with friends and relieve some of this tension that's been building then I'll be back.

Everyday I've been repeating my friend's words like a mantra and it has been helping so I'll repeat them again here...

"I will not be beaten by a f***ing earthquake"


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