Tokyo is getting back to normal, with electricity generally restored and trains running again. Supermarkets and convenience stores are still short of fresh goods, suggesting that distribution has not got back to normal yet, and TEPCO, the electricity company, is warning of the possibility of rolling blackouts, as many of its power stations are in Tohoku, and won’t be back online for a week or so in the best case. Things might be a bit inconvenient here for a couple of weeks, but that’s about the worst of it for us.
Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate prefectures have, however, been devastated. Most of the emphasis in the news has been on the coastal towns that were all but obliterated by the tsunami, but we also know that very strong earthquakes struck areas further inland. The likely death toll is being revised upwards as contact is re-established with various areas, and now it does look likely to pass 10,000.
The level of calm is remarkable. I saw no evidence of panic while I was walking home with millions of others on Friday, and there have been no reports of looting at all. Everyone seems to be doing what they can to get through and rebuild. I’m just waiting to have a chance to help. Right now, that means waiting for the Japanese Red Cross to start accepting donations.