The situation in Kawasaki is still much the same as yesterday, but the stress is starting to get to people, including me.
There was a fairly strong earthquake last night. Apparently it was completely independent of Friday’s, and not an aftershock, but that doesn’t help people to calm down. There are no food shortages yet, but there are limited shortages of petrol, and so distribution is not quite working at full stretch. We don’t know when things will be back to normal, because no-one does. The rolling blackouts don’t always happen as scheduled, which may be good for infrastructure and safety, but is probably worse for stress than if they did cut the electricity off every time they said they would. The continuing problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant certainly don’t help, either, even if the chance of Kawasaki being directly affected is extremely remote. It looks like most day-care centres are sending the children home early or closing altogether, and Yuriko was told that the day care could only provide rice and miso soup and lunch time, so she should supply the rest of lunch. On a personal level, my teaching has been greatly disrupted. Although all my students seem to be keen to restart lessons as soon as possible, it’s not clear when that will be. Next week? The week after that?
Add to that the fact that when you look at the news from Tohoku, it’s devastating. In addition to the death and destruction (the toll may pass 10,000 dead), there are about 500,000 people in evacuation shelters, where they really are short of food, water, and warmth. It has started snowing in the area today, increasing the problems. Nevertheless, they all seem to be calmly doing everything they can, including my student in Fukushima Prefecture, who is having a lesson today. I think this means she wins “My Most Dedicated Student”. It really makes you feel quite pathetic for getting stressed over such minor things. And that, of course, is stressful.
As a result, quite a few of Yuriko’s friends with young children are talking about going to friends or relatives in western Japan for a few days. It’s not panicked flight from the city, but rather seems to be a desire to get away from the stress. We might do the same. Yuriko and Mayuki were planning to go to Nagoya this weekend anyway â€” I bought the shinkansen tickets weeks ago, so they have reserved seats. They will still go as planned, unless something happens to disrupt that, but we are looking at the situation before deciding whether they’ll come back as planned. It might be better for them to stay down there for a bit.
What we really want to avoid is people in the area around Tokyo becoming a problem that needs attention, because all the resources really need to be focused on Tohoku. Talking of which, I need to go the post office and donate to the Red Cross while there are no blackouts scheduled for this area.