The days after the earthquake.

I should write something, to let whomever reads this know that things are ok. I am just at a bit of a loss for words. What has happened in Japan is horrible. But – things are ok in Tokyo. They are just a tad bit different than usual. Most things are the same as before. In the past couple of days, the Japanese government said that there was a 70% chance of another big quake. When the quake first happened on Friday, I was just happy that nobody I knew had been harmed, and I thought everything would go back to normal. Then the TV images flashed over the screen, tsunami, nuclear disaster, flood, dead bodies … and slowly I slowly started to grasp the magnitude of this catastrophe. The news makes me cringe, I feel for the people who are affected by these events.

That being said, of course things are absolutely horrible for the areas that are affected. No doubt about that. I don’t think that the media can truly report how awful it is for the people who have lost their loved ones and their entire life and all their belongings in this disaster. But – please keep in mind, the media is also trying to sensationalize things all the time. I gave an interview via mail (phones were not working) on Friday for a big newspaper in Norway (about 5 hours after the quake), got on the front page of their internet page. I wrote in my comments via mail to the newspaper that things were calm under the evacuation and that everyone acted professionally. What did the newspaper choose as a headline? “Had to turn around during evacuation because of the smell of gas.” What the newspaper chose as a headline was true, when we were going to a nearby school for evacuation we had to go somewhere else because it did smell like gas. But, the evacuation process was not dramatic at all, and everything was calm and in order. I am not mad at the newspaper at all, of course they have to publish things that sell, but I want all people who are worried sick to take a deep breath, and if you have to worry, worry about the poor people in the areas that were severely affected, not me and not Tokyo. Not now. I am doing fine.

This also goes for the nuclear news. I understand that it seems very very scary, but even if there is a nuclear meltdown, it is not necessarily that dangerous. This was the article that I read that actually gave me some peace of mind.

When it comes to news, I watch NHK in Japanese, and NHK in English.

For those of us living in Tokyo, most things are just like usual, the stores are open, McDonald’s right around the corner from my house is open, Japanese people are calm and quiet like they always are. I went to Shinjuku yesterday to do some shopping, and the only things that were different were minor things. The stores had reduced opening hours. They closed at 17:00 and 18:00 instead of 21:00 and 22:00. All the big billboards have gone black, to save electricity. A great deal of shops have turned off their electric billboard fronts, also to save electricity. When we went to shop for some extra food today, the store still had quite a bit of food. Of course they were running low on certain things, but there was still more than enough food in the store. The lines were incredibly long at the store though, they went all the way to the back of the store, and we probably spent about 30 minutes just standing in line. I think that if this would have been another country such a situation would have created chaos, but Japanese people are absolutely great at standing in line, being patient and staying calm.

The only thing that is very different that has effected me personally to any real extent is that my school decided to close for the rest of the term. They want to make sure the building is ok, and also to be on the safe side because of the potential aftershocks. So all of a sudden I got an unexpected two week vacation, and all the tests that were scheduled are not happening. I feel grateful for my school’s decision, because even though I am fine and everyone around me is fine, it is hard to concentrate and buckle down and focus on studying with everything else going on. I am sitting glued to the news and I am basically very inefficient.

But I am ok.

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  1. Maria G. says:

    Jeg så artikkelen du snakker om, etter jeg hadde lest her på bloggen din. Avisene må vel som du sier gjøre ting dramatisk. Tenkte på deg når jeg først så nyhetene om jordskjelvet, og håpet du var ok!

    Godt å høre at det er omtrent som normalt, selv etter en så stor katastrofe. Tror det er vanskelig for alle å forstå omfanget.

    Håper de to ukene med fri gjør godt 🙂

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