Tag Archives: reactor

Pimeä tie, mukavaa matkaa

When I went to sleep last night everything seemed to be increasingly under control. I called my boss around 8 and confirmed that I should go to the office tomorrow, provided it’s physically possible. Well I have an awesome bike so not even canceled trains are able to thwart that. In addition, the rolling blackouts were supposed to occur in Nerima at 6:20-10:00 and 16:50 to 20:30 which basically meant that going to work would allow me to follow the news and keep in touch with people instead of lying in bed reading manga. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter, I’m just quite interested in knowing when some inconceivably destructive incident occurs again. There’s a history of those during the past couple of days. The office is situated in downtown Tokyo, in an area exempt of blackouts due to a large concentration of political institutions, including most of the embassies.

Of course, the rolling blackouts did not actually begin today either because TEPCO cannot get their shit together. In unrelated news, going to the office had also been canceled but I had been out of reach so I ended up cycling there anyway before learning of the change of plans. After hearing some other negative news about the Fukushima plant, I went to Shibuya to have a Japanese pizza buffet for lunch and witness the relatively quiet streets again. I guess I’ll ramble about the unique attributes of Japanese pizza some other time.

What do you mean Jim rubs birds

I recently stated that life in Tokyo is proceeding as normal. This is only partially true, although far closer to the truth than the widespread panic in western media. A couple of peculiarities can be observed. People are still emptying stores of all fresh food. Not food that actually doesn’t spoil and could save you if you were isolated from all services for months though, only the good stuff. I don’t know if the locals will combat the growing fear by stuffing themselves full of sushi and steaks but it sure appears like that. Another specific phenomenon is the rush to gas stations. Throughout Monday there were lines of dozens of cars attempting furiously to secure something they widely believe to be the last tankful of gas in the city.

Because I’m personally affected by the situation in Japan as well as have the unpleasant task of calming people back in Finland and elsewhere who believe I will be dead within a week, I tend to place emphasis on conveying news reports that do not concentrate on scaring people with vague comparisons to historical events and repeating the term “radiation” like a fucking buzzword. Some misinformation can be attributed to the intermedia degrading grapevine effect. I totally made that term up.

According to the information collected, Tokyo should be fine. I have yet to hear about a nuclear plant accident that would have been inherently lethal 240kms away from the main location. Even if and when the current hazard escalates further, the damage will most likely only concern Fukushima and it’s surroundings, i.e. the danger will remain relatively local. I am currently scouting the possibility to go to west Japan for some contemplating but just to be clear: leaving Japan is my last goddamn resort. If I leave, I can’t come back. Therefore, I’m very reluctant to fly back home due to rumors and misinformed opinions. I hope that those who care about me understand this and can trust me in making the right choice while taking all variables into consideration. In all honesty, I have enough to cope with here as is.


When it rains, it pours

As if the earthquake and tsunami alone had not been enough, Saturday offered new ways to terrorize the general public. The situation at the nuclear reactor in Fukushima, to which I made a quick allusion in the last post, deteriorated. The cooling systems had failed due to main power supply lines in the region being destroyed as well as backup power generators for reactors 1 to 3 being damaged by the Quake-Tsunami combination. At 15:36, there was a hydrogen explosion at reactor 1, causing the building housing to collapse and allowing international media to go properly mental with their reporting.

Qui ne sait rien, de rien ne doute.

In Tokyo, life went on as usual. The neighborhood was calm and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I went grocery shopping in the afternoon and eventually visited the sentô next to my apartment later due to hot water being cut at home. Besides the TV in the sentô sauna running the same rolling news about the nuclear scare, people in Nukui behaved relatively indifferently towards the situation. I had the television on non-stop at home for the 18 hours I was awake as well as all internet news outlets I could get my hands on.

Meanwhile, reports in international and Finnish media became exaggerated to the point where it was impossible to say whether they were trying to cover the actual events at Fukushima or just hoping for the entire country to go up in flames. I have to admit that the government and so-called official reports were slow to come in the first few hours following the hydrogen explosion, but that does not exactly mean you can just make shit up. I was pretty close to writing a couple of politically incorrect e-mails to editors of Finnish newspapers but in the end I realized it wouldn’t amount to anything. They’re shit, and shit rarely listens. Although comparing Fukushima to Chernobyl can increase traffic, the basis for the comparison lies solely on the fact that both entities include the mysteriously menacing word “nuclear”.

As though the actual events were not frightening enough.

It was also the first time I personally experienced the difficulty of finding realistic reports of recent events that actually had happened in the pile of smut sometimes called online news. By the time I went to sleep, it seemed matters had become stable at the first reactor and the general situation was under control. We’ll see what the morrow brings.