News from Japan: A Funny Experience and Then Some

Friends from Tokyo write with news.  Yuko is an editor and writer.  Yumi is an interpreter.

“By the way, when the big earthquake had happened in the evening yesterday, I was in a museum ’21_21′ in Roppongi. I went to see exhibition of Shiro Kuramata and Ettore Sottosass.  Suddenly the announcement told us “Soon the earthquake will come” with a very loud urgent-like sounds, the first in Japanese and the second in English. So I and others thought ‘will come.. so what? how should I do…’ About 30-40 seconds after the announcement, THE earthquake came. Funny experience.”  (Yuko, Tokyo)

“We are very concerned about the development of the nuclear plants.  Information comes from lots of different sides.  If I only listen to the government’s reports, there seems to be little to worry about.But information from anti nuclear power groups say that the information disclosed so far is quite limited or controlled, and the situation is actually more serious than the government says.  So, my e-mail account is flooded with information that comes from different sources.  I end up spending so much time reading those.  My conclusion for now is that:  We should never rely on something which can go out of our control as power source.  Tepco, the utility that runs the nuclear power plant in question is so incompetent in handling a crisis like this.  Apparently, they had never simulated a crisis, or rehearsed what should be done if it happens.  Moreover, there seems to be nobody in their executive members who really knows and can explain what is going on in the plants.  When the organization has grown so big, when so much money has already been spent, people, either in Tepco or in the government, stopped asking simple questions like,  ‘Is it what we wanted?’, ‘Can’t  power be supplied in a safer, and more simple way?,’ ‘Do we really need that much power?’   The only good news here is that, in spite of such a disaster, in spite of so many deaths, in spite of worries of radiation, spring has arrived.  Cherry blossoms have started blooming.  Hopefully, that may inspirit the survivors, or evacuees a bit.”  (Yumi, Tokyo)

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