Blog - March 2011 Archives
March 2011 Archives
.14 Doing fine!
March 14, 2011
Sorry I haven't updated this blog in ages. I thought I'd write a little about how things have been here since the March 11 earthquake, just in case anyone would be waiting for some news or passing by.
When the earthquake happened, it was Friday afternoon around 3pm and I was at the office on the 9th floor. Things shook hard and everything fell down from shelves. We sometimes get smallish earthquakes which we are used to, but this time it didn't take a minute for people to realize this was a big one, and we all rushed downstairs. This was really scary!
Smaller earthquakes followed, and after a while the company boss and a few courageous ones volunteered to go back up to get everyone's jackets and bags. We then moved to a park nearby, and later to a strong building's entrance. Most trains had stopped service and most couldn't go home easily, but the company was able hold of 2 rooms at a hotel where some 15-20 of us stayed for a while, many for the night. I was lucky that a train line I could use got back into service, and I rode one of the most crowded trains ever, leaving at every station people on the platform who couldn't squeeze in. The train was also much slower than usual, taking long stops at every station.
For the weekend things were rather normal here in Tokyo. I didn't really see any apparent quake damage anywhere I went (except for near work where an old building had cracks all around it). Most shops were even open except some department stores, and the train schedules were still sparse. A friend's wedding on Saturday was still supposed to be held as of Saturday morning, but later it was postponed. Relatives in a nearby prefecture were out of electricity since the earthquake and until Sunday afternoon, and at this time still don't have running tap water. In Tokyo too we've been asked to avoid using too much electricity, so I've been offline most of the time and we also spent weekend daytime outside. Of course, these small inconveniences are nothing compared to what victims of the tsunami are experiencing upper north.
Now starting this Monday, there have been scheduled 3-hour electricity blackouts in many areas of Tokyo and surrounding prefectures to force saving power. This is causing further problems to shops, trains, etc. Train lines operate with reduced schedules, causing trains that are packed more than usual (I had to wait 3 passing trains this morning until I could step in), and many lines only operate a partial route if at all, leaving many people without any transportation.
Today at my office people came to work normally (I made it almost for my usual time of 9am), except some who couldn't make it at all, but after doing the essential we were sent home around noon in fear that other transportation problems would arise. Tomorrow we're going from 11am.
At the end of the afternoon I visited several nearby supermarkets and convenience stores, and most were out of daily things such as bread, milk, eggs, tofu, instant noodle bowls, tissues and toilet paper! Luckily we still have some stock of these.
Scheduled blackouts are expected to continue for the time being, and trains will probably keep experiencing problems too. These are little things we have to get used to, it's nothing compared to the more unfortunate.
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