I'd like to thank everyone back in Canada, America and the UK for expressing their concern over the past few days for our safety. As the above photo, taken on Sunday, indicates, Ena and I are alive and well.
We actually took a few hours on a sunny afternoon to get away from the news of the multiple unfolding disasters going on all around here to sit quietly in a garden in town and have some tea:
We are indeed lucky to be alive and in a place where it is still possible to do this. Not everyone in this country is so lucky, as I'm sure you are all aware.
For that reason I'd like to put a good word in for some charities that are collecting donations to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the tsunami. I've sorted these into Japan and Canada based charities. Sorry for only putting those countries up, but that is where most readers of this blog come from and I have to economize on my time!
Peace Winds Japan
Japanese Red Cross Society
Canadian Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
Please give generously, people need your help!
Anyway, we are all quite concerned here about events going on up north. Entire towns have just been completely destroyed. I'm reminded of photos of Hiroshima after the bombing when I look at the images of towns along the coast in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.
One of the side effects of this being reported in the press has been a run on emergency goods at stores in Tokyo. I was surprised when shopping today to discover that a bit of this had spread as far as Fukuoka. I was picking up groceries at our Jusco. Everything looked normal and there definitely hasn't been a wave of panic buying like what is going on up north, but still there was noticeably less stuff of the "emergency goods" type on the shelves.
The shelves where they keep the cheap bottled water had been stripped clean:
They still had some bottled water, but only the expensive stuff. So people are definitely stocking up on that.
The cheap toilet paper was also completely sold out:
ARGH! People, some of us actually need to be buying this stuff!
They were also out of tissue:
The cup-ramen aisle still had a fair amount left, but it was noticeably less well-stocked than usual:
At the cash register I noticed that the TVs they usually broadcast advertising on were all turned off with signs saying "turned off to conserve energy" on them. This is now a country that simply doesn't have enough electricity to go around:
Its not exactly a huge deal, but I give them credit for making an effort.