E-mails from Japan


Man On Horseback Crossing a Bridge, by Hiroshige
Man On Horseback Crossing a Bridge, by Hiroshige

What’s happening in Japan is sad and tragic. It ‘s hard sometimes to watch the newscast, especially as time goes on and we get to see the full extent of the earthquake and tsunami damage. When watching the TV, I find myself often retreating from the incessant news flow, which despite it cataclysmic nature is still somewhat mesmerizing for the viewer.

Nonetheless, I have a relative on the inside, who lives and works near Tokyo and can provide information on what is going on, not at ground zero( where all the news crews are), but several hundred miles away from the epicenter of the quake. Fortunately, satellite communications have remained open and so we have been able to exchange communications. First email arrived  on Thursday night EST and detailed how it took five hours to walk home. The distance was 18 miles, an included a journey from Tokyo to Yokohama. The streets were full of people, especially since all trains were out of service.

Next came a description of the initial quake shock, one that lasted a full five minutes or 300 seconds, another way of describing the duration, which more actually portrays the excruciating length. Then came a brief memory of a family trip taken to the coastal area, where the tsunami came ashore. This journey happened last summer. The last communication, describes a return to work in Tokyo on Monday. Starting time was held back until noon to help stagger the rush hour traffic. Trains were back to 50 % and blackouts only last for three hours every day. However, food and especially water are hard to come by, as stores are not always open and sell out quickly.  No news has been forthcoming since Monday afternoon, Japanese time.

Tomorrow, I will likely return to discussing e-books.


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