Monday, March 14, 2011


My husband came on home--trains are shut down going in to Tokyo.  TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), which services the whole Kanto area cannot keep up with demand since the reactors in Fukushima are shut down.  In an effort to keep power supplied to Tokyo and the affected prefectures to the north and the reactors themselves (to avoid a meltdown, I assume), TEPCO announced this morning that there will be rolling blackouts for the entire Kanto area they service (the 23Tokyo wards excepted) starting today until the end of April.  Our area is block 3, so we'll be out of power from 12:20pm to 4:00pm.  The principal said for the time being, school would continue as normal (5 and 6-hour classes as normally scheduled), but school lunches would be modified because of the blackout--just rice or bread and milk.

I'm watching TV right now--they're showing huge crowds of businessmen milling around Yokohama station, unable to go to work.  My husband is complaining that he thinks that's a bad idea--they should at least keep the trains running.  I don't know whether they can do that or not.  The blackouts are rolling from one area to another all day long, so at any time of day some part of any line will be out and the train won't be able to run its line anyway.  It's a somewhat confusing situation.  They've said that people should be able to use mobile phones, but internet services may be disrupted.  I'll have to go pick up the kids from school (I'm one of the Seiwanin--mom who walks the group to school) because traffic lights won't be working.
 The TEPCO spokesman is live on TV right now--and the Group 1 blackout... isn't blacked out.  Demand was lower than expected, so they didn't black that area out.  And yet--the trains weren't running this morning--my husband said the station was shuttered when he got there.  A miscommunication between TEPCO and JR East?  Suddenly, things have gotten very complicated...

Gaman shikanai--we can but have patience and fortitude (gaman includes both of those words). 

p.s.--you'll have noticed by now that I haven't posted any photos of the disaster.  That's because they are all over the news--I don't particularly have any to add, and it breaks my heart to look at them anyway.


  1. Our Tokyo relations are all right. We still haven't heard from Sendai -- very nervewracking.

    Hang in there, my Japanese friends!


  2. Luisita--*so* glad you've got a least some good news. Gambare--They are still rescuing people and gradually people are making their way to evacuation sites and signing in. I hope, I hope, that you hear from them soon--not knowing is so awful. My heart goes out to you.

  3. Glad you got home OK. Let us hope that the nuclear power stations will come back under control - though from what I hear on the news here people are not confident that the authorities are giving full information, & one may be in meltdown


  4. Given that the nuclear power plants are probably down for good now, can they generate or purchase enough electricity to eventually stop these blackouts?

  5. rolling blackouts - crazy. I mean, makes total sense, i've just never lived in an area where there are rolling blackouts. I've never lost power for more than like a few hours.
    I hope the weather stays nice and warm for everyone there

  6. Glad to hear you got home safely! We've been getting news about the confusions over blackouts as well. If confused businessmen is the worst going on in Tokyo, then that's not too bad! Sending positive thoughts your way! It's also great to see how well-prepared the Japanese are. As terrible as this has been, it seems like--per your comments, messages from other friends in Japan, and the news--everyone has reacted amazingly well. Best wishes for you, your family, and your nation!

  7. I hope your silence is just because you have power shortages...

  8. Hang in there yoko! It sounds like there's been one problem after another in Japan right now. I honestly feel like going there right now because I feel so useless here in the u.s. I'm doing fundraising in school and at my mother's business for donations which will go to the Red Cross. I've also posted links on how to help in my blog posts. If you want u can help spread the word.

    “People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.”

    This quote was taken from the website. I think by ‘people’ they mean Americans but they don’t make that very clear.

    Here is the website:

    Also if you googlesearch Lady GaGa you can find out where she is selling her Pray For Japan wristlets. 100% of the proceeds go to Japan.

    If you feel like a useless American like me I think the best way to help is to find a charity that fits you, whether it’s Lady GaGa or the Red Cross. :)

  9. Hope all is still well with you and yours. The media coverage is as gripping as it is depressing. Recent headline that bothered me: something along the lines of, "govt. reassures people of Tokyo that radiation is only a slight heath concern to them."

    If I were a Mom in Tokyo, that wouldn't do much to satisfy me! Glad you all are further south still...

    --Diane G.

  10. How are you all?

    The earthquake caused ramifications in Antarctica -

    Best wishes

  11. Things are sounding grim at the nuclear reactors.
    Let us all know how things are...

  12. Missing you at WEIT, hoping things are still well with you.

  13. Dominic-- you know, I think they really were giving as much information as they could, as they had themselves. But in typical scientist fashion--refusing to speculate without evidence. Saying that the cause of smoke is unknown isn't satisfying for most people, but it's probably true. And though it's hard to hear "cause is unclear", I think they're right not to give out speculation as fact.

    Jerry-- I have heard that they have fossil fuel backup for an emergency, but I have no idea how long that measure will suffice. We're looking at blackouts for a while yet.

    Sarah-- I never have, either. Feels like California (which is the only reason I have a ready translation for Keikaku Teiden...)

    Chris-- thanks so much. The good wishes from so many mean a *lot*.

    Dominic-- thanks for worrying. Yes--the blackouts have played havoc with our wireless!

    Ez--you are awesome! We're hanging ok...Thank you for your fundraising efforts--every little bit really does help, and you're *not* helpless. Thanks for posting the links for everyone:-)

    Diane-- thanks:-) It *is* hard to be a mom, and try to keep my head and assess the danger realistically. It helps that they're very good about explaining the numbers on NHK (and I know what a Banana Equivalent Dose is).

    Dominic--wow. I think this quake had ramifications just about everywhere (like the Chile quake, it knocked the earth off its axis a bit)... moved the Japanese coastline some 8 feet, too. I'll be writing about the reactors as best I can (I'm having to look up a *bunch* of words!)...

    Diane--we're fine. Blackout schedule is just a little crazy. Thanks--it's nice to be missed:-)