Wednesday, 21 September 2011

"The Fukushima Syndorome" - Battle with Nuke Interests in Oma, Iwaishima, etc.

The video title seems to be simply after "China Syndrome" the old movie in which the nuclear fuel could have melted through to China.  But the stories are more about how the nuclear interests harm human beings - not only Japan, never only in Fukushima.

Till I came across this (either by this video or someone's blog news), I had never known of the lady called Asako who all alone lived in the house her mother left kept resisting J-Power's attempt to build Oma Nuclear Power Plant despite persistent harassment.  Oma was a fishermen's village (Oma Tuna is known for the high quality), but people were "bought" by nuke-money one after another.

Soon after we saw this video, we learned that Tohoku Electric was threatening her by warning to close the path to the land, saying almost no one is using the place around her home and such a place should be made more useful for "public".   Obviously, they were only attempting to destroy her daily life to begin the planned construction.  (This plan is crazy since it is not far from the extremely dangerous Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Recycling Plant also in Aomori, and Tomari Nuclear Power Plant in Hokkaido - the last operating plant in Japan till May 5th, 2012).

People on Twitter and FB shared her address, calling her home "Asako House", started to send her cards, letters, parcels, etc. so that someone to deliver these things use the path everyday ceaselessly.  Probably with support from volunteers,  Asako has been replying to each sender.  The connection was built through SNS's.

In the middle of the video appears Hitomi Kamanaka, a movie director now very well known to us, talks of her experiences of meeting children in Iraq suffering and dying from depleted uranium - the garbage that came out as our "electricity" fuel out of the nuclear power plant, even though the bombers were American armies.

Now quite a few of us know of this sad truth from the book "Naibu-hibaku no Kyoi" (Threat of Internal Radioactive Exposure) co-authored by Ms Kamanaka and Dr Shuntaro Hida (94yo doctor who saw thousands of atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima, sometimes chased by GHQ to get put in a prison).

These are only a few out of countless facts I learned only after the 311 Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe.  The signs must have been everywhere, but I didn't see or listen, knowing the solution for processing the accumulating used fuels has not been found yet.  Which means, I didn't even know the close relationship between the nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.

This video also let me see the face of Director Kamanaka, and I happened to see her movie when it came to our city center (major movie theaters do not accept anti-nuke films), and learned a little more about the Iraqi situation and new energy sources prospering outside Japan (often our technology not reported inside Japan).

Ignorance is sin, and can kill the innocent.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Fukushima Groundwater Contamination Worst in Nuclear History - Fairewinds Update of 6-May-11

At this point, most of the Japanese - even many active Twitter members haven't seen the true picture (video) of the explosion of Reactor #3 in Fukushima Daiichi.  Those few of us thought it was nuclear explosion, but Mr Gundersen thinks it is kind of hydrogen explosion.  (Later, his explanation changed slightly.)

[Quote from Vimeo:]
A report from the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission Ex-Secretariat, Dr. Saji, credits the current status of the accident to "luck". Gundersen discusses what could have happened if the wind had been blowing in-land.

I just found a link to an article of May 9, 2011 regarding media coverups.  Below is its copy.

Vivian Norris

Vivian Norris

Deadly Silence on Fukushima

Posted: 05/ 9/11 05:05 AM ET

I received the following email a few days ago from a Russian nuclear physicist friend who is an expert on the kinds of gases being released at Fukushima. Here is what he wrote:
About Japan: the problem is that the reactor uses "dirty" fuel. It is a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX). I suspect that the old fuel rods have bean spread out due to the explosion and the surrounding area is contaminated with plutonium which means you can never return to this place again. It is like a new Tchernobyl. Personally, I am not surprised that the authority has not informed people about this.

I have been following the Fukushima story very closely since the earthquake and devastating tsunami. I have asked scientists I know, nuclear physicists and others about where they find real information. I have also watched as the news has virtually disappeared. There is something extremely disturbing going on, and having lived through the media blackout in France back in April and early May 1986, and speaking to doctors who are deeply concerned by the dramatic increase in cancers appearing at very young ages, it is obvious that information is being held back. We are still told not to eat mushrooms and truffles from parts of Europe, not wild boar and reindeer from Germany and Finland 25 years later.
A special thanks to people like European Representative Michele Rivasi, who has followed this issue since Chernobyl: Rivasi, a Green MEP and founder of France's Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity, told EurActiv that she was worried the tests would cover up nuclear risks and reinstate business as usual.
"It's very important to have scientists who are not already paid by the nuclear power industry," she said. "If they are the same people from Euratom and national authorities they use today, why would they say anything different to what they say all the time?"
One resource for information on Chernobyl deaths and cancers/illnesses was only just recently translated and can be found online: "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment" by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko, and Alexey Nesterenko.
Another very good report on Chernobyl is this one, which also outlines the disturbing relationship between WHO and the nuclear industry.
The best site I have found for up-to-date information by nuclear industry experts is here.
Arnie Gundersen was a high-level executive for years and analyzes the information he has been receiving in a calm and scientific way. His latest update is entitled, "Fukushima Groundwater Contamination Worst in Nuclear History." Gundersen is in touch with senior members of the Japanese nuclear establishment. What is highly disturbing is that the main reason Japan does not appear to be as bad a Chernobyl is that the wind was blowing out to sea and not for the most part towards land. But all this has done is spread the cancers out into the worldwide population as opposed to concentrating it all in Japan. It will be very difficult to tell, as it was in France, Scandinavia and other places, where the Chernobyl cloud traveled in the days following the disaster. I will summarize some of Gunderson's very disturbing and important information here:
1. There was a hydrogen explosion, and it was a detonation, not a deflagration -- in other words the fire burned up not burned down.
2. A frame-by-frame analysis shows a flame that confirms that the fuel pool is burning as a result of an explosion which started as a hydrogen explosion but that could not have lifted the fuel into the air so there must have been a violent explosion at the bottom of the fuel pool. But more data is needed.
3. Gunderson speaks about past criticalities in other nuclear reactors around the world, and I find it odd we are not hearing about these and how they can teach us about what is going on now at Fukushima.
4. Radioactive water is being pumped out and groundwater is contaminated, so there must be a leak or leaks, and this disaster is in no way contained. There will be contamination for a long time to come and this groundwater contamination is moving inland. One town is reporting radioactive sewage sludge from ground water or rainwater.
5. The Greenpeace ship Rainbow water has requested the Japanese government to test the waters near Japan, and Japan has refused this independent data request. The EPA has also shut down all inspection centers and is NOT inspecting fish. (Why the silence?)
Since Gunderson made this latest video, just a day or so ago new photo evidence seems to be showing burning and new fires taking place at Fukushima (from TBS JNN Japan):
Why is this not on the front page of every single newspaper in the world? Why are official agencies not measuring from many places around the world and reporting on what is going on in terms of contamination every single day since this disaster happened? Radioactivity has been being released now for almost two full months! Even small amounts when released continuously, and in fact especially continuous exposure to small amounts of radioactivity, can cause all kinds of increases in cancers.
One reason no one is reporting on this nor allowed to go inside the exclusion zone nor even measure the waters off of Japan is because of the following compiled by Makiko Segawa, a staff writer at the Shingetsu News Agency. She prepared this report from Fukushima and Tokyo for
Freelance journalists and foreign media are pursuing the facts, even going into the radiation exclusion zone. However, surprisingly, the Japan government continues to prevent freelance journalists and overseas media from gaining access to official press conferences at the prime minister's house and government.

Uesugi stated that since March 11th, the government has excluded all internet media and all foreign media from official press conferences on the "Emergency Situation." While foreign media have scrambled to gather information about the Fukushima Reactor, they have been denied access to the direct information provided by the government and one consequence of this is that "rumor-rife news has been broadcast overseas."
In fact, access has been limited in two ways. First, while Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio holds twice daily press conferences for representatives of the big Japanese media, registered representatives of freelance and internet media are limited to a single press conference per week. Second, in contrast to Japanese media who are briefed regularly by Edano and periodically by Prime Miniser Kan, foreign media are briefed exclusively by administrative staff.
Uesugi also notes that at TEPCO press conferences, which are now being held at company headquarters, foreign correspondents and Japanese freelancers regularly ask probing questions while mainstream journalists simply record and report company statements reiterating that the situation is basically under control and there is nothing to worry about. One reason for this, Uesugi suggests, is that TEPCO, a giant media sponsor, has an annual 20 billion yen advertising budget. "The media keeps defending the information from TEPCO!" "The Japanese media today is no different from the wartime propaganda media that kept repeating to the very end that 'Japan is winning the war against America,'" Uesugi exclaimed.
There is one particularly telling example of the media shielding TEPCO by suppressing information. This concerns "plutonium." According to Uesugi, after the reactor blew up on March 14, there was concern about the leakage of plutonium. However, astonishingly, until two weeks later when Uesugi asked, not a single media representative had raised the question of plutonium at TEPCO's press conferences.
On March 26, in response to Uesugi's query, TEPCO stated, "We do not measure the level of plutonium and do not even have a detector to scale it." Ironically, the next day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano announced that "plutonium was detected."
When TEPCO finally released data on radioactive plutonium on March 28, it stated that plutonium -238, -239, and -240 were found in the ground, but insisted that it posed no human risk. Since TEPCO provided no clarification of the meaning of the plutonium radiation findings, the mainstream press merely reported the presence of the radiation without assessment (link). Nippon Television on March 29 headlined its interview with Tokyo University Prof. Nakagawa Keiichi, a radiation specialist, "Plutonium from the power plant--No effect on neighbors."
On March 15, Uesugi criticized TEPCO for its closed attitude toward information on a TBS radio program. For this, he was immediately dismissed from his regular program. The scandal involving TEPCO's silencing of the media took an interesting turn two weeks later. At the time of the disaster on March 11, TEPCO Chairman Katsumata Tsunehisa was hosting dozens of mainstream media executives on a "study session" in China. When asked about this fact by freelance journalist Tanaka Ryusaku at a TEPCO press conference on March 30, Katsumata defended the practice.
"It is a fact that we traveled together to China," he said. "[TEPCO] did not pay all the expenses of the trip, but we paid more than they did. Certainly they are executives of the mass media, but they are all members of the study session."
When Tanaka requested the names of the media executives hosted by TEPCO in China, Katsumata retorted, "I cannot reveal their names since this is private information." But it is precisely such collusive relations between mainstream media, the government and TEPCO, that results in the censorship of information concerning nuclear problems.
Now the Japanese government has moved to crack down on independent reportage and criticism of the government's policies in the wake of the disaster by deciding what citizens may or may not talk about in public. A new project team has been created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to combat "rumors" deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster."
We need to demonstrate and write to our representatives and demand that measuring be done around the world continuously. Fukushima's nuclear disaster is still going on. People need accurate information to protect themselves. Here is how after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Chernobyl doctors worked with those who had been contaminated to decontaminate them (Sources: Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., Nagasaki 1945 (London: Quartet Books, 1981); Tatsuichiro Akizuki, "How We Survived Nagasaki," East West Journal, December 1980):
Macrobiotic Diet Prevents Radiation Sickness Among A-Bomb Survivors in Japan - In August, 1945, at the time of the atomic bombing of Japan, Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., was director of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Francis's Hospital in Nagasaki. Most patients in the hospital, located one mile from the center of the blast, survived the initial effects of the bomb, but soon after came down with symptoms of radiation sickness from the fallout that had been released. Dr. Akizuki fed his staff and patients a strict macrobiotic diet of brown rice, miso soup, wakame and other sea vegetables, Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and prohibited the consumption of sugar and sweets. As a result, he saved everyone in his hospital, while many other survivors in the city perished from radiation sickness.
I gave the cooks and staff strict orders that they should make unpolished whole-grain rice balls, adding some salt to them, prepare strong miso soup for each meal, and never use sugar. When they didn't follow my orders, I scolded them without mercy, 'Never take sugar. Sugar will destroy your blood!'...
This dietary method made it possible for me to remain alive and go on working vigorously as a doctor. The radioactivity may not have been a fatal dose, but thanks to this method, Brother Iwanaga, Reverend Noguchi, Chief Nurse Miss Murai, other staff members and in-patients, as well as myself, all kept on living on the lethal ashes of the bombed ruins. It was thanks to this food that all of us could work for people day after day, overcoming fatigue or symptoms of atomic disease and survive the disaster" free from severe symptoms of radioactivity.
People need answers, data and honest information to help them deal with what is going on. Media blackouts, propaganda and greedy self-interested industries, of any kind, who allow human beings' health to be affected, and deaths to occur, must be stopped now. That senior TEPCO man and the leading nuclear academic in Japan did not break down crying and resign their positions because all was well at Fukushima. Think about it world, and act now before it is too late.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

25th Anniversary of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Accident

NHK once broadcast good Chernobyl-focused documentary films on the 10th and 20th anniversary.  We really hoped it would do the same or at least put these old videos on the air so that the vast still-ignorant victims in Fukushima (and Tokyo Metropolitan areas with hotspot zones) could see what could happen years later especially to young children.  NHK instead completely ignored the anniversary, and came to bring silly non-timely topics to the high viewership hours.

Here is video's from the US (maybe minor?) that we shared on the web instead.  I embedded the original version in my Japanese blog.  This was recorded six days before the 311 tragedy in Japan.  Dr Janet Sherman talks to Mr Karl Grossman on Enviro Close-up.

Chernobyl: A Million Casualties

A million people have died so far as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant accident, explains Janette Sherman, M.D., toxicologist and contributing editor of the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. Published by the New York Academy of Sciences, the book, authored by Dr. Alexey Yablokov, Dr. Vassily Nesterenko and Dr. Alexey Nesterenko, examined medical records now available--which expose as a lie the claim of the International Atomic Energy Commission that perhaps 4,000 people may die as a result of Chernobyl.
Enviro Close-Up # 610 (29 mintes)

We learned that even outside Japan, the scientists who knew the truth had to spend as long as 25 years to publicize the these facts of Chernobyl due to the media coverups, and the most world population had believed the deception - several digits smaller number of victims and the intrinsic issues of nuclear power generation itself.

This video made us aware of the fact that when they say "experts" most of them appearing on the media are physical or chemical academics or engineers, and not biologists or medical doctors despite the fact that there have been real doctors who took care of real Hibakusha's (the radiation-exposed).

How can the people who didn't study medicine or biology, let alone genomics, talk about the effects of radiation to human bodies??

Friday, 18 March 2011

Why Play Russian Roulette to Boil Water? This is Technological Insanity!

I guess I first saw this video in April or May last year within the Japanese version of :Democracy Now!, and found it in YouTube later. I wonder if most of my friends in North America still do not yet realize what people like Ralf Nader, et al are clearly saying here. I wonder how many things we lost because of one nuclear plant out of 54, and they are holding more or less the similar risks.

We really felt us completely idiot to learn that "nuclear" technology is used for nothing more than boiling water to inefficiently create energy (more primitive than James Watt technology if for the same purpose).

For those who can't spare less than 10 minutes, I quote the transcript from the English version.

 "Why Are We Playing Russian Roulette With the American People?": Longtime Nuclear Critic Ralph Nader Advocates Phasing Out Nuclear Power Industry

Former presidential candidate and longtime consumer advocate and nuclear critic Ralph Nader strongly advocates phasing out nuclear power in the United States by calling for public hearings on the status of every single nuclear power plant. "What we’re seeing here is 110 or so operating nuclear plants in the United States, many of them aging, many of them infected with corrosion, faulty pipes, leaky pumps and combustible materials... Why are we playing Russian roulette with the American people for nuclear plants whose principal objective is simply to boil water and produce steam? ... This is institutional insanity, and I urge the people in this country to wake up before they experience what is now going on in northern Japan." [includes rush transcript]
Filed under  Japan, Environment, Japan Disaster
Ralph Nader, longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate. His latest book is Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!


JUAN GONZALEZ: We’re discussing the continuing nuclear crisis in Japan, and we’re joined by Philip White from the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center in Tokyo, Dr. Ira Helfand from Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Ralph Nader joins us from Washington, longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate. His latest book is Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Ralph.

RALPH NADER: Thank you, Juan.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Your assessment not only what’s happening in Japan, but what the impact will be here in the United States, and especially with the Obama administration and Congress trying to move forward with a renaissance of development of nuclear plants here in the United States?

RALPH NADER: The Japanese disaster has ended whatever nuclear renaissance is being considered here in the United States. The problem is that people have got to get more involved, because the government and the industry will defend nuclear power in the United States to the last mutation. They are representing a closed, monetized mind that does not have options for revision, which true science should provide for. Secretary Chu, Energy Secretary, has refused for two years to meet with the leading critics of nuclear power, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, Friends of the Earth and other groups. He has met with nuclear business interests regularly, and he has written articles touting nuclear power.

What we’re seeing here is 110 or so operating nuclear plants in the United States, many of them aging, many of them infected with corrosion, faulty pipes, leaky pumps and combustible materials. These have been documented by data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission assembled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Indian Point, for example, is a plant that presents undue risks, in the opinion of the Union of Concerned Scientists, to millions of people in the New York City greater area. And it is unevacuable if there’s an accident. You’re never going to evacuate a population of millions of people, whether it’s around San Onofre or Diablo Canyon in Southern California or Indian Point or Davis-Besse near Toledo and Detroit or any of the other endangered nuclear plants.

Why are we playing Russian roulette with the American people for nuclear plants whose principal objective is simply to boil water and produce steam? This is technological insanity. It presents national security problems, for every nuclear plant is a prime target. It affects our civil liberties. It endangers our workers. It is an industry that cannot be financed by Wall Street because it’s too risky. Wall Street demands 100 percent taxpayer guarantees for any nuclear plant.

So I suggest that people listening and watching this program to pick up the phone and dial the White House comment number, which is (202) 456-1111, (202) 456-1111, and demand the following: that there be public hearings in every area where there’s a nuclear plant, so the people can see for themselves what the hazards are, what the risks are, how farcical the evacuation plans are, how costly nuclear power is, and how it can be replaced by energy efficiency, by solar energy, different kinds of solar energy, by cogeneration, as Amory Lovins and many others, Peter Bradford, have pointed out.

We must no longer license any new nuclear plants. We should shut down the ones like Indian Point. How many people know that Hillary Clinton, as senator, and Andrew Cuomo, as attorney general, demanded that Indian Point be shut down? That doesn’t matter to the monetized minds in Washington, D.C. We also should prepare a plan where, apart from the aging plants, which should be shut down, and apart from the earthquake-risk plants — should be shut down — for the phase-out of the entire industry. We’re going to be left with radioactive waste for hundreds of thousands of years, for which there is no permanent repository. This is institutional insanity, and I urge the people in this country to wake up before they experience what is now going on in northern Japan: uninhabitable territory, thousands dead, hundreds of thousands at risk of cancer, enormous economic loss. And for what?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Ira Helfand, this statement by President Obama, of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that they’re going to do a comprehensive review of the safety of U.S. nuclear plants, do you have much expectation for that review?

IRA HELFAND: I don’t, unfortunately. I’m most troubled by — in this regard, by President Obama’s rush to defend nuclear power last Sunday, even as this crisis was just beginning to unfold. I think the mindset is strongly in support of nuclear power within the administration. And obviously the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has functioned primarily as a cheerleader for the industry since its inception, which is really, you know, a tragic situation.

But I would agree exactly with what Ralph Nader just said. What we need to do instead is to have a real review of our energy policy here and to figure out how we can move as quickly as we possibly can away from nuclear, and away coal, for that matter, which also has huge health risks associated with it, and to seriously begin to build a green energy system based on energy efficiency, conservation and the development of renewable sources of power generation like wind and solar. This is an urgent national security task for the United States, and it’s something we have been ignoring and failing to address for decades at this point. The events in Japan have clearly shown that nuclear power is not reliable and contrary to the claims of the industry and the administration, and we need to move away from it.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Philip White, your group, Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, have been especially involved in efforts to prevent the development of a new plant in South Texas that the Japanese are directly involved in. Could you talk about that?

PHILIP WHITE: The Japanese government has been falling over backwards to support Toshiba, in particular, which made a very, very bad investment when it paid double what Westinghouse was worth to buy that company, and Toshiba is one of the investors in the proposed South Texas project, along with this very — would the Americans like this Tokyo Electric Power Company to come over and help them with their energy plants and advise them? This is the very Tokyo Electric Power Company which is now responsible for this reactor here.

Anyway, sort of irony aside, just recently, the Japan Bank [for] International Cooperation listed on its website that it was considering providing finance for this project. We believe that it would be in the order of four billion U.S. dollars, and that would be about one-third of the total capital worth of JBIC. So it would be — JBIC being Japan Bank for International Cooperation. So it would be an absolutely unprecedented loan for JBIC. And we have been lobbying, along with United States groups, as well as people from around the world, against the — on the grounds of the financial risk. I mean, we, of course, are very concerned about all these other risks, but somehow or other it always seems to fall on a deaf ear. We thought maybe the financial risk would resonate. And it has resonated with many people, even within the bureaucracy here. But there’s this incredibly powerful organization called the Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry here, METI, which really has had a stranglehold on energy policy and nuclear policy for many years in Japan, and shifting them is a very, very difficult process. So, I think this has basically blown that away.

But actually, something really quite remarkable has begun to happen, something I never thought I would see. Yesterday, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, the more or less permanent government until a few years ago, 'til a couple of years ago, came out and said that it would be very difficult to maintain the nuclear policy as it currently exists. Fairly noncommittal words, you might say, but that in itself was an amazing statement. And then, the following day, the chief cabinet secretary in the current government, the Democratic Party of Japan, said that this was absolutely right. It was completely obvious that it would be difficult to maintain this policy now. That, in itself, to get that from both sides of the political spectrum, is extraordinary. But without public pressure, we won't make that to actually come through, I don’t think.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Philip White, I want to thank you, from the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center in Tokyo, Dr. Ira Helfand from Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Ralph Nader, longtime consumer advocate. Ralph will be returning in another segment later on in the show to talk about his involvement in protests against the anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Thank you all for joining us.

Since there are so many people in Japan who believe other countries are better and the US might help us out, I had to show this video to make them understand that the nuclear power industry is connected with the same greed globally, and in fact, the "boss" is rather in the US.

Over months, especially the cease-fire season in mid summer, we viewed so many old and new videos to prove the cruelty of the US government and the guys in the Japanese army who sold their people for human experiments, which not yet most of the Japanese do not even realize. 

Monday, 14 March 2011

Leaging Tokyo for Kobe without knowing what was going on in Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #3

Cindy was killing time to visit Ueno and Ginza while I was still asleep - not just for Twitter, I was tired of checking travelling options.  Since it turned out that Cindy forgot to buy Japan Rail Pass in Singapore, and I didn't think buses (coaches) were good idea, I thought of buying seasonal coupon tickets called "Seishun Juhachi (i.e.18) Kippu".  However, it requires several transits taking some 10 hours of the route which Shinkansen, the bullet train would take only three hours, though the cost was about 15-20% (or 80-85% saving).

Because the tuner of FTTH line for the TV was still broken, I couldn't see any news other than Japanese channels.  And probably, I hardly switched on the TV, as I don't even remember the TV - all the free domestic channels kept broadcasting the chaos in Tokyo for the malicious rolling blackouts to deliberately trouble passengers of the subway and other private railroads.

I didn't know what was going on after 11am of this day.  Anyway, we left my flat around 3pm to get the train coupon tickets in Monzen-Nakacho, but for some reasons, we decided to make the final decision after arriving at Tokyo Station, which turned out to be good.  Local trains up to Atami were closed due to "blackout" with no forecast of resuming.

So, we decided to buy Shinkansen tickets and left Tokyo about 16 minutes before 4pm to get to Kobe early enough to have dinner my mother cooked right in time.

Cindy stayed with us for two nights and then continued travelling to Kyushu with the coupon + night buses.  She posted the final piece of the 5-series coupon and the Suica prepaid card from Narita.  The stamps with place names and dates, I learned she spent the final three nights in the night buses, spending just half day in Tokyo and depart from Narita in the 20th afternoon.

I had not decided yet how long to stay with my parents.  I wanted to go back to Tokyo as early as possible, but at the same time, I was tired and more scared of non-stop earthquakes.  In any event, I could do my job with my mother's pc as long as the Internet was available.

I eventually left Kobe back to Tokyo on 24th.

Till later, I didn't know how lucky I was for not being able to stay in Tokyo during these days.


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Cindy arrived in Monzen-Nakacho via Narita

Cindy finally arrived in Narita late afternoon on 13th, and we got together at Monzen Nakacho.  Since my flat was still a big mess, and dangerous (kept shaking), we booked her into Tokyu Stay Monzen Nakacho near the station.

The Japanese food lover was desperate for raw fish, but many shops and restaurants were closed partly because of cooperation for energy savings.  It is also because Sushi bars couldn't get good materials at Tsukiji.

Then, I found Watami open despite though the neon sign of the building was dark and the elevator was suspended.  Cindy (with the whole luggage on her back) endured the climbing up to 7th floor by stairs, and the foods and drinks were good enough not to regret.  I still didn't know how we would be evaluating Watami a year later, and really appreciated the quality of food and reasonable prices.

After the dinner, we went to the hotel, and I took a shower in the bathroom of Cindy's room.  It had been cold for a couple of days, and I was out of gas home.  So, I was extremely thankful for getting hot water.

The TV kept showing Tsunami images and earthquake forecast, but I found it irritating that most of the information was only in Japanese whereas many hotels including Tokyu Stay Monzen-Nakacho also had non-Japanese speaking guests. (Later, I heard Cindy found CNN with the signs in the remo, etc. - the international "language" which we Japanese do not recognize.)

On my way back to my flat some three minutes away from the hotel, as I crossed the river, I saw a red heavy-looking moon over the water.

During the dinner, Cindy told me how much trouble she had to tackle before leaving Singapore.  First of all, she didn't want to take any off in March as she was extremely busy, but her boss, who had not given enough days off in December, had to force her to take the annual leave by the end  of the month.

Cindy was working till the last minute in the office, and because of calculation errors, she was late to arrive at Changi Airport.  While almost missing the flight, one of the airline staff found her and let her get onboard.  Cindy was saying she'd thought of cancelling the trip many times in these hours.

I said, "It's like your ancestors were desperate to stop you so that you wouldn't be able to get to Japan.  You were planning to go to Tohoku region at the beginning."

I didn't realize yet that her sudden visit was going to save my life too in a way, and my ancestors might have joined bringing Cindy to Tokyo before the cherry blossom season.

Cindy felt no fear from the earthquake (I felt at least reasonably big shaking twice that night), but because of the complication from the "Planned Blackout" (later turned out to be TEPCO's abuse to threaten consumers for shortage of nuke powers), she decided to go to the west without procrastinating around Tokyo.

Though I had still been thinking of taking her to Nikko where Carmen and I enjoyed a good antique kimono shop (Cindy is another big kimono fan), I decided to travel with Cindy to Kobe to stay with my parents next day, namely 14th.


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Reactor #1 Explodes in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

[backdated post written in April 2012 out of my digital logs]

On Twitter, I was retweeting whatever looked worthwhile even if I didn't understand the situation well enough.  One of such RT's had a link to BBC with a comment "Good, it's a video.  Now I see what happened.  NHK showed only two pictures before and after the explosion."

I was still more worried about Tsunami, and what this tweet meant to myself, let alone those who lived near the power plant in Fukushima.

(Even at the time of Reactor #3's explosion, all our media kept using this image and video repeatedly, except Nippon TV just for twice - live and recorded - till forced to switch to this #1 images later that day, i.e., 14th.  Very few Japanese knew about the true picture of the MOX #3 explosion.)

And in the afternoon, about 26 hours after Tsunami hit Tohoku, things like this was going on in Tomioka Town very near Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Note that this is about the hydrogen explosion of Reactor #1, even before the worse one (Reactor #3 on 3/14).  Also, this part of the stories has not been reported by any major Japanese media due to full of coverups, and the most Japanese are left unaware of the seriousness of the Fukushima disaster - even today, as of April 2012.)

I know it is not only in Japan.  Most people around the world focus so much on the Tsunami, and cannot realize the magnitude of eternal effects of radiation still emitted from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi.  The air around the Globe - not just the northern hemisphere - is contaminated, the Pacific Ocean is contaminated to Hawaii or the West Coast of the US, and the emission of radioactive gas and water has never stopped yet.

That said, on this day, I had no knowledge about the world nuclear history in the past some 70 years.  Everybody will have to learn sooner or later that we are only lucky to be still alive today.

This was only the beginning of the beginning of everything that changed the lives of almost all of us living in Japan (either being aware or not), and caused extra 14,000 deaths (statistically speaking) in North America.

Emails exchanges with Cindy taken to Seoul

[backdated post written in April 2012 out of my digital logs]

I sent my email early in the morning and noticed Cindy's reply a few hours later.  I also noticed later that she had attempted to reach me by phone with all the numbers I gave (IP landphone, mobile, and a Skype Call number which I used to own).  Our email exchanges continued a lot after it was clear that Cindy had to stay another night in Seoul.  We didn't even know which Japanese Airport her flight would get to.

12-03-2012 06:25
Hi Cindy,

Hope you are okay.

I'm going to bed now - the aftershock was so long and many of us after all stuck to Twitter, etc.  Even Niigata and Nagano experienced Level 6 shaking.

I'm gonna clean my room and try to join you (I'm still thinking of Monday travelling).

Good night.  Enjoy your day in Nagoya.  It's worth spending your time too.
Keep my home phone number.

If any more disaster occurs, and the landline is cut off, my Skype number is 050-XXXX-XXXX. 

12-03-2012 10:17
Hi Chiho,

So glad you are ok. Am actually in South Korea now. The plane got
diverted to Nagoya but they didn't let anyone off so we ended p in
Seoul's airport Incheon. United put us up in a hotel and will let us
know when we get to the airport again at noon what's going on.

Was waching the news and things look so chaotic even in Tokyo. I'm
just wondering if it is convenient to come to Japan at this time with
all the devastation. Just let me know otherwise ok.

I'll go look for a phone now as my phone doesn't seem to work.

ok talk to you soon :)


12-03-2012 12:56
Hi Cindy,

If you arrive at any Kansai airport, my mother is ready to have you stay (she dashed to clean up). 

In that case, I will give a direction from the nearest JR station.

If near Fukuoka, Kyushu, my twitter friend (used to be a hotel clerk) can give you lodging information.  She keeps Twitter on (works for a Yakitori shop from lunch time till late at night). 

I will take a nap again, but feel free to call (Sorry, I notice Skype call only when sitting at the pc).

Take care.

PS  Sorry you called so many times in all the numbers.  I will take a nap now (was awake after all for replying, etc.) but keep the mobile near (instead of the bag!).  If you ever use Skype (not sure if you had acc), calling 050 is the unusually expensive unlike calling from normal landphone which treats 050 #s as friends.

12-03-2012 16:33

Hi Chiho,
Please thank your mom for making so much effort. Im actually still stuck in Seoul, will head out to look for food and a lookaround after this.
Seems like fllights to Tokyo Narita will resume tomorrow and I have a flight at noon, should get in about 2pm.Was thinking of making my way straight to Kyoto so maybe I will come by Mozen Nakachio to drop off your present from Cathy and pineapple tarts and head off...will you be joining me? Actually was thinking of asking you to come along as I don't think there is much difference in price for one or two persons right where accomodations are concerned. Let me know....
Ok am heading out to get some grub and have a short look around the city.
P.S. sorry I didn't manage to get sambal chilli in time but will send some over once I get back. 

12-03-2012 17:27
Hi Cindy,

Hope you enjoy Seoul - many Japanese women travel there for foods and beauty :).  Esp. since the Yon-sama boom.

So, you got JR Pass?  If so, you don't have to come to Monzen-Nakacho but can go straight to Tokyo Station by JR instead of Keisei Line.  If your luggage is as small as usual, there's a JR station called Ecchujima (only for local stops) between Maihama (for Disney Land) and Tokyo Station, which is 10min from my flat.

But because the land is still moving, if you head for the west, the early the better.  I still wonder how to catch up.   Unless you have a big plan there, you can stay in Kyoto.

I will think of joining you on Sunday instead of later... there are a few things to clear what to do here (the mess in the room with remaining danger & fresh prowns alive delivered suddenly yesterday :( :( :(... scared...) and what I can do in Kobe (tax return due on 16th - wondering if I really have to keep the deadline this time).

The other things are, if I go home, people I want to see are available only on Wed and Thu (eve).

But I think both you and I should get back to Tokyo by Friday (given it'll be already safer) or Saturday if you fly from Narita on 20th (Mon).

It's getting warmer, but still cold here.  Without gas, I'm thinking of going to the public bath nearby now... and get some more disposable heaters.   Some electric stations seem to have been hit, and energy supply by Tokyo Electric will be reduced tonight.

Will think of my schedule shift.

Btw, I just got a call from my parents.  Not much hassle other than making a space for our sleep.  They are ready if we (or even you alone) stay tomorrow night.

Bye for now.


12-03-2012 17:27
Why don't you come with me and get away from the danger zone. I will be in Tokyo Sunday which is tomorrow. I will stop over at Monzen Nakachio and drop off Cathy's present as it is quite heavy, about one third the weight of my bag, you are right, my bag  is still quite small which helps with all the moving around. Do you need help with paying for the tax? How much would that be? Anyway, we will plan once I get there.
OK see you then, am finally coming to Japan after all, can't believe it after all that's happened.

We communicated like chat (not sure why we didn't use Skype this time).

12-03-2012 22:28
Anyways, I have been already preparing to join you no matter what.  I was going to go home this month anyway.  

Depending on the time of your arrival, it'll be better I carry Cathy's present (my  bag will be smaller than yours) and have it in Kobe or Kyoto.

If you give me your flight number once fixed, I can tell which is the better option for you (e.g., if it's late afternoon, I should be definitely ready, and maybe you should save every minute to get to JR Tokyo Station by Narita Express).  We can find e.o. either at Tokyo Station or anywhere in Kansai area.

Since you have the JR pass, you can visit Kyoto any time as excursion from my parents' place.  We can go straight there and take a rest first.  They are ready to have us any time. 

The construction of this building seems quite good compared to some others (steel wires in the wall in addition to steel pillars).  But only my flat out of the whole building seems to fail to get gas back.  I went to the public bath, which was on weekly holiday, and ended up taking a how nice shower at Jun's place.

See you tomorrow wherever it will be :)


12-03-2012 22:33
Oh good, glad to hear you are coming along. My flight UA890 is suppose to arrive at 14:25 Terminal 1 Narita if all goes well. ok will take the Narita Express ;))) I haven't bought any of my tickets yet, which JR pass should I be getting? I can buy it from the airport right?

12-03-2012 22:59
Wow... I thought you already got the JR Pass in Singapore...  At least in the past, it was available only outside Japan (like Europass was), and we know very little about it.  I'm checking time tables on the web now.  You might be quicker to do it (JR Pass part for foreigners) unless you are too tired.

Other than JR Pass, people get tickets at the stations in the basement of Narita.  I think they gradually became accommodating for credit card users as well - you might be able to handle everything just with machines instead of going into the counter.

Make sure you buy the ticket just for two-way riding (乗車券 jousha-ken) and for Super Express (特急券 tockyu-ken).  The return (riding) tickets should be sold with a long-distant discount (at least 10%) for the return part to expire in one week or longer.

I try to pick you up in Tokyo Station.  We'll have to go up like climbing by 8 floors of one building to get to Shinkansen Platform :).

In any event, our arrival in Kansai is going to be too late to enjoy Kyoto.  Let's take a rest in Kobe tomorrow night.



Our communications went on, but anyway, Cindy was arriving in Monzen-Nakacho, Tokyo next day.