Thursday, 17 March 2011

Wednesday 16th March 2011 - afternoon

Yesterday afternoon I met up with my Ukranian lecturer chum (I don`t have many normal, non-academic friends) and we went for a walk around my old Nagoya haunts (I used to live and work here.). As soon as I stepped outside it began to hail. The weather - and the wind - is coming from the north. We went to a secondhand/recycling shop and I bought a Mah Jong set which I`ve wanted for a long time. We talked about Chernobyl. He was living in the Ukraine when that disaster happened so I asked him about “death ash” which the Daily Mail (yeah, I know but I like the women`s page) had written about. He didn`t know anything about it. But he did remember that the Chernobyl disaster happened before May Day because they still held the May Day parade and people got rained on. Also he said that it took many weeks to build the concrete sarcophogus and during that time radiation was spewing freely out of the reactor. But he seems healthy. He`s grown a beard and looks the spitting image of D H Lawrence. He said that the 10km radius is still uninhabitable but that people are now living in the 30km exclusion zone. He told me a Chernobyl joke.

A man is selling apples in a Ukranian market. “Apples, lovely Chernobyl apples” he calls. Another man says to him “You can`t sell Chernobyl apples here. No-one will buy them”. “Yes, they do” replies the man, “For their bosses, their mothers-in-law ...”

Ukranian D H Lawrence says that 300ml of wine (or 100ml of vodka) per day is recommended for flushing radiation out of the body. I asked him for the science behind this attractive survival tip but he doesn`t remember. Still, worth a try ...


  1. My wife is from Ukraine (Kharkov) and can concur with what your friend said about Chernobyl. They didn't know anything about it until after the event. When you consider the stress and anxiety that is being caused by the information, misinformation, speculation and hidden agendas being aired as a result of this terrible catastrophe, you can start to wonder whether the perhaps the Soviets had the right idea about controlling bad news, though of course in today's internet connected age that's no longer possible.

    Julian (from the UK)

  2. I agree. And given the constant stress and anxiety caused by the fact that we don`t know what is going on and that TEPCO have lied before, it has been reassuring to talk to someone who has lived through all this before - and at level 7.