Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Wednesday 16th March 2011




I see now why some people left Tokyo yesterday. Tokyo mayor Shintaro Ishihara said there was no cause for alarm. When Japanese officials say there is no cause for alarm, there is some cause for alarm. When Japanese officials say there is some cause for alarm, we know we will start dropping dead in the streets. This is the Japanese way. Tepco have been in trouble before for telling lies about radiation leaks. And Shintaro Ishihara is the man who said that the French don`t have a proper counting system and - my personal favourite – that women who have not given birth should not be eligible to receive the state pension since they have not done their duty to the nation. Was that him? Or another of the ojisan (old guy) politicians? I don`t have my books around me today. Anyway, Shintaro Ishihara is an incendiary version of Boris Johnson. You admire his hard work and outspokeness about issues he believes in but you know he`s a loony. So it was time to leave.

Last night`s quake was west of Tokyo, halfway between Tokyo and Nagoya, in fact. I can`t help but feel I`m being followed ... It was a 5-6 magnitude in Tokyo so I guess my apartment has been trashed again. I just hope the fridge door hasn`t fallen open. There were some tremors in the night but nothing serious. I had some trouble sleeping because I am “bomb-happy”; I jump if a door slams or the wind blows against the windows. Now I feel much more rested.

This morning I awoke to a hot shower, a cooked breakfast, half a grapefruit and a cup of tea. My chum is ex-British public school. He wears proper pygamas and a navy blue dressing gown. He has a newspaper delivered and reads it at the breakfast table while his morning choral music plays on his hi-fi. (Did you know there is a choral version of “I am Sailing”?) I am staying with Christopher Robin. He collects art and handicrafts, and I am sleeping in his library surrounded by first editions.

Also this morning a Japanese uni colleague phoned me and said that that the graduation ceremony on the 20th has been cancelled but certificates will be given to those students who attend at 10am. So I will (probably) go back to Tokyo on Saturday night to be ready for that. She also said that of our university nine students from the north of Japan cannot be reached. Hopefully that is just a phone problem.

The shops here have also dimmed their lights. There are no noodles, bread, rice or water. But there is plenty of everything else.

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