Monday, 11 April 2011

Not Going Out?!

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: All OK here so far. Today`s 7.1 was about a 4 in the Tokyo area. The apartment has not stopped moving in the hour since the quake. Damage up north again, I hear.

The media is saying that Japanese people are expressing jishiku or extreme self-restraint and not going out, not doing cherry blossoming viewing, not spending money enjoying themselves - or using up precious electricity - whilst others are suffering up north. The media was obviously not in Shinjuku last night. It was heaving. After battling the crowds - Japanese people are the SLOWEST walkers in the world - I met up with Y and K, two ex-seminar students, now Japanese salarymen. We went to a restaurant (which was packed with people also not expressing jishiku at all) and began the usual way these days, by swapping our earthquakes stories. Y and K said they would write their stories down for this blog. Another ex-seminar student, N, is now a policeman and is up in Sendai helping with the relief programme.

I was reading an article about a sake brewer up in Fukushima whose vats survived the quake but who is in danger of going out of business now because of jishiku. He urged people to get out and get buying again. So we did our bit for the economic recovery of the north, some more than others, right K?

K said that there is talk going round that Fukushima women will not make good brides because of the radiation. Doesn`t apply to the men, I see. The same thing happened after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Survivers could not find spouses because of the risk of birth defects. Even today some families use private detectives to research a prospective spouse`s family history in case there is a Hiroshima or Nagasaki connection. And yet that bloke who experienced both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions married, had healthy kids and lived into his 90s.

Also now - according to the media - some Fukushima evacuees are being turned away from doctor`s surgeries. Some doctors are refusing to treat them, presumably in case their ailments are caused by radiation. And these are supposedly educated people. Certificates proving that you have been tested and found free of radiation are becoming very valuable now.

In other news, Shintaro Ishihara has actually been voted in again for a fourth term as governor of Tokyo. This is the guy who said that the tsunami was tembatsu or divine punishment, apparently for Japan`s egoism. (I think he may have been slightly misquoted in this. Maybe.) Although my personal favourite Ishihara quote is, "old women who live after they have lost their reproductive function are useless and are committing a sin". Who voted for this loon? Nobody I know will admit to doing so. But nobody I know has admitted to actually voting. People under 40 are generally disinterested in politics. I guess it is a generational thing. He has been re-elected by the older generation who support him when he says things like this (about Nanking), "People say that the Japanese made a holocaust but that is not true. It is a story made up by the Chinese. It has tarnished the image of Japan, but it is a lie".

Lots of teeny tremors this morning. Think I`ll go out to look for bottled water.

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