It's been a while since I've posted to this blog and of course, much has happened in Japan since my last posting. The Great East Japan Earthquake (so named by the prime minister) and the subsequent tsunami, followed by the nuclear plant isues, have been on probably just about every news channel and other media in the world.
I've also written a few articles during this time, which you can read at www.majiroxnews.com if you want.
An old army friend in the states also sent me the link to this YouTube Video. It's a street level view of the tsunami inundating the camera person's town. Frightening to watch and heart breaking to see the damage it caused.
Despite the news reports that friends and family around the world have read - trust me - Tokyo remains safe. The radiation levels are safe. The water is safe. People are going about their business and getting on with their lives. Yes, there are minor (minor given the comparison to what the poor folks up in Tohoku have been through and continue to live with) inconviences. Some trains may be delayed at times if power outages occur, but those are - thanks to the great efforts of everyone to conserve electricity - very limited. Dairy products are in short supply because of the ban on such products from the Fukushima area. Same with some vegetables. But short supply doesn't mean no supply and the necessary items are very available.
With April upon us the sakura trees are beginning to blossom. Today we walked along the Sumida River with old friends and the trees are from 30% to 50% in bloom. The news reports tell us that the yakata-bune (the boats that ply the Sumida River with cherry viewing party goers enjoying food and drinks) are experiencing a major downturn in business - 80 to 90%. Certainly, the yakata-bune we saw on the river today were mostly empty. However, one park beside the river was very well populated with o-hanami (blossom viewing) parties. So was the park behind our home when my wife walked through it yesterday. People were sitting on the usual blue plastic sheets, eating, drinking, talking, playing music, and having a good time.
Life can, must, and does go on.