Sunday, March 13, 2011

In the same Japan, but a world away

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Update: I updated the map to show our final location in Japan and to display the route. Osaka is also not affected by power problems and is functioning as normal. Locals have been asked to conserve power, but I don't see any forced measures. There are young women on street corners collecting money for victims, but not all locals trust that the money will get to them.

The map tells me I`m in the country battered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, but it hardly feels like it here in Hiroshima.
As far as I can tell there are no runs on groceries, gas or other goods here. There are no rolling blackouts. And mass transit continues to run on-time. Some 300 km northwest in Tokyo is another story. I can hardly imagine the difficulties getting around there with the subway line in rotating operation. Just days ago I marveled at how their subway system efficiently moved the inhabitants of the world`s largest metropolitan area around.
The still unfolding disaster came up a few times yesterday:
  • The man running the Hiroshima Peace Museum said while the museum`s official position is that nuclear weapons are bad, nuclear power is alright, said he privately felt the meltdown might help turn people against nuclear in all forms,
  • I met an American stuck in Hiroshima a few extra days as a result of the troubles at Tokyo`s airport,
  • And the Buddhist temple had an extra collection bin for quake victims.
But as the sun rises as I sit my room on the sixth floor of a plush hotel in Hiroshima it`s impossible to not feel a world away from the images I`m seeing on my television screen.


  1. The images pouring off television screens here are equally as heart wrenching though we are even further removed. I'm having some problems even contacting my friends to wish them well as we know there are likely 10,000 persons killed by the disaster. The fact that they are strangers can't shut down the empathy here.

  2. I'm glad you are ok Ed. You are witnessing history from a very different vantage point. And while you are 300km from Tokyo (and however far from Sendai) the truth is, you are a reporter and you are closer to that area than any of us in Sacramento will ever get. Glad you are blogging. -Suzanne Phan, Sacramento/News10