Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nuclear Reactors

March 15, 2011 
Close to Minami Elementary School, Yokohama
Cars line up before a gas station.

March 16, 2011 (My current date on my laptop is correct, but I still receive errors when I try to sync.)

Yesterday morning, there was an explosion at the First Fukushima Nuclear Reactor site. Tokyo Denryoku (The power company for the northeast and the kanto plain) reported that the suppression pool area of the second nuclear reactor vessel had some damage. Also, the fourth reactor had started a fire before the second reactor’s problem. And the radiation amount was shooting up. The news was scariest of all.

The first and the third reactors already had explosions, but they came from the outer structures of the vessels, not from the core structures. But, still I was scare watching the news. All these reports are clearly very bad news. Winds are blowing, and 500,000 people or so are closely affected, and the rest of Japan and other countries like China and Korea will be affected if the situation doesn’t improve. Radiation is our main concern.

Japan asked the U.S. for help to neutralize reactors. I also heard the water supply trucks were sent to the Fukushima reactor site, filled with sea water. Japanese Government stepped in to remove communication gaps with Tokyo Denryoku. PM Kan is said to be extremely dissatisfied when he received no report for one hour from Tokyo Denryoku while the television kept reporting about the second reactor’s incident.

In the meantime, we need to save electricity. As I mentioned in the previous blog, Tokyo Denryoku divided their supply area into five groups. For some reason, my area appears in both Group 3 and Group 5. The day before yesterday, I expected no power after 5 pm to 7 pm, and yesterday morning, from 6:20 am to 10 am, but it didn’t actually happen. But yesterday, while I was having my lunch at a local noodle shop, the power went down. The shop serves the best noodle, but I will blog about it some other time.

Before I entered the shop, I saw a long line of cars in front of a gas station. Both sides of the main Kamakura Kaido Boulevard have a gas station. When I paid and went out, there were no cars in both stations. The sign, “Closed due to gas shortage. The schedule for tomorrow is undecided.”

The local swimming club near my home is usually open from early morning till late at night, but they show a sign, “Closed from Tuesday to Friday.” I was surprised that a local hot springs called Super Sento was open. I was naked lying down on a running warm water surface, watching the dark sky when magnitude 6.4 hit. I stood up with the young woman next to me. Six or seven women came out of two hot tubs nearby. We didn’t want to be stranded in a cold and dark night in our birthday suits, so we walked into the building. After I dressed and walked out of the locker room, I found all the foot massage machines near the lobby were gone. A worker said they were sent for repairs. I thought it odd. Did all four foot massage machines become out of order at the same time? Then, I passed the line of five or six body massage chairs. One showed a sign, out of order. The second had the same sign. I checked them all. All were out of order. Oh, I thought. That was the reason why a spokesman on television recommended to turning off breakers if possible.

Right now, my place is affected by the power cuts. I left my refrigerator plugged in, but the rest, I unplugged all. I’ve gone to a convenience store and bought a package of masks just in case. I’ll go buy a few more items if stores are open.

The other side of the same road as above photo.
The right top corner is another gas station and cars are lined up along the street.

Closed for the day.
Tomorrow's schedule is undecided. 

My area is both Group 3 and 5.
The top line is March 15th.  On 16th, today, we might get our power cuts three times if the situation gets worst.


ashok said...

Keiko, It is great that you are sticking it out in Japan instead of running back to USA. Everyday the situation will get a little better as things are restored, so that every tomorrow is better than yesterday

Domey Malasarn said...

Keiko, Thank you for writing about all of this. I have been wondering where you were at the moment.

California Writer said...


This is a wonderful blog. Keep writing it. I am telling people in the U.S. about your wonderful blog.


keiko amano said...


Thank you for your words. Yes, it should die down slowly although secondary disaster could happen.

keiko amano said...


Thank you for reading my blog and writing your comment. It's easier to write your name than call your new name Domey. But as time goes by, I will get used to Domey. Oh, now I've written three times, so I feel I'm a bit used to it. Smiles.

keiko amano said...


Thank you! I appreciate it.

ZACL said...

Keiko, I am so very sorry how you are all suffering with these three disasters and ongoing after-shocks from the earthquake. I am also deeply impressed and respectful how your people are coping with such awfulness. I am so glad you are able to write and keep in contact.

Here, like in many other places in the world, there is a lot of fund-raising to get emergency aid to the people in Japan.

keiko amano said...


I wanted to comment on your blog, but because of coming back and then this incident happened soon afterward, I had very little opportunity to read other blogs and research online and reply to others. I appreciate your comment and all the helps and prayers all over the world. I'm always impressed that how fast and efficient British and American and many people of other countries move to help others. I hope this will bring us together.

ZACL said...

Lovely to hear from you. I wholeheartedly echo your sentiments.

Take care.