Saturday, 12 March 2011

Watching towns burn

Whole areas of Kesenuma in Miyagi prefecture in Tohoku are burning, people's lives going up in smoke, watched by anyone who was able to make it home. It is painful to watch the playing over and over again of images of destruction, but we need to watch out for fresh warnings, and sleep doesn't seem possible. If you aren't accustomed to earthquakes you might think that it is only falling buildings that are the problem, but there are many other dangers. It is often the fires that break out that are more destructive, and the ground can even liquify into mud. This has been a day no-one in Japan will forget.

You have probably seen the tsunami videos by now, and terrible though that has been there is perhaps a greater long term risk posed as a result by the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power station which was built right by the pacific ocean on the Fukushima-ken coast, and therefore right in the path of tsunamis. Earlier today we watched the huge waves batter it. It is now reported to be in a state of nuclear emergency declared due to the failure of a pump in the cooling system which is vital to control the reactor following the emergency shut down. The evacuation zone was initially 3km, with an emergency team said to be on their way from Tokyo, but this has since been increased to 10km. We have packed bags with clothes and food for if it comes to the worst, depending on the wind, and we need to leave.


  1. Glad to hear you're ok. Think I can speak for the rest of the Toddies on that one. Buddy popped the link to here back up so we can follow.
    Keep posting if you can.
    You're in our thoughts. Emma and Ali.x

  2. Here, here. Keep safe.

    Just watching live footage from a helicam of the Fukushima coastline on NHK World. Unbelievable scenes.

    James Riley

  3. Thanks Emma, Ali and James. It's impossible to grasp things on this scale, isn't it? It doesn't feel real does it, but it is nice to know that people are thinking of us and everyone here.

  4. HI Geoff, I have been trawling the web to get some info on interior Fukushima and came across your blog. Amazingly it seems you live pretty much where I did 17 years ago...1993-95. I lived in Nakamachi as an AET. I was the third AET in Kaneyama and was lovingly cared for by all the teachers at some 5 schools and the Hasegawas (Seizo and Rumiko) of the Ocha-ya. I am concerned that they are all ok and of course you and your family too. Please if you know Meguro-sensei or the Hasegawas let them know they are in my thoughts and prayers as are all in Japan.

  5. Dear Samantha, I am not sure exactly where you were as I am not familiar with Nakamachi and my wife would need the kanji to know, and those names are very common, so if you want to contact them please post something. Food is now in short supply in Aizu. Thanks for reading, keep well, Geoff