This last week has been a a mix of ups and downs. The earthquake and devastation that followed has left Japan and those who live here in a state of turmoil. Things are finally starting to calm down a little though. I keep telling myself how lucky we are that all of my family and friends are safe and how lucky we are to have a roof over our head, food to eat and warm beds to sleep in. So many no longer have this and it is so sad to see.
In the last week there have been over 250 aftershocks and earthquakes that were more than a magnitude 5 and more than 550 quakes altogether. Some were felt a lot stronger here in Chiba than others and some where enough to make me grab the boys and head for cover. Nothing was as strong as the first one last Friday but I was already on edge.
Throw in having 2 kids under 2 at home, food shortages (which are resolving themselves now- it was panic buying more than anything), threatened power cuts (we have been lucky, we haven`t ended up losing power yet) and a nuclear disaster and I am pretty much a mess.
The foreign media has taken the whole nuclear issue a bit far- it has created chaos amongst the foreign community (and their families still abroad) here in general and many have packed up their family (if they have family here) and left. Even those in Tokyo more than 250km away from the nuclear plant in Fukushima. It is definitely something I have considered myself- but it is definitely the stress of not knowing, and watching/reading TOO much about it as well seeing many friends head home for a bit that is making me question if I should be doing the same or not.
I have spoken with the embassy numerous times- mainly about passport and citizenship for Shion but also about the situation and about what the staff there are doing. The embassy has asked that all Aussie in Tokyo and North of Tokyo (for example Fukushima, Ibaraki, Chiba etc) leave town or the country if their presence is not essential. This has more to do with the strain on the electric companies, infrastructure etc than it does to do with the nuclear issue (and embassy staff basically said this)- I also think it is because other embassies were issuing similar statements and Australia decided they should follow suit.
I organized citizenship for Shion and an emergency passport just in case.
As I said, the nuclear issue seems to be calming down. We are not in the clear yet but I am almost positive the area I am in is and will continue to be fine. That said I still decided to leave for a little bit- more because of the aftershocks and fear of another large earthquake than the nuclear issue but still I am taking Shion & Noah to Shizuoka to stay with my friend Nay and her family for awhile. Shun would not leave (in fact he went back to work on Tuesday- the only reason he didn`t go back Monday was the trains were not running properly so he just came home) and this was a big factor in making the decision to stay in Japan. I am afraid if I leave that it will be awhile before I could get back to Japan- I can not travel alone with the two boys even if I pay for a seat for Noah- I still need another adult present to hold him during take off and landing (if I am holding Shion)- this means that if Shun didn`t come that my brother would have to come over and fly back with us (or I would have to leave with a friend)
I don`t judge those who have left. Like I said, it was definitely something I considered. Even something I wanted to do but I would much rather go to Australia for a holiday and visit at a different time when things are not such a mess and stress levels are not so high. Japan is my home.
I have not written this as eloquently as I would of liked but I did want to write that we safe, not heading back to Australia just yet (but if I thought the boys were in any danger I would be on the next available plane out!) but that we are heading out of town for a bit of a break. Thank you to so many other friends that offered up their places further South/West- and to all of those who have offered up messages of concern.
If you are able to help in any way here is some information on things you can do-
You could donate to Red Cross- contact your countries Red Cross as they may have already started a relief fund.
If you are in Japan you could send packages to Second Harvest – mainly they are wanting food supplies, nappies, formula etc.
I have made a donation myself and I also want to send a package off to second harvest although it will likely not be until I get back from Shizuoka now.
There are many other organizations out there raising money and providing support. They are doing a wonderful job despite the tragic events.
Here are a couple of cute photos of the boys- not sure when I will next post (or upload photos) but these should tide you over.
Shion having a sleep with nannan (my mum- she left 3 days before the quake/tsunami)
Keep Japan in your prayers.
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