Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tohoku Earthquake 2011

Last March 11, 2011~ a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that ever recorded has taken many lives of people living in Japan. Many are homeless, injured persons and some are still missing. For those who lost their families and friends, may their souls rest in peace. My heart goes to them...Words cannot describe how terrible I feel for Japan, it breaks my heart to think of the towns I've visited before were simply washed away by the sad... It's devastating to see all that has happened and the destruction left behind. It's been a month since the 3-11 earthquake but it feels like yesterday to me....

March 11, 2011 ~ Friday

I started my day as usual: waked up early in the morning, cooked breakfast and made bentou for my husband and went to my morning duty for a 'hata toban'. I went out with a yellow flag as a cross guard and spent 30 to 40 minutes at the cross walk until 15 to 30 children leave the neighborhood for school. Then did my laundry after, cleaned the house and dropped Haruka to school before 9 am. Hours later, wrote an entry to my Friday favourite meme and bloghopped for awhile. It is a routine for me to do bloghopping when the kids are at school, it's one of my 'Me time'.

Picked up Haruka before 2:00 PM at school and went home early without letting her play after school coz my kids will be picked up by their Grandfather for a sleepover at their home in Namie for the weekend. 35 minutes later, Wakaba came with her project from school and as we're gladly looking at her drawings, we could feel the shaking in our apartment and thought that it was just the usual short earthquakes but it wasn't..the shaking was so violent and long. Though we have experienced an earthquake simulation before during an event, I have never experienced a strong earthquake before here in Japan and panicked for 'twas real! It felt like a lifetime to me. I guess Japanese are well trained on what to do when earthquake strikes coz after I shouted " jishin! " or the earthquake, Wakaba and Haruka went under the table and both of them seemed so calm unlike me. It felt to me like our apartment was on a railway car that was being pushed back and forth on it's rails. It was scary, terribly scary! The moving was violent, shaking and the things were falling all over and was afraid that our HDTV would tip over so I hold it but 'twas rocking from side to side and I'm also losing my balance!

The earthquake was long, felt danger inside the apartment and called my kids to run outside, Wakaba runs first, then me holding the hands of Haruka. Friends in the neighborhood were also outside and couldn't help but worry constantly. I didn't even noticed that we're on our barefoot until a friend told us so. Minutes later my husband came, still with his white uniform on ( he's a radialogist ) and was relieved after seeing us outside. He went up to the apartment to get some blankets, some food and checked if we have running water but there was none and hurriedly went to the nearest conveniece store to buy some food and bottled water to drink. My husband came back with a few snacks in hand--he said that the convenience store were all cleared of all food. We don't have power, gas and communications were knocked out! We were given sandwiches and bread to eat for the night and gave them our bananas in return. Blessings! Don't know why but tears came falling down...Things aren't looking so good but hopefully something will work out for us...with God's help.

We decided to spend the night inside the car although the kids would feel uncomfortable but being inside the car is safer rather than spending a night inside the apartment which is on a second floor. Every once in a while, an aftershock would strike and it really scares the hell out of me, we could feel the ground shaking. Me and my husband watched the news inside the car and was shocked! Little did I know that a tsunami washed away Tohoku! Sendai is a favorite place of ours, Namie Machi is our second home, Onahama Machi is 10 km away from us. God, please help Tohoku!

Next day, we checked inside our apartment and this is what we saw....

Our wooden clothes cabinet, toy storage have fallen down Our desktop has moved backward, fallen down Dishes rattled We're still getting constant tremors inside our apartment that lead us to run outside every once in a while. All forms of communications were knocked out Watching the news over the navigation screen Wakaba and Haruka sleeping inside the car

March 12, 2011 ~ Saturday

We had our gas and electricity back and immediately cooked rice then made onigiri ( rice balls ) for breakfast and cooked curry for large batches that will fill our stomach for a couple of days. We've got no running water but luckily, I didn't throw the water that was being used during our ofuro( bath tub)~ it helped us a lot on flushing our toilet. What we didn't have running water and a kerosene to fill our heater but we have our blanket to warmth us. My husband went to collect water at a water station/delivery services run by the local government. He brought with him some jars and lined up for 4 hours to get water.

Little did I know 'bout the nuclear accident at Fukushima Nuclear Plant~ I never thought that three disasters could happen at the same time in one country... The government is asking the people to leave for those who are living 20 km( danger zone) near the plant. Us, ( living 40 km) however instructed to stay indoors. My SIL's house is 15 km and my PIL's house is 20 km from the plant. Worried, really worried about them but we can't use any source of communication. No phone, no internet!

What really shocked me was the convenience stores were all cleared of all food!

March 13, 2011 ~ Sunday~

My Mama tomo ( Japanese friend mum) came with a plastic bag that's full of cup soup, instant soup, cup ramen and tuna can. What a blessing! She asked me if there's something anything else we need~ I feel so blessed with generous friends!

Another blessing! Our neighbor brought us some snacks for the kids, we gave them our few bottled water in return. I'm so blessed to be here~ friends, residents help each other in time of need. I'm so grateful!

March 14, 2011 ~ Monday~

I went early to get some water~ good thing that the water station is giving water 24 hours, there's only a few people getting water, no loong lines and went smoothly and filled up my jar with water and when I was on my way to get home, saw cars lined up through the gasoline station. Little did I know that some drivers waited all day for just a few litres of gasoline.
Went to the nearest supermarket to buy drinking water~ stores forbid customers to buy one box (12pcs, 1000ml) of bottled water per person and luckily bought for us. Even at supermarkets were cleared of all food~ I was afraid that supplies would soon dry up.

Called to my Mom in the Philippines at the supermarket's phone box~ she cried upon hearing my voice, I wanted to convey to her that we're all safe and sound but she can't help but get worried most especially about the radiation threat. I told her we've got enough gasoline just in case the government warn us to evacuate the area...

March 15, 2011~ Tuesday

My husband went out to look for food but to his dismay, all the stores were all closed. I went out to check for other stores and looked around. The surroundings were different and it looks like a ghost town--no people, no nothing!
to be continued....
Here's some things that you should have on hand just in case there is an earthquake. These includes foods, waters, flashlights and radio with batteries, wet tissues, plastic/food wrap or a cling wrap and aluminum foil. There is, of course, no guarantee that nothing will happened, but try to be prepared.

An idea to save water~ cover plates with wraps before putting the food on then peel the wrap off and disgard it after eating to save much water. Believe me, food wraps helps a lot! Quakes can be very terrifying, but we have to be prepared for them. Let’s do the best we can.

*Nostalgia is a weekly Thursday meme hosted by Ate Rose--please play with us by clicking the linky badge.* Photobucket

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Glance Of Sakura

We're so blessed to have all the beauty of sakura near our apartment but I didn't even recognized it coz I was very down spirited because of what's happening in Fukushima ( most of you probably know ) until a friend reminded me of spring and hope. We went out for a quiet walk like we always did every spring time but I don't know why, this year's hanami ( flower viewing ) was different. The bright blue skies and cherry blossoms seems like a sign of hope for me and it feels like that everything is more colourful and more alive! Although sakuras are short-lived, I found happiness of those blooms of hope. 気持ちが落ち着く!

Brought some homemade lunchbox and had our lunch under the gorgeous sakura trees

" One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching "

~ Anonymous ~
Sakura burst into full bloom!

Us, enjoying every moment of spring in Japan!

Haruka chan gladly posed for me ^_^

Wakaba and Haruka played at the park~ it was good to see them running around and that day was especially fun because they were playing mostly indoors during the past weeks.
Wakaba chan
I pray that those who suffer and grieve will find strength and courage to carry on and that they may have hope.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things That Bother Me

Fukushima Prefecture is experiencing discrimination and it breaks my heart! The news says cars from Fukushima being refused in giving fuels fearing of nuclear contamination and that people from Fukushima cannot enter restaurants, convenience stores, refuse to accept as guests in a hotel. I have read news from the net that some shelters and healthcares are refusing accomodations to Fukushima evacuees without a screening certificate or a radiation card ( read here) and some kids from Fukushima being bullied (read here).

My SIL's family has evacuated in Chiba ( abandoned their livelihood and home that is 10 km away from the nuclear plant) and is trying to make a new start but worried about her kids being bullied because they're from Fukushima. If the problem arises, she said they don't have a choice but to go back again in Fukushima. I feel for her coz we're also from Fukushima Prefecture and we have children. I don't want my kids, my kids cousins and kids from Fukushima called 'hibakusha' who were shunned for fear that they might make others ill. If the news ( photo above, not mine) is true, it' ll be really disappointing.

Some products from Fukushima were being pulled out from the market because of the spreading rumors on radiation most especially rice from Fukushima. I would understand if the rice was produced this year but the rice being pulled out were produced last year!

We are dealing with the all the mess of the earthquake and nuclear plants, but it's a big deal to be honest, people/media is too exagerating. The goverment is supporting farmers in Fukushima, the radiation levels are far below the set health limits. I live 40 km away from Fukushima Nuclear Plant, here we can eat any thing! Hope that people from other prefecture would buy Fukushima veggies, they're safe to eat.

Messages during interviews in the TV says " Ganbarou, Fukushima! We are with you!" but reality says everyone is scared that they might contaminate radiation. Evacuees from Fukushima will need all the help that they can get. Please don't feel that evacuees from Fukushima are going to harm you. Please. <(_ _)>

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Genpatsu Kun

Genpatsu kun ( Nuclear Boy ) is a video made for the Japanese kids trying to keep the explanation simple about of what's happening right now with the nuclear plant in Fukushima. It's nothing to do with being funny or a joke but to teach kids at their level. I never thought that a video ( uploaded at youtube weeks ago) 'bout a stinky poop and fart would make me cry...

Please pray for the HEROES of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant for sacrificing their lives for preventing the plants from melting down for the sake of the people in Japan. Japan is still struggling with the damage but I believe that Japan will SURVIVE and be even STRONGER. Please continue to pray to the people of Japan. GANBAROU, TOHOKU!!

Kizuna Buttons

Just letting you know...