Today is most likely the first day marking the return of normality to Tokyo and most of Japan. The Golden Week holiday has ended and some people will return to work today. Everyone will return to work on Monday.
BEATLES - HERE COMES THE SUN
I say that this is the return to normality as, because this holiday has ended, it marks a sort of "chapter ending" concerning the Tohoku disaster.
The Fukushima nuclear reactor problem is still not fixed and is a problem for those near the reactor, but, as I had written many times and has been confirmed by numerous nuclear experts before, during and still today that the nuclear reactor accident has little to do with Tokyo.
Tokyo is 230 kilometers away from Fukushima. The prevailing winds in Japan blow from the south or the west. It's been that way for probably a hundred million years. I imagine it will stay that way for the next. Probably the last time the prevailing winds blew from north to south in Japan was when the north pole was the south pole several hundreds of millions of years ago. Remember that? No?
If you also have been following this blog, you'd know that at the top of this blog, there is always a link to the daily radiation levels in Tokyo compared to before and after the Fukushima accident. I put those there because, even if you can't understand technical terms, anyone can understand a comparison. You can see those comparisons here.
On March 1, 10 days before the nuclear accident, the radiation levels in Tokyo were: 0.0461 micrograys per hour
Yesterday, May 5, about 56 days after the nuclear accident the radiation levels in Tokyo were: 0.0695 micrograys per hour
The daily radiation rate in Rome Italy is about 4 times the daily rate in Tokyo. It was before the accident, during the accident and still is.
There is no threat from the damaged reactor in Fukushima to Tokyo. There never was in spite of the sensationalist news reporting and the senseless panic of many people living here. Next time there is some sort of "end of the world problem" those who ran away should always remember the Mark Twain quote at the top of this post. Here it is again:
"I'm an old man now and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." - Mark Twain
Since today is the first day after the ending of Golden Week, and spring is here. I knew it was time to go out and start promoting and living again. I decided that I would go around the shopping street and my neighborhood asking building and shop owners if I could display posters for the St. Mary's International Carnival being held on May 14th.
Of course, this is Japan, and when I ask for a favor to these people I must bow my head and be very humble and excessively polite. This year, because of the mood after the earthquake and tsunami, I had to be even more polite than usual.
The Hara family lives nearby. The Hara's family must have been farm owners many years ago as they now own huge apartment buildings in this area as well as a massive home. For the last three years, I have asked Mrs. Hara if I can place posters on her walls surrounding these apartment buildings.
As I mentioned, this year, I felt that I must be even more humble and polite, here's a direct translation of what I said;
"Mrs. Hara, I'm so sorry to disturb you when you must be so very busy. Pardon me. I am so sorry to ask such a selfish thing. The International school is having our annual festival and due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster, we decided to donate 100% of the proceeds to charity to help those affected.... I know it might seem frivolous to have a festival in this mood of the country, but, since we had already planned to festival, we decided to go on and try to do our part to help out. May I have your permission to hang these posters?"
Mrs. Hara very much surprised me when she said, "Of course! Don't worry that you are hurting anyone's feelings. The time to mourn is over. We have to start to live again. Please hang your posters and thank you so much for helping out us Japanese at this time."
This really surprised me. Actually, I was sort of shocked. She was so happy that this dumb neighborhood gaijin and his friends were doing something to help out.
After that I walked the neighborhood and down the shopping center. It was Golden Week so many shops were closed. I asked every shop that was open the same thing I asked Mrs. Hara and their attitude was basically the same. I had no problem hanging the posters and I felt good that I was doing some positive PR for the foreign community.
I also noticed as I walked around that there were no other posters announcing "fun" events at all. So maybe we will be the first in the neighborhood.
Yes, as I walked around, I felt good. Summer in Japan is just around the corner and it looks like it's going to be fine.