Risey's message translated:
Thank you very much for the many messages of sympathy and concern you have been sending me inworld. I'm sorry I haven't been able to respond, since I haven't been able to log in so far, but I have been able to read some of your IMs that have been forwarded to my e-mail address. Let me use this opportunity to report to you that, as for myself, I am safe and well. And apologies as well as to the mess I left behind at the store when my construction work was abruptly stopped when the earthquake struck.
My SL-capable computer is down for the time being, but I hope to have it back up sometime within the next week or so. But I'm planning to go slow for a while, considering the power shortage in the disaster regions, and also because of the scheduled daily blackouts that are expected to continue into April.
My heart grieves for the many victims of the East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and for survivors who have lost their homes and their loved ones. I am just hoping for the safe return of the tens of thousands of souls who are still unaccounted for, one week after the disaster, and praying that the extent of the damage wouldn't expand much further.
I am still reeling from all the apocalyptic images that are being broadcast continuously out of the worst disaster zone. The earthquake. The tsunami. And crisis at the nuclear power plant. Although there were no major damages in the greater Tokyo area where I live, our daily lives here are still greatly affected. Through the course of the day, we are still unnerved by many major size aftershocks. The scheduled daily power outages are proving to be very disruptive, shutting down everything, including businesses and public transportation.
But I ought to consider myself very fortunate that I still have my family, my friends and my love all close to me, supporting each other, and caring about each other. That's all I need to keep me going. And so, here I am, trying all I can to protect this great blessing.
But in the mean time, how am I going to get to work today anyway?
A few footnotes by Megg:
It's been a week since the M9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Northeastern Japan, but I'm also having a hard time trying to cope with the scope of this disaster. When the earthquake struck, I was working at home, just south of Tokyo, well over 300 kilometers away from the epicenter. Even at that distance, I immediately knew it was the biggest quake I've experienced in my life (everyone I had talked to since then thought likewise, and we've been through a lot of huge quakes here in Eastern Japan). The ground kept moving for about three minutes, as if it was riding the waves out at sea. Within the first minute, I was absolutely convinced that this was going to be the end, and felt strangely resigned and at peace. As the shaking subsided, I realized that our home hadn't collapsed on me, and there wasn't any real damage. I turned on the TV, and watched the first half hour of relatively calm news coverage - the epicenter was far north of me, although I could easily imagine that the shaking was a lot worse there. But the first images in from the north showed city centers and residential areas pretty much intact and undamaged. At the time, I felt relieved that we were prepared for the worst earthquakes in Japan. Unlike Western Japan who hadn't experienced any major quakes for centuries until the Kobe Quake, the Tokyo area lost over 140,000 lives in the M7.9 Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and has been building earthquake-resistent ever since, and reinforcing everything even more after Kobe. The tsunami alerts were out, on TV as well as on the neighborhood Disaster PA System, with the nation's extensive tsunami monitoring system giving us updated predictions on when the water was going to hit the coasts. But that wasn't too much of a concern either, because we were supposed to be prepared for that too. Around the beachside suburban town where I live, tsunami killed thousands in the 1923 Disaster, so the waterfront is now protected by a 10 meter high levy. Near the epicenter, the northeastern seaboard, experiencing numerous monster tsunamis over the centuries, had even better protection, boasting some of the world's most massive tide barriers. We were going to survive this, or so we thought.
.... but then, the horrendous reality from the northern cossts. Those sturdy barriers broken through by waters far beyond the magnitude that anyone could ever even imagine possible. Homes and buildings that survived the 9.0 quake being washed away like matchboxes. I'm sure you have all seen the footages....
As of Saturday, March 19, the death toll is over 7,500, which only includes only the officially identified victims. The number of missing exceeds 10,000, which again only includes those who have been officially reported missing by family members. Tens of thousands more are still only listed as "unaccounted for" - the heart-wrenching realization that many of them probably have no family members or friends surviving the disaster to report them as missing.... Entire cities wiped out. More than 400,000 displaced in emergency shelters, and many more who are still stranded somewhere among the rubble, waiting to be found.
Then, there's the nuclear power plant... Fear of radioactive fallout, or even a meltdown.... Risey makes references to the inconveniences we are suffering in the greater Tokyo area since all the nuclear plants in the region are currently shut down. All the neighborhoods receiving power from Tokyo Electric are assigned to one of five groups spread across the region, and each group is blacked out in turn for three hours. It's surreal. When the power goes out, shops and offices have to close down. Traffic lights are out. Commuter train lines and subways that we depend on so much getting around the Tokyo region stop - even if the trains are running on independent power sources, the railroad crossing gates aren't working and the subway lighting is out, so the trains have to stop for obvious safety reasons. The result is that, unless you carefully map out your route and confirm when the trains you want to ride are running, you risk not being able to get to work before the day is out - or as it happened to millions on the first day, not being able to come home from work before the start of the next work day. Take the car out to work? Yeah, a lot of people thought of that, so they pumped the gas stations dry, only to be stuck all day in what might have seemed like permanent jams. And thus, Risey's concern - how am I going to find my way to work anyway.... But then, we all know that's probably among the least of our worries in Tokyo right now.
There is also the big, unspoken fear. We all know the drill, literally, in Japan, and we know that calm is of paramount importance in face of natural disasters, so we don't want to voice it for fear of creating mass panic. But among the many big aftershocks we're experiencing in Tokyo, not all are coming from the area of the March 11 epicenter to the north. They're coming from the west, around the vicinity of Mt.Fuji. NO, Fuji is NOT about to erupt - magma build up is being closely monitored by multiple agencies, and there's nothing indicating such. It's that the area is the western boundary of the tectonic plate who's eastern border was the location of the March 11 epicenter. USGS satellites showed that the plate had shifted at least 2.5 meters immediately after the quake, and later calculations of data from local monitoring stations show that it had actually moved more than 5 meters, and sunk by more than 2 meters.... Scary.... I'm just hoping that the slack will be taken out in a series of reasonable magnitude tremors.... But if it hits in one big load anywhere near the metropolitan population....
AGAIN, I am not trying to dissipate unfounded rumors. I'm just talking about the kind of anxiety or subconscious phobia that many of us are feeling right now.
Well. On the up side :) despite the many hardships, we seem to be bounding back remarkably fast from the disaster. Of course, tremendous hardships and sorrow are certain to continue for the millions in the Northeast. But the bullet trains are running, and the planes are flying again. Despite the power outages, manufacturing plants around Tokyo are already running with increased output to supply relief efforts in the north. Although not many, but every day, a lot more of the missing are being safely reunited with their loved ones. Communities throughout Japan are beginning to warmly take in entire communities of the displaced, or otherwise pitching in full force in the relief effort.
And what I find so encouraging and heartening, is that we have so many friends across the world. The Koreans were first to arrive with their rescue and relief teams. US armed forces in Japan were already at work immediately after the earthquake, followed by large contingents of Americanb civilian rescue and relief teams who are still at work in the afflicted areas. China also has a full-scale relief team in Miyagi, and continues to ship in loads of relief supplies. Great Britain, New Zealand, Taiwan, Russia, France, all have people on the still hazard-strewn ground. I'm sorry if I've failed to mention any of your countries who have extended truly needed and sincerely appreciated help to Japan. Across the world, people are giving so generously. One television marathon in Korea alone collected over $4million from viewers in just a few hours. I can say for sure that news like that is met with heartfelt gratitude by those in the disaster region. And at a time like this, it is so good to know you have friends that you can depend on.
Thank you. Thank you.
I can't say it enough, how much we thank you, our precious friends.
please join us again in our unending prayer for the victims...
sorry for the long rambling, I had to speak my peace.... Megg