Checked my phone and there was a mail from K. The time stamp was 7:00am but a lot of mails are really delayed so no idea when he really sent it.
Turned on the tv and had a moment of relief that for the first time in two days it wasn't tsunami news we were watching.
Then I realised it was news about the nuclear power plant. Excitement short lived.
Spent the morning calling K and his mum every 10 minutes and sending off texts on the hour. No communication is the worst feeling and the aftershocks continued.
Couldn't show the girls the tv footage as they were really shaken up and convinced every woman of a certain age pictured was obaachan.
Being housebound and watching for updates constantly really wasn't doing anything to help anyone effected and was getting increasingly unhealthy for all of us so we decided to drive to Toyoshina (no bridges to cross unlike Matsumoto) and buy meat to make Daddy curry rice (his favourite dish) and buy McDonalds for lunch. I never take the girls to fast food places so they were very excited but I couldn't help feeling guilty. How could we go and eat a hamburger while so many people are still waiting for help? While ojiichan and obaachan have no power and no water? I could see us being the only people in the shop and all the supermarket shoppers staring in and tut-tutting at us.
I don't know if I was relieved or disappointed then to see that life was going on as usual. Maccas was crowded, the carpark was full of cars, people were laughing and talking and the only line of people I saw were waiting to buy 100 yen donuts at a sale...
We went to the supermarket and every cart in site was full of tissues and toilet paper, bottled water and instant ramen. We didn't buy any of that. Irresponsible or level headed? This time of year we keep the bath full of water at all times as it's needed for the anti-freeze mechanism. I'm not so confident in my bath cleaning prowess that I would choose to drink it but if I had to I could. We have plenty of rice, vegetables in the garden and the freezer, cans of corn, tuna, tomatoes, jars and bottles (that may break in an earthquake but they are packed in crates) of apple juice and tomato sauce and we have a creek running down the side of the road for non-drinking water. That and the fact that we are so far from the most effected areas and I just am not feeling the panic need to buy things.
Came home again and I started getting mail after mail. Not from K but Japanese chain mails asking the people of Kansai to conserve energy to 'send it to the people in the earthquake areas so they can charge their phones.' Ummmm. Japan has two seperate hertz regions and independent electric companies. There is no phone signal in many of the areas effected. Then I was asked to send water, blankets and clothes directly to the prefectural offices of the earthquake areas. There was even a phone number to call. Again nice sentiment but parcels are not getting through at the moment.
Finally at 6pm K called! Called, not texted. He was back in Niigata on his way home. PILs house was leaning and the doors don't close, the inside was pretty trashed, they had no water, gas or sewerage but the power and phone were back on. The house is liveable and they can collect water from a distribution point as well as the water K took with him. They don't want to leave and so he was coming back alone.
All his relatives living in Sendai (K grew up in Fukushima but his parents are both from Miyagi and many relatives still live in Sendai) had been accounted for.
He got home about 11:00 after a very long day. Exhausted, overwhelmed, grateful, relieved, worried and feeling guilty to be sitting in a warm room eating curry rice and drinking shochu.
He said Fukushima city is a mess and still a lot of uncertainty but people were getting organised. They are running out of petrol, the shops are empty, the tv antenna is out so even with power there is no news but they are listening to the radio and getting local information on where the water distribution points are. They are quite fatalistic about the nuclear power plants and informed him they will wear masks...
They have each other and K helped righting furniture and filling in the cracks in the ground around the house that were exposing the water pipes and general cleaning up of all the broken glass and crockery so the house is in a liveable condition.
And I knew my MIL was in good spirits when I opened the bag I had sent up filled with food and found 1/3 of a loaf of fruit bread and three grapefruit- every gift must be reciprocated and MIL is nothing if not a pillar of good etiquette!
For those who read Japanese (or not- just look at the pictures) my friend Nao's blog is linked on the right. みなみ風の武道日記 She lives in the south of Fukushima and has news on that area.
Sending warm wishes to all those still waiting.