Our 'what a day' day was mostly just mental exhaustion and worrying consisting of:
*Information overload. The tv has been broadcasting nothing but news since 3pm yesterday. That's one of the things I love about Japan. I can literally be still feeling the earthquake when I turn on the tv and there it is- the earthquake information on where, how deep and how strong it was and any tsunami warnings. They have information dissemination down to a fine art. But it has its downside. When there's no new news they repeat old news. As it really is live tv and tragedy live the announcers tend to get excited/ anxious when they announce. Totally understandable. Myself? I'm sure if it was my job the announcement would go 'There has been a oh my god, oh MY GOD, OHMYGODOHMYGODAGHHHH!!!!!" but yeah, it adds to the worry and freaking out you have anyway when the announcing is so emotional. Too much information and you get panicky. Turn the tv off and you have no information and you feel even more panicky! And you watch for literally hours getting more and more worried for the people in places far removed from you because you are so desperate for news of those closer to home.
*The personal touch. It is disgusting but I think human nature to be more worried about those you know than those you don't. I submit as evidence the standard 'No (insert name of media outlet's home country) citizens were injured in the typhoon/ train crash/ riots' last line of any article about a disaster. And so it was with us. K's parents are in one of the (lesser) effected areas of the earthquake. As it was a lesser effected area there was less news about their city. We couldn't get through on the phone. We got a total of two texts all last night and they were worrying- they had no power, gas, water, phone and their house was pretty smashed up. They were unhurt and their house was still standing so a lot better off than a whole lot of people but still we were very worried.
So, K headed up there at 7:00 this morning. He didn't know how far he would get as there was limited information available about the roads but his parents needed him if there was a chance he could get up there. He mailed at 9:00, 11:00 and 1:00 giving us updates on his progress- the highways were all closed but his hobby is driving and Fukushima is his backyard so he knows every back road and short cut there is and once he mailed to say he was in Fukushima we knew he'd get to ojiichan and obaachan somehow! But then we entered the very worrying email silence portion of the day. The mobile networks were out/ overworked and we couldn't call or mail. The aftershocks continued all afternoon and the tv kept telling us the epicentre was in Fukushima. Aghhhh!
But as of this evening they were back with power and had kero for heat and mobiles for communication so only worrying about water.
*Aftershocks- did I mention I'm a scaredy cat? Just once or twice right? I don't do motorbikes. I don't do roller coasters. I don't even like bridges! After shocks are therefore terrifying. It's the not knowing whether it's an aftershock or the real thing that freaks me out the most. And we had plenty of aftershocks here all day. Aggggh!!
*Contact- I feel really loved and supported. So many people have contacted me by phone, by email, by Facebook and even via worried parents to check how we are. Even people like my old kinder teacher and my dad's boss. I can't speak highly enough of AFWJ- those women rock! They had a check in list going in minutes and hunted down word of every last member throughout the area making sure everyone was ok. Seriously mum, you won't have to worry about a doberman discovering me weeks after the fact with these women on the job!
I would like to apologise to all who phoned me though. I was quite rude to a few people as I was so keen to keep my phone line open for news from Fukushima that I wasn't in the mood for chatting.
*Lack of contact- The earthquake that hit Nagano this morning was in Sakae village where the amazing Kevin of Bastish Life and his wife and young daughter live. The village has been cut off from the rest of us and is without power. Oh and they had a freaky number of metres of snow there anyway. The TV is not reporting any fatalities there and the entire village (all 850 of them) have been evacuated to the community centre but I would still really like to hear that they are ok! Knowing Kevin though I'm sure he has hunted down some game with a makeshift weapon and is treating the village to a pot-shot hot-pot and a home brew. He really is the most resourceful person I know!
*smiling on the outside- Meg is now old enough to understand a lot of what she sees on the tv. That means every time she hears 'Fukushima' she thinks 'obaachan!' and gets worried. So I spent the day worrying on the inside and reassuring on the outside. That is exhausting.
*passing the time- there really isn't a lot to do while you're waiting for the phone to ring. I didn't really want to leave the house so I decided to clean. Especially as there was a chance my ILs would be coming to visit. I never got the nesting instinct cleaning bug but boy do I have the stress-cleaning gene! We washed and hung and folded and sorted and cleared and trashed and polished and dusted and even cleaned the windows and behind the toilet and under the stove and all the skirting boards and you know, all those really vital places. The girls were less thrilled with the 'clean away the hours' idea until I told them they could vacuum (control freak me usually demands the right to that job) and now the house positively sparkles.
*what kids worry about- Both girls didn't want K to go this morning. We explained that he needed to go help Ojiichan and Obaachan. They were ok with this. We were watching tv and saw the truckloads of blankets and water that they have started collecting for distribution. Meg was most worried that daddy didn't take any blankets with him. I pointed out that Obaachan was still at home and has enough futons to put up a football team but she seems to think that helping earthquake victims means taking them blankets.
I was explaining to Amy that she needed to clear up the table as we would need it if Ojiichan and Obaachan were coming back here.
"Why are they coming?"
"Because their house might be a big mess."
"Like our house?"
"No! And anyway, we're cleaning up now. They have no power or water up there."
"Can Ojiichan use our tv?"
"Yup. If he came here he could use our tv!"
"....Does our tv get baseball and marathon running??"
And that was my day. That horrible but somehow reassuring earthquake alert system is still going off far too regularly for my liking. Off to bath and try to sleep- all three in the bed for some what a great end to a what a day snuggles.
Here's to a quiet night.