Tokyo Day 8 – It just keeps on going
My post this morning said that the aftershocks had diminished. Well, I’ve now lost my seismology credibility, as we had a fairly major quake again tonight. There were two together with a magnitude of 6.0 after 10 pm, which gave Tokyo a pretty good shaking. They were so big that even I noticed them (I continue to be hopeless at noticing the minor tremors). These struck inland, so the good news is that there won’t be a tsunami, but the bad news is that an earthquake centred on land could be a lot more destructive. Because it was late, and therefore dark, I guess we won’t get a proper damage assessment until morning. But it can’t be good news.
Meanwhile, to the north, the nuclear reactors continue to melt themselves into puddles. I finally found some science in English here, which gives a good explanation of what’s going on inside them. Also had to look up the definition of the sievert on wikipedia, since the media has been full of numbers today to describe the radiation levels in various places. The facts seem to be that yes, the radiation level in Tokyo was higher than usual today (about 3 times usual background), but that this doesn’t represent any kind of danger. Much higher levels have been seen at the reactor sites, but that can’t be a surprise to anyone, and thankfully we’re not there.
We also went out shopping today. We didn’t have any particular need to restock, but as much as anything we just wanted out of the apartment for a while. The media has reported that central Tokyo is quieter than usual, but Karen reckons it’s busier than usual here, so people seem to be staying near home, as expected. The supermarket was busy, and had run out of staple foods (bread and rice), but had plenty of other things, including a lot of fresh looking things – meat, fish, pre-sliced vegetables and things. So although there are some shortages, there are no signs of a problem. The cafes were closed, but the bakery was open. And there was no shortage of face masks to buy, which the Japanese wear to keep their cold germs in, but would be useful to keep radioactive material out.
And so we continue to watch and wait. We finished season one of the Big Bang Theory, which is quality comedy, and has helped to keep spirits up. Meanwhile, Karen continues to turn into Mrs Doyle in a crisis, and bake cakes to deal with her stress and boredom. Marty and I continue to eat them. Life could be much worse.