Although I’ve tried to get the news out on Facebook and Twitter, I thought I would also add a post to my blog because there may be some friends that are reading this blog that aren’t Facebook or Twitter friends. I’d rather saturate with information than under-report and have people worry.
Currently everyone is concerned with ongoing search and rescue operations. Also, there is a real threat at the Fukushima nuclear power plants as well. The event there is already Level 4 (on a scale of 7), and equal to the event in Tokaimura in 1999. Incidently, I was 18 km away from the Tokaimura event, and nearly oblivious to what was happening. Communication has changed a lot since then.
Anyway, to many folks in the US and abroad, distances in Japan are a mystery. I put together a little map to show where Nagoya is relative to Fukushima. Nagoya is about 300 mi SW of Fukushima. In terms of distance, that’s a little longer than Indianapolis to Detroit. In addition, the prevailing winds tend to be to the north and east, so in the event that the incident becomes more severe, the likelihood of a major impact to Nagoya is small.
I’m not trying to be cool, or downplay the seriousness of what is going on. I’m very concerned, more concerned for people in the area though than specifically for me. If this incident escalates, it will be very bad, and I am really hoping the Japanese agencies are being forthright with the information. I hope the concern of “shame” does not trump doing the right thing.
One of my colleagues is leaving the country with his small child and pregnant wife. Some European-based companies are evacuating their personnel. I think the memory of Chernobyl and other accidents is still strong in Europe. I have not been directed to leave, nor do I expect to leave. I am monitoring as best I can, I have my work BlackBerry with me and configured to alert me to every email, and if requested to leave, I will.
As most of the world knows, Japan was hit with an 8.9M earthquake yesterday afternoon. I was at work, in a meeting, and we all looked at each other wondering if what we each individually thought we were feeling was actually what we were feeling. Nagoya is a long way away from Fukushima, so instead of the sharp thumping kind of motion, we felt like we were on a waterbed. Everything just felt kind of squishy.
I am fine. My apartment is fine. My workplace is fine. Nagoya appears to be fine as well. As a matter of fact, everything here appeared to be business as usual today. It was basically business as usual last night. The only thing I worried about yesterday was any impacts due to a tsunami. My workplace is, well, WATERFRONT, so there was reason to be worried. The warning for my area was for a smaller tsunami and it is situated so far up a protected bay that I felt the danger was low. But what do I know. I left work as soon as the first train was available, and walked from Nagoya Station to home. I wasn’t in the mood for a subway.
I’m still worried about my friends and former colleagues in Ibaraki-ken. It was hit very hard, and there have been a cluster of smaller earthquakes in Ibaraki. I saw the picture above from AFP / Getty Images, which is a bridge over a river in Hitachinaka. You can see the surge of water flowing upstream.
A wide view of the bridge from Google Maps.
A closer view,
And the relationship to downtown Mito.
This was particularly close to home for me, because I thought that perhaps I had crossed that bridge before when I lived in Mito. On further review, I probably didn’t go over this bridge often, but it certainly made it hit closer to my past experiences. It was still very close to Mito, and I drove alongside the Naka river every day for miles going to work.
As a by product of this earthquake and tsunami, I’ve gotten a lot of hits to my website through search engines. If you read this, please consider making a contribution a charity that will provide relief to the people so severely impacted by this event. I have provided a link to the American Red Cross. Certainly if another charity is more appropriate, do not hesitate to donate.