Monday, March 28, 2011

Counting down without Blasting off

Hi All,

News still driving you nuts? Nuclear meltdown around the corner? Radiation going “global”?

… I am still safe and I am trying to see passed it and enjoy the simple things, albeit I am staying extremely informed from various different sources.

The semester is "scheduled" to start soon. Though whether it *will start soon is being debated. All I can do is wait, count off days until something happens for better or for worse. Time is relative, going faster or slower when it's least convenient but either way time never stops and we at arrive at the points we look forward to or avoided whether we like it or not.

We're still having some of the "rolling blackouts". And people are still 'panic-buying'... so shelves are often empty, streets have traffic but Mishima hasn't changed.

So how have I been coping?

Well for one: I have been wasting a lot of time… I watch a lot of TV shows, a lot of movies, organized my iTunes, organized my iPhoto collection (mostly~ I have way too many pictures), read comic strips (been obsessing over Garfield recently, keeps me cheerful)… and unbelievable though it may seem, I have also done some studying: Japanese kanji, reading articles in Spanish, art class project, graduation writing requirement –I mean, I have A LOT of free time; too much in fact.

Our Japanese friend Shoki returned to Mishima from his hometown in Chiba to do Spring Training for his track club/team. After the events of 3/11 the school officially canceled all spring training and he found himself, like us, with too much free time. We decided to meet and visit Rakujuen Park. The park is famous for being constructed as Prince Komatsu Akihito’s second home. The forest is formed by over 160 species of trees growing on Mishima lava flow that came from Mt. Fuji when it erupted.

The park was once famous for having melted water straight from Mt. Fuji reserved, but with the construction of factories, no water reaches the park now.

It once looked like this:

And over the last 15 years (less than the time I have been on Earth!!) it has been reduced to this:

All in all an interesting visit and at the very least it gave us something to do.

Dale and I were invited by Shoki to make bread at his place. This came up because we talked or complained about people “panic-buying” and all the bread is gone! Gone! Shoki said he often bakes his own and would teach us =)

waiting for the bread to bake!

and then tada!!~

Shoki gave us this "Peanut Cream" to eat with the bread, it's a Japanese version of peanut butter, but made of mixed nuts and sweet.

Shoki had dough left and he baked us a small pizza!!!!


Some Japanese treats come wrapped in this ~well I haven't figured out quite what it is. But it's this plastic covered in some kind of rice-paper-textured type of thing. It's really interesting to touch. Smooth.

Also, went out just to see the moon, just to say that I saw it lol. Since it was the biggest moon visible in 18 years because it was closer to the earth and it happened to be full.

looked the same to me, but :: shrug:: I can say I saw it lol.

So, still waiting patiently, counting down for things to happen without losing the coolness, and without stressing =)


Monday, March 21, 2011

頑張って日本 ...

Hi All,

It’s been a little over a week since the twin disaster. It doesn’t feel like a week, it’s been a perceptual month.

Last week took me on a roller coaster of anxiety, sadness, worry, scare and impatience maybe frustration too.

I am happy to inform you that I am still physical fine and well.

I have been reading the news like I haven’t ever before in my life. My daily routine includes reading the headlines of the United Nations, the website of the American Embassy in Japan, BBC and CNN. There you might throw in the occasional journal of some country and Wikipedia pages on Chernobyl and Nuclear plant designs and Nuclear power… then breakfast.

The devastation in Japan is massive, and they say that it may take up to 5 years for Japan to recover… with that, if you can please contribute to the efforts towards Japan. Japan as a nation is very humanitarian and right now it could use all the help in can get.


Mishima is still safe. We are still feeling minor tremors (though one gave us a big fright a few days ago). Super markets are a bit under-stocked. But the essentials can still be found. We have had the rolling blackouts but it hasn’t affected me personally in any big way. Though for the first time in my life I also have an emergency-bag packed.

We found out from the C.I.E.L.D office that in Japan the way to deal with these situations is to full-throttle try to continue life. They told us “Japan knows it can recover from disasters”, though one of this magnitude has never occurred before. She said people continue to go to work and try to go back to normal life. This was one of the reasons that I decided to stay despite recommendations of the U.S. embassy as well as the Study abroad and Student exchange office at SBU to leave.

I’m not in any immediate danger this far from Tokyo and more so from Fukushima. I want to believe. I want to be brave and patiently wait as my Japanese friends are, for everything to be resolve.