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Postcards from Japan's Triple Disaster

MsExPat's picture

I went. I watched. I ate. I went in the water. I wrote.

Part 1, Sendai, is up today. Part 2, "Bathing in Fukushima", tomorrow, Part 3, "Fear of Food in Tokyo" goes up on Friday.

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twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

I've been wondering what's going on there, since not much is being reported here. This segment was on Al Jazeera last night -- pretty scary!

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

So much, that it's really hard for the average Japanese person to take in. People there don't trust the information they're getting, and they don't know how to evaluate the information anyway because--well, does anyone know how much radiation is "safe" to have in your food?

So people walk around either in denial or with deep anxiety or both. I try to get at that a bit in parts two and three of my piece. Part 2 which comes out tomorrow morning (I gave you the advance link) is about a group of fishermen from a village in Fukushima that is only 4 miles from the plant. They got hit by the earthquake, many were swept away by the tsunami, and then they were all exposed to radiation.

Incredibly, amazingly, they all think they're going to go back home next year. It's too sad for words, but I had to write some anyway.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

There's still a lot of concern here on the West Coast about radiation, and you were right in the thick of it -- wow!

And I love the way you tell the story -- great details and images. It so sad that some of the residents think they'll be going back home any day now -- and resume fishing no less! But who can blame them? Their future is really frightening to think about, so a fantasy about "going home" is much more comforting than facing that sort of unknown.

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

Really, I wasn't brave. Not at all. I did my research and concluded the risk for me was minimal. I am convinced that travel to Japan is perfectly okay. As I point out in the third part of the article today, the background radiation in Tokyo is less than it is in Hong Kong, where I live for a chunk of the year. (Hong Kong island is granite, and granite is mildly radioactive). And in Hong Kong I'm eating a lot of food that comes down from mainland China, and god knows what heavy metals and other horrible crap are in that.

The 130 million Japanese in Japan are the ones who are brave. They're being exposed to whatever is in the vegetables, fish, fruit, animal products and the water every day. Nobody knows what the cumulative effect of that will be. The bravery of the Japanese people is going to be tested for at least this next generation.