Japan: After shock, and reeling

This week they’ve announced that the water in Tokyo is radioactive and dangerous to babies. Considering how secretive TEPCO electric has been since the nuclear emergency began, I am sure they are downplaying the risks and that it is probably dangerous to everyone.

The thing about nuclear radiation is that health problems don’t manifest until years later, by which time the company cannot be held accountable and gets off scot free for damaging so many people in the name of profit. The after-effects of Chernobyl hit Wales years after the event, and I saw so many of my classmates get cancer or lupus in their teens.

At the moment TEPCO turns off the electricity supply at random; whole areas have to take it in turns to go without electric. This, of course, is done intentionally to convince people that nuclear energy is necessary.

A patriarchal lie. The vending machines are still on . Some of the theme parks are still running. Just turn. the. vending. machines. off (one vending machine swallows the same amount of electricity as a house) …

The doctors of death and insurance companies are rubbing their hands together in glee at the prospect of lots of cancer patients to line their pockets. If the disaster in Fukushima won’t stop male-run governments and corporations from continuing the planned poisoning of the planet then nothing will. Daly was right.

Why do they not turn the vending machines off, get rid of the naff theme parks, get rid of all the Neon eyesores- the casinos and pachinko parlours that dot the landscape- and begin disabling the remaining power plants?

Because nobody would make money out of it.

Japan is such a beautiful country, full of the most precious nature imaginable, but now when I look around all I see is dirt because everything will soon be polluted by radiation if it isn’t already. I feel dirty. The water supply, the air, the sea, the trees, the food. I can’t look at any of it, because I know that it harbours the hidden, deadly dirt of nuclear radiation.

The Southern area where I live was a paradise. Truly. But now it has been spoiled.

Nuclear dust from Fukushima has been found in Iceland and California and it is expected to arrive in France within a couple of days.

Meanwhile I try to protect my children by searching for bottled water from France. But there is only so much available. Many shops do not stock water at all, let alone French water, because it is more sorely needed up North.

I am grateful I still have my home, and my life, and my children. But I feel very uncomfortable knowing that shops are not stocking water. The ones that do have signs above their scant supply explaining that only one bottle of water can be bought per person.

My emotions have been a mixed bag. At first it was shock, then relief and disbelief that we hadn’t been affected dircetly by the Tsunami. Followed by fear, and a roller-coaster of uncertainty at the nuclear emergency, which has now been upgraded to a level 6.

Now I still feel shock, but there are other elements. I understand that my non-existence could take place in the blink of an eye.

I always thought I was the kind of person who would make it out of a disaster intact, pure narcissism of course. But the truth is I wasn’t prepared, financially or practically.

When it came to the crunch I didn’t have enough money saved to start a new life from scratch at the drop of a hat. If I lived in the North, I wouldn’t have had the resources to get my children to safety. I have failed.

But I am getting organized. This event has fundamentally changed me. Deep in my bones I now feel that it’s possible I could be dead tomorrow. I am not the same person I was pre-Tsunami. I have a life plan. It took the death of 24, 000 people on my doorstep for me to actually sit, take stock, and ponder on where the hell I am going.

The Cherry Blossom season is beginning. Those pale pink blossoms representing evanescence, the ephemerality and fragility of life, blooming so beautiful and true but only for a few days.

One thing I have learned from all of this it’s that Japan is my home. And when you have made somewhere your home, you don’t just up and leave.There are millions of people worse off than me in the North. I feel decidedly uncomfortable about jumping ship when the Japanese have treated me so well, as a guest in their country. Physical health is of course important, but there is a lot to be said for protecting mental health.

A few months respite would be nice though. I’ve got my sights set on Australia.


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