“The greatest prayer is patience”
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”
-Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)
My apologies for the long post, but this is an attempt to set the straight story for all of you who are confused by the mixed messages by the media, by me, or by the Japanese or American governments.
I want to first apologize deeply for not communicating to everyoneeverything that’s been happening here in Mutsu. My inbox has been on fire with concerned emails from everyone, for which I am eternally grateful for, and the most I’ve been able to send you individually is a message that, “I’m ok.”
The truth is that me and most people here are truly fine. Everyone is being asked to conserve electricity now– all to avoid rolling brown outs and it’s working! We haven’t had a scheduled blackout at all this week. Additionally, supplies of food & fuel from Hokkaido have been arriving here in Mutsu. Some store shelves do continue to be bare, but supplies like milk, meat, & eggs have been in stock lately. For fuel, yesterday a gas station near one of my schools had gas & kerosene and I was able to fill up my car and get 18L of kerosene for my stove.
So as of right now I’m doing good. Food-wise: Last night I ate big bowl of rice & beef stew and this morning I made Irish hash browns with onions & green peppers with toast. I tell you this because the “news” would have you believe otherwise.
Areas like Shimokita are safe and habitable. We’re being asked to save what we can, recycle what we can recycle, donate money if we can donate and to try to stay out of the tsunami evacuated areas. There is a current situation with how Japanese & American military are dealing with the disaster but it is no more then a bit of Japanese culture shock–something everyone experiences here. There is a need for you to show confidence to the Japanese government as they deal with this crisis.
The major problems isn’t supplies or radiation, but the recent foreign sensational media that is complicating all rescue efforts. The foreign population in Japan, like me, are getting mixed messages from the US & other media telling us that it’s not safe and that we need to evacuate –when organizations like the World Health Organization report otherwise:
The World Health Organization has said radiation levels outside the evacuation zone in Japan are not harmful for human health. WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl made the remarks at a regular news conference in Geneva on Friday.
The Japanese government issued an advisory on Tuesday to evacuate from a 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It also told people living within a 30-kilometer radius to stay indoors.
He said the amount of radiation being reported outside of the evacuation zone continued to be below the levels considered a public health risk.
He said the WHO finds no public health reason to avoid travel to Japan, except to the affected areas, or to recommend that foreign nationals leave the country.
Some countries are encouraging their citizens to leave Japan or are moving their embassies from Tokyo to Osaka.
Referring to an examination of Japanese food imports by some countries, he said he cannot imagine that any food from the quake-damaged areas was able to have been delivered. He said he concludes there is no risk that exported Japanese foods are contaminated with radiation.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 08:04 +0900 (JST)
(Emphasis added was mine)
I ask that you read & listen to reports by credible organizations themselves, like this, rather then watch or listen to the bombardment of misinformation & conspiracy theory coming from news organizations like NBC, CBS, FOX and others. This sensational news is not good journalism- More then that it is distracting and starting to get the foreign population living here in Japan agitated over having to correct everyone at home from the abundant misinformation.
Turn OFF the T.V. and Trust the Facts for a moment!
Here’s an excellent spread sheet (click on the link) from Aomori’s JET Prefectural Advisor showing the levels of radiation in Aomori. All normal– all within good levels.
As far as Americans evacuating Japan– there is no official evacuation order from the US State Department. This is their official message as of yesterday March 18, 2011. If you read it they say that all evacuation is voluntary (read: by one’s own expense)
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S citizens of the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recommends that U.S. citizens who live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area or take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical. The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Japan at this time and those in Japan should consider departing…
Note that Mutsu City, where I live, is 308 miles (495km) from Fukushima Prefecture. The Department of State does authorize a voluntary evacuation of government employees
Quote: the State Department has authorized the voluntary departure from Japan of eligible family members of U.S. government personnel
But there’s no recommendation that US Citizens need to leave Japan. Rather the Department of State recommends we focus our attention on warnings by the Japanese government with concern of future aftershocks & tsunamis should they occur. They say,
Due to the continuing possibility of strong aftershocks, Japan remains at risk for further tsunamis. Japanese authorities have issued a warning for people to stay away from low-lying coastal areas. If a tsunami alert is issued by Japanese authorities, evacuate immediately to higher ground. Further information about what you can do if a tsunami occurs can be found at the National Weather Service’s TsunamiReady website, and theInternational Tsunami Information Center’s website. Current tsunami alerts can be found at the Japan Meteorological Agency website, and the website of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The U.S. Embassy continues to deploy consular assistance teams where needed; these teams are actively working with our taskforce and local authorities to locate U.S. citizens, visit shelters and assistance centers, and help U.S. citizens identify public and commercial transportation options away from affected areas U.S. citizens requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Department of State via e-mail or through the emergency contact numbers below. U.S. citizens in Japan should contact family and friends in the United States to confirm their well-being at the earliest opportunity. Where internet and telephone services are not available, it may be possible to contact people using SMS (Cell text message) or other forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
The Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (which I’m a participant of) has this to say from their website:
If you are in the affected areas, take precautionary measures by avoiding low-lying areas and shorelines of rivers and coastal regions for the next 24-48 hours, or more if instructed by local authorities. Follow any safety instructions issued by the local municipalities. If you have not already, try to contact friends and family, supervisor and contracting organisation to let them know whether you are safe or not. Telephone service is affected in many areas, so please keep trying if you cannot get through, use email, texting, Facebook, etc.
So I apologize for the length of this post, but I hope the information is useful when you’re thinking about me or others here in Japan. We all need to Be Prepared! and follow the Scout Oath and Law
- and Reverent.
Again thank you for your concerns and for reading this.
If everyone does the right thing and trusts that it will all be OK– then it will be.