Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21 Headline Mishmash

I'm not sure how many more of these headline things I'm going to do, I'm needing to reassure people back home of my safety less and less often.

Humanitarian News:
14,000 have been confirmed dead, nearly that many are still missing. Approximately 84% of the remains found have been identified. (source: NHK World)

Nuclear News:
There is quite a bit of radioactive stuff in the oceans. Tons, really, over the last six days. Some data has been released, but I'm not entirely sure how bad it is in the short or long term and at time of writing, thoroughly researching the numbers is not at the top of my priority list. If you want more info, click the source link to read the article. (source: Kyodo News or NHK World.)

MORE ROBOTS ARE HERE! A robot designed for heavy lifting and data collection is joining the bots already at Fukushima Daiichi. It's name is Enryu (literally "rescue dragon"), and it has apparently "undergone training" in another prefecture before being sent up north. I don't know what that means, but I'm glad it's there. Robots make it better. That's almost a universal truth. (source: Kyodo News)

I'm a little unclear on the evacuation zone around the plant. I think what the headlines are saying is that residents can't stay within the 20km radius, but they will be able to make short visits unless they live within 3km of the plant. Residents within the 20-30km radius will probably be asked to leave soon, but not in a panic and because of long-term concerns rather than short-term danger. (sources: NHK World, Kyodo News, Kyodo News ticker)

A small amount of radioactive iodine has apparently been found in some breast milk in four women east or northeast of Tokyo, but I don't know how many women were tested overall or what the amounts are. (source: Kyodo News)

Food/Drink news:
The government is slowly starting to lift bans on food items coming from the agricultural areas up north. One ban on a vegetable that I'd never heard of was lifted last week (I don't have the source off the top of my head, but I can find it if anyone doubts me), and I just saw a headline about a ban being lifted on some raw milk and spinach (no article attached as of yet, so no link, but it's from Kyodo News).

Kirin Brewery Co. will be suspending sales of nine kinds of canned beers due to a shortage of materials and damages to their Sendai brewery by the March 11 earthquake. On the plus side, the ones being discontinued aren't their top sellers. Makes sense, really. (source: Nikkei)

Other News:

A penguin chick hatched from an egg that was laid one hour before the big earthquake. It's name is Akari (light). The parents continued to keep the egg warm through the quake and all of the aftershocks. (source: NHK World)

I've finally gotten my butt in gear and applied to some tarento agencies in Tokyo. I've done an online form for one but haven't talked to them directly yet, had a meeting with a second today, and will follow up with a third in a few days. I'm not sure anything will come of it, but we'll see. It could lead to some interesting experiences.

We have a friend staying with us between the end of his teaching contract and his return to the US. The three of us made a last-minute trip to Tokyo Disneyland last weekend, I'll share some pictures soon.

Easter is this weekend (not, as I had previously thought, at the beginning of the month. Shows how much I'm paying attention.), and I probably won't write again before then, so I hope you all have a lovely Sunday filled with sunshine and happiness. Just like every other weekend, but moreso.


  1. From what I understand, the 20km radius region around the plant will be completely sealed off starting tomorrow. Until then, people are allowed to make short "up to 2 hour" visits to their homes to collect items, but nothing more than the bare essentials.

  2. As always I feel better after reading your quake/radiation updates. Getting ready for Easter morning and wishing you both were here.