I found these today when I should have been doing something else:

It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase ‘As pretty as an Airport’ appear.- Douglas Adams

The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before. – Thorstein Veblen

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it. – Mary Wilson Little

Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater. – Albert Einstein

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Last Moments Of Life from Paul Kroeker on Vimeo.

Spring

Spring has finally set in. This last week the leaves in the mountains have come and everything is green again. It is spectacular that it can change so fast. The cheery blossoms have come and gone around here, but they can still be seen up in the mountains. The birds have come back and everything is growing again.

Earthquakes

The situation here has settled down. We have not had a blackout for a very long time and are no longer checking the schedules. Everyone still seems to be still conserving power, but things are returning to “normal”. I was back at soccer the two week ago and went to kyudo for the first time last week.

We have a handful of students at our primary school from the affected area (Fukushima). I believe they are staying in permanent accommodation around the town. When they first came they were in the community center.

We are still getting earthquake aftershocks. It is not so frequent now, but there are still large ones every now and then.

There have not been many blackout recently. No power plants have become operational again since the quake (that I know of), so they must be managing the power out better and / or people must be doing well with power saving.

The power out a couple of nights ago gave me the opportunity to see what my village was like without the lights. It was a clear sky, with no super-moons around. I got a good gimps of the stars and managed to take a few photos. The most interesting of those are when a bike rider came past and left a gleam of head and tail lights on the picture (30 second exposure). After that the police car came around, lights flashing and I managed to catch that as well.

I found a great image on the web comparing different radiation sources: found on boing boing.

The past week has seen rolling blackouts. I am not sure why they are rolling. I don’t know how a blackout rolls, but that is what everyone has been saying they was doing. A blackout usually rolls for about three hours a day around this area. A couple of days had six hours (not all in one go though). On the weekend, the blackouts take a rest I assume. It must be because most businesses are closed and there is enough power.

Currently we are getting about a day or two of notice for the power outs, but it changes regularly. If you are interested to see which areas are out and when, check out Google’s excellent summary page. It gives you a feel for how big this really is (when you think Japan’s population is about 125 million people).

The electricity in the business heart of Tokyo is not affected. This is because (I assume) Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the biggest city in the world and so reliant on technology to run that it would be chaos if the power went out. This is fair i think, as it would cause much more trouble for the people in Tokyo, than it does for the people in the country.

I have been surprised by a number of things since the earthquake;

  1. How much we rely on electricity in our society. Thing fall apart really quickly without it.
  2. How easy it is to reduce the amount of energy we use. It is really as easy as just putting on an extra jumper. (Though the worst of winter is already behind me).
  3. I am sure there are other things that I have learned, but I can’t remember. I guess I have learnt them so well that they have now entered subconscious knowledge…

Even without the heaters on this past week, it has not been too cold. That is thanks mostly to the promise of spring. Some of the plum trees are starting to bloom, which would have been pretty, but was something I did not take much notice of. It did snow a few times though. It would have been really bad up north for those people who have no homes now and have to stay in school gyms. Those school gyms are really cold. It is ridiculous actually. We have assembly there and sometime students faint because of the cold. The snow must have been bad for those people in shelters.

Today the two power outs were canceled. We will have to see how it goes, but it seems to be getting better. I think because people are using less. I hope people can continue to save power, as they are saying the ‘situation’ might last until next winter (which would be cold).

Shopping today and there was food on the shelves again. Food is an important part of my life, so I was very happy. Over the past week we had to bring our own food to school – usually we eat the same food as the students (for a small fee).

Yesterday saw the return of bread and milk to the school lunch, but that is it. No rice. No miso soup. I don’t know why we are only getting bread and milk, because bread and milk is the only thing that we can’t get at the shops still.

It was interesting to see what the kids packed in their lunch. There mothers really go all out. There is so much variety in that little box. All the little bits of meat and salad and other things I don’t know how to categorize. Those kids have it good.

It seems petrol is still low at the petrol stations as they are mostly closed. We have not been using the car much so we still have an almost full tank. Safe for now.