6:20 to 10:00 and 16:50 to 20:30. That is when the power will go out in our village tomorrow. This is expected to last for a month. Hospitals and individuals with medical conditions will get generators. I am not sure what this will mean for public transport. I guess most businesses will have to close.

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Nine at night on Saturday, most of the lights were out as we looked around the neighbourhood. Tonight too. It seems that  everyone is taking the request to save power seriously.

On Friday all the teachers at my school left early due to the earthquake. But Yoshi was still working her usual hours until 7:30, though only two kids from nearby showed up for the classes. It seems pointless to have the study school open. Our test is cancelled tomorrow and we have heard that some private and public university tests have been postponed. In Tokyo they have closed department stores early.

They are calling for volunteer medical staff. Though for the worst hit areas they are saying not to come yet. Perhaps because the situations is so bad that adding another mouth to feed will not offset the good they will do. These are the places where buildings have been washed away.  

We have been thinking that in a situation like this, where power is scarce, non essential services do not need to remain open. It would be hard to close all such services down (all the restaurants for example), but maybe they would be able to coordinate partial shut-down, so thirty percent (or some number) close, while customers who need he service can still get it. maybe three neighbouring restaurants would be able to group together and stage their shut down, redireting customers to the other restaurant when they close for the day. 

They have started talking about planned blackouts for our region. Starting from tomorrow. Maybe in three hour blocks. They say that this has never happened before. The prime minister of japan was just on tv and was saying that this looks like the worst thing since the war. I am afraid it might be. If it is, then it will pass the 1995 Kobe earthquake of over six thousand people. That earthquake lasted 15 seconds. The one on Friday was recorded for five minutes.

The earthquake was recently upgraded to 9.0. In the city 20min from us, they recorded 5.9. For us, the aftershocks have been lessening. Last night was less active than the night before. Now whenever the train rumbles by, our first reaction is always to think earthquake. 

What to do? Work will start again tomorrow (Monday). Back to normal? Today we have just been sitting around feeling strange about doing anything. So we are just glued to the TV.

 The sun is down on the day after the quake. We were warned of prolonged aftershock and we spent a shaky night with alarms going off. My phone has an alarm that was going off with every big shake. It was really scary the first time it went off. That one was big too. 

A train just went by which looked like it was in service (though there were no passengers) it seems like they have finished checking the line. We went into the city today and saw a few damaged buildings, mostly old roofs and ancient facades. The building where I was supposed to be studying this morning was closed because they thought it might be unsafe.

As many of the nuclear power plants have been shut down, there are blackouts in other places of japan that were relatively untouched by the quake. They are asking everyone to use only essential electricity to reduce the load. It seems like one of the power stations might be in trouble. They have evacuated a thirty kilometre radius as a precaution.

In the city we went to the doctors for a routine checkup, went to study at a restaurant,  went shopping for some food and got some fuel. A regular sounding day. But just in the next prefecture to the North, people have not eaten since the quake and people have lost family members. There are people cut off. It is a strange feeling to be doing such normal things while Yoshi’s friend is evacuating her home as I type. The test we were studying for was scheduled for tomorrow, but has been cancelled. We will stay home tomorrow.  

Today I learnt a new word. Many people on the TV are using it. 心配(shinpai). It means ‘worry’. 

I am back at home now after one of the biggest earthquakes japan has ever felt. Watching the news now, what happened in my area is nothing to the houses that are floating by on my computer screen.

This day was supposed to be for the graduating students at the junior high school. We got through the official part of the day and were half way through the party when the earthquake started. It took nearly a minuet before someone shouted to get under the desks. We were in the gym and my  desk was under the basketball hoop which was swinging. I moved to the door with some other teachers while others were taking shelter under the desks. At this point the huge lights overhead were swinging wildly. The whole building rocking back and forth. Three of the huge lights crashed to the floor and sparks flew as the power cut. I don’t know how the windows are still in one piece as they looked like paper in the wind. 

Talking to the teachers after, they all said it was the biggest they had ever felt. Listening to the news they are saying that it was the biggest in terms of magnitude in japan on record. Right now we are feeling the aftershocks as we watch the news. It is expected to last for some time. But the danger seems to be over for us, as we are not hear the coast. 

Yoshi was at work down in the city, and the face of a building fell off opposite her work. All the trains have stopped around here and in affected areas. Right now my brother in law is 3 hours into a walk home from the centre of Tokyo. He has it easier than the thousands who commute hours by train every day. Apparently, restaurants are staying open all night to allow people to stay somewhere.

That is all for now. We have to wait to see how the tsunami progresses. I feel for the people who are in the path and have to wait. 

Another tremor.

This video was amazing from TED.

It is about a not-for-profit organisation that is providing educational videos with a system to practice and record progress.

The organisation has had $2 million donated to it from Google and is personally endorsed by Bill Gates.

Watch it.

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/16/inarticulate-flash-g.html

http://www.youtube.com/v/-7GkIZCepzI?version=3