March 15 - Tuesday in Tokyo
WOW. Just had another aftershock…this one felt big.
I was on the phone talking to KTVU’s Morning Executive Producer Bobbi Polos about 10:30 p.m. or so, when suddenly the SKYPE computer and camera started swaying with the table. Then I realized the whole room was moving. Much bigger than the aftershocks we felt the other day!
Paul came into the room, but it seemed to be over. Some people came out into the hallway of the hotel and Paul said one woman ran down the emergency exit stairs. Scary.
As for earlier in the day…we kept busy. Woke up at 8:30 a.m. and did live reports for the 5pm and 6pm (Monday) news in California. Then we went out to do interviews and get video of the city. People were explaining to us how some supermarkets and convenience stores are having shortages of milk, water, toilet paper, food and other supplies. Part of it seems to be due to the transportation disruption and difficulty getting deliveries on time.
Also, my cousin Vince who lives here in Tokyo says many gas stations have put a 20 liter limit on the amount of gasoline each person can buy.
Another concern for residents is the elevated radiation levels reported in the Tokyo area today. One part of Chiba prefecture which is several hundred kilometers away from the Fukushima power plants, reportedly had double the normal radiation levels. Tochigi prefecture reportedly had 30x the usual radiation…140 km southwest of Fukushima. We understand many news crews have pulled out of Sendai due to radiation concerns from the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant crisis.
Tonight, we met a local businessman who has been here since the initial earthquake on a business trip. Mr. Hiroshi Tomita is President of Konica Minolta Laboratory in San Mateo and Vice-President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California. He says after the initial quake they evacuated the building and he left without a coat. He stood outside in the cold for an hour.
Lights out: On the way back from the interview, we transferred from the JR train to subway at Shibuya Station. Years ago, when I was in Japan, the Shibuya district always felt like Las Vegas or New York’s Times Square. Lots of bright neon lights, billboard lights and jumbo screens. Tonight it was dark. It apears many people are pulling together here and trying to conserve power during this national crisis.
What a day. We’ll be back again tomorrow. Mata ne…(til later)