Life after the earthquake: What has changed?


Although more than a month has passed after the earthquake, still everyday at some point I am reminded that my personal life does not seem to be the same as before March 11, 2011. For sure I am truly lucky that I have not experienced the real horror and no one I personally know is facing any tragedy, still, for me there is life before and after the earthquake. Looking back now, I had been rather naive in several aspects, while I welcome at the same time a more solemn back to basic lifestyle.
For me the biggest lesson overall was that no matter what, I am always responsible to make the best out of my life, appreciate what has been given to me and never give away any decision power. For sure I have learned that in any emergency situation I cannot expect guidance from others, I have to take life in my own hands. Previously I had assumed that in a worst case scenario I can count on “officials”, police or service staff to be there to protect or guide me. During and after the earthquake I had a very quick real life lesson, that in an emergency situation not everyone copes the same way and can stay calm. Do I blame for example young airline personal for panicking? For sure not! On the other hand honestly, I still struggle to understand the lack of concern of many examples of foreign media to provide actual information about an ongoing disaster to the viewers. Now I do understand that for media it is more important for business purpose to increase the number of subscribers than supporting those in need for information. Still I feel like a fool having been so naive that I thought in an emergency the media’s focus is on providing timely proper information.
For sure I am grateful for having the opportunity to live in Tokyo, especially now. Japan is facing most likely the biggest challenge in history, when there is no choice but to move forward and create an economically active Japan. These days I find myself being less patient with professionals in Japan, who show very little drive at work. Looking at the staggering cost caused by the disaster and the related decrease of business activities, I strongly believe for everyone in Japan there is no choice but to be more proactive as professionals than before the earthquake. I have to say I am surprised to see a lack of concern for the consequences for business as usual.
Furthermore, I find myself now getting annoyed when I see from my perspective unnecessary use of electrical power. How come that a physically very capable person is taking by him- or herself an elevator for one floor? Why are Pachinko (gambling places) operating as usual during the electricity peak hours? Do we really need stores to be so brightly lightened up? Why are office buildings so bright lightened up even after midnight? … Although everyone can make a difference, I have learned due to the difference in perceived priorities the need for electricity preservation might be for some at the low-end. Or is it at the end simply the question: If there is potentially not enough for everyone, do you make sure you grab as much as you can, or do you cut back on your personal needs? I do not have the answer, but I guess my next life lesson will come up this for sure hot and humid summer, when Tokyo will be facing a lack of electricity.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

6 thoughts on “Life after the earthquake: What has changed?

    • Dear Alisa,

      thank you very much for your compliment.
      Presently I am very busy with the preparation for moving to South America, but I will keep this blog updated as much as time allow.

      With best regards from Tokyo,

      Sibylle Ito

  1. Irrational things remains even now but I can see stores and offices which aren’t as bright as before.
    The situation is changing by small and small.

    • Dear Cocomino,

      thanks for your comment. I am really happy to hear that you see as well places that have changed in their electricity consumption. I can only hope the change will last and help us during the summer.

      All the best from rainy Tokyo,

      Sibylle

  2. So happy to see another post from you, I can’t really quite comment on the electricity, because I’m quite selfish in that regard, but I did change all my bulbs to the energy saving kind even if one is 1500 yen (not sure if that helps), and I’m not sure if electricity can be borrowed from us here in this region?

    What I have found is suddenly there seems like a huge drop in interest for Japanese products or services, fear of people not wanting to accept things from Japan, esp food related products, I noticed this in one my give aways on my site, where I had a huge response prior to the earthquake and barely any after?

    I somehow feel like an outcast by ignorant people who no nothing of what is going on here, in fact, I was quite taken back when someone abroad asked me if I’ve taken Iodine pills? Since it was family I didn’t go at them, but I wanted to pull my hair out and scream… I just don’t know how to explain how serious the situation is, but we are safe, and far enough away from any radiation and are taking precautions. How do I answer these sort of questions which annoy me without offending.

    • Dear Elle Marie,

      now you make me blush! Thanks for the compliment, I do my best to keep posting, although I have to say sometimes I am too exhaused after work.
      You are right, there is not too much that you can do in your area of Japan, as only a very limited small amount of electricity can be fed into the electricity network in the east of Japan.
      I guess for the next few months Japan will not be as popular as it was on global stage, but I believe over time we will be back to “normal”.
      Further you raise a very good point: How do you react to concerned foreigners abroad, who are more than sure that everyone in Japan is in danger zone. I have learned reasoning does not help and in some cases trying to show reality makes the situation even worse. What I have done is listen to their concerns and reassure them that I consider their suggestions, but at the end I will make the decisions for my life on my own. Not everyone can understand me and some relations will suffer from the decision to stay in Japan, but this is my life and I have to do what is best for me.
      As for the Iodine I can understand the concern, because when I grew up in Switzerland it was included in the study about the worst case scenario of meltdown in a nuclear plant. Most likely people from abroad cannot give you advice about earthquakes, but at least some advice in regard to seemingly high levels of radioactivity. Over time the rest of the world will be busy with other things and no one will bother anymore about the “radioactivity crisis in Japan”. You only need to face this kind of discussions for a few more weeks. Just try to listen and have in mind, they mean well for you.

      All the best from wonderful Tokyo,

      Sibylle

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