Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sendai Quake - Day 6

Google has set up a crisis response page where you can gather lots of information on the earthquake, as well as make donations to Red Cross, Unicef, Save the Children and others. I was about 300 miles away from the main quake, and am 200 miles away from the nuclear plant in Fukushima. It shook hard here (M5), but we are safe and sound, and fortunate to be practically free from damage. The people in up north need all the help they can get though. I'm reporting information as I hear it, for friends and family to keep tabs on my situation.

12:50 am JST (10:50 am CST) -
There have been variety shows airing on TV again today. It was really refreshing to watch something entertaining again. I needed that. Well I'm overdue for getting some sleep. We may lose power around 9:30 next morning, so I need to be ready for that.

10:50 pm JST (8:50 am CST) -
Just had another earthquake M5.3 in the southern part of Ibaragi, but only felt a 3 by the time it got out to Ebina. It shook for a pretty descent time though. My body is so completely out of wack from all these earthquakes and aftershocks. It's so hyper sensitive to any sort of movement, that just bouncing my leg throws me off balance a bit and I can't tell if it's me or the ground shaking. Sitting here on the floor at home for some reason is even worse, and just thinking about shaking throws me off and I feel like it's shaking a bit. Maybe I've lost all trust in the stability of the earth below me, or maybe I just need sleep... maybe a little bit of both.

9:55 pm JST (7:55 am CST) -
Home now. Seeing as though we had 3 lost hours during the day, I stayed a bit later to catch up on a few things. Since all our machinery needs power to run too, we still had someone running them down stairs making up time, so I helped out flipping a few blocks before coming home. I sure hope our working through these outages and still making parts on time makes an impression on our customers! I wonder if these 3 hour blackouts are really gonna continue to be a daily occurrence though. They can be pretty draining. That said, I've got it easy compared to what they're going through up in northern Japan, something I'm trying not to forget.

Anyways, a day in review. Seems like the nuclear plants are safe for the time being, but they're still working hard to get them under control. I woke up to an explosion heard from reactor 2, and a fire on reactor 4, with this picture on TV.

How about that, reactor 4's outer concrete wall was completely burnt and destroyed by a fire. Everything inside there is safe and contained though, for the moment. I've also heard they had to evacuate the plant temporarily because of rising radiation levels. Similarly, they had planned to start airlifting and dumping sea water on one of the reactors, but called it off because of higher radiation levels. At the end of the day though, I haven't heard any alarming news, so I assume things are ok for now. Perhaps the wind blowing SE into the Pacific helped. Anyways, I just saw this picture of the 4 reactors on TV. Yikes.

And finally a little bit of humor - looking for the above pictures, I stumbled upon this image here.

This is a parody on the Dynasty Warriors series. This is Edano Nero, a chief government spokesman who has been making many different announcements concerning the events that have been unfolding over the last several days. The title says Edano Musou (a play on Sangoku Musou), and the subtitle says, "Turning interviews into tableware". Yea I have no idea what that's about, but pretty sure I read it correctly.

7:45 pm JST (5:45 am CST) -
The emperor just gave a speech. Here's an English article on it. Apparently this is a very rare appearance. If you aren't aware, the emperor in Japan has a very unique existence. He is similar to the Queen in England, but only a symbol with no power. After WWII the emperor was left around, basically to keep Japanese society as a whole intact at the time, as the emperor was the very top of Japanese society at the time. Now he is mostly symbolic, and remains a unique part of Japanese culture. He is also a central figure to extreme right wing conservatives who want to expel foreigners (like me) out of the country, but that's another story. To most people he's a cultural symbol, and they don't necessarily feel one way or the other about him. His existence is incredibly fascinating to me, like a left over symbolic figure from history books.

5:10 pm JST (3:10 am CST) -
I just found a very impressive time lapse video of these earthquakes we've been having. You may think that all the earthquakes in the same area before the huge quake hit were cause for alarm, but remember that earthquakes are a very common occurrence here. But who knows, they did seem fairly strong and clustered.

This ends on the 14th, and doesn't include the earthquakes in Tokyo and Shizuoka. I'm not sure how many were counted in this video either, but we've had over 200 aftershocks of M5 or higher.

4:00 pm JST (2:00 am CST) -
Oh yea, going through this the second time was a lot easier. We were able to get back to 100% online within 10 min.

3:40 pm JST (1:40 am CST) -
Power's back!

3:30 pm JST (1:30 am CST) -
We're more than 2 and a half hours into the power outage, and should be getting power back shortly. The UPS is showing over an hour of battery left yet, so it seems I managed to keep at least the website up 100% of the time this round. Others in the office have been doing what they can that doesn't require power. I did a little cleaning in the server room myself.

Here's some pictures of us working through the blackout...

1:50 pm JST (11:50 pm CST) -
Well I've done what I can to keep everything here running as long as possible. Now all we can do is wait for the blackout to pass. Maybe I should bring some playing cards or something with me to work tomorrow.

1:00 pm JST (11:00 pm CST) -


Just lost power, which will more than likely last for 3 hours. I guess in some sense I'm happy they're cutting power like they said they would, rather than confuse us by saying they may, may not, or actually maybe we really will after all, cancelling in the end, and finally only enacting the blackout for a small portion. Well, today we're losing power during the daytime, so it's still light out (and warmer), so I'm happy for that.

By the way, there have been a couple earthquakes in the last hour. Both were off the coast of Ibaragi and Chiba. The first we didn't feel in our area, but the second rocked for a bit. Everything's just fine here, just have to wait out the blackout now. After yesterday's experience, I should be able to keep the power up for 3+ hours now.

Oh and, booming success heating up my lunch before the blackout. Just finished eating when the power went out.

12:15 pm JST (10:15 pm CST) -
Seeing as though we may lose power in a bit here, I'm going to go heat up my lunch while I still can.

12:00 pm JST (10:00 pm CST) -
Oh yea, they just showed the wind patters on a weather report. It's all blowing southwest into the pacific ocean, never to be seen again. That provides some comfort. Unfortunately its snowing in the hard hit areas though. I hope everyone is safe and staying warm.

11:50 am JST (9:50 pm CST) -
No big deal here, but I noticed the zoomed in video they show of the power plant in Fukushima has some warping going on, more than likely a result of looking through a tremendous amount of air over the incredible distance that footage is covering. It does however, look very similar to the warping you get around something that's really hot. So it gives the whole thing a really eerie visual effect.

Also, we didn't have blackouts this morning, but we could be facing one at 12:20 until 4pm. At least this time it won't be dark outside, and I won't have to stick around after 7pm to wait to ensure everything comes back online.

11:20 am JST (9:20 pm CST) -
They're making an announcement on the situation in Fukushima. It sounds like the radiation levels are starting to decline again. Whew.

11:07 am JST (9:07 pm CST) -
Woah, they just showed a picture of reactor 4 in Fukushima from yesterday. The outer concrete housing of the building appears completely burnt and charred from the fire. I know the inner portion of the reactor is very well protected, and quite frankly the fact that they all survived an M9.0 quake and ensuing tsunami of unprecedented scale without leakage is amazing in itself, but seeing the building of a nuclear reactor burnt does make one a bit unsettled.

11:00 am JST (9:00 pm CST) -
Just heard a report Mizuho bank (my bank) is having issues with money transfers/deposits, but withdrawals appear to be working fine. Glad I withdrew a bunch of cash the day of the quake just in case!

10:45 am JST (8:45 pm CST) -
White smoke was spotted from reactor 3 (they think) in Fukushima a little before 10. The area is too dangerous to go outside though, so they're unable to confirm the situation. Currently they're showing super zoomed in video from a helicopter a good distance away.

Also, Yahoo is amazing. They've put together a graph and map of the areas anticipated to be affected by blackouts. These resources will help me tremendously.

10:10 am JST (8:10 pm CST) -
At work now. Here's a slightly disturbing story. The Atsugi base is rather close to where I live (like less than 10 miles away). No cause for panic though, even if there were trace amounts of radiation in the area, it is in no way detrimental to my health. Everyone is just taking extra precaution with the situation.

In other news, I hear they've implemented a no-fly zone with no height restriction in the 30km radius around the plant in Fukushima. They're doing it as a precaution to prevent any radiation from spreading. This is supposedly the first time such no-fly zone has been implemented in Japan I guess?

8:25 am JST (6:25 pm CST) -
Just after I woke up and read an article on my phone about how the radiation levels were declining, I hear on the news there was a flame spotted at reactor 4 sometime last night/this morning. They don't know what caused it, nor can they get close to the scene as it is too dangerous. Looks like I'll have to keep an ear out for whats going on there again today.

Also, group 5 and 1 are scheduled for blackouts sometime this morning/afternoon.

Group 5: 9:20 - 13:00
Group 1: 12:20 - 16:00

Only time will tell if we're included in these blackouts again. I'm thankful I've been able to wake up to electricity every day so far though.

Finally, I believe the quake in nearby Shizuoka last night was a separate quake, perhaps induced as a result of the main quake Friday, but basically not an aftershock. As I mentioned last night, I felt 3 or so aftershocks following the quake, but nothing since. Then again I was sleeping, and I've been known to sleep through at least one hurricane in the past (Andrew).

Day 6 here we go!

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Blogger Deb said...

Wow. Thank you for taking the time to write about all of this. I hope you continue to stay safe. I'm a friend of a friend of a friend (I think) - they gave me the link to your blog. And I hope you don't mind - I may put a link to you on my blog as well, if that's ok. Sometimes it's better to read a first hand account than sift through all the news coverage.

3/16/2011 10:55 PM  
Blogger Kurisu said...

No problem.

I'm thankful I wasn't directly caught in the devastation up north. I've been giving a first hand point of view on what's happening as it comes in, so friend's and family can easily keep tabs on how I'm doing.

3/17/2011 1:28 AM  

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