Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sendai Quake - Day 7

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.

9:00 pm JST (7:00 am CST) -
Alright, everything is back online and running. I noticed I've just passed 4000 hits on my blog (2800 since Friday). Thanks everyone, really. It's kinda nice to know people are following my story, especially when I'm home alone at night. Your interest/support is felt and greatly appreciated.

Sounds like Ishikawa-san went to open his restaurant, and Khing-san is gonna head that way. I think I'll join them.

8:15 pm JST (6:15 am CST) -
POWER! Also tested the wakeup on lan on our servers, worked like a charm. Now to just ensure everything is back online and I'm outta here.

7:55 pm JST (5:55 am CST) -
They just announced on the news they've started spraying water onto reactor 3 in Fukushima via firetruck on the ground. Crossing my fingers that it has effect.

Still waiting for the power to return, listening to NHK. I tried to see if I could keep a couple more systems online for longer, but it seems that drained too much battery and I might not be able to keep the servers up through the whole blackout. Dang. Also I hear we're going to have another blackout tomorrow morning from 6:30. At least it will be lighter out then.

7:00 pm JST (5:00 am CST) -
Waiting for the power to come back on, watching/listening to NHK.

5:40 pm JST (3:40 am CST) -
Second blackout of the day. This time it'll be getting darker, lasting until 8:40 pm. Can't say I'm looking forward to it. I am able to reboot the servers remotely though, so I could go home except that the hard drive array (which uses the most power) requires a physical switch to be pushed. Maybe I'll hang around for an hour, turn it on, and go home.

Oy vey.

1:45 pm JST (11:45 pm CST) -
Quick update. We got power back almost exactly 3 hours later. It's nice to at least have that constant so we can appropriately prepare for these. During the blackout we sat in the lunch room watching a feed from NHK. The situation with the reactors is sounding kind of... do-or-die so to say. If they don't manage to get water on the reactors soon (like today), the situation could get out of control. They dumped some 75 tons of sea water via helicopter earlier this morning, but said there are no plans to attempt that again today. Instead they are attempting to spray water on them from the ground via firetruck, which should be happening right about now.

I hear the prime minister also had a phone conference with Obama about what to do with this situation. I believe some nuclear experts from the US will be joining us to help assess the situation. Please come help soon.

They confirmed death and destruction has also been rising. We're at over 5000 dead, and 11,000 missing. An estimated 7,500 buildings have been completely annihilated as well. Over 450,000 are still in shelter, and food and supplies are running out at the shelters. It's not that we don't have food and supplies, but rather we cannot get it to these shelters because of inaccessible roads and collapsed bridges.

The outage we just had supposedly affected approximately 6 million homes in the area. Furthermore we're scheduled to have another one between 4:50 and 8:30 pm tonight. Not looking forward to an outage at night. Sounds like we're going to be the first area that has an outage twice a day.

Anyways, all the news about this disaster, especially the situation with the nuclear plants in Fukushima really gets to you after awhile. But I have to at least keep an eye on whats going on since the situation up there has a change of escalating out of control.

Ok, I need to get some work done while we still have power. I'll update more later when I'm able.

9:54 am JST (7:50 pm CST) -


Lost power at 9:50, so we should get it back at 12:50. Third time must be the charm, cause I got got our servers into 'power saving mode' in 4 minutes flat, and all our service unavailable pages are working like a charm righ tnow.

The news on TV is continuing to show live footage from Fukushima of the helicopters dumping water on reactor 3. I hope it has affect.

9:47 am JST (7:47 pm CST) -
Waiting for the blackout. They just started dumping water on top of reactor 3 from helicopters. Not sure how effective it will be, but it's somewhat comforting to see they're working hard on the issue.

9:25 am JST (7:25 am CST) -
Preparing for a possible blackout. I just heard Mizuho Ginko's ATMs are not unable to withdraw money. Glad I took a bunch out in advance. I hope the fix it before 2 weeks though, cause I may need to send money to the US to pay off my loans.

8:30 am JST (6:30 pm CST) -
Oh boy, they were talking about it on the news, and I just found an article in English. They have raised the nuclear accident level to level 6, whereas last I heard it was at 4. This scale is a maximum of 7 (Chernobyl being 7). I'll definitely be keeping an eye on the news today to keep on top of the situation.

8:00 am JST (6:00 pm CST) -
They're still frantically working on controlling the situation in Fukushima. Even though the evacuation radius is 20-30km, it seems the US is urging US citizens to evacuate beyond 80km. I live 300km away (approx 190 mi), so I'm well outside the evacuation zone. Last night I also read an amazing story about the 50 plant workers who volunteered to remain at the plant to get the situation under control. Apparently the country has raised the legal limit of radiation exposure so they can work longer getting the situation under control. My thoughts and prayers go with those 50 brave men as they battle to protect their country from a major nuclear disaster.

Turning on the news, I hear they're working on setting up a new power source to provide electricity for the pumps, but in the mean time they may be using basically firetrucks to help inject water into/onto the reactors.

Also, I was shocked to see the USD/JPY rate at a low of 78. I thought the yen would begin to plummet (i.e. that number goes up), but apparently the USD is dropping. Furthermore, it dropped to an astounding 76.25 last night. While this is good for me when sending money to the US (to pay off my loans!), where 200,000 yen gets me $2560 at 78 USD/JPY, as opposed to $2440 at 82 USD/JPY before the quake; this very bad for a country with heavy exports, like Japan.

Well I need to get to work. We may be having a blackout this morning, so I need to be ready. Also, we actually have a new employee starting today too. As scary as this situation has been (and still is) we're doing our best to continue on, not losing to the disaster.

Day 7, here we go.

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