So while I’m home enjoying Rice Village and shopping for baby clothes with my little sis, Chris has been told to expect to work weekends indefinitely. This week his squadron is ferrying decision-makers between the US bases and Tokyo. After flying for three hours today, Chris’ flight gloves were confiscated for having double the allowed limit of contamination. He was within 16 miles of our base the entire day. Lovely.
Mt. Fuji erupting was part of a running joke of ‘what else could go wrong?’ the week after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear mishap. We can see Mt. Fuji from our balcony on a good day; what would it be like to suddenly see it capped with smoke?
Not so funny, it turns out. Our pastor and friends at church filled Chris in on common thought. Apparently, Japan’s previous highest-magnitude earthquake—an 8.6 shaker in southwestern Honshu that killed 5,000 and generated a tsunami on October 28, 1707—came just 49 days before Mt. Fuji’s last eruption. For three weeks, from mid-December through the first week of the new year, Fuji-san chunked cinders and ash across our region. Lovely. All this came just four years after a December 1703 quake and tsunami in old Edo—modern Tokyo—that killed more than 108,000 people, most of them in the Sagami area. Our home is in the modern Sagami area, right near the Sagami River and all the train stations with ‘Sagami’ as part of their titles.
Anywho, contemplating volcanoes is not particularly productive or necessary; I just can’t stop thinking about Japan as we wait for news regarding the voluntary departure (should come Friday). Meanwhile, some cities in Fukushima Prefecture are evacuating pregnant women and babies since they’re being exposed to a year’s worth of radiation in just a few weeks; the Japanese government is expanding the mandatory evacuation zone around the Daiichi nuclear plant; Tokyo has announced the plant has leaked enough radiation and contamination to necessitate raising its disaster level to 7—the highest and same ranking as Chernobyle (with far less radiation than that, thankfully, but still over the level 7 limit).
So that’s the news summary on Japan. I’m simultaneously missing Chris like crazy and loving spending so much time with my family. It’s confusing.