A Thought or Two

There are things you take for granted in life, and you don’t miss it… Until you miss it ;-)

Like transportation and the fact that it is not always working. Not even in Japan. There is a huge number of people being transported in and out of Tokyo every day. The busiest station being Shinjuku with an average of 3.6 million people [wikipedia]. Add on top of that all the other stations and the sum is quite a few million people.

Yesterday, after the earthquake when trains and subways had stopped all those people still had to get home. So how did people get home? A few took taxis, but soon taxis were almost impossible to get hold of. The rest had to use whatever means they had, such as walking and riding bicycles (unless is was stuck in an automatic parking machine :-)), and cars if they brought one.

Richard Masoner made me realize or register what I saw yesterday at a bicycle shop just around the corner from where I live. People were buying bicycles. The shop usually is full to the brim with bicycles and often have them lined up on the street outside. But yesterday it was almost empty. And still there were quite a lot of people in the store looking at the few remaining bikes. Richard reports of similar buy-outs in other shops as well.

Chie also tried to buy a bike at DonQuijote but all bikes were sold out. She also reports that convenient store like 7-Eleven were sold out on bentos (box food), chocolate bars, PET bottles, paper tissues, wet tissues and flash lights. As were the popular Japanese vending machines, which you can find in almost every street corner.

We have friends that were lucky to find hotel rooms. But soon hotels were also full. Some hotels open their lobby for the public and offering hot drinks.

Other friends were waiting a few hours for busses. The busses were still running, though it was slow progress as the traffic jammed up everywhere.

Bic Camera and Apple Store offered iPhone charging so that people could tweet, blog, or use other means on the Internet to get in contact with friends and family. The cellular phone networks were impossible to use. Probably overloaded (it took about 2 hours before Chie and I got in contact via cellular phone). People instead lining up to use the few pay phones still available.

This is just a few things that we have grown accustomed to in a modern society. And think about it, epicenter was about 400 km from Tokyo. People living closer to the epicenter are missing much more than transportation and means of communication.

4 thoughts on “A Thought or Two

  1. Thanks for that. Interesting because we could very well have similar issues where I live in northern California.

    My parents live up north in Aomori-ken in a tiny farming village between Hachinohe and Misawa. Communication so far as been impossible. I think damage in their area has been minimal and tsunami intrusion hasn’t been nearly as dramatic as in Miyagi-ken, but I’m a little bit concerned because they’re only three miles from the beach.

    • Yes, it is a bit surreal but people here are “used” to this kind of things so I think we all will toughen it out.

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