Mar 16 – The waiting game

Posted by Madbot on Mar 16, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

Catch up blog 14:

Wifey’s company said they will close the office with all staff working from home with full pay for 2 days. Not so lucky at my office. However, to avoid spending extra time outdoors by walking to the office, I opted to ride the bicycle in.

A 40 minutes walk becomes a 13 minutes ride. And yes, I’ve finally gone completely native. Riding the bicycle wearing my business suit – plus a face mask. I am turning Japanese.

Marin Muirwoods. I adore my little red bicycle. A bit too small for me (initially bought it for the wife) but I love you nevertheless.

Things continue to become more nervous and stressful everyday. Relatives continue to make contacts suggesting, or some asking, us to evacuate. Really appreciate everyone thinking of us. Australian embassy continues its travel warning saying to stay out of the 80km zone around the Fukushima reactors, but be very cautious around Tokyo.

More work people snap – some got a bit crazy on Facebook. Not a good sign.

Water we ordered off Amazon a few days ago got delivered – virtually all water is gone from Amazon. Bought what’s left – boy, are they expensive. Prepared our emergency backpacks – just in case the embassy sends through the evac notice. Also dug up the emergency disaster survival “bucket” – friends passed them to us when they left Tokyo some 5 years ago. The bucket is filled with emergency rations, medical kit, flashlight, etc. Hope we will never need it.


Mar 15, 2011 – Nuclear boy poop problem

Posted by Madbot on Mar 15, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

Catch up blog 13:

To help people (focused on kids?) understand the nuclear situation, some creative folk made this video to explain the situation at Fukushima. Some good soul then added in the translation.

Entertaining although for me and the crowd at the office, it’s just a bit too “casual”. The video author says the poop problem should go away after a couple of days, and gawd we all hope it would. I now know, 2 weeks later, the nuclear boy poop problem persists and has in fact gotten worse.

Come on Nuclear boy! Clean up your act!


Mar 15, 2011 – miscommunication and sensationalists

Posted by Madbot on Mar 15, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

Catch up blog 12:

Sometimes you just don’t know who or what to trust.

The big news today is the French embassy tweeting that a massive nuclear cloud is drifting from the Fukushima nuclear power plant towards Tokyo and is expected to arrive in 8-10 hours.


Our response “huh”? There has been nothing on the up to the minute NHK news and nothing about needing to take shelter for those of us in Tokyo. The French embassy tweet then got picked up by the major new sources and suddenly became real news. French embassy starts to evacuate their nationals and French companies in Tokyo activate their BCP plan shifting key functions out of Tokyo.

This piece of news stirred up all sorts of shit outside of Japan. Suddenly I received emails, messenger chats from all relatives and friends asking us to evacuate Tokyo. Messages from Australia, Canada, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Most appreciated to everyone caring so much for us. This piece of news really gave all of us a major scare.

From uncle in Taiwan:


聽說幅射塵將往東京飄 有無想回臺灣避難 若無請做好防範措失 保重身體
若是請回覆抵臺班機時間 很擔心


In the end, the French embassy withdrew the announcement.



Mar 15, 2011 – Free X-ray day at Tokyo

Posted by Madbot on Mar 15, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

Catch up blog 11:

Given all the traffic havoc that has been happening with the confusion from the scheduled power blackout (although often skipped), decided to walk to work with the wifey today. Usually a 40 minute walk and usually relatively enjoyable. It turned out today that between 8am to 9am, the radiation in Tokyo was at it’s highest. Duh!

Nothing risky to health – according to the government (/sigh) – one hour of exposure at this level is about the same as one chest x-ray. So looks life wifey and I got our free dose, but without the funny picture of our inside for us to make fun at.

instead, I came across of this awesome photo that brought a big smile to me and everyone I shared it with.


The Japanese school kids are wearing these hats while playing out in the school yards after the quake. At first look, I thought these were to protect them from the radiation. Oh no, says the wife. Those are the Earthquake protection hats..! So if something fall on the kids, their head will be safely protected by these futon-made hats. Apparently the wifey also had them when she was little. How cute, LOL!


Mar 14, 2011 – what else can go wrong?

Posted by Madbot on Mar 14, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

Catch up blog 10:

Good morning..! Do you love the smell of a hydrogen explosion in the morning?

That is the second explosion at the Fukushima number one nuclear power plant. Not a great start to the day. People at work become much more concerned. Staff begin to talk about plans to leave Tokyo. Some have already left.

Australian embassy has been sending emails to those of us registered with the embassy. For now, the travel advice is:

From: Crisis.Centre@
Date: March 14, 2011 5:17:38 PM GMT+09:00
Subject: Update to travel advice [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

We now advise Australians not to travel to Miyagi Prefecture due to the
ongoing relief and recovery operation and severe damage caused to key

We continue to advise Australians to avoid all travel within the 20
kilometre evacuation zone around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in

The level for Chiba, Fukushima, Aomori, Iwate and Ibaraki Prefectures and
surrounding districts remains at “Reconsider your need to travel”.


Tokyo power down schedule – 5 groups

Posted by Madbot on Mar 13, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

In Japanese only..



Mar 13, 2011 – Tokyo Blackout

Posted by Madbot on Mar 13, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan, Madbot Madness

Catch up blog 9:

Tepco starts powerdown schedule – and surprised everyone.

Silly thing – they announced it at around 9:30pm, released the information at a press conference ON PAPER. No one has an electronic copy of the schedule. Panic spreads. Frantic calls on what to do with servers at the office. 3 hour rolling power black out..? Surely it can’t be hitting all areas of Tokyo. Tepco web site down due to the high volume of traffic. There are 5 groups? Who is in which group..?? What about us and the office..?? Eventually information start to come out. Reporters fax & scan the paper out to their distribution channels. Some TV stations jump on it straight away by reading the paper with the camera pointing to the paper. Some stations type it out.

Oh wait, some suburbs are duplicated in the different groups? What? What does that mean..? Wifey calls her dad who has no idea there’s even going to be a power out. When is it going to start? 6am tomorrow morning..!?!?! Less than 10 hours??

Wifey managed to filter through the geek sites to find the scanned PDF document. Added it to the blog and linked it around to share the information with friends and colleagues via Facebook. Lucky central Tokyo isn’t included in the blackout areas.

Hope for the best.


Mar 12, 2011 – empty shelves

Posted by Madbot on Mar 12, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan


Catch up blog 8:

Supermarket after dinner. All out of fresh foods, bread, water, etc.

Restaurant guy said not expecting delivery on Sunday and don’t know what happens on Monday. Looks like everyone thinks along the same lines.

Luckily, supermarkets received deliveries the next morning but you had to be there early.

Gas returned the next morning. Gas was turned off by building management for safety reasons. Next door old lady came to show us silly young people how to turn it back on. Hot shower – yay.

Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) announces power down plan – for the suburbs. Main Tokyo areas unaffected.

Work people begin to panic with the food shortage, people can’t get to work, and the unspoken concern for the nuclear plants. TV non- stop on tsunami and nuclear.

Local bread shop were making fresh bread on Tuesday morning and that was one hell if a good sign. Work shifted to reduced hours to save power and staff who couldn’t get to office. Fear rising with some talking of closing altogether. Tension rising and conflicts begin to increase.

Wifey company then announces 2 days (Wednesday & Thursday) of office closure and staff to monitor situation from home.



Mar 12, 2011 – the day after

Posted by Madbot on Mar 12, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

Catch up blog 7:

The best word to describe the situation is simply “SHOCK”.

Shock about:
– the size of the quake. We could barely stay on our feet in the office.
– the shaking buildings. The Russian embassy building were shaking like a house of cards. Next thought concrete could do that.
– how the roof top tv antenna shivers as if it’s a spring.
– the wonder of Internet and the Tokyo 3G connectivity. Couldn’t reach wife on cellphone but easily found info on size of quakes and sent emails to her.
– the wonder if the electronic age as we watched NHK World on iPhone and iPad, and web to witness the destruction of the tsunami.
– the size of the tsunami. The choppers struggled to keep up.
– the power of the tsunami. Swept over roads, buildings, towns as if they were nothing. Didn’t see a single person on the street as the chopper was high up, but there must have been people in the hundreds of buildings hit by the tsunami.
– Internet staying up. Emailed families who is yet to know if the quake to let them know we are fine.
– selfishness as some took company car in fear if road congestion and didn’t think to offer other staff a ride.
– the road congestion as the above person returns to office 2 hours later having made no more than 5 km headway.
– kindness if others as they arranged for other staff to stay at the office and offered resources to make them comfortable.
– the size of what has happened.
– the nuclear power plants blowing up.

Went to wife’s office to find her with (self) injured leg and flu. Walked home slowly with thousands of Japanese, picked up some breakfast bars, instant noodles, and water. No gas at home, boiled water with microwave to maje noodles for wife. Called it a day.

Went to office the next afternoon to check on things. Constant aftershocks. Almost a blessing to be on the bicycle as I don’t feel the wave. Things are fine at the office. Sent staff home early.

Apart from all the crazy news and footages about the earthquake and tsunami, now we hear trouble at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Staff became very concerned. Watch the footage at the start of this entry.

The evening of the day after, with no food at home, wifey and I went for dinner and drinks at the local. Tv blaring with news of the tsunami and nuclear problems. I have my Crownie,


and my VB. The world is ok, for now.



Mar 11, 2011 – the quake, the tsunami, and the nuclear explosions

Posted by Madbot on Mar 11, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

We did the normal Friday lunch at TGIF. Lunch went a bit long and we got back at just after 2. It wasn’t too long before the building started shaking like crazy. The worst thing is that it didn’t. Normally they shake for a few seconds and you go about you life. This one started rocking, rocked harder, rocked some more (you start to think WTF), more rocking and harder and people start to get really worried and thinking if it’s time to evacuate, realise it’s getting difficult to stay on your feet, realise this is a holy shit earthquake, and after all that, it starts to slow down.

Then came the after shocks. We looked outside for signs of more shaking and any visible damages. Luckily we didn’t see any. Evacuated the building as instructed. Tried to call wife but cellphone network is down.. or congested. Internet is still up! Holy crap that was 8.7M. Back to office and turned on the NHK World app on the iphone and web site. Watched in horror…

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