Tokyobling's Blog

Empty Shelves – Tokyo March 12th

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on March 13, 2011

The day after the quake, I went outside to get something to eat, but I was met mostly with empty shelves in the stores. Staff at the convenience stores apologized and promised that stock should be back to normal levels in the coming days. I have never seen these kind of sell outs, as convenience stores in Japan are famously over stocked at all times. I do hope that they prioritize areas up north though. In the affected areas many stores lowered prizes, and seeing people able to stock up on almost symbolic prices all over the country was just one of the many ways in which the fantastic spirit of the Japanese people made itself known. If I could have helped in any way, I would have.

Please read and reblog, repost and tweet my open letter to foreign media published earlier today. I feel that it is very important we balance the reporting in foreign media over this whole situation. There are far too many rumors and useless doomsday prophesizing going on right now.

Last time I cheked in Tokyo, stores are open, we have gas, power and water. We are safe and well. Tomorrow I will go to work as usual. Life goes on. Stay safe everyone, and take this opportunity to reflect on how well you are doing and how useless and of little importance all the crap we surround ourselves really are when compared to what we really have to lose.

All of these images are offered under a CC (Creative Commons license, you may print, use, alter or publish these images as long as you attribute them to Tokyobling, this blog). Higher resolution images can be request through contacting me at my gmail account or in the account section. My email address is name of the blog @ gmail. Enjoy!



Stranded in Tokyo – March 11th

Posted in People, Places by tokyobling on March 13, 2011

As all railway lines were down, literally millions of people were stranded in central Tokyo with no way of getting home. As the implications of this became clear to the government, many hotels, night clubs, shops and schools opened their doors to provide a warm and safe place to spend the night. There was no way for this information to reach stranded people due to the failure of the two biggest cell phone providers (Docomo and Softbank, j’ai accuse!) to provide coverage and so Twitter and Facebook was the only way for the government to reach people in Tokyo who didn’t have access to TV or radio. Many karaoke places, hot air tunnels entrance ways quckly filled up as hundreds of thousands of people hunkered down to ride out the night and avoid the cold.

The first trains started running at midnight, at very limited services and speeds. The trains I saw were so packed with people it’s no wonder that news reported sick people being take care of at stations along the way.

Despite this, Japanese people showed us all just how stoic and calm they can be. I didn’t see one single person vent their anger or fear. Everyone remained clam, and carried on. My respect to the people of Japan.

All of these images are offered under a CC (Creative Commons license, you may print, use, alter or publish these images as long as you attribute them to Tokyobling, this blog). Higher resolution images can be request through contacting me at my gmail account or in the account section. My email address is name of the blog @ gmail. Enjoy!




Waiting for the Bus – Tokyo March 11th

Posted in People, Places by tokyobling on March 13, 2011

As all rail lines were down, a lot of people relied on the bus network of Tokyo to get home, but it wasn’t as easy as it could have been. Buses were quickly filled to the brim of people. I could have used a bus to get home but chose to walk as I didn’t want to take the place of someone who could have really used a seat. I saw some young people on the buses but I am not judging them as there is no way for me to tell if they had special reasons to use the bus service rather than walk, like the vast majority of people. Some of my friends in their 70s reported walking until well past midnight to get home, and commentators on this blog tells of people walking from Tokyo to Yokohama, a distance of over 30km. These photos of buses and crowded bus stops were taken in Ikebukuro at night, by then buses had been stuck in traffic for hours already, more and more people lining up for the very few places available.

As people in Tokyo are not usually relying on buses, many people were unsure about routes and bus stops. I think many people were actually using buses for the first time. Space in front of bus maps were crowded.

All of these images are offered under a CC (Creative Commons license, you may print, use, alter or publish these images as long as you attribute them to Tokyobling, this blog). Higher resolution images can be request through contacting me at my gmail account or in the account section. My email address is name of the blog @ gmail. Enjoy!


Phones Down – Tokyo 11th March

Posted in People, Places by tokyobling on March 13, 2011

As worried people all over the country tried to get in touch with each other there is little wonder that most of the cell phone providers couldn’t keep up with the demand. As a result, Docomo lost all coverage and much 3G in the first few minutes of the quake. Softbank service (to the shame of Apple corporation) failed almost at the same time. I don’t know about Willcom, but AU KDDI (my provider) provided excellent service all through the disaster. Full 3G, TV, radio, full phone services, GPS, Internet. You have no idea how much that helped me and many people I met on the way home who had no access to Internet, phones or news.

I would like to take this opportunity to heap A LOT of praise on AU KDDI for their EXCELLENT service, and not a little bit scorn on Softbank and Docomo for the complete lack of service. It’s, to be quite frank, inexcusable.

Land lines were in full use, and a few minutes after the quake NTT offered free service on all of their public pay phones. Lines formed quickly and people were queing up long into the night and the next morning even in Tokyo. People are still in line in the affected areas up north according to TV news.

If you are ever in Japan, don’t go anywhere else but AU for your phone services. They are remarkable.

All of these images are offered under a CC (Creative Commons license, you may print, use, alter or publish these images as long as you attribute them to Tokyobling, this blog). Higher resolution images can be request through contacting me at my gmail account or in the account section. My email address is name of the blog @ gmail. Enjoy!

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