Tokyobling's Blog

Boring Tokyo: Situation Normal

Posted in Opinion by tokyobling on March 16, 2011

Update: 2011.03.17. 18:30 Tokyo time. Tokyo still stands. I was contacted by a journalist who expressed surprise that Tokyo was still populated. It seems that foreign media is having a field day with the Apocalypse Now headlines. Well, I’d REALLY appreciate it if you would tweet about this blog. No need to judge or pass opinion, just make people aware that Tokyo, and 99% of Japan, is still a very much functioning society. Thanks!

Update: 2011.03.17. 18:52 Tokyo time. One last burst of feel good news before I go home: the US Navy USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group is now in action delivering supplies to the North West Coast of Japan, by helicopter. I know the US Navy gets a bad rap in many online blogs and journals, but personally, I have never met a sailor I didn’t like! US Navy, Tokyobling salutes you! (see #TOMODACHI on twitter)

Dear All, I have received more than one request for more information on the situation in Tokyo and although I hesitated at first, after seeing what some foreign media are reporting I feel that I need to raise my voice here. Report something.

Trouble is, there is nothing in particular to report here in Tokyo.

Trains are running (reduced services but on time and all lines). We have power (in central Tokyo no blackouts, in the Kanto area, some scheduled minor power cuts to preserve energy). We have water (so much in fact, that I wonder why people bother buying water bottles). We have gas (often independent of electricity).

Shops are open, restaurants are open, fresh produce is being trucked into Tokyo daily and I think that some people hoarding right are going to have a few very dull months of eating a lot of instant ramen accumulated during these last few days. Me? I prefer to bake my own bread and have the utilities to do this no matter what happens in terms of power, gas and water. People are going to work as usual. Libraries are open, clinics and hospitals function without any extraordinary measures. There are trains coming into and out of Tokyo as usual, the air ports are open and incredibly enough, yes, there are still tourists coming into town.

The art galleries and museums are open, taxis run. Subways are as clean and efficient as ever and people are polite and efficient, as we expect from the public.

There is no “exodus”, no one is running away, no one is escaping, fleeing or abandoning anything in Tokyo. Sure, people are scared at times, some people are getting worn down by the tension, but this is caused by fear and irresponsible media much more than any real danger to person or to property.

Media love to speculate and infer and write up the “human experience” but the truth is, if any of them bothered to come to Tokyo they’d be really disappointed. You can hardly see anything on the surface. If you visited Tokyo for the first time or haven’t been here for 10 years, you wouldn’t be able to tell there was something special going on. I have friends in the international community as well as very local people, many of whom have never visited another country, and we all agree that life is going on as well as can be expected.

I deeply regret having to post something as trivial and boring as this. This should not be my job. My job is to bring the “bling” of Tokyo, to show the extra stuff that makes Japan and Tokyo such amazing places. My job is definitely not to write these sorts of post, no photos, no flashy images, no new ideas no fun.

But the truth is, life goes on, and people both inside Japan and outside Japan needs to know that this huge crisis they keep hearing about, just doesn’t exist.

Sure we cry. Every single day, but that doesn’t stop us from anything else. We cry because we are alive and some people we used to love and meet and argue with are not anymore. But this is normal, healthy and expected.

A lot of people are complaining about lack of information and lack of government response, but the truth is the vast silent majority of Japanese and foreigners in Japan (the silent majority so named because we are silent and don’t whine and talk about everything that upsets us a little), trust the government, and trust the brave men and women who are doing their best to restore order to the situation up north. We can’t expect everything, all information to be spoon fed to us. I you believe that is what you want and what you need you need to search on Wikipedia for the expression “information overload”. There are different channels fo r different information, as is fitting.

Sure the events of these last few days will be scrutinized, rules will change, methods will be refined, text books will be updated, some people will come out heroes (look at Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano for a hero that has already been born) and some people will no doubt lose their jobs, their honor and their good standing.

Japan has about 127 000 000 people. About 445 000 of these have been evacuated from three provinces up north. About 250 000 people are actively helping those evacuated. About 20 000 people are dead or missing. Far less than was initially suggested by the doom and gloom sensationalist media (you know who you are). That leaves over 126 000 000 (that’s 126 million people, about 15 Sweden) who are going on with their lives, taking care of each other, and in some cases even, watching anime, shopping for cosmetics, cooking pies, going to the cinema or flirting on twitter. Believe it or not.

Go see for yourself, go to Twitpic and just type in random Japanese words and see what comes up. Most of it perfectly normal and average. Boring, even. Normality, is what we call it. Japan has survived tsunami, earth quakes, pestilence, two world wars, two atomic bombs, typhoons and civil wars and always come out the stronger for it. This time is no difference.

The stock market took a plunge, sure, but it’s going to come back up again. Well, it already is (as far as I could see on the news this morning). The yen is rising, but it wasn’t super strong just before the quake either. Before you stare yourself blind on graphs, take a step back, hit that little button that says 3m or 5y. Get a different perspective and you’ll see how secure, normal, and safe everything really is.

I’m still doing fashion shoots (one must prepare for the summer season), and I’m still booking jobs, planning this spring’s weekend outings to various parts of the country (Saitama look out, I’m on my way to do a tour of your remote mountain shrines this month).

My friends are doing great and we are all supporting each other no matter where we are or what nationality we have or which language we speak in. Oh the wonder of the Internets.

Want to study the tragedy many people are still living through? Sure, just turn on any TV or radio for that. But for the real Japan, ask someone you really trust, on location, to give you are rundown on what they did today. All of it. I’ll bet you a lot of money 99% of the people will tell you this.

I woke up. I took a shower. I checked the news. I had breakfast, I brushed me teeth, I went to work.

And that’s what I call normality. Boring Tokyo. Sorry about that.

Advertisements

31 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Marie said, on March 16, 2011 at 7:46 am

    =^.^=

    Like

  2. Melanie Gray Augustin said, on March 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Thank you very much for this account. It’s a real relief to hear.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 7:03 am

      Thank you Melanie, I am happy if I can bring some relief to all the fear being thrown around in media right now. It’s just not that bad, trust me! (^-^)

      *Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been swamped with work and other communications, so much that I haven’t had time to reply to most comments on the blog. I’ll work harder from now on! I read all your comments as they came in and they all meant a lot to me. I wish I had had more time to reply to all of them, personally and in real time.

      Like

  3. Romain said, on March 16, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Hey you know it’s probably boring for you i admit, but fact is it’s great to know it from someone who live in Tokyo 🙂

    And i’m really glad that your blog is not on a minimum service 😉

    Gambatte JAPAN!!!

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 7:04 am

      Thank you Romain! I appreciate your support! (^O^)/

      *Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been swamped with work and other communications, so much that I haven’t had time to reply to most comments on the blog. I’ll work harder from now on! I read all your comments as they came in and they all meant a lot to me. I wish I had had more time to reply to all of them, personally and in real time.

      Like

  4. Erich Zann said, on March 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Hi,

    Be careful sir, buy a geiger counter for safe you, because all international news says that Tokyo is under radioactive storm and the nuclear plant is near to collapse. But, who lies?

    I thinks international news are liars.

    Good luck & never surrender!

    BANZAI!!!!

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 7:14 am

      Haha… Thanks Erich! Tokyo, and myself, are doing just fine. A little bit of dirt in the water, but nothing we can’t live with! (^-^) Banzai indeed! (^O^)

      *Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been swamped with work and other communications, so much that I haven’t had time to reply to most comments on the blog. I’ll work harder from now on! I read all your comments as they came in and they all meant a lot to me. I wish I had had more time to reply to all of them, personally and in real time.

      Like

  5. Deadfirefly said, on March 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Good to hear some insight news from Tokyo!
    The media here in Germany tells crap all the time… they even stated that the prime minister didnt tell the truth, und that the japanese government is hiding known facts etc. etc.
    It´s a shame how foreign press manages this crisis.
    Right now german politicians are discussing about nuclear power plants and their safety, it´s ridiculous. They are marketing the suffering of the japanese people for their own political targets….and of course the elections which are in not far away.

    Anyway, I´m more than glad to hear that everything is going just fine (although the circumstances are not the best)

    Stand proud Japan, all our hopes are with you, to overcome these cruel times as you done it so many times before in the past.

    Actually I have planned for some months now to move away from my country to japan, and live there. And the current crisis shows me one thing, that it is still the right decision for me.

    Keep up the good work and stay safe!

    My condolescence goes out to all the victims of the tsunami and their families.
    I have great respect for the japanese people and of course the workers at fukushima who risk their life to protect others.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 8:35 am

      Hi! Thanks for the long and good comment! I’m always happy to hear from positive people. Yes, I don’t want to speak ill of anyone but the reaction of the German government has been really puzzling for all of us. Hopefully the German embassy will return to Tokyo soon as well! I’m not a German citizen but…

      *Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been swamped with work and other communications, so much that I haven’t had time to reply to most comments on the blog. I’ll work harder from now on! I read all your comments as they came in and they all meant a lot to me. I wish I had had more time to reply to all of them, personally and in real time.

      Like

  6. kes said, on March 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I think its good to hear that you (and everyone else) is okay.

    As Romain said, It might be boring reporting this, but I do apreciate the news from a living TokyoBling ^^

    So.. as long as you keep reporting thing, We’ll know that you are okay 😀

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

      Haha… as long as I’m posting it means I am still alive! Thanks for encouraging me. Sorry about all the boring posts, I’ll do my best to gradually ease back into normal Tokyobling mode! (^-^)

      *Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been swamped with work and other communications, so much that I haven’t had time to reply to most comments on the blog. I’ll work harder from now on! I read all your comments as they came in and they all meant a lot to me. I wish I had had more time to reply to all of them, personally and in real time.

      Like

  7. pk1154 said, on March 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    It’s good to know that, well, life goes on.

    Been watching the English stream of NHK off and on. Rather boring, compared to the US networks’ breathless coverage of The Nuclear DOOM!

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

      Haha… well, NHK might be boring but they are by FAR the most reliable news source. I have come to rely on them so much lately. Even other Japanese media have come up with misunderstandings, mistakes and weird takes on the whole situation. NHK is the only one consistently being correct!

      http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/index.html

      Like

  8. Slouching Somewhere said, on March 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Glad to hear everything is normal. Man, if I only get my info from CNN and BBC I would start to think that so many people are fleeing Tokyo (that’s what I saw in the news last night and this a.m. Tsk, tsk). Glad to hear from your end that everything is normal in that part of Japan.
    And thanks for continuing to bring on the bling! 🙂

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 8:44 am

      Hi! I wouldn’t bother with that sort of trash media! (^-^) Sure, some foreigners are leaving, but many are staying on as well. I’ll continue to do my best!!!

      Like

  9. vishy said, on March 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    the positive psychology, the difference of Japanese sensibilties are to be commended, I try to learn from that but I should not share my experience, it is too much and nothing like what you are saying(nor even the western media). red cross are not helping my japanese family, who’ve lost house/everything, canada’s med team got scared and left after 1 day those who remain alive, I personally lost many close to me, I try to say nice things to stay sane, like deal with only what one can at the moment, but I cannot really, I should shut up, and only post in reaction and need to express my truth, the beauty is still there in the kind sensitive hearts of my family, so that means that forever changed, they may continue

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 8:57 am

      Vishy, I am sorry to hear about your Japanese family. There are hundreds of thousands of people up north who have lost their homes, but in the rest of the country it is mostly business as usual. It will take a long time before everyone is housed again, I think. That is why I have been so opposed to the nuclear problems hogging the news. The situation in the shelters up north is far more urgent.

      I didn’t hear about the Canadian team leaving, I’d love to see any official news sources about that. If that is true it is really disgraceful.

      There is so much fear and sorrow right now, the best most of us can do is offer support whenever possible, and keep our and the people around us, spirits’ up!

      Like

  10. Timi said, on March 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks for this post, and maybe you think it’s boring, it is not:)if this wouldn’t be the case you wouldn’t feel this boring right? Anyway it’s a relief to hear that the things are not the way the media says, though it’s pathetic that they get money for their lies..well as always, they always did-.-
    Well, smile and be strong, and the spring is coming soon in Japan too, I’m sure:)!

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 8:58 am

      Thank you Timi! Your support is important to me and everyone in Japan! The media is pathetic indeed, all we can do is ignore them as best as possible I guess, and rely on sensible news sources.

      Like

  11. Meg said, on March 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I know that despite all terrible things happening in the vast area of Northeast of Japan, my family lives as usual and no problem is reported from them.
    In the UK, TV and news are all reporting about Fukushima plants, a bit misleading I feel, as I have confident in Japanese government’s report. It’s almost like they would like to see people in chaos. Do you think the evacuation of american & french from Tokyo area necessary? I can’t say for sure.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 9:03 am

      Meg, thanks for the comment. Yes, life goes on as normal for 99% of the Japanese population who wasn’t affected by the disaster. Media is (as you know) all about making money and to do so they need to attract viewers/readers, and that’s best done by chaos and disaster. So, they help the situation on in any way they can. Personally, I don’t comment on individuals choice of leaving or staying, but I think any evacuations outside of the disaster hit areas are a complete waste of money, time and resources. In fact, I think that by evacuating needlessly, they are only making the situation worse for everyone. Both those leaving and those staying. They are also sending signals to the Japanese that they are alone in this, that they are not trusted and not necessary. Also, and what is even worse, what if the Japanese discover that they are doing just fine without all those people who left? They might not be so quick to welcome them back.

      I do hope and trust that people will be more reasonable when the worst of the media frenzy is over though.

      Like

  12. i_enne said, on March 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Thanks so much for this! It’s refreshing to see a 1st hand account of what’s going on. A couple of my friends have cancelled a trip to go to Japan in 4 weeks time.

    I’ve been to Japan 3 times, and I’m always blown away by their pride and respect for everyone and everything.

    Stay strong Japan.

    I’d like to follow you on twitter.

    Mine is i_enne.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 17, 2011 at 12:58 am

      Thanks for the kind comment i_enne! I’d love to have a twitter account, but you know, the name tokyobling is taken by a young gentleman in the US. Maybe someone can ask him politely if he might want to give the name to me as he is not using it much himself lately? I believe he is an airman, so it might be that he is actually on active duty right now, which might explain why he doesn’t have time to tweet so much. (^-^;)

      Like

      • i_enne said, on March 17, 2011 at 3:28 am

        i see, why not set it up as tokyobilng_ or something like that? Add an extra character?

        Just letting you know, heaps of people out there in twitter-land have shared the link to your blog 😀

        Like

        • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 9:05 am

          Thank you! I love to see those links on twitter… I don’t know why, but I feel so honored every time someone tweets or retweets this blog. I think I know why people get addicted to twitter. I’ll think about setting up an official twitter for this blog! (^-^)

          Like

  13. Jay said, on March 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

    thank you for this, knowing everything is still all good.

    definately the media blow everything out proportion to make big $$$$!

    our thoughts and prayers go out to all affected with this disaster.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

      Thanks Jay! Your kind comment is much appreciated!

      Like

  14. Lakilege said, on March 17, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Thanks for the article, an insightful review from an inside man being in Japan. Your blog being one of the few english blog focusing on japan’s culture (other than all the manga/anime blog) i daily visit and enjoy thoroughly.
    I like your redactional skills that make it easy to read. Your present article being non topic of as your usual doing, reading it made me feel recomfort for japan’s future is well handed.
    Great Job.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 28, 2011 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Lakilege! Your kind words make me very happy and bring me a lot of fresh Energy! I’ll do my best and hope to see you back here soon again! (^-^)

      *Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been swamped with work and other communications, so much that I haven’t had time to reply to most comments on the blog. I’ll work harder from now on! I read all your comments as they came in and they all meant a lot to me. I wish I had had more time to reply to all of them, personally and in real time.

      Like

  15. Go Japan! | Sara said, on March 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    […] Källa Det här inlägget postades i Funderingar. Bokmärk permalänken. ← ‘Help Japan’ GillaBli först att gilla denna post. […]

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: