Saturday, March 19, 2011

Disaster in Japan part 3

I'm riding the Shinkansen (bullet train) heading to Osaka to join my wife and daughter, who are staying in a friends house. Why did we go to Osaka?... well this post will give you a hint of the answer. So many things happened to me that I will have to write faster before I forget :p

...Any ways lets continue with my story. The story stopped after the big earthquake happend and the we started to watch the news, so...

Aftershocks were hitting like every 10mins. Noran (my wife) was telling me that she was as stressed as when she was having the contractions when delivering: One happens and before you can relax another comes! hehe. They were quite strong, but like the normal tremors we feel from time to time in Japan or Costa Rica, so I was OK. A friend of ours (Fran, the Nuclear Physicist) came to our place, and together we were trying to make Noran feel more at ease, but after we managed to calm her down another after shock came! :s

The baby was happy and laughing from time to time, so that made us take our minds away from the situation. The news of the tsunami were horrible, it looked like as if it was a nightmare (well I guess everyone reading this now have seen the destruction), I was just hoping to wake up from a very bad dream. No one knew what was really happening with the nuclear plant, just that everything had failed after the earthquake and tsunami, and that the coolant system of 3 reactors wasn't working ! In the news they didn't know what to say because they really didn't know what was happening except that the system in 3 reactors had failed. Now, the news at this time were only in Japanese so I understood just like the 80% of what was happening. In 2007 Japan had another nuclear plant accident due to a strong earthquake in Niigata, and even some radioactive material was spilled (same company TEPCO), so I was positive that they will fix it fast.

 <<ohh I'm almost there, I should have started writing before... hehe>>

----- some pictures of the effects of the earthquake in the city of Makuhari, thanks to Diana for the pictures.

Pictures of Liquefaction phenomenon. This area used to be sea, but they now is a beautiful city. All around this reclaimed land you can observe pots of this sand. This picture was taken 2 days after the earthquake so the sand was already dry.  Thanks to my friend Diana for the pictures.   

 check this link for more information on liquefaction phenomena :

Look at how the level of the ground changed! Thanks Diana for the picture.

The cross of St. Ignatius church near Yotsuya Station (Tokyo). Thanks Diana

<<Ok I'm back and finished other things I had to do and will continue>>

After midnight we decided to start going to bed (when we go to sleep or not is determined by our baby these days( normaly at 2am! :s).  Noran was still super worried of another big earthquake, but she managed to sleep. Of course she didn't sleep well at all because every time an aftershock happened, she woke up and was ready to run! I tried to calm her down until she slept again, but soon after another tremor came. So of course almost no sleep. Next morning, Saturday 12, I saw that the situation in the Nuclear Plant had escalated a little, but there wasn't much information about it. They were saying that the pressure was building up inside the reactor in unit 1 due to the heat. Since the cooling system failed because got flooded by the tsunami, the reactor core was heating up. They will start releasing pressure little by little. Suddenly, an explosion was reported in Unit 1. Internet got flooded with messages about radioactive contamination in all Japan and people start saying that it was a situation like Chernobyl. News all over the world started shifting completely from the tsunami to the nuclear emergency (I guess that a possible nuclear meltdown sells more). At the end they found out that the explosion was cause by hydrogen formed in the outer building. I started to think about possible outcomes and what I should do accordingly. I was reading as much information I could get.

The aftershocks were still coming hard and Noran was still nervous. We stayed home all day watching the news and answering mails from family and friends. The day passed quite slow and by night we started noticing that Noran's shock to the big earthquake was affecting her production of breast milk. I tried to comfort her and she was trying to calm down on her own, but the after shocks were not helping, and from time to time she told me that there was a strange feeling inside of her and wasn't able to control it. Sunday was a similar day, but our friend Rocio arrived to Japan after a holiday trip. Her plane was almost landing when the earthquake started, so they were circling Narita airport for long time until they had to go to Nagoya airport (they ended up in Korea for some strange reason). Her story is very interesting, she should write it for sure. That night was also very difficult for Noran, although the frequency of the tremors was less than before.

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