Thursday, April 21, 2011

The aftermath final part

Well, I think that I will finish my Japan disaster experience story with this post. I think I wrote pretty much everything worth telling. I wish to have the ability to explain myself better because there are so many feelings and reactions surrounding me that I don't know how to write, but well, I hope I keep up with the blog and some day I will be able to write everything down. Right now I'm re-writing this sentence for the 3rd time, since I was planning to upload it since long time now, but well... there is always something else to do... I think that is one of the reasons why I stopped writing before. Anyway, let's continue.

I woke up pretty early the next day (Friday 18), and I found out that there was no light. Apparently there was a scheduled black out, but I didn't know. So I got up, changed, brush my teeth, and went to my city's ward office to update my baby's documents. I was a little scared that maybe the ward office was closed because of the black out, but when I arrived I found out that despite no electricity (and the whole building being super dark) they were open and working! Of course they were only giving and doing documents that they could do by hand, the old way. I asked the lady about my document and with a big smile she did it right away. I was amazed, again, by the Japanese. I got my documents and went to pay the bills and the rent in case we decided to travel. After finishing all the things I parked my car and went to get my baby's passport in Tokyo.

The Costa Rican embassy in Tokyo is in a place called Nishi-Azabu that is in a very famous area (Roppongi) for it's night life (I used to go a lot in my first year here). The subway station is under a very nice place called Roppongi Hills, where you can find a lot of cool places. One of these cool places is the Mori Tower. It is a 54-story building that has a hotel, cinema, mall, restaurants, etc. Not only the building is cool, but all the design around it is very nice (at least for me). Anyway, that day I thought that this area was going to be deserted (normally is a very active area), but I felt as if it was like any other day.
Mori Tower, I like it soooo much! (It was the first place I visited in Tokyo actually!)
Around 10am in Roppongi

While walking I realized that as part of the energy saving strategy, all the vending machines were turned off! I was very impressed, because Japan is very famous for having an enormous amount of vending machines all over the place. Sometimes they have 10 vending machines one next to the other, with the same types of drinks! They have vending machines for cigarettes, beer and sake, and even panties, yes woman panties!!! There are so many that I can even write a book about it and still don't cover all of them.  I started to think how much energy are they saving just by turning off this vending machines that basically no one use ( a friend of mine told me that the energy consumption of the vending machines all over Japan is about 42 Trillion kW-h!!!! ) So I think this is one of the reasons why, at the end, they didn't do that many black outs. I arrived to the embassy, did all the documents very fast, drank Costa Rican coffee, and talk for a while with the consul. Then went back and stopped to take some pictures.

I wanted to eat in this restaurant, but was closed for the afternoon... :( but I like the signs they had!
The Hair Designers Salons in Japan are funny
In roppongi HIlls

In the Mori Tower there is a sky deck in the 54th floor (It is very nice, specially at night) and I got curious if it was open or not - with all the after shocks happening-. I thought it was closed, but no, It was opened! :o I thought who would like to go up there with all this earthquakes happening, but many people were going up! wow, I still cannot believe it.

It was really opened!! :O

After having a late lunch I got in the train to Tokyo station, but decided to go out in Ginza to walk from there. I was on a mission to see if Tokyo's Pachinko ( were opened (like the ones in Chiba). I was sure that the infamous Pachinko places were open, despite the energy savings. --- Money, Gambling, Addiction --- bad combination. It had being very long time for me to walk around this area, so I was very amazed by the view. I found many interesting things along the way, I re-discovered many other places I used to come see, it was like going back in time, just now there was less noise than before. It's amazing how different Tokyo is when not all the signs and lights are turned on, I hope they keep it like this after all this mess finishes... is waaaaaayyyyy better I think.

A monk walking, very, very slowly, the streets of Ginza
Strange Building in Ginza
This is how I looked like that they. Funny thing is my bags were full of Pampers!

Finally I found one Pachinko, and it looked closed, so I was surprised, but as I got closer a guy entered the place and all the noise and smoke came out the opened doors... I was sad and annoyed, how come this places were opened in this emergency times!!! I guess it has something to do with the Mafias... but well. A friend of mine told me that when the big earthquake happened, she was near one this places and the people didn't even blink and kept playing as if nothing had happened!

Pachinko near Yurakucho Station.

I saw many other interesting things along my way, it was quite refreshing to walk again in Tokyo. It took me back 5 years when I didn't know any Japanese at all, and couldn't read any sign in the street. I was happy, because despite of all the mess that had happened things were going back to normal little by little. This way we can think more about the real victims of this earthquake up in the north and the people working to keep the Nuclear Plant from making a bigger mess.

I reached Tokyo station and got in the bullet train headed to Osaka, where my wife and daughter were expecting me. In the following days, we decided to go to Egypt because Noran didn't want to go back to Chiba with all the aftershocks happening. So I made the final arrangements for my baby's visa and left for holidays. I was thnking not to go, but well is the first time for Noran to travel with a baby, she was 2 months old, and the trip was of 21 hours! So of course there was no discussion about it I was going as well, but for less time than them. I was very happy because I was going to Egypt again (I love that country it's very interesting in many ways and I will talk about later here), but somehow I felt guilty to leave Japan and not doing something to help the people in trouble. I thought when I go back I will surely do something to help, but somehow I got trapped in this crazy Ph.D. (write a paper here, send a paper there, review this paper, finish the data analysis program, make a new socket for the robot hand, etc... the list is very long and I have just 6 months left!). I wanted to go as a volunteer to the affected areas in the north, but that means I will have to leave for a week, which right now is not possible for me. Anyway, I will continue to search for some spare time to help a little maybe in this Golden Week, at least asking for money in the stations! :)

On My way back I got lucky and managed to see Mount Fuji! :) I love Mount Fuji! I love Japan!

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