Another day in limbo

5 comments Written on March 17th, 2011     
Filed under: earthquake
Hydi and the kids took the train to Kobe today and the trip went more smoothly than expected. We debated whether it was necessary or not. It probably isn’t. But if you imagine an absolute worst case scenario in which everything possible goes wrong, one can’t completely rule out the possibility of  Tokyo becoming a dangerous place. It would take a catastrophic accident at the Fukushima Power Plant coupled with massive radiation leaks, and then a series of weather patterns that would somehow carry the radiation 200km in a specific direction, and then stop blowing right when they get to Tokyo. And even if all of that did happen no one knows how diluted the radiation would be by the time it got here. But since it’s impossible to completely rule it out one is forced to ask the question, “What if…?” And the scary answer to that question is just ugly. If there was an evacuation order for Tokyo it would be nothing short of mass chaos. The roads would grind to a halt. Train stations would be completely overwhelmed. And in all likelihood the majority of the residents would never get out. That is one traffic jam that Hydi and I didn’t want our kids to experience so she decided to play it safe and bug out.

So what is going to happen? That’s the million dollar question; or perhaps in this case the million “lives” question. And for the first time ever this evening’s news here in Japan was sounding significantly pessimistic. Over and over the news casters explained that the spent fuel rods in reactors 3 and 4 are overheating and if they continue to do so it will result in a huge release of radioactivity. The wording was quite clear. They weren’t using words like maybe or perhaps. The message was that if something doesn’t change fast the meltdown is going to happen.

Now for a tiny bit of good news, less than an hour ago they announced that two specially designed military fire trucks were able to get into the power plant and start spraying water directly on the overheating reactors. It may just be a matter of time, or they may actually be able to get things cooled down. At this point no one seems to know, or if they do they aren’t telling us. So we wait… and believe me, that is a weird feeling. Things are unusually quiet in our neighborhood. And I guess I’m being forced to confront my innermost feelings. To be honest, one of the reasons I love living in Japan is that in all my years here since my birth I cannot remember one single time when I was seriously worried about the well being of myself or my family. When you aren’t used to having those sorts of worries I suppose you become soft. Perhaps that is why the one thing that I dislike the most about living in the U.S. is that in almost every big city there are those places where you simply don’t go if you want to stay safe. And even in the safe neighborhoods you never know what might happen. Of course we have violent crime here too, but I can honestly say that I’ve never feared for my own wellbeing. So I guess that’s what’s causing the uncomfortable feeling in heart. It’s not overwhelming me, but it’s definitely there. And I’m most definitely not used to it.

Now, after all that self indulging and self centered x#0xx#0, the thing that is keeping me focused is the opportunity to have a small part in the relief efforts. There are so many people in Japan who have it so much worse than me right now! The reports we heard from the field today were simply horrifying. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that enormous numbers of people are in dire crisis right now. And the encouraging drop in the bucket is that our people are getting to some of them and making a difference! While I fully appreciate the crucial importance of building a strong network for the many weeks and months of relief efforts that lie ahead, I’m close to my limit of sitting in front of a laptop in a noisy room all day. I am totally itching to get in the car and head north with a load of supplies. I’m hoping that will happen either tomorrow or Saturday, but I think I need to know what is going to happen in Fukushima. The expressway to Tohoku passes within less than 40 miles of the reactors so only a fool would be cavalier.

Lord, whether you use me or not is immaterial. Just please help all those people!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

5 comments “Another day in limbo”


Thank you for articulating much of what I think I’ve been feeling as I wrestle with whether to take Christina to NZ for the next 2 weeks. I think it’s likely we’ll leave in the weekend but a firm decision is not yet made. I agree it’s probably not necessary, but it seems a prudent precaution when the opportunity is there for us.

I trust you and your family stay safe and well throughout this time and that the Lord brings each of us small (or great) ways to make a difference in the lives of all of those hurting people up north.



Report This Comment

Thank you for posting this. It helps us to know how to pray. I’m reading this in Haiti, where we’ve been through our share of things to worry about. We are following your situation with great concern but with the knowledge that God hasn’t forgotten about you.

Report This Comment

“When you aren’t used to having those sorts of worries I suppose you become soft. ” Having lived in Chicago ever since we came to North Park for seminary, and raising a medically fragile kid, I have to say you don’t get used to being worried, although it does kind of wear you out. In other words, you’re not soft, you’re just human. That’s a good thing.

Thanks for your blog! I have been doing nothing but watch the news from Japan all week. I got a phone call from my friends in Maebashi and they are okay, but in shock like you. (I was a short-termer there but you probably don’t remember me) Over the years since then their English and my Japanese have suffered, so it’s great to read your blog. My prayers are with you and all of Japan.

Report This Comment

You have done a wonderful job putting our feelings on paper…. Like you, I could never imagine children not being safe in Japan. I am concerned for the long road after. Post traumatic Stress Syndrome has ABSOLUTELY occurred. I am worried that the Japanese are not equip to handle PTSD. Tokyo English Life Line (I am an alum) can handle this? Somehow, I feel that maybe some of us who grew up there and are in the mental health business, could maybe hook up with TELL and organize and be ready for this?What do you think? Am with you in Spirit, xo Anna

Report This Comment

The minority report here is that a small amount of radiation won’t hurt you! We hear of scavenging for food in the devastated areas. The Japanese people are very resourceful so I expect most will survive. God gave us brains; so after prayer I would plan a way of escape if God leads. We are planning our several ways of escape if we have the big earthquake here in the Seattle area.

Report This Comment

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog