Like most of the world, I spent a lot of time on the weekend just shocked at the amount of damage done and the number of lives lost in Japan. My thoughts and prayers are with all affected.
I seriously can’t fathom how they will rebuild the many towns lost. It just seems like too large a challenge. Surely there must be a number of small communities or small towns that no-one has accounted for yet? *sigh*
And then my heart sank even further when I heard that after the earthquake, then the tsunami, that there are problems with their nuclear reactors too! What else can go wrong at once! Why did they build nuclear reactors on land where there would be a high percentage of earthquakes?
And why is 2011 starting so badly? The cyclones in Australia, bushfires in Perth, flooding and cyclones in Queensland, earthquake in Christchurch and now this.
And to add to the bad timing or coincidence – last night, Wifey and I just watched the West Wing Season 7 episode last night where the San Andreo nuclear plant nearly had a meltdown.
Today I stumbled across this blog post by Dr J Oehman, a research scientist at MIT, describing the nuclear reactor situation in the most clear way I have read yet. It’s definitely worth a read.
We were fortunate enough to have a 2 week holiday in Japan recently. It was the most amazing experience for our family, and I know I haven’t blogged much about it yet, but plan to (life has just been too busy lately!)
Looking back, when travelling with a wife and 2 daughters, there are just sacrifices that have to be made.
Take Akihabara for example. We are up to Day 13 of our holiday. Here I am, a computer geek, in Tokyo, in Akihabara – the “Electric City” – basically blocks of multi-storey shopping centres filled with computer, electronic and hi-fi shops. It’s finally my turn – this is the place “I” want to go to. Total paradise right?
Not when you have 3 females dragging along with you. We get out at the train station, I’m just overwhelmed. They look at me with the “OK, where do YOU want to go now?”.
At first I think in my head, “I don’t know! I just want to spend the next month walking through every shop here browsing!”
But then reality hits me, I unfold the large map we picked up and make a quick decision, “We’ll just walk down this main street on one side, then back up the other I guess, then head to the train station.”
But then the girls find some trinket shop where they get stuck. Great! I’ll quickly run down one of these side alleys, but without mobile phones to contact each other, I can’t get far.
I remember my friend in Perth saying he found a shop that sold really cheap new and second hand computer audio equipment. I’m excited about trying to find it. But just looking at the number of little electronic shops, I wouldn’t know where to start. There’s ones that sell just home made speaker kits, ones that sell wires and connectors only, ones that sell GPS’s only *sigh*.
And then we pass a couple of maid cafes. And spruikers for maid cafes. If the kids and wifey weren’t with me, I’d be sipping coffee and having crepes in one, pretending to be a master, attempting to communicate with my slave maid in broken Japanese, maybe re-enacting some scene from Final Fantasy 12. But my wife gives me that look, says “That’s just weird, we’re NOT going in there”, and pulls me along 🙂
The kids start complaining that they’re hungry. We spot a McDonald’s, so I convince wifey to go with Miss 9 and Miss 10 (now Miss 11) to buy some chips while I sneak in 5 minutes of browsing the latest laptops and mobile phones at another shop.
That’s about it.
We eventually make our way to the train station and disappear off to Ginza.
I make a mental note to come back here without wifey or kids in the future.
Luckily at Ginza, I convinced wifey to split so I can visit the Sony showroom by myself. But by the time we figure out which exit to take out of the Ginza train station, I have about 20 minutes to browse the many floors and exhibits it has before it shut. I try out some the 3D TV sets, which we now have demos of in Perth anyway.
Just wait till you hear how much time we spent in toy shops!
But then again, maybe I can’t complain – Wifey didn’t get much or any time to browse clothes shops either 😉