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Monday, 16 May 2011

May 17th 2011

Everything becomes clear, later. Just as a syllabus is never what we expect or plan. It unfolds into a map of its own -one we didn't originally design however hard we tried- it has taken on its own contours and even destination as we sidetrack or digress - as necessity and needs demand. It is only comprehensible when it is complete. In retrospect.

So it has been since the quake. What happened is so much clearer now. How the prime minister visited the nuclear plant the day after and that is why the steam was not released till later; how TEPCO "company loyalty" pledge demanded secrecy from the onset ; how outside help was rejected at first when it was so needed for fear of divulging certain trade secrets and more. Workers everywhere worked so hard, important roads rebuilt in days and weeks, everyone moving as one to support and encourage each other. Everyone that is except the people right at the top in charge, the ones who also move as a (separate) group. The group with gloves on, who do not get their hands dirty and who have the means to protect themselves from health hazards because they alone know the truth.We should have known of course. Nothing is what it seems at first.

Right now, it is not helpful for us as a family to focus on what went wrong and how things should have been. There are more immediate concerns.The nuclear chain reaction has begun. Low level cesium was found in tap water in Sendai. All products from the area that are grown in soil could also be and are almost certainly affected.People who are clued up and have money are buying imported foods only and drinking and cooking with only bottled water from far south or north or from nearby Asian countries.This is very expensive, and ruins of course one of the pleasures of life here..Japanese food.

It takes some years for these kind of low level poisons to affect a person. But cesium has a lifespan of 30 years, it makes you wonder what will happen to farming in Miyagi and how many people will begin to migrate from here.

Most people appear to be unaware. Or choosing to ignore. In the supermarkets Miyagi products have signs that read "Ganbare Sendai" which stuck right on the product like this translates as "Buy local".

While it may seem we are privileged as a family to have various escape hatch buttons that most residents here do not have, in fact it is extremely difficult to leave a place that we have lived so long. I did grad school here, had kids here...but more than that now I have X absolutely refusing to leave Sendai.

This makes planning anything so complicated. It continues to be a constant battle with decisions and choices and stress. The daily aftershocks are no longer scaring me as much as they were. The longterm future here is.