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A Quick Note from Kyoto

Written on March 14, 2011

During this time of tragedy, with multiple, widespread disasters happening simultaneously in north east Japan, it is hard to truly figure out what is going to happen next, and what on-the-ground risks are.

I’m grateful to be in Kyoto, which is about 425 miles or more than 600 kilometers south west from the disaster area at Sendai.

Kyoto is operating in a business-as-usual mode, however in scratching the surface and talking  to people and you’ll find that we are all terribly sad, worried, and wondering what’s coming next.   The feeling of compassion for all those suffering in the north is palpable in the conversations with all those in Kyoto, even though all of those I spoke to feel that we are at a safe distance from the center of things.

I’ve been obsessed with news here, trying to figure out who is reporting accurately, and who is spinning.  And should I be staying here or leaving early

On WNYC’s Brian Lerher show yesterday, Neal Todreas, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT had this to say (please listen to his broadcast).

While on NPR’s All Thing Considered, science reporter Nell Greenfieldboyce reported these two segments: here and here.

Anyone with some insight or with some relevant news, please feel free to post it in the comments section below, and add a link to the direct source if you can.

Also, Japan Post has temporarily–or indefinitely–suspended shipping Express Mail abroad, a rather stiff crimp while on a buying trip, but nothing compared to the primal tragedies being suffered by those in Japan’s disaster area.



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  1. Comment by inge:

    Our thoughts are with you and the people in Japan. We hope you will find the strengh getting through this difficult period to come.

    March 15, 2011 @ 2:48 am

  2. Comment by Valerianna Claff:

    Hope you continue to be safe. I have a site that might be helpful, though they are saying that they might not be getting accurate accounts from the Japanese gov. Anyway, its a resource, and might provide some links to other useful updates. They are an environmental organization, so it also might have a bit of spin, who knows:

    March 15, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  3. Comment by Rachel Biel:

    I’m so glad to know that you are far from the disaster area. It’s weird to look at all of those beautiful images of flowers and Japanese traditional architecture juxtaposed with the horror of the videos we have been watching of everything getting wiped away.

    I just posted a call for comfort quilts coming from the editor of a Japanese quilt magazine based in Tokyo: http://fiberfocus.blogspot.com/2011/03/comfort-quilts-requested-for-japan.html

    Perhaps some of your readers would also like to join in this effort.

    Be well, Stephen! I pray that no further earthquakes add to the mess and that the nuclear reactors are shut down without more trouble. It’s all so heartbreaking.

    March 18, 2011 @ 12:06 pm