Just a quick update: I haven’t had a lot of time to check the news, but we got let out of school early today. Apparently the company that makes the school lunches couldn’t get together enough food for the day. It seems like it was quite unexpected, so I guess that’s not a good sign. The schools have said they are open tomorrow, but school lunch won’t be provided, so the student will have to bring it themselves. I don’t really know why they can’t just close the school if it really is that much of a problem. I doubt a lot of students will show up anyway though.

I went back to the supermarket and it’s worse than yesterday. The shelves are getting pretty bare and the lines are crazy. They’ve started limiting some products, but that seems to be having a somewhat adverse effect. Everyone is pretty confused by it all, and you can tell that some people’s nerves are getting frayed. The school lunch cancellation was a wake up call. It’s amazing that only two days ago the shops had the normal quiet and orderly lines, without any small talk, and now people are actually arguing with the supermarket workers. A lot of the customers are visibly stressed and in a hurry to get home.

I got what I could in terms of canned goods. Luckily, a lot of the kidney beans, corn and green curry that I go for aren’t the first thing most people go for. It was crazy watching crowds snatching cup ramen from the shelves though. There were several times when I was sure they were close to exchanging blows.

The news hasn’t been much help, but I haven’t heard any mention of the ban being lifted. Instead there seems to be more emphasis on urging people not to panic and try to go about their daily routines. There was also a bit of footage from Osaka and Tokyo. It seems a lot worse up there. Living down in Wakayama makes it difficult to really get a feel for what’s happening in the bigger cities, but I’ll take arguing over cup ramen over the fistfights they showed on the news any day. Don’t get me wrong though, all things considered I’d say that people are handling things surprisingly well.

Hard to know how people are really feeling about it all. I’m sure it’ll be one of those things that just blow over, but it is a pretty serious measure to take. At the moment, my feeling is that it isn’t about immigration or some sort of conservative agenda. I just don’t think that stacks up. I’ve read few articles about it possibly being related to the Fukushima disaster. Going to the extreme of banning people from entering and leaving a country takes something pretty serious, and a nuclear power plant being totalled by an earthquake and tsunami would have to be up there. No proof and I don’t want to push that idea too much, but I have a feeling it must be related in some way.

Even with all this going on though, Hirogawa continues to be an awesome place to live and I’m doing alright. The top photo is from my apartment this evening.


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