We ran for most of the night into the Kumano woods taking short breaks as we went. We managed to stray from the path somewhere along the line, but it’s easy enough the trees aren’t too close to each other, so we were able to keep up a reasonable pace. As day started to break, we found a small cave beneath a boulder and decided to take refuge there for a little while. Alex kept watch by the mouth of the cave while the rest of us slept. Taro and I also had shorter shifts watching with the baseball bat in hand. I could feel my nerves standing on end as I watched the sun peering down on the cave from above the trees. I jumped at the slightest noise, and I wondered if that feeling of fight or flight that I was in was how the infected perpetually felt. The manic terror in their eyes certainly seems like an exaggerated version of the feeling I had watching the cave’s entrance.Cave2

It’s hard to say how much everyone slept. We didn’t have sleeping bags, and used our bags as pillows. Although it was a little cold, we huddled together as we slept and thankfully winter has for the most part rolled into spring.

I suggested making a fire in the cave, but Alex pointed out that the smoke would be too great in the enclosed area. Instead we ate some dried sweet potatoes and had a little of the limited water we had brought. Risa was surprisingly calm, but I worry about her. She cried a little as we sat in the dim light, but I don’t think she realised just how much danger we had been in.

I’m writing this as we get ready to leave and will post it once I regain reception. In the forest, I get reception from time to time, but it’s limited. I’m so glad we had the foresight to put the USB battery chargers in the backpacks, but they won’t last forever. We’re trying to use the smartphones sparingly, so it’s difficult to keep on the limited news from outside.

However, from what I’ve seen the news cycle seems to have moved away from the situation in Japan in favour of the latest presidential scandal or stupid tweet sent out. I guess I always knew that the attention span of the new organisations and public was short, and that big problems in the world went underreported in favour of responses to soundbite sized stories, but it still surprises me. The news of the nuclear disaster in Japan disappeared quickly after it happened, and even then it was always hard to know what was true and what was speculation or complete falsehoods. The stories by the Japanese media were always so different to what other countries reported, and I feel like this is a similar situation. The news at the beginning was different, and now for the most part it’s all dried up. I still have no idea what is happening, and am back to only being able to think about our immediate safety.

 

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