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I've been reading Underground by Haruki Murakami. It's a work of non-fiction about the 1995 Tokyo Sarin Attack. Murakami interviewed people who were vicitms and members of the cult that perpetrated the attack and compiled them into a very compelling read.

The attacks occurred well before I came to Japan and I never really learned much about what had happened. Needless to say, my eyes are opened. A dozen people died and five thousand were injured by the poisonous nerve gas released on five trains during rush hour. The subway lines and many of the stations involved are on my daily routes around town.

Riding the subway the past few days and thinking about what happened seven years ago, I've been more aware of how vulnerable we all are to terrorism even here in this relatively safe country. You might think those musings are a little late, considering all the press that terrorism has been getting in the past ten months. Maybe so, but reading about the attacks from the view of individuals has given me new things to think about.

One big point is that it's not entirely wise to rely on agencies and services to save you in a crisis. Not that you can be prepared for every possible situation, but a broad knowledge of how to handle various disaster scenarios is probably good preparation. I realise that I lack a great deal of that knowledge. For example, I don't even know precisely where the nearest hospital is...

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