Observations on power conservation & food shortages

Rolling blackout are in effect throughout Kanto but there are so many individuals and businesses trying to conserve energy that only one of the 7 planned outages happened today. Who know about tomorrow, but let me tell you what I saw (and Tod told me about) around in Tokyo today.

Train companies reduced services drastically. No promises made on schedules and the subway lines no longer directly connect to the commuter lines (since the commuter lines are not running all of their trains). It is fascinating to realise that this can even happen - where are they putting all the extra rolling stock and how do they cut apart a schedule that usually runs like clockwork? On my way across town at lunchtime, I checked the online train schedule to see what my ideal route would be  - the trains it said I would want to catch were right there waiting for me. So maybe the schedule isn't too messed up after all.

In the Metro stations, all the elevators were powered off. Whether this was a conservation method or for safety, I'm not sure. They have also turn off the heating/cooling on the trains. I didn't really notice a big difference today.

Convenience stores are keeping their brightly lit store signs off.

In Tod's office, the lights are set to "night mode" - dimmed in the halls and toilets.

Pachinko parlors in Kanda were running without neon, interior lighting or aircon.

Ramla shopping center in Iidabashi was opening an hour late and closing three hours early.

Miuriya supermarket had turned off its cold case and freezer lights and was not running air conditioning in the store.

Lots of small shops were closed, with notes of apology on their shuttered doors.

Even in our notoriously unresponsive apartment building, only half the lobby lights were switched on today.

On the food situation

Tod's favorite sushi shop told him that there didn't know when they'd get more fish after today. And they are having a half price maguro special on Thursday.

Hanamasa wholesale food store in Iidabashi was sold out of milk, yogurt and flour among other things. They still had some eggs, butter and meat/fish. Stocks of produce were dwindling.

Miuriya had signs up saying no more shipments of produce from tomorrow. There was someone stocking one lonely case of 500ml milk cartons - the only milk I've seen in three days.

People are definitely hording and buying defensively. I saw a woman with a shopping basket full of random baked goods - cinnamon rolls, sweet steamed buns, anpan. A man at Hanamasa had a cooler filled with pints of cream; he might have been working in a restaurant, but regardless, he had cleared out the stock of cream in the store. People seem to buy whatever they can, even if it isn't quite what they wanted. Instead of rice, one older lady had four packets of the grains you mix with rice.

I've eaten out once a day since the earthquake. So far, no shortages. The Indian restaurant where I got a takeaway curry for lunch was only offering a buffet for sit-down customers. It won't be long before we see some interesting specials made with the random ingredients still on hand.


Hey Kristen,
Have you been to koganei-shi? Could you tell me how things are there? I have a friend there. I heard about your blog from my grandma, Betty Lopez-parrot, my grandma is cousins with your mom frances. So, I guess were distant cousins.
I am an actor, so you can check out my blog as well.

It is nice to meet you too, cousin Kristen. Thanks for the update on koganei. I was really worried. Now I know where to find out how things are really going on in japan. If the nuclear plant does explode will the radiation affect Tokyo???

Good to know you guys are well. I've got another friend living in Tokyo. He and his family are well too. It looks like the coming days will be a challenge for all there. Be well and take care!

I am finding the trains are working well, on time and not crowded. It is a pleasant change to move around the city so quickly and easily if a tad surreal.

I took a long walk today via Meiji Jingu in a direction I don't normally take. It was pleasant just to walk around the gardens and let the wind clear all thoughts of fall-out, earthquakes and tragedy and allowed me to focus on my son's even breaths as he slept in the carrier strapped to my chest.

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  • Kristen: It's quite amazing how resilient the city's infrastructure is. read more
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  • Ryan Satterfield : It is nice to meet you too, cousin Kristen. Thanks read more
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