My Relatives in Japan
Kid Reporter talks to her grandparents and uncle after earthquake.
“I haven’t slept well since Friday, but I am grateful that everyone in my family is fine and I have a roof over my head,” my 74-year-old grandmother told me by phone this week. She lives in Yokohama, Japan. “I can’t bear to watch the television; devastation in northeastern Japan is unimaginable. So many people just washed away by the tsunami. My heart bleeds for them and their families.”
Yokohama and the nation’s capital of Tokyo are in the Kantou area, which now has scheduled blackouts to conserve energy. In the Yokohama area where my family lives, their scheduled blackout means four to five hours without electricity each day.
Subways and trains in Tokyo and Yokohama are affected by the blackout. Many lines have been suspended. As a result, my uncle now spends two to three hours each way to get to and from work. My aunt spends two hours walking to work every day.
“It is nothing, compared to what is going on at the Fukushima nuclear plant and the disaster area,” my uncle Masa told me. “I am very afraid of what is going to happen next.”
Uncle Massa has prepared “go bags” for his family, complete with energy bars, water, and passports.
There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty for residents in Kantou area. Gas stations have long lines at the pumps. Foods and daily products in supermarkets are scarce. The fear of radiation is spreading very fast after a leak was detected in Tokyo, 150 miles (240 kilometers) to the south from the Fukushima power plant. The discovery triggered a food, water, and gasoline buying panic.
“I try very hard to keep my children to feel safe and stay positive,” Uncle Massa said. “I am aware of the danger of the power plant, but at this point, but there is nothing I can do to change it. I try to bring them back to normal.”
My two cousins, who are ages 10 and 5, have been back in school since Monday, March 14. My grandfather Shujiro told me that as he felt an aftershock, “Everything will be okay, there are people working very hard. They are a godsend.”
PHOTO: Instant noodles have disappeared from supermarkets in Japan. (Photo by
Masa Ikeda, Yokohama, Japan)