It’s almost 5 years since the Great East Japan earthquake – Fukushima still has a long way to go

From the article:

About 1,000 tanks storing more than 700,000 tons of contaminated water could be seen in the wide spaces in front of buildings accommodating reactors Nos. 1 to 4, where the decontamination and decommissioning work is being conducted.

Within the site, work to remove contaminated surface soil and pave over the scoured ground has been continuing. Thus levels of radiation are generally becoming lower.

In contrast, there are facilities for which decontamination work has not been carried out at all, and vestiges of the accident remained visible in some places.

From an area 35 meters above sea level, where a group of tanks and other facilities are located, I went down a slope by car and approached a building accommodating the No. 4 reactor, which is located at a spot 10 meters above sea level. I saw that the walls still bore black traces of the tsunami that hit the nuclear power plant following the earthquake.

When the car I was in passed by the No. 3 reactor building, where a hydrogen explosion had occurred, a dosimeter indicated 230 microsieverts per hour.

A tolerable annual limit of exposure to radiation for ordinary people in usual times is said to be 1 millisievert (1,000 microsieverts). The figure on the dosimeter means that a person’s exposure level would exceed the limit if they stayed there for about four hours.

The highest radiation dose of any place in the plant is near an air stack, which is about 120 meters tall, near reactors Nos. 1 and 2.

A TEPCO official explained, “In 2013, the radiation dose was estimated to be about 25 sieverts (25 million microsieverts) per hour. Though about five years have passed, no measures have been taken.”

full article:

A walk along Broadway at the start of the new year holidays

Nakano Broadway that is.

I hadn’t been to Nakano for years, but today I needed to go over there for a minor iPad repair. It turns out there is an inexpensive, and very nice and professional repair shop just a 2 minute walk from the south exit of Nakano station. Check out Apple Juice if you need something done on your iPad or iPhone, like fixing a broken lightning connector, changing a battery, fixing a broken screen, etc.

While waiting for it to be done, I walked over to the north side and lots of memories came flooding back to me. I used to come to this area often when I lived in Hounancho. It was very easy to get to on my moped.

I walked through the “Sun Mall” to the end, into what is called Nakano Broadway. There I checked out some used computer shops to see what the going rates were for used iPads. I was surprised to find that for the iPad Air and iPad Air 2 the used rates were only about ¥5,000 yen ($80) different from the new prices straight from Apple. I guess iPads really hold their value!

I really like the Sun Mall and Nakano Broadway. It’s not the most modern, nor the most “chic” of shopping centers in Tokyo. But I think it probably has the most variety you can find anywhere. Hundreds of tiny shops selling everything you can imagine: all kinds of food, clothes, accessories, electronics, medicines, anime items, cell phones – even a clutter of antique stores! You can even stay overnight if you get stuck and miss the last train because there is a capsule hotel right in the mall! It was at Nakano Broadway that I bought that old Edison wax cylinder a long time ago.

Anyway, I really like the feel of that place. The old lady in the information booth is a real character, and loves explaining where to find what you are looking for. And you really need someone like her because the whole place is multi-floor maze of shops you can easily get lost in.

But it’s a nice place to get lost in. It has a bustle and good feeling of an older Tokyo right in the middle of new Tokyo. There were even two drunk young guys (obviously starting the New Year holidays early) sprawled on the floor, apologizing as little old ladies stepped around them while laughing at them. But it was all in good fun. Everybody was having a good time.

The weather today is also beautiful. It was a great start to the week long New Year holidays. Very nice to get out of the house.



Deliveries in Japan

I think delivery services in Japan are overall much better than they are in the U.S. Like not even close.

For ordinary mail left at the post office you can count on your mail being delivered the next day within Tokyo.

And the various express delivery services are pretty amazing.

And why did I think of this all of a sudden?

I placed an order at Uniqlo over the weekend and got email overnight saying it had been shipped.

It included a link to the particular delivery service they chose (Yamato). I clicked on the link and could see a trail of where it’s been and where it’s currently at. Also I had requested a morning delivery time.

That’s not unusual I guess compared with FedEx in the U.S. But it goes one step further. The online information not only tells me it is already out for delivery, it also gives me the driver’s cell phone number! I was able to call him and he let me know it would be delivered within the hour, so I know I should wait and hold off on some errands until afterwards.

My friends in St. Louis are often complaining about packages just being left (and sometimes missing), and not even requiring a signature. Here they always require a signature. And if you happen not to be there the re-delivery system is automated and usually you can get it redelivered the same day if you happen to be out.

Are there any delivery services in the U.S. which give you the driver’s phone number like this, so you can check on the delivery and personally adjust the time to work around your morning schedule?