#JPQuake 2011-03-15

Everyday seems to be a major event. The M8.9 earthquake in Sendai has changed life throughout Japan. I am only reporting on my own experiences. As I walked around the neighborhood I started to sense we are returning to normalcy. The panic buying seems to be subsiding and stores are showing signs they will catch up within the next couple days.

The local Yamada Denki was quiet, both because the panic buyers had dissipated , but also because the TV sets were turned off in order to comply with voluntary power rationing.

Food One also seemed a little quieter. Bread and rice were still sold out. Various meats seem to be readily available. Snack aisles were full (except for our favorite rice crackers or sembei). I did grab the last 3 boxes of Black brand chocolate from Meiji. I have stocked up on chocolate, and now I remember why I stopped–the more I buy the faster they eat. THEY include wife and kids. In the future, when I do stock up on such items, I am pretty sure I need to hide them.

I also stopped by the bank in Yokohama Station to get some money. It felt strangely quiet. It was a weekday, and I usually get there on a weekend. About half the shops were closed. Yodobashi Camera was open and busy, mostly continued panic buying of emergency supplies like batteries, lights, and radios. And most of that, I suspect, was sold out. I was hoping I might snag a desktop UPS, but I knew immediately those would be impossible to find. We might not find those in supply for several months.

None are more affected than the immediate victims near the quake. Many are homeless living in emergency shelters. Health care workers are stretched. Getting adequate food and water to the victims remains difficult. Despite the worldwide attention on the reactor shutdown failures in Fukushima, the immediate humanitarian crisis is more severe. Please consider donating to your favorite charity: Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Salvation Army, as appropriate.

We experienced another tremor this evening, while I was in the shower. This one was upgraded to M6.4 in Shizuoka, on the other side of Tokyo from Sendai. NHK has been reporting there was a 70% probability of an M7.0 aftershock within 3-4 days, later downgraded to 40%. We are hoping this was the predicted aftershock, but we need to wait for the experts to sort this one out.

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