March 28, Monday

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The BLOGGER is hard to format since yesterday,
sorry if this might not look as usual.


rolling blackout -
these icecubes must look

The rolling blackouts in the Kanto area bring a lot of problems. Last night on TV was a report about a small company that makes "beautiful ice" to be delivered to bars as ice cubes for whiskey and other drinks. They need 24 hours of constant electricity to make large bars of shining clean ice. If a blackout occurs during this time, they have to start all over again and hope for the best.

I have written about the preparation of "beautiful ice" for the Shogun in Edo.

. Cutting ice for the Shogun .   

This story about the clean ice reminds me of an old joke we told in Germany.

A playboy staggers through the desert,
desperately looking for something to drink.
He mumbles to himself
"Champagne, Champagne". (Sekt, Sekt).

On the other hand, many bars in the Ginza are now closed anyway, because people tend to go home earlier to catch the few trains that are still running. Even taxi drivers feel the pinch - no late customers any more.
People have to carry flashlights to find their way home from the station in the evening.


Gabi reports:

Not much change from yesterday:
. Daily Radiation Levels  

Frost, frost frost again.
Minus 3 centigrade, all is white with frost outside.

And great worries about the radiation situation in Fukushima. Some universities have backdated the start of the new semesters for one month later, but others keep the schedules, especially if there are many students from foreign contries to come. All have made their plans and want to go on with life. This situation seems quite unclear right now.

. . . . . at 7:24
Earthquake M 6.5, off the coast of Miyagi
It was felt all the way south to Aichi prefecture, Nagoya.
There was a tsunami warning, but nothing happened.
Since March 11, there have been about 60 quakes with a magnitude of 6 or stronger in Kanto and Tohoku.

More people living around the Fukushima power plant have returned to their homes, to look after pets or grab some luggage. But whith the situation at the power plant still not under control, they are really advised not to go there.

Many pregnant women and mothers with babies are leaving Kanto and head to Kansai. Osaka is having problems whith hospital beds and doctors to care for the additional people. Still, Osaka will take much more of the evacuated persons in the near future.

The nuclear policy of Japan has come under discussion.

. Nuclear policy of Japan .

. . . . .

Toyota company is starting production in some of its facilities in Kansai for the hybrid cars.

The post is now starting to deliver again in most parts of Tohoku, but not within the zone of radiation danger in Fukushima.
They have problems finding people in the shelters, though.

And within all this trouble, the cherry blossoms have started blooming in Tokyo.
It is still very cold in the mornings, though, so this is six days later than usual.
But will we see all the merrymaking and drinking this year?
Or a more somber hanami concentrating on the falling of the petals?
We try to go to our castle park, but that is a bit later in the season.

We see features of American soldiers helping in the disaster zones.
They are well liked and try their best to help the peoople, yet the problem of the bases in Okinawa is a different matter.


source : Kyoko Shibata, facebook

Today's greatest story from an afflicted village:
A senior lady took part in the interview and said
"This time the earthquake happened in our regions is called the world's worst earthquake. Then, let's show our world's best effort!! We're talking to each other that way..."
She was smiling.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Sunday, March 27, 2011 19:04 (last night)
Edano: Nuke fuel may have been damaged at reactor

Japan's top government spokesman says there is a possibility that various substances have leaked from the damaged nuclear fuel rods at the Number 2 reactor of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano was responding to a report on Sunday that 10 million times the normal level of radioactivity had been detected in water from the basement of the reactor's turbine building.
He said it is not known how much damage to the nuclear fuel occurred when the reactor's cooling system was not functioning. He also said the task of removing the highly irradiated water from the turbine building will take some time, as the safety of workers has to be secured.
Edano added that monitoring is being carried out to detect the possible contamination of soil by toxic plutonium at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 22:02 (late last night)
TEPCO retracts radioactivity test result

Tokyo Electric Power Company has retracted its announcement that 10 million times the normal density of radioactive materials had been detected in water at the Number 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The utility says it will conduct another test of the leaked water at the reactor's turbine building. The company said on Sunday evening that the data for iodine-134 announced earlier in the day was actually for another substance that has a longer half-life. The plant operator said earlier on Sunday that 2.9 billion becquerels per cubic centimeter had been detected in the leaked water.
It said although the initial figure was wrong, the water still has a high level of radioactivity of 1,000 millisieverts per hour.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 22:02 (late last night)
TEPCO: Soil samples being checked for plutonium

Tokyo Electric Power Company has asked independent research centers to check if radioactive substances from the Fukushima plant contain highly toxic plutonium.
The company says it expects the results will be available within several days.
The nuclear power plant continues to emit radioactive materials that may include plutonium. Plutonium is a radioactive element that is produced when uranium fission occurs in a reactor core.
So far, the utility firm has not detected plutonium through its own methods. It took soil samples from the plant's compound on March 21 and 22 and sent them to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Japan Chemical Analysis Center for examination. Plutonium is formed at power plants that use conventional uranium fuel. The No.3 reactor of the Fukushima plant uses mixed oxide fuel, or MOX fuel, which contains uranium blended with plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel.
Radioactivity from plutonium can be blocked by human skin or paper. But if the substance is inhaled or ingested, it remains in the body for a long time and can cause cancer. The power company plans to conduct checks twice a week to determine if the plant's soil is contaminated with plutonium.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 22:20 (late last night)
Tohoku Electric Power strengthens nuclear safety

Tohoku Electric Power Company says it will strengthen safety measures for its nuclear power stations in response to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Tohoku Electric Power told a news conference on Sunday that it will take additional nuclear safety measures for the Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture and the Higashi-dori plant in Aomori Prefecture.
The utility said it will deploy generator trucks in case external and emergency power sources fail. It will also set up backup motors to prepare for the possible breakdown of reactor cooling pumps. The firm will conduct training on a regular basis under the scenario that it will need to use generator trucks to restore power and fire engines to inject water into storage pools for spent nuclear fuel.
Tohoku Electric Power said all the reactors at the Onagawa and the Higashi-dori plants are safe and are not in operation at present. It said that at the time of the March 11th earthquake, the 3 reactors at the Onagawa plant automatically stopped and the Higashi-dori plant was undergoing a regular inspection. The utility said it takes the nuclear incident in Fukushima seriously and has compiled every available safety measure.
The firm said it will study additional steps to further enhance the safety of its plants.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 22:20
Latest Fukushima plant video released

Japan's Defense Ministry has released a new aerial video of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which shows the damage to the reactors more clearly than previous footage.
source : NHK world

Sunday, March 27, 2011 23:44 (late last night)
Death toll in Miyagi tops that of Hanshin quake
Japan's police have confirmed 10,804 deaths, with more than 16,200 others missing, after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan.The number of those confirmed dead or reported missing has now reached about 27,000.
The National Police Agency says the death toll in Miyagi Prefecture alone is now 6,565. The figure is higher than that of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, in which 6,434 people died. In Iwate Prefecture, 3,213 people have been confirmed dead, while in Fukushima Prefecture 968 people died.
The bodies of about 7,270 people have been identified, and 6,860 of them have been returned to their families.
Police say the number of deaths is likely to rise further as there appear to be many cases in which entire families went missing with no one able to file reports with the police.

. . . . . Now to Monday, 28 of March . . . . .

Monday, March 28, 2011 05:48
Delay feared in restoring cooling systems

At the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant, high radioactive density detected in 3 turbine buildings may further delay work to restore the cooling systems for the overheated fuel rods.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says that on Sunday it detected 100,000 times the normal density of radioactive substances in the leaked water in the Number 2 reactor's turbine building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The water surface had a high radiation level of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour.

In similar tests conducted earlier, about 10,000 times the normal radioactive density had been detected in the turbine buildings of the Number-1 and -3 rectors as well. The utility on Sunday revised an announcement made earlier in the same day that 10 million times the normal level had been detected in leaked water in the Number 2 reactor's turbine building.
It said it previously made an erroneous calculation, prompting the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to order it to review its assessment procedures.
In order to resolve the problem of the contaminated water, the utility says it is trying to accelerate work at the Number-one reactor to pump the water from the basement into the turbine condenser for storage by increasing the number of pumps from one to 3.

The company says although it had planned to take similar steps to remove the water from the Number-2 and -3 reactors, their turbine condensers were found to have been almost full and unable to contain any more water.

The company says it is considering pumping that water from the condensers into adjacent pools and then filling them with the contaminated water.

Regarding spent fuel rods in the storage pools, the company told reporters early Monday morning that the pools in the Number-2 and -4 reactors appear to be filled with water, with the rods submerged.

The company said the pool's water temperature at the Number-2 reactor measured 56 degrees Celsius---a level slightly higher than usual--- at 5:50 PM on Sunday

. . . . . .

Monday, March 28, 2011 05:54
March 11th tsunami confirmed up to 13 meters high

The March 11th tsunami that hit Japan's northeastern coast was as high as 13 meters in the city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology said on Sunday that the tsunami reached a gymnasium one kilometer from the shoreline and climbed as high as 13 meters. They also said they found the waves had touched the beams just beneath the roof of the 2-story building.
The municipality had designated the gym an emergency shelter. Many people who had gathered there to take shelter were swept away by the tsunami.
Researchers from Yokohama National University and the University of Tokyo said on Sunday that they confirmed the tsunami had reached about 10 meters high at a location along the coast of Kamaishi city, Iwate Prefecture.
The waves climbed over and partially destroyed a huge breakwater set up to protect the mouth of a bay in Kamaishi city. Yokohama National University professor Jun Sasaki says evacuation plans should be reconsidered now that a tsunami exceeding previous estimates has hit the region.

Monday, March 28, 2011 05:48
190,000 people still in temporary shelters
More than 190,000 people are still in shelters in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan. NHK has learned that as of Sunday, 193,213 people were staying in temporary shelters across the country. That's 3,932 fewer than the previous day.
Miyagi Prefecture is sheltering the largest number, 83,537. Iwate Prefecture has 42,923 evacuees, followed by Fukushima Prefecture with 30,630 evacuees.
The number of people staying outside their prefectures following the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima Prefecture fell by 70 from Saturday to 33,748 by Sunday.
They are now all over the country, including nearly 8,700 in Niigata Prefecture, and about 3,700 others in Gunma Prefecture.

Monday, March 28, 2011 12:07
Disaster information in 16 languages
The Tokyo University of Foreign Studies is providing on its website information in 16 languages about radiation arising from the nuclear incidents in Japan.
The university's Center for Multilingual Multicultural Education and Research began building a multilingual disaster information service the day after the March 11th earthquake.
The service initially listed basic information on medical facilities, water distribution and trash collection points within the quake-hit zone.
Now it is also providing information and analyses about radiation exposure measured at various locations around the quake-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The information is available in 16 languages, including English, French, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian.
The website's address is

Monday, March 28, 2011 14:12
Containing the radiation
A Japanese government spokesman has pledged all-out efforts to contain high-level radiation at the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano spoke to reporters on Monday as efforts continued to remove highly radioactive water from buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
High levels of radioactive substances were detected in a puddle of water at an underground level of a building housing a turbine of the No.2 reactor.
Edano said the Nuclear Safety Commission is assuming that some nuclear fuel may have temporarily melted and come into contact with water in the vessel containing the reactor before leaking out through an unknown route.
Edano pledged all-out efforts to prevent the highly radioactive water from leaking into the ground water or the ocean.
The radiation poses a risk to workers trying to restore the reactor's cooling functions.
High levels of radioactive substances were also detected in water puddles in the turbine buildings at the No. 1 and No.3 reactors. On Thursday, 3 workers were exposed to high radiation while working in the puddle at the No.3 reactor's turbine building.
Edano said he has received a report that the radioactive substances are assumed to be either condensed steam from the reactor containment vessel or radioactive substances diluted by the water released into those facilities as part of cooling efforts.
. . . . . and
Edano warns TEPCO on mistakes
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says he has strongly instructed Tokyo Electric Power Company to avoid the release of erroneous data on radiation leaks at its troubled nuclear power plant.
TEPCO on Sunday corrected an earlier announcement about the radiation levels in water leaking from the Number 2 reactor's turbine building, saying a water analysis had been incorrect.
Edano said radiation analyses serve as the basis for ensuring safety at the plant, where workers are struggling to safely cool the reactors and other machinery.
He said he also urged TEPCO to secure adequate back-up personnel for the workers.
The government spokesman then referred to a report that some residents are temporarily returning to their homes in areas within 20 kilometers of the nuclear plant, despite the fact that the areas are under an evacuation instruction.
He strongly asked the residents not to enter the areas, noting that their safety cannot be ensured due to possible radioactive contamination.

Monday, March 28, 2011 14:26
Nuclear watchdog's view
Japan's nuclear safety watchdog says it believes radioactive elements from melted nuclear fuel have found their way from one of the reactors at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant to a turbine building here.
Radiation levels 100,000 times that found in water in an normally operating reactor were detected in water puddles in the Number 2 reactor's turbine building on Sunday. High radiation figures were earlier recorded at similar locations at the Number 1 and 3 reactors.
The Nuclear Safety Commission, an independent body, says the radiation level at the Number 2 reactor was dozens of times that of the other two reactors.
The commission says that radioactive substances from temporarily melted fuel rods at the Number 2 reactor had made their way into water in the containment vessel and then somehow leaked out.
The commission says the radioactive water should be removed as soon as possible to ensure the safety of workers.
The commission says the most immediate concern is the possibility of highly radioactive water seeping into the ground and the ocean. It said it has asked Tokyo Electric to monitor radiation levels in the ground water and seawater more closely.
The commission added that injecting water into the Number 2 reactor from outside should be continued because the high levels of radiation are being detected only inside the turbine building.
The watchdog said pumping water into the Number 2 reactor will not be affected even if highly radioactive water continues to leak from the containment vessel.

Monday, March 28, 2011 15:47
Housing the survivors
The construction of temporary housing (kasetsu juutaku 仮説住宅) began on Monday in disaster-stricken Miyagi prefecture.
The prefecture said that since more than 80,000 residents are taking shelter within Miyagi, it will build over 1,000 housing units in the cities of Sendai, Ishinomaki and elsewhere.
Work on the foundations for 135 emergency homes began on land owned by Ishinomaki city, where more than 25,000 residents remain in evacuation centers.
Workers laid down fresh gravel and drove pickets into the ground.
The city also began accepting applications on Saturday from people hoping to occupy these units. As more than 730 applications were filed on Saturday alone, lots are to be drawn in late April to decide who will live there.
A man who applied on Monday expressed the hope that authorities would build as many temporary housing units as possible, as the quake victims cannot stay in evacuation shelters indefinitely.
Miyagi prefecture says the units will be rent-free for up to 2 years.

Monday, March 28, 2011 18:07
Over 28,000 dead or missing in Japan disaster
More than 28,000 people have died or are missing following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coast on March 11th.
The National Police Agency says that as of 6 PM on Monday, 10,901 people had been confirmed dead and 17,621 listed as missing. Police have identified 8,030 of the bodies.
The largest number of deaths --- 6,627 --- has been reported in Miyagi Prefecture, with 3,242 dead in Iwate and 974 in Fukushima.
Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima are the prefectures hardest-hit by the quake and tsunami.
The number of confirmed deaths in Fukushima is low because search operations have been suspended in areas 20 kilometers from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The number of dead and missing is expected to rise sharply in some coastal areas devastated by the tsunami when local officials grasp the whole picture of the damage.

Monday, March 28, 2011 19:15
Tohoku Shinkansen to fully resume by end of April
East Japan Railways says it will resume full operations on the quake-hit Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train line between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori in about one month's time.
JR East resumed service between Tokyo and Nasu-Shiobara 4 days after the earthquake on March 11th. Service between Morioka and Shin-Aomori began again last week.
The operator says the Tohoku Shinkansen line tracks and facilities did not suffer major damage, but that the route will be reopened in stages after repair work is done and resume full service by the end of April.
As for the Yamagata Shinkasen bullet train service between Fukushima and Shinjo, the company says normal operations will restart on Thursday.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. . . . .

quote (Monday, about 4:00)
More obstacles impede crews in Japan nuke crisis
TOKYO – Mounting problems, including badly miscalculated radiation figures and inadequate storage tanks for huge amounts of contaminated water, stymied emergency workers Sunday as they struggled to nudge Japan's stricken nuclear complex back from the edge of disaster.

Workers are attempting to remove the radioactive water from the tsunami-ravaged nuclear compound and restart the regular cooling systems for the dangerously hot fuel.

The day began with company officials reporting that radiation in leaking water in the Unit 2 reactor was 10 million times above normal, a spike that forced employees to flee the unit. The day ended with officials saying the huge figure had been miscalculated and offering apologies.

"The number is not credible," said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita. "We are very sorry."

A few hours later, TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto said a new test had found radiation levels 100,000 times above normal — far better than the first results, though still very high.
But he ruled out having an independent monitor oversee the various checks despite the errors.

Officials acknowledged there was radioactive water in all four of the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex's most troubled reactors, and that airborne radiation in Unit 2 measured 1,000 millisieverts per hour, four times the limit deemed safe by the government.

Those high airborne readings — if accurate — would make it very difficult for emergency workers to get inside to pump out the water.

Officials say they still don't know where the radioactive water is coming from, though government spokesman Yukio Edano earlier said some is "almost certainly" seeping from a damaged reactor core in one of the units.

... A top TEPCO official acknowledged it could take a long time to clean up the complex.

Meanwhile, plans to use regular power to restart the cooling system hit a roadblock when it turned out that cables had to be laid through turbine buildings flooded with the contaminated water.

"The problem is that right now nobody can reach the turbine houses where key electrical work must be done," Nishiyama said. "There is a possibility that we may have to give up on that plan."

Despite Sunday's troubles, officials continued to insist the situation had at least partially stabilized.

"We have somewhat prevented the situation from turning worse," Edano told reporters Sunday evening. "But the prospects are not improving in a straight line and we've expected twists and turns. The contaminated water is one of them and we'll continue to repair the damage."

Just outside the coastal Fukushima nuclear plant, radioactivity in seawater tested about 1,250 times higher than normal last week — but that number had climbed to 1,850 times normal by the weekend.

... Up to 600 people are working inside the plant in shifts. ...
source : news.yahoo.com


Haiga by Marlene Elisabeth Lennon
To see more, click on the photo.


spring rain
Miyagi's dead wait
to be buried

spring evening
no more sound
from the rubble

fallen snow
the land of Japan
is still shaking

Ella Wagemakers, Holland

. . . . .

Sendai earthquake...
banks of vending machines stand

Chen-ou Liu, Canada

. . . . .

the earth
shifting a burden ...
plum blossoms

lining up for heaven -
plum blossoms

in full moon
plum blossoms -
homeless with you

Heike Gewi, Yemen

. . . . .

waiting for the spring moon
the sound of a heart beating
among the rubble

Angelo B. Ancheta, Philippines

source : Kigo Hotline


haiga by 星舟 Seishu, Terry Ishii from USA

. WKD : nyuudoo 入道 priests, monks and goblins  



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  1. Red Dragonfly writes:

    here are a few places you might want to drop by for earthquake news and art:

    1. Gabi Greve’s earthquake blog, Japan — After the Big Earthquake. It’s very Gabi-like, meaning insanely comprehensive and completely fascinating.
    Mostly it’s full of Japanese news reports about all the details of the earthquake/tsunami aftermath and aaathe ongoing nuclear disaster saga, but there are also lots of Gabi-style notes about Japanese earthquake folklore and plenty of earthquake haiku from all over the world. A couple of examples :


  2. Anonymous3/28/2011

    Hi Gabi,
    I hope you're doing well.
    You and yours and Japan remain in my heart and prayers.

  3. I have been studying about nuclear reactors and as I understand it, pebble bed reactors may be safer because they cannot have a meltdown like conventional ones. Of course, there is still the spent fuel to consider, and that is something that will need to be dealt with regardless of whether or not we build more reactors.

  4. earth hour -
    the stench of debris
    from the beaches


    And yet, the lotus rises from the muck, untouched, like the spirit of the Japanese themselves. I am so sorry for the realities of the aftermath, and I bow my head and wish for good times to come to you and your country Gabi san.

  5. rolling blackout -
    these icecubes must look

    . . . ..

    You should submit this haiku to Haiku News! The editors are really good people and some of your haiku will fit perfectly I'm sure! ;-)

  6. Anonymous3/28/2011

    cherry blossoms ... the whiskey-ice a dream
    I'm affraid it is a shame.

  7. Geologists still can't predict when the next big earthquake will occur, but they certainly know where!
    I have seen a map showing all the hot-spots in and around Japan, and one of the most likely places for big earthquakes to occur is - wait for it - Sendai!