Evacuation Vacation: Do We Stay or Do We Go?

First came the earthquake, next the tsunamis, then the nuclear power plant issues. By Saturday morning, Spouse and I had become this as we dumped in all the rumors, news headings, tweets, and news casts attempting to separate lies from damn lies:

Our coffee drinking morning ritual of 18 years disturbed by a new, more sinister practice whereby he scanned the paper while I covered Tweets, blogs and Internet sites reviewing all new information on the unfolding events which had revealed themselves during the night.

Our ultimate goal- to separate fact from sensationalized sound bites and rumors. As an example:

“Tokyo falls in to chaos as Rolling Black Outs Announced.” Newspaper heading. The only chaos I witnessed was caused by myself and Offspring #2 when we spotted a 50% off sale at H&M. Black out conditions in the Clampitt neighborhood appeared to be voluntary- the H&M operated in the dark, as did our apartment building, the grocery store, and all other businesses.

“Japan Braces for Potential Radiation Catastrophe” The Japan News Forum. This tweet caused my heart rate to accelerate to above the maximum allowed for my age and weight. Does it count, therefore, as aerobic excercise – it was elevated for at least 30 minutes.  It had me by the by throat- until I read the subcaptions:

Evacuation of Chinese Nationals Organized.” Is the Chinese Navy off the coast embarking on a rescue mission to remove all Chinese citizens currently residing in Japan? Further reading revealed the actions taken by the Chinese regarding the evacuation within 20 km of the nuclear power plant. Days old. At least this one was related to the heading.

“Japan offices to provide quake info for foreigners.” Good information but not a radiation catastrophe.

“People turn ever more to the web in times of crisis.” Really? Fascinating. And it’s relevance to the radiation catastrophe is…..?

Attention grabbing headlines regarding radiation catastrophes are not helpful, just misleading and panic provoking.

Alternatively, the Japan Times provided a worthwhile Tweet: Sorting Through the Information After the Quake: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nc20110316a1.html offering an article with reliable on-line information sources.

I’m assuming “the soaring radiation levels in Tokyo” must be within the limits of acceptable since my lone chin hair is still firmly attached front and center. Apparently it will take more than radiation, plucking, shaving, and laser attack to stop that she devil from growing. I’ll sound the alarms when it falls out on its own.

Finally, Facebook. The source for all of the Offsprings’ erroneous information. Usually followed by,”But their parents said it was true.” Well that clenches it for me as iron clad and bet worthy. The evacuation rumor of the American Embassy started there.

Arming oneself with the accurate information to decide which should be acted upon became much easier with the following scientific explanation of nuclear power plants: MIT NSE Nuclear Information ITB   http://mitnse.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/. By Josef Oehman, MIT This is a must read for anyone wondering what the hey is going on. Nuclear Reactors can not be explained in sound bytes. This provided useful information in refuting the “weather prediction” of the acid filled rain storm that was predicted for last Monday- complete with instructions to use an umbrella.

In the end, the only real truths Spouse and I could decipher were that indeed power needed to be conserved, workers were encouraged to stay home, train schedules were curtailed and cancelled, and rolling black outs were announced.  This sent all of Tokyo bustling and biking  to the grocery store. Where, as in the Northeast or Midwest in preparation for a blizzard, the citizens bought all items on the shelves- for the next 3 days in succession. This necessitated an announcement from the government asking people to cease in stockpiling and/or hoarding of goods and fuel as they were actually needed in Northern Japan.

For three days I arrived early to the store to buy milk, cream for coffee and toilet paper only to leave empty-handed. The vacation planned with the cousins was cancelled as the highlights for the trip had been closed and there’s no means of transportation by which to visit. A late breaking miracle occurred when an entire week of school was cancelled in order to conserve power. A slow dawning came over as I realized  Spouse and I would spend the next 12 days alone with the Offspring, with no means of entertainment, no coffee and no toilet paper.

And this, my friends, is why the Clampitts chose to take an Evacuation Vacation.

In the meantime, the people of Japan, the relief teams from all over the world, the rescue workers and all the other thousands of people involved in the immediate need of finding the victims of this disaster will continue this heart breaking work. We will return to the country we’ve come to call home, and find a way to help when it is our turn to step in.

 

Face Quilt Dedicated to Victims- Harajuku

 

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63 Responses to Evacuation Vacation: Do We Stay or Do We Go?

  1. sunnyandfine says:

    Where are you vacationing to? I think that is an excellent idea. Just a word of warning if you’re leaving the country – a friend of mine said they can’t as that would end their visa. But then again, I really know nothing and am possibly just spreading another rumour… just check your documents before you go too far, which I’m sure you would’ve done. Perhaps Okinawa is nice this time of year? I’ve heard they have an awesome aquarium. Wax on~

    Like

    • amblerangel says:

      Too late- we have a re entry permit Visa so we can come in and out of the country for a certain period of time. I think there are different types. Thanks for the heads up- you never know!

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  2. Emiel says:

    Thanks for sharing Emily. Communication in Japan about all the disasters indeed seems to be a big problem. I think you made the right decision to temporarily leave the country. Our thoughts are with all those people that lost everything and have nowhere to go.
    When you return, you will do what is necessary to help. I am glad you can still find the humor with that H&M remark 🙂

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  3. So glad to hear you and your family are okay, if coffee-less and toilet paper-less! Ah of course the Offspring are off, at least you’re not having to worry about them getting to/from school in the chaos that must be Tokyo, but glad to read that things are not as horrible at least in Tokyo, as we have made to believe (reporters, they love exaggerating for headlines, don’t they…)

    Be well, have fun wherever you go, and we’ll be here waiting for an evacuation vacation post with pictures (of course)

    🙂

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  4. I have stopped watching CNN and all the other television news channels – they’re just making me anxious. Even though I live very far from the disaster zone. And I’ve decided to stay off the Internet news sites as well. Their sound bites just sensationalize the whole thing, instead of providing accurate information. So you and the sites you recommend are now my only news sources. Of course, with your light-hearted spin on things, I may be getting just too relaxed about it all! 🙂

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    • amblerangel says:

      Don’t get me wrong- I’m very wary and reading every hour to check in on the situation. However- I do run in to what I perceive to be funny observations in the process. But I do think it has become a race to get out the most grabbing sound byte- then correct for accuracy later.

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  5. Tricia says:

    Speaking of rumors, I ran into a mutual acquaintance of ours from Offsprimg’s old school and she informed me that she heard that your “house” had been leveled. She was relieved when I assured her that wasn’t the case and that you actually lived in an apartment. Enjoy your evacuation vacation !!

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  6. Ann says:

    Hey if you lone chin hair does fall out..call me and I will be on the next plane to get rid of mine! Have a happy 12 days!

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  7. Lisa Kramer says:

    Safe travels wherever you are headed. Thank you for the reality check in the midst of rumors.

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  8. Michi says:

    An insightful post. It’s a relief to hear that you and Spouse analyze what you read. You really can’t believe everything that’s launched or “published.”

    Have a nice Evacuation Vacation, and stay safe!

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  9. CSI Susie says:

    It’s so great to hear your story firsthand, and I am so glad you’re evacuating. I think it will be good for Offspring 1 & 2 to get away. It will do wonders for their ability to deal with and recover from this. I know neither was hurt but an earthquake at school and 8 hours trapped on a bus is hard for kids.

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  10. Good to have this update! Where are you going? Or do you even know yet? I sent you an email about what’s up on our end. It’s a crazy world, my friend!

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  11. Tori Nelson says:

    Glad to know you guys are ok! I can only imagine the panic after reading all the false and sensationalized information!

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  12. Sheila Cullen says:

    Thank you so much for your balanced and thoughtful accounts (and those vivid accounts from Offsprings 1 and 2) of this huge event. The media tsunami leaves us all confused and helpless, so it’s wonderful to have a perceptive summary of the situation. God bless you and the Fam–and all of the suffering survivors and rescue workers.
    Love, Sheila

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  13. SWK says:

    Sounds like a good idea. Speaking of sensational, I heard that there was something going around with a map of how the radiation would reach the states… and snopes later said it was wrong. Inducing panic is not what anyone needs.

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  14. TheIdiotSpeaketh says:

    Be safe whereever you end up going. The people of Japan are in our thoughts and prayers.

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  15. cam smith says:

    Love you cuz! Hope you are all enjoying Hawaii!

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  16. Dana says:

    That sounds like a great plan. I wondered what you meant by ‘evacuation vacation’– wasn’t sure if it was a voluntary exit or a forced GET AWAY FROM THE RADIATION command. (So many lies and a lot of sensationalism in the media!) Stay strong! 🙂

    Like

    • amblerangel says:

      No mandatory evacs. Looks like the nuclear information although cause for watching is not going to be a huge problem beyond the power plants themselves – at this point. In the meantime, it’s nice not to be ingesting over toilet paper.

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  17. This is one of your old aunties checking in. Have been keeping the eldest informed by land-line, and she asked to have her emergency kit contents compared to yours. She and the youngest auntie have had their kits at their doors -in Victoria and West Van. for some time. On the other hand, I’ll have to update mine, although I finally added earthquake insurance this February after a few comparatively minor rumbles from the NYC event last May? I think it was. Hopefully, you’re on high land in Hawaii and can enjoy a few days holiday. Grateful to the Nose for passing your msg. And have enjoyed the blog. Love, Shirley

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  18. Allyson Ludewig says:

    So glad you are OK. Goodness! Who would have thought?! I saw this today and thought it might interest you:

    http://www.theledger.com/article/20110315/NEWS/110319854/1134?Title=Brighthouse-Offering-Free-Calls-to-Japan-in-Response-to-Disaster

    Maybe we will finally have our phone call!

    Be safe!!! ❤

    Like

  19. The Nose says:

    Relieved that ya’ll are out. I was not looking forward to touring Japan with your chin hair and the cockroaches that survived the “Nuclear Disaster”. I can hear it now- “Hey Chin Hair- can I borrow those pants? What do you mean you’ve been wearing them Commando? How is that possible?” And anyway, we already survived the cockroach nightmare at our old college digs on “8th street”. I really don’t want to re-introduce myself “Hi, I’m the nose. We met when you used to crawl out of my coffee pot each morning”.
    Take care, and enjoy your Monster Tacos. I’m pretty sure they have already been irradiated so maybe it will be sort of like a vaccination. Love You!!

    Like

  20. Olga SE says:

    Have a nice vacation and safe return, Emily!

    Like

  21. LCideciyan says:

    Well you have to love the internet. Found your blog through Doreen’s post on fb. First I was, of course, relieved to find you guys safe after the earthquake, but now I am hooked to see what else is happening. It is like reading a good novel, but actually knowing the characters. Not surprising your entries give me a good laugh – glad to see your sense of humor hasn’t changed a bit!

    Like

  22. Lisa Sandy says:

    Duno if it will help, but this is a calm clear explanation of what’s going on with the reactor in Japan.
    Understanding Japan’s nuclear crisis – Ars Technica
    To be quite honest, I hate the way the American media is portraying this. The news these days is so focused on apocalyptic scenarios that I feel like I’m watching a scare-fest marathon on the horror channel.

    Like

    • amblerangel says:

      THANK you Lisa- I find it appalling. I will never watch CNN again- what sensationalists….I’ll look at this link- I just put a good one on my page from MIT

      Like

      • Lisa Sandy says:

        Oh, all the news stations are doing it. (I believe Fox news is the MOST hyperventilating at the moment- but don’t quote me on that as I’ve only seen it in passing.) And likely because of the media’s exaggeration of things, I’ve heard the people in California are raiding iodine from the shelves. *shakes head* I want to yell at them “If things get that bad, the government will TELL you to get iodine- or, more likely, they’ll ration it to you!”. Last time I checked the media was not the government- even though they want to be. XD

        Anyway, I’ve tried to find a decent news channel, but they make their ratings off pure sensationalism so I’ve started to go online for day to day info. 🙂

        Is Hawaii freaking out? I know that a lot of Japanese people vacation/live there, so it would be interesting to hear what they make of all this.

        Like

      • amblerangel says:

        No- no one around here seems to be concerned – the news here is fairly balanced actually- I’ve been following NPR and BBC.

        Like

  23. glenda justice says:

    Hi! i hope you and your family continue to be safe……actually asking your opinion on fulfilling a vacation desire for Tokyo and southward, booked for mid may..as local advice may still not be reality based. mostly, we do not want to be a burden to a stressed out situation. your opinion would be valued. thank you so much! (p.s. due to past travel experience, have packed toilet paper…. could hook you up if still needed!:) keeping you&yours, in my prayers, glenda in richmond,va

    Like

    • amblerangel says:

      Always a good idea to bring that along! Here’s my opinion- I’ve only been around Tokyo and in to Nagano since the earthquake. Business is as usual everywhere- however- in the smaller ryokans I’d make sure that your reservations are still ok as some places have closed out of respect for the victims. Everything else is open and running fine. No shortages of food or gas. Check the links on the right hand side of my page for non-biased up to date information on the nuclear plant- I’m personally not worried about that. You’ll get more radiation from your flight over. There are still aftershocks occurring on a regular basis- of course usually during the night- the strongest was a 6.4 a couple of nights ago, however, Tokyo is built for that. Osaka didn’t even feel the big earthquake. I have only felt two in the last two weeks. Is there any thing else?

      Like

  24. glenda says:

    Hi and Thanks so much! Your link info shared was also helpful. Plans continue and bags are packed……wishing you the best gj

    Like

    • amblerangel says:

      Good luck Glenda! I hope you have a wonderful time. The weather has been fantastic!

      Like

      • glenda says:

        We can’t wait, and counting the days for this real experience, what with ninjas, living toilets, vending food…(yes I’ve been reading all of your wonderful writing!) So my next question…are you still doing the bagged food..where are you with eating anything fresh or the fish? Reading all of your suggested links, but thought I should just check with you for real life words of wisdom…(was only going to carry-on, but measuring how many bags of something I could fit into a checked suitcase!)…thanks!

        Like

      • amblerangel says:

        I’m totally kidding about the bagged food. We’re eating everything- drinking the water etc. We are still getting aftershocks- we had a small one last night of about 4. My advice to you is to make sure you are earthquake prepared in case there is a big one when you get here. Read up on that- always have at least one bottle of water on you etc. Register with the American embassy before you leave so that you get their messages- you should always do that when you leave the country… There’s a link on my page to them. Where are you going? The weather has been beautiful! What a GREAT time to come!

        Like

  25. glenda says:

    Ahh durn it..last night I was able to fit 237 bags of ramen noodles in the big ole suitcase..guess we won’t need it (but it would have been a light bag)…good to know your take, due to the info of this detail(I need to say no more). We spend 1 nite in Tokyo, on to Hiroshima for the day, down to Kyoto, & back to Tokyo for the remainder. We will register and be mindful, as we always try to be, but this will be another adventure. Staying in real hotels, which is different for us as we generally rent an apartment where people really live to get the experience. Our last trip broke me of that for a little bit, (appartment in Moscow had too much of that Stalin feel) on not enought light bulbs. Oh well… Keep thinking if there is anything else to help!

    Like

  26. jessicaber says:

    Well, apparently after the tornados in the states you guys are lucky that you got out when you did. I am subscribed to you, but sometimes my sons’ dad gets on the computer and messes with it.

    Like

  27. jessicaber says:

    “Loss of life A U.S. Coast Guard aircrew searches for survivors in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Final reports indicate that the official death toll, according to the Louisiana Department of Health, was 1,464 people.[38] The first deaths were reported shortly before midnight on August 28, 2005, as three nursing home patients died during an evacuation to Baton Rouge”.
    I copied this off of the internet this morning. Seems like a way of life wa damaged to me too. New Orleans, Louisianna has the best Creol food, crawyfish, beans and rice and I forget the name of it…a stew made with okra…
    I lived there after high school in 1993 for the summer and in to the fall.

    Like

  28. jessicaber says:

    I was just watching a news story on CNN about Japan’s struggle to rebuild and that made me cry about the 74 school children that were killed when their school was washed over by the wave. I am so sorry for all that your people have lost and I am so pleased that they are starting to rebuild and doing such a beautiful job of it. One grandfather sits there at the school every day like a gargoyle mourning his two grandchildren that were killed and he said “there is no joy in life now”.

    Like

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