Just got back from work in Tokyo. The train was just as crowded on the way home as usual, the supermarket had shut early to save power and it's a public holiday on Monday... for those lucky enough to still have jobs and workplaces to go to.
Japan has raised the alert level from 4 to 5, which puts Fukushima on a par with not only Three-Mile-Island, but also a 1957 reactor fire at Windscale in the UK.
I know the coastline up there well from irregular surf-trips since 2004. On the train home tonight I couldn't help thinking about the people I've met up there and further North, some areas which are now famous only for black rivers overflowing and sweeping all before them. Hard to believe they're the same places looking at the news footage.
I might get round to putting up some more "before" pics another time, but wanted to put up these couple tonight to show what this area was really like. The first one above was taken in 2004 at Kumagawa (Bear River) a few miles South of the Fukushima-1 plant which you can see just beyond the red and white chimneys in the distance. A classic wave on it's day (obviously not this day) but not widely known. I'd normally hesitate to mention the exact location but after what's happened, I doubt there'll be a stampede of blow-in surfers crowding the line-up.
I was up there last September, handed over about $150 for some FCS fins to a cool local surfshop owner just up the road having packed in a rush and left mine back in Tokyo. I moaned at the time, but would be happy to give that guy much more now.
It's also hard not to think about the guys who are in the middle of all this trying to bring it under control. They've been called the Fukushima-50 cos it sounds good in the Press but there's more than 100 of them I think. We'll find out all in good time I suppose , but you've got to take your hat of to these guys.
The one above was taken at sunrise in 2007 at Kidogawa, a beach about 3 miles South of the Fukushima-2 plant. You could camp on the beach with no hassles from anyone, spark up a small fire for cooking, then build it up for some hippy-TV-viewing, then clean up in the morning at the public hot-spring baths just across the river.