Thursday 4 August 2011

Back to Reality

Dear Friends,
Back from England. It seems like a dream now. Beautiful wedding in a country church. Reception in a historic barn. Two big families joined in love. Many friends and well-wishers. Some pictures below.

Travelled back on an empty plane. Suppose I got an extra dose of radiation for my pains.

Temperatures in Koriyama today not so very different from England - low twenties. Surprised to find plants on balcony and in flower bed at work not dead from heat as I expected. In fact people are complaining of the 'cold' spell and cucumber production is down (which is affecting our sales of cartons). Crack on the stairs in the office much worse again - result of the force 5 earthquake that struck last Sunday, 4 o'clock in the morning. Back to what is normal in Fukushima!

Main news last night, my first night back, was that radiation of 10 sieverts/hr has been measured at a duct near reactors 1 and 2. I didn't get it as first. We're so used to hearing about millisieverts (1,000th of a sievert) and microsieverts (1,000th of a millisievert). But a fully fledged sievert. That could kill you!

Law passed today to set up the organisation that's to fund and oversee compensation. It's to be funded by Tokyo Electric (through selling assets) and the government. Not before time. Farmers took cows to Tokyo Electric's offices in Tokyo today to protest. Sale of beef cattle has been banned in Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate and now Tochigi prefectures.  They're desperate.

Attention is now turning to rice. Suddenly people are buying up last year's rice (unheard of) and the first crop of early rice in Miyazaki (Kyushu) in the south is selling for double the normal price. All rice is to be checked twice, two weeks before harvest and after harvest but farmers here are testing, testing, testing, hoping to convince consumers that it is safe. They're also adding extra potassium (カリウム)to the fields in the hope that the plants soak that up rather than any caesium that may be in the soil.

What a life. I think I'll go to bed and dream of happier times.

People throw confetti as the bride and groom leave the church
Flags of Scotland, South Africa, England and Japan - an international gathering
The Scottish contingent.
Reception in a lovely old barn, followed by - a barn dance!

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