Monday 16 April 2012

Ban Lifted in Minami Soma

The evacuation order has been lifted in the southern part of Minami Soma. People have been able to make quick visits but from today they're allowed to go in and out freely (though not stay the night). 4,000 people went in today - including teenagers who weren't allowed on the earlier visits. It's as if time stopped. Everything's a mess from the earthquake and there's a lot of tidying up to do. The TV showed one man clearing out his fridge. Stuff had been in there for a year!

There's still no water, roads are in a bad way, some houses collapsed and on the coast the debris from the tsunami is untouched. It's hoped to get the water supply going and emergency repairs to infrastructure completed by next March.

It's the start of the spinach season. Lovely stuff that's grows through the winter snow and cold and is thick, very dark green and sweet (unlike the pale, lanky stuff we're getting from elsewhere). But some on sale at a farmers' market was found to contain over 500 bq/kg of caesium. Turns out some stupid idiot used last year's plastic to cover the ground. Can you credit it? While some farmers are going to extreme lengths to monitor their produce and put information out daily on the internet some idiot does that and gives everyone a bad name. JA (the agricultural association) hurriedly sent round a memo and is holding meetings in an attempt to limit the damage.

After cold and rain on Saturday we've had two days of warm weather and suddenly it feels like spring. Warm, pleasant, and the light is dazzingly bright. The cherry trees in town are tinged pink - the buds are swelling - but they're not open yet. A few more days. This year the cherry blossom will be very special indeed.

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