March 18th, 2011, Minamiashigara Shi, Kanagawa
This was sent by another very wise friend:
No damage here — I was at the office during the earthquake and all the books fell off and the building really “danced” more than I would have thought possible for a long…time. However, nothing compares to the tsunami.
As to feeling safe: yes, I see no reason not to. I assume you are referring to the Fukushima nuclear reactors — that is clearly a disaster in that area and will cause us pain for months as we deal with the loss of electric generating capacity; however, the idea that it could possibly pose a real threat to us in Tokyo, over 250 km away, I find rather fanciful. People are reacting to minor increases in radioactivity as if their health were threatened. If so they certainly shouldn’t smoke (there is radioactive Polonium 210 in every cigarette — it concentrates on branching in the lungs and causes cancer…) plus they certainly shouldn’t take long airplane trips.
The levels I’ve seen listed close to Fukushima fall off rapidly and even those briefly seen in Iwaki are below half the rate of a chest x-ray. Any sort of steam or hydrogen explosion could send some radioactive stuff into the air; but most of it would be heavy and drop out pretty quickly (first few km) and whatever actually stayed up long enough to get here (assuming the winds were blowing in this direction) would most likely just keep going.
I think the US government, according to the “warden” messages I get has advised people not needing to come to Japan to delay their trips… but hasn’t told people to leave. I wouldn’t even if they did — I would see it as political safety “CYA” sort of activity.
Sorry for the rant; but the fear mongering on tv and elsewhere really gets to me.
Living through the era of above ground atomic bomb tests with Las Vegas about the same distance (or closer) does give me a different perspective… (not that we should go back to that… just not overreact so much to what would be a one time event here where that was multiple times — and with atomic explosions which produce much more fallout…).