All things April
I haven’t been blogging in April, mainly due to the fact that ever since I gained a little bit of weight by eating junk food out of stress, I’ve been using every free minute to exercise. So far, I haven’t lost much weight but I hooked up on running. It’s the perfect kind of work out for me because it’s free, I don’t have to go somewhere to do it and I can enjoy Tokyo’s scenery along the way. Each time I choose different direction which helped me discover a great open cafe, a nice park and several secluded hanami spots. ^-^
So what was happening in April? First things first – lots of earthquakes. On April 11th we got big one and then another, each one getting closer and closer to Tokyo. On Saturday it was Chiba, yesterday it happened in Nagano.. I can only hope they won’t escalate..
A week ago, my friends from Freewave modeling agency collected our donations and brought them to the refuge camps in Iwaki. They also stayed over the weekend helping clean the rubbles of Tsunami and work at the soup station. There is a well-set weekend volunteer program in operation now so if anyone is interested, you can find more info here.
That’s one of the pictures Jenya Malahova brought back from refuge camps. The message on the window shows level of radiation for the 10th of April. We have these kind of announcements in Tokyo too – mostly online of course (people monitoring radiation from their balconies). Many weather sites also include radiation levels and wind directions. ^-^ I won’t be surprised if it becomes part of an official forecast: today it’s going to be sunny with a little bit of earthquakes in the afternoon and a short shower rain late in the evening with the maximum radiation expectancy of 0.28 m/sv. ^-^
Last week, a big fat nonsense anti-nuclear demonstration took place in Tokyo. Surprisingly or maybe not so, Germany and other European countries had it long before Japan.. I guess it took Japan that long to sew acid yellow mascot suits and make big posters that said “Bye bye yellow rabbit” – whatever that means!
People – stop wasting your time by creating traffic jams on already packed Tokyo streets and instead do something useful, like I don’t know perhaps donate those money you used to make your freaking yellow anti-nuclear ponchos??? Seriously…
Then, I went to my first ever stand-up comedy at Pink Cow. As you can guess, all the jokes were about radiation and … well…toilet paper. When local folks started to hoard everything in the shops, they tended to leave expensive import stuff behind like Perrier, Danish cookies and mango scented double layer toilet paper. ^-^ Apparently, for 30 something single male English teachers (or as they refer to themselves – cockroaches of the society) who feed on beer and junk food, drinking expensive French water and using soft toilet paper that also smells nice is as close to Armageddon as it has ever been.
Oh, and Shibuya screens started to come back to life – at least two out of three are working in the day time. Plus Seibu department store is back to normal hours and there is a new European fast fashion shop opened where La Fabrique used to be.
If you want to see how Tokyo is saving energy nowadays, there is a very nice video on youtube which I’m sharing here. It has a lot of Shibuya footage in it including those big screens I’m talking about.
Last weekend, I went to a BBQ hanami party with the folks from the Russian community in Tokyo.
These were some serious dudes (they were drinking vodka out of cups!!..). My friend David was in charge of meat and it was really really delicious which is in his own words kind of obvious since his family name ends on “..shvili”. ^-^
These guys organized a Facebook page that posts hourly updates on daily earthquakes, radiation levels, situation at the Daiichi nuclear plant as well as hosts various discussions on related topics. We even have our own poetry section that we call “Radiocreation” where people turn famous Russian poems, songs and proverbs into radiation related masterpieces. Here are a couple of my favorites (sorry only in Russian):
Девочки и мальчики!
Не грызите пальчики!
Там цезии и йодики…
Попадете в гробики…
Цунами вдарило не слабо
Сожрал весь йод Владивосток
И раскупил противогазы
Ждет радиации поток
А в это время на Роппонги
Девчонки тихо слезы льют
Из-за какой-то Фукусимы
Клиенты в бары не идут
Трясется русская община
Спокоен лишь Аэрофлот
Доход приносит Фукусима
Тройной тариф – один полет
Посольство словно Хиросима
Только листочек на стене:
«Как приключилась Фукусима,
Мы с вами, братья, но в Москве!»
Пишу шестой рукой в блокноте
Роппонги вновь зажгли огни
Сейчас мутанты здесь в почете
А мы им, русские, сродни!
Yesterday, I went to a hospital for my annual check-up and on my way met two adorable 7 year old twin sisters who out of blue started talking to me. Although they were twins, they had such different personalities – one was running ahead of me, the other was strolling behind me. One was saying how nice I smell and how she wants to grow up as tall as me and asking if she is already pretty enough, the other was saying how their parents are so lazy to see them off to school and how they are still sleeping but how she and her sister were totally OK because they had panic buttons on their backpacks that would alarm police if they are in danger. ^-^ One wished me a pleasant day at work, another told me I should never be late! ^-^ They were greeting everyone and knew everyone around. And they totally made my whole day! If in some distant future these girls decide to go into politics, I would totally vote for them! ^-^
Speaking of politics. Elections are coming and that is another whole lot of ridiculous. Japanese politicians are out on the streets, driving in their vans with megaphones with something like: Hello everyone! My name is Tanaka Akiko, Tanaka Akiko, T-a-n-a-k-a A-k-i-k-o. Please be kind to me! on the constant loop!!!!!!!!!! They don’t even try to make a speech or give a promise to make the world a better place or represent your interests in the office. All they hope for is that you remember their name when you go vote… I wouldn’t give it a second thought since anyway I am not eligible to vote but those damn vans are driving down my street all weekend long and every day on the coming Golden week with occasional megaphone fights with the opposing party right in front of my windows!!!! (cry..)
This Sunday is Russian Orthodox Easter which is usually a week or two apart from Catholic Easter but is on the same day this year which is quite rare and very pleasant since it unites our two churches in the celebration of the main Christian event of the year. ^-^ The service starts on Saturday evening and goes all through the night which is a bit tough but it’s once a year and totally worth it so I can’t wait!!
OMG, another earthquake..right now! So Strong and so close to Tokyo!!! 22;37, 5 Magnitude in Chiba … And on that note, I am finishing my April updates. Stay tuned! ^-^