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update from tokyo

Dear all,

Here we are on Day 3. It has been slightly tense since I last wrote due to the increasing situation with the reactor. It is always hard to know whether the Japanese govt is being honest with the severity or not...They have been known in the past to lie.

And just now, there has been a high alert for Tokyo with earthquakes coming. We have just had two 6.4 quakes in the neighbouring prefecture to Tokyo (Approx 100km away) ... it seems to be getting closer and closer!

We have filled the bath with water, have an extensive kit prepared and have bought approx 500NZD worth of food!!!

I think we will head over to a local park to meet up with some neighbourhood friends - might catch a bit of sun too! It is actually a lovely sunny Spring day!!

Will keep you posted.

Much love Jules, Clint & Bea

one email from tokyo after the big one

tokyo is a very important place for me. i lived there for three years in the late nineties and experienced many of the crucial "this is happening" decision moments in committing myself to becoming an artist.

the entire time i was there, people worried about "the big one" - every x amount of years there's an enormous earthquake, and tokyo has long been overdue. i am remembering friends and coworkers and students. luckily everyone i am still in touch with (i lost touch with so many) is ok.

there was some distance between the origination of the quake and tokyo. it's awful to imagine what it must be like to live closer to the epicenter.

anyway, today i want to share this email from my good friend and long-ago collaborator julia.

- - - - - -

Dear family and friends,

Thank you all sooo much for for your caring thoughts, ph calls & messages. Clint & I are feeling very grateful today, as we are all together - safe & sound in our new home. Many Tokyo friends have posted pretty scary looking pics of their homes on Facebook - with things badly shaken around and broken. Our place has stood up to the test and very few things have even moved. Though if I took a photo of the place at this minute, erhmmmm you might be thinking that we were actually hit big time!! Must do a bit a housework today :)

For these past weeks, Christchurch has been heavily on my mind, thinking of how awful & scary it must have been for Judy, Karen, Bridget & family and of course your friends & colleagues. Yesterday, I could relate somewhat. The tremors in Tokyo were pretty strong, the strongest I have ever felt. Luckily the epicentre was a few hundred kilometres away from Tokyo. However, the damage up north from both the earthquake/s & tsunami is just beyond my comprehension.

At the time of the first quake, I was in the middle of a business meeting - I raced under the table. After the two loooong minutes of shaking, the staff turned on the TV, we proceeded to watch Northern Japan being shred to pieces - and it was LIVE!! There were constant sirens and announcements in the building & on TV that the next aftershock was coming, to take shelter and stay indoors. This went on for 4 hours and about 15 aftershocks were felt until I finally left the building. The building stood up very well - though they did have a massive glass shelf shatter to pieces, a few large hanging glass lights smash together and a rather large crack down on the walls. But really - not too bad considering.

Mobile phones & the phone lines were all down, I was in touch with Clint via internet on our iPhones. One of the parents at his school offered to take him home to pick up Bea. Three hours later, they had traveled less than half of the distance - about 3 KMs as they were stuck in a gridlock!
Clint insisted the parents to turn around and he would walk the rest of the way. Clint managed to reach Bea at 7pm Japan time, about 4 hours after the first quake. The teachers & Bea were cheering to see him arrive at the school! They headed on home.
Clint tells me that the family who tried to take him home, were stuck in the traffic for another 5 hours and arrived home after midnight - to find they had to walk up 18 flights of stairs.

Meanwhile, with no trains running, gridlock traffic - the only way for me to get home was on foot. I was on the absolute opposite side of the city. Luckily, one of the guys from the office I was in, happened to live literally three minutes down the road from me! What were the chances of a city with 30 million people!!! Right before we set off on our 2.5-3 hour walk home, he rushed off and returned with a couple of plastic cups and a bottle of bubbles! We chatted the entire way home and enjoyed the bubbles!! I am pretty sure I have made a new friend!

We had a restless night, with 3-4 big aftershocks throughout the night, but managed to get some sleep. We raced off to the supermarket this morning and stocked up on supplies along with the rest of the neighbourhood!

We have decided to stay close to home today and will get onto to some housework shortly!

I hear rumors that the power will be shut off tonight in order to keep the nuclear reactors going. This all sounds a little scary, but wont be worrying too much at this stage.

Thanks again for your thoughts - it means so much to us.
Love to you all and will update you again with any news. Be safe.

Big hugs, Jules, Clint and Bea xxoo
PS: another aftershock is hitting right now!!