Monday, March 21, 2011

Escaping From My Favorite Place

Me and most foreigners has temporarily escaped from Japan. This woman were just one of many staying the night at Narita airport waiting for a flight out of the country.

The day after the news about explosions in the nuclear reactors I could hear birds singing. 
I don't think I've ever heard that before, because it's usually so crowded and noisy on this street outside my window. But this morning it was empty.

I heard that one of my friends from school had already left Japan on advice from a relative working with nuclear energy. Some minutes later I saw a woman coming running down the street like she was escaping from something.

Most of the news casters were wearing helmets. I first thought that it was only to look professional.

But then it started shaking for a while in my room, and the room that the news caster were sitting in shook as well. He stopped talking and looked up into the ceiling to make sure nothing were going to fall down at him.

When I went outside to check if it was empty everywhere I soon saw lots of people outside the Pachinko place close to my house. Pachinko is Japanese gambling.

The Pachinko halls had been closed for a day, so today they were having a special event celebrating that it was open again. Pretty crazy.

Another crazy thing, that might not sound very crazy to people that haven't been to Japan, is that there's now people crossing the streets even though it's red light!! For the first time in my life, I have now seen a Japanese person cross the street at red light! I couldn't believe my eyes!!

Is it a moral breakdown going on in Japan!? I have never seen so many cops at the "Police Box" in Kabukichou, Shinjuku.

To save electricity they have shut down most of the big screens and neon signs.

At Shinagawa train station they have hundreds of plasma screens everywhere. Everytime I pass by there I'm always so impressed that they could afford all of those. Now all of them are shut down as you can see.

The subways are usually loaded with commercial ads. Now many of the spots are empty like this one.

The spots that's in use are all for beer. But only for beer without alcohol. I guess people want to drink to forget their fear of more disasters, but nobody wanna take the risk of getting drunk in case another big earthquake strikes...?

At least I saw one ad for something else than beer at Shibuya station, when I were going to check if there was any people at Shibuya crossing. It shows how two members of the super popular boy band Arashi has taken 3D-photos of themselves using the new Nintendo 3DS, and then merged the pictures together into one.

Shibuya was far from empty, but maybe not as crowded as usually. Shibuya 109 was open, but only until 6pm. Normally it's open until 9pm every day. After seeing all the people in Shibuya I started thinking that maybe everything is going to be just like before now.

In the evening I went to a restaurant to study together with Dennis and Sofia from school.

First we were in a pretty good mood, and thought that everything were going back to normal now. 
We studied as hard as we could for the upcoming tests and looked forward to meet everybody in school the next day.

Less than one hour later everything had changed. There weren't going to be anymore tests or classes this term. We got messages from pretty much every foreign person we know that they were leaving Japan very soon and thought that we should do the same.

Then we heard that a vulcano just had an eruption in southern Japan. People on Facebook started writing things like "Now Godzilla is the only thing missing"...

We went to school to talk with them about this but it was closed. It was going to be information meetings the next day about the situation.

We saw some more cracks in the walls.

Since it's such serious times we thought that it might be a lot of people praying at the temples. 
But it was totally empty, and they had put metal cages over the statues to prevent them from
falling down if another earthquake would strike.

All the people were busy with stocking up food and other necessities at the super markets that still had any left.

Selling travel bags is good business now.

This lady bought as much as she could carry, and left town with a taxi.

Kabukichou in Shinjuku is usually more lively in the nights than the days, but everything was closed now.

Closed arcade and batting center.

Seeing this crying girl get comforted by a host in the empty streets, almost gave me chills and felt
like a scene from some apocalypse movie.

Talking about hosts... The host clubs seems to still do good business. With or without it's neon.

Is this the fall of the mega metropolis Neo-Tokyo!? No, but if things gets worse it's hard to say how everything will turn out.

Next time I will write about the scenes at the immigration office and airport when I were going to get out of Japan. I'm in Australia right now, but will be back in Tokyo April 4th. 

To be continued...


  1. woah. depressing.

    although the picture of the girl getting comforted by a host just cracks me up! oh, hosts.... lol.

    did you end up going home?

    things are kinda normal in my japan so it doesn't feel very apocalyptic... shame everything is closed in tokyo though :( but things should go back to normal soon, right?

  2. you've come to Australia? :O where abouts?
    how random, I thought you would've gone back to Sweden!

    that photo of the girl crying in the street made me sad :(

  3. It really is so crazy isn't it?! It's like the whole side of Japan affected by all of this is having a semi-melt down in society... I hope that your classes resume soon and that things will get better for the people in Tokyo + Northern Japan. Seeing your pictures was great to visually see everything that;s happening..

    Many of my friends + family are urging me not to return to Japan, but since I'm returning in May, I'm hoping things will be better by then~~

  4. Ahh~ So you're in Oz XD would've thought that you're going back to Sweden.

    That picture of a girl crying and being conforted by a host seems like bittersweet.

    My hopes and prayers are for Japan still. I wish they could recover asap.

  5. Oh so depressing T___T and sad.. I wish everything will turn out fine ♥ ♥
    My mom was also trying to get me not to ever go to Japan.. but I really want to. My exchange year is starting next year, so I hope my mom will change her mind by then..
    I wish you best of luck Fredrick!! ^--^ ♥

  6. woow..this was kinda upsetting to read T T Hopefully things will turn out and be back to normal soon~

    Australia? where oh where? :L

  7. this is seriously depressing and freaking me out!

  8. i'm always impressed by Japan. they are always so ready at anything that comes their way but this is just so depressing.:(

    my prayers are with japan and it;s people.

  9. wowO__O this gives me the goosebumps. its so shocking to see how things are so different in there now... i really hope that things are going to bee the same someday:)

  10. karisuma gyaru:

    I actually went to Australia where I am right now until my school starts again. I will be back in Tokyo April 4th.

    Oh ok, where in Japan are you?

    Yes I think things will be back to normal soon in Tokyo. But it's really sad that 21 000 people are dead or missing, and half a million people are homeless now in northern Japan. :(

  11. emily joy:

    Yes I'm in Melbourne right now, but will fly to Sidney tomorrow.

    Are you from Australia?

    Most people went back to their homecountry, but I was recently in Sweden so I wanted to go somewhere else.

  12. xannyinjapan:

    Yeah I can't believe all this happened...

    Yes my classes will resume April 6th.

    Oh ok I think everything will be fine in places like Tokyo for example by May. It sounds like everything is getting better and safer for everyday there when I talk to people in Tokyo.

    But of course I can't say for sure, everybody has different information. Some people says that the food might not be good to eat now, others says that it's no danger at all.

  13. Coco:

    Thank you!

    I'm pretty sure everything will be just like before in Tokyo and other areas of Japan that wasn't affected too much by the disasters when your exchange year starts.

    So I don't think you need to be worried at all. But of course nobody can predict the future and know if something more will happen. But on the other hand, disasters can happen in a lot of countries.

  14. alycie:

    Yeah I hope so too!!

    I'm in Melbourne right now, but will fly to Sidney soon. Do you live in Australia?

  15. Sell WoW Account:

    Yes they were ready for pretty strong earthquakes, but not one of this magnitude from what I heard.

  16. I'm glad to know I'm not the only foreign blogger getting out of Japan for a while ;______; I didn't want to leave but I was getting stressed and my work was super understanding about me leaving for a while so I figured, why not take a long vacation early. :/

    I'm going back in a week (if all goes well) so I hope things keep getting better and not worse.

    Looking forward to your posts again! Your blog is so fun XDD

  17. Sorgligt men intressant att läsa om hur du har det i Japan dessa dagar - jag hoppas verkligen att allt ordnar sig! (Speciellt med Fukushima...)