Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tenchi's Japan Trip?

It has been roughly 25 days since an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Each day since the disaster the death count has increased and there seems to be more and more problems with the nuclear power plant situation. The people of Japan are slowing trying to put back the pieces of their lives but when the world is screaming radiation!!!! and there is the real concern about certain shortages (some foods, power, and now ink and paper). Needless to say Japan has a lot on its plate right now and will for many years.

As the people in my life will testify to for the last two years a lot of the words out of my mouth had to do with Japan, traveling to Japan, and quitting my awful job after Japan. Probably borderline annoying. At least that is what my mom would say anyway. The past few years have been dedicated in part to saving for Japan, planning for Japan, and escaping to Japan.

At no point in this post do I want to take away from the HUGE DISASTER that happened to Japan. My first concern is and always be with the people of Japan and the recovery effort for that country. My heart goes out to the people and culture that plays a big part in my life. Their crisis is bigger than me and my trip/job situation. I understand that.

With that said this has been my dream trip for two years. It got me through really rough times at work. And quite frankly I think it was going to be a major bonding time for me and my husband. Our work schedules are not very compatible most days and the days we do have off are spent recovering from the crazy. Overall we both have a passion for many aspects of the Japanese culture and it was a much needed trip for the both of us.

When the earthquake/tsunami hit all that day people at work kept asking and bothering me about my trip. Which in a way was semi nice as they know how much this means to me and a bit X__X as in there are tons of people DYING and they are concerned about my little feelings. But my first reaction (after OH CRAP this is horrible) was bye bye trip to Japan. Bye bye Puroland. Bye bye figurines at actual retail price. Bye bye shrines around one corner and tall new buildings around the next.

While my first reaction was NO TRIP my husband has also maintained the attitude we are going. He said this disaster just happened. Japan bounces back fast given their work ethic, willingness to sacrifice for the great good of the community, and overall preparedness to disasters. I claimed my excitement from the trip went down from 100 percent to 70 while my husband said I was more at 3000 percent to start with.

For the first week I watched a lot of news programs. Probably too much. But if I hadn’t not done so I would not have realized what a huge moron Nancy Grace is or how self-centered Americans really can be. But I got worried over each new detail and thought there would really be no Japan trip. Surely a nation that is in chaos would be too much to travel to.

But then I stopped watching all the news programs and reading every single news clipping out there. I started reading the blogs of people who live in Japan. These people live in the areas I planned to visit and while life has changed for those people in some ways Japan for them is not a total land of chaos. They aren’t sugar coating things but they aren’t running from the radiation and crying in fear.

So now that we are 25 days after this disaster my husband and I had a talk. We didn’t get traveler’s insurance because obviously we are morons. Remember folks if you are going to an island that frequently has earthquakes pony up the bucks for traveler’s insurance! Really folks.

But yes the airlines are done being generous with their whole oh we will extend your travel plans at no cost. April was basically the cutoff for folks and now everyone either can take their flights or leave it. And there is the matter of my awful job from hell. The plan was always to go to Japan and then look for another job. Because I am not stupid. No job is going to give me three weeks off, especially a new job. I really don’t think I can last another year at this place without losing my damn mind.

And given what we know about the Japan situation it might take years for everything to return to normal. These rolling power outages are going to get worse in the summer and might last past 2011. And given the nature of the Japanese people they might keep on conserving energy even beyond what they need. It will take years to rebuild energy plants and other buildings (like paper and ink) that were damaged in the disaster.

So basically my husband and I have decided to keep with our plans and go to Japan. I probably will not be 100 percent excited about the trip as it is a somber mood. But if we don’t go now it might be years before we can. The areas we want to visit are pretty unaffected by the initial disaster. And if I don’t get away from work I might kill everyone.

I don’t picture the trip being the perfect experience (that probably was never going to happen anyway but that is how I am). Tokyo Disney is not open and even though it is planned to open soon there aren’t many specifics about that. Plus the town Tokyo Disney is in has basically been turned into a huge mud pie. The dazzling lights of Tokyo nightlife have been dampened to save necessary energy. Stores are not stocked with the latest in anime goodies as resources might be limited soon. And the general mood of Japan probably is not one of liveliness and fun.

However….I still think we can experience fun and excitement in Japan. We can see for ourselves how the Japanese people are working towards the future and aren’t all in mortal danger. We can also help the situation by spending our tourism dollars in a country that everyone rushed to leave. I know we aren’t high rollers but maybe it can be a show that not all foreigners are scared of their country and such.

So…yes we are still going to Japan on May 5th. I am trying to have a positive attitude while being respectful of the situation. Hopefully the trip and me blogging the experience will show everyone out there that Japan is strong country/people and not some wasteland that needs to be pitied. The countdown resumes now and I can quit nagging my husband everyday if we are really going or not. We are going. We are going to Japan, will have a great time, and experience a culture that is bouncing back from a tragic situation.

T-minus 29 days til Japan!


Anonymous said...

Just FYI the USA and Australia currently have a 'no travel' alert to Japan. When you go there drink only bottled water as there have been reports that tap water has radiation. Today they had another 7.4 earthquake and a tsunami warning that was then lifted.

Christina said...

Anonymous- I am just happy the April 7th earthquake was mainly just a scare and not anything devastating.

I think many countries are being very cautious about their citizens traveling to Japan right now. Perhaps it is better to be overly cautious in some cases. But my husband and I have been following multiple new sources as well as blogs from people who live in Japan. While some things may be a challenge we still think this trip can still be taken and in a small way we can help boost the economy of Japan. There is still about 4 weeks until we go and everyday the citizens of Japan are working hard to bring their country back to normal. I don't think it is will be the ghost town war zone some people are portraying it as but I am not expecting rainbows and bunnies. Well except in Puroland of course.