Thanks for for so beautifully sharing your story, Junko. I've lived in Japan for 26 years and fondly remember when you were a cub reporter here, many years ago. We live in Kamakura, an hours drive south of Tokyo. After the violent shaking not once, but with repeated many times with the aftershocks, severe food and gasoline shortages, rolling daily blackouts, and most of all, the chilling fear of what may happen with the nuclear plants, I evacuated my family including two preschoolers to Hawaii Wed. night. I write this looking over Waikiki, but instead of the usual feeling of relaxation, with a sense of sadness, despair, and guilt over leaving so many Japanese friends behind. I hope that all EE Times readers will rally to show the electronics industry support for one of the deepest pillars of the electronics industry, at this blackest of times. And please pray, that somehow the fearless workers putting their lives on the line fighting the out of control nuclear reactors will somehow succeed despite the horrific circumstances. No matter what happens, Japan will be back, you can count on it.
I live in Yokohama, and I experienced the earthquake when I was at work near Yokohama bay. It was quite a terrible experience. I thought I'd die there. Once the earthquake stopped, my colleagues and I got out of the building as fast as we could. Once I got out, I was able to make one call to my family abroad. I was very lucky because no one else was able to do the same. In Japan, cellular voice channels are used for emergency transmissions, and user calls get blocked. And that is exactly what happend a few moments after the earthquake. It was still possible to send emails and SMS messages. I am still in Japan, and I hope with all my heart that we will be able to overcome the problems at the Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.
I live in the Christchurch area in NZ that was also recently hammered by earthquakes during the last 6 months. We live just outside the city and were safe, but we were concerned about our son in university in the city.
Landlines and broadband were knocked out and cell phones were overloaded. We eventually managed to get a text message through. Since these don't require a full end-to-end connection they can often get through when voice cannot. They also use far less bandwidth so are the preferred means of communication during high utilisation.
Japanese search and rescue teams (as well as teams from elsewhere) helped in Christchurch. Now New Zealand teams are helping in Japan. It is good to see international cooperation.
Indeed your story is very well written Junko.
I'm glad for you that your family is well.
I'm very sorry though for the tragedy that your home country has faced and still has to tackle. I think once more they will come out stronger and victorious! My best wishes!
Thanks, Frank. Your kind words are very much appreciated. I am also glad to hear that your friends received the good news.
I don't want to be an alarmist; but as we further tune into the news, things may get even worse. We are posting another nuke story shortly.
Junko, you are a consummate professional and EE Times has done a great job covering multiple facets of this story, especially the ways in which our industry is impacted.
I can't imagine the relief you felt when you heard your family is ok. In talking with friends over the weekend who have family in Japan, they too were surprised to find that the internet was working, even though land lines and cell phones were not. And they also received the same good news that their loved ones were ok. If only everyone could say the same thing...
Thank you for your kind messages. The story is still unfolding. We have no idea where this will take us -- yet. Nobody wants to talk about the worst case scenario, but we should. Stay tuned on our coverage at www.eetimes.com.
Your blog is beautifully written. Your heartfelt and intimate perspective comes across loud and clear. I am relieved to hear that your family are all well. I had no idea that your mother was an A-bomb survivor. If only humans were able to use technology for good alone, then we would surely have a much more peaceful planet.
The nuclear power plants are scary indeed. I hope that the plant operators are able to cool them with as little radiation leakage as possible. I agree with you: the world is, or should be, glued to this story on so many levels. I wish that I could do more. Maria
Japan's preparedness, excellent infrastructure, well trained populace, and assistance of other nations will all undoubtedly mitigate this disaster. Unfortunately, a disaster mitigated is still a disaster.