Category Archives: News


My wittle brudder

Joshua (whom I’ve previously referred to as “J4”) has just started up his own blog. ¬†We both share the same initials, so technically “njmatsuya” could apply to either of us, but by virtue(?) of being the oldest (and the one who’s working full-time so I can afford it), I claimed the domain first, muahahaha. ūüėõ

However, I created a separate subdomain for him and he’s setup his own gallery and blog at:¬†

So far he’s doing a better job than I am at updating/writing – let’s see if he keeps it up over the long term. ūüėČ

-edited because as my wittelest brudder pointed out, we DON’T share the same initials! ¬†That’s J3! ¬†Don’t know how I mixed that up… and no, it’s NOT due to old age… I hope. (T_T;


Tokyo lights

Another timelapse video, this time highlighting the effects of Tokyo’s attempts to conserve electricity. It’s somber, but oddly peaceful as well.



I’m on Twitter (@njmshashin) – figured it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize myself with this social network platform, especially after I saw it listed as a part of a job requirement!

I’d actually had a twitter account before, but didn’t do much with it, so I’m going to try again and see if I can make more use out of this.

Guess I need to learn the Twitter lingo now right? ¬†IDK… PTM, WDYT? ¬†TTFN! ūüėČ

Experiences News

Another aftershock…

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 1 month after the 9.0 quake that hit on March 11th. ¬†Things (particularly in Tokyo) seem more or less back to normal, aside from the bottled water shortages (PLENTY of tea and soft drinks though!) and dimmed lights. ¬†Just yesterday I was out for tai chi, and the park where I go for my lessons was in full bloom with cherry blossoms and there were picnickers everywhere.

Today though, as I was walking back home from work, I felt the street shift below me. ¬†It is actually quite unsettling to feel that the ground is literally sliding around under you, quite different from being in a car or building during a quake. ¬†For a second I didn’t know what was happening until I looked up and saw my building’s bicycle stand shuddering back and forth. ¬†The building gate was banging back and forth in its frame, and I could see the electrical wires jangling above not far away.

It settled down after about 3 minutes, but even now as I type this, I still feel a few more aftershocks. ¬†Ha… literally as I type this my monitors wobbles from another aftershock…

The big aftershock today was a 7.1, fairly big as well, and unlike the March 11 quake, was inland instead of out to sea as you can see in the image below.   Another point of concern was that it hit close to where people are still struggling to contain the reactors.

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Honestly, I’ve had enough of quakes for a while now… though… I guess I would prefer a lot of smaller quakes instead of another major earth shaker like that of March 11th.

News Photography

Update, links, a couple of pictures

Things are quiet in Tokyo this week.  My family left on Saturday, and this Monday I started my regular commute to work (I was staying at their apartment while they were here, which was only a 10-15 minute walk away from the office).  The Tokyo Metro seems to be running almost normally for the most part.  However, the darkened areas (due to efforts to minimize electricity usage) of the underground are a reminder that things are not back to normal Рand are not likely to be for a while yet.

Efforts to contain the damaged nuclear plants in Fukushima continue, though right now it seems to be progressing at a rate of 2 steps forward, one step back as the radiation dangers around the immediate area force workers to proceed with extreme caution. ¬†There’s a sense of helplessness (at least from my part) since there is really nothing the average person can do expect hope and pray that things will come under control soon. ¬†We in Tokyo are safe, but not far away are people putting their lives on the line.

This is probably old news for all Japanese readers, but still thought I’d post the English information pages on the possible power blackouts. ¬†Energy usage now is fairly stable and the power blackouts are minimal, but as the humid summer months come, people are expecting that electricity outages will resume again in the near future.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company site (English)

Google Crisis Response Blackout Information (English)

General advice from Yahoo on how to conserve power (English)

Metropolis documentation of Iodine-131 and Caesium-137 in Tokyo tap water

The English NHK website

Spring is definitely on its way, and the weather is getting nicer every day. ¬†However, just about 250km away, people are struggling to contain a crisis that has the potential to impact not just Japan but the rest of the world. ¬†It’s rather surreal.

I’ve uploaded a couple of pictures I took of early spring buds while my family was here. ¬†It is odd to realize how much more I appreciate their beauty in times like these.

Humor News

Careful of those bananas!

In its usual humorously informative way, XKCD created the following chart which provides another measure of understanding radiation exposure.

Exposure to 1 Sv all at once (as opposed to spread out over time) is dangerous, and qualifies as minor radiation sickness.
1 Sv =  1,000 mSv (millisievert) / 1 mSv = 0.001 Sv
1 Sv = 1,000,000 ?Sv (microsievert) / 1 ?Sv = 0.000001 Sv

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More information can also be found HERE.

And from Wikipedia as well.

Experiences News

Spring’s on the way

Just a brief update in the vein of my previous “Things are ok” post… on Saturday I went out with my parents and J2 to the Yasukuni shrine. ¬†The city (and shrine) was subdued in atmosphere, simply because things were so empty.

There were still plenty of signs of life though, and at the shrine the first of the annual sakura (cherry blossoms) were also starting to bud.  I took ALOT of pictures, but will upload those when I have access to my computer later so I can process the raw files.

For now though, here are just a few I took in jpg format.

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Link from Metropolis (daily radiation levels)

I don’t know if there are any sites in Japanese that also show this information, but just came across a page on the Metropolis site that offers measurements of daily radiation levels. ¬†It’s not official by any means, but for English readers, another source of information…

News Thoughts

Things are ok in Tokyo (so far)

It seems that all the foreign TV channels are throwing a fit on how disastrous things are in Japan. ¬†“ZOMG it’s the end of the world and Japan is gonna sink/explode/mutate/get eaten by a relative of Godzilla”. ¬†That is not the case.

Yes, things are bad in Fukushima, with the threat of the radiation from the damaged nuclear plants.  Things are even worse for the many of the prefectures in the Tohoku region, as they continue the search for survivors of the tsunami/earthquake in 0 degree weather, struggling to get food, running water, and basic necessities for the thousands of families that have been displaced in the wake of the disaster.  They are the ones who are feeling the worst of the disaster and all our thoughts, prayers, and support should go towards them.

But the rest of Japan is for the most ¬†part doing just fine. ¬†At worst, all we’ve had to suffer are power blackouts and a shortage of some foods in supermarkets. ¬†Many companies ARE advising people to work from home, but otherwise it’s business as usual. ¬†I’ve been especially fortunate – my family has been visiting (though so far it hasn’t been much of a vacation…) and I’ve been able to stay at their apartment right in the center of Tokyo, which (so far) has escaped the power outages.

I’ve been going in to the office every day (it’s a 10 minute walk away from my parent’s apartment), and though traffic is maybe a little lighter than usual, there are still plenty of people, cars, taxis, and buses out and about. ¬† Train schedules have been disrupted in an effort to decrease power usage, but they are still running – it just means you may be waiting a little longer at the station than normal.

I’m not trying to downplay the gravity of the situation. ¬†Things are not good, and definitely could get worse, but frankly, much of the international news we’ve seen is downright alarmist. ¬†Sensationalist news sells, but does little to reassure friends and families both in Tokyo and overseas. ¬†Fact is, right now, most of us are doing ok.

If you want to help, please donate to the relief efforts that are working closer to the radiation danger zones.  Pray for the families that have lost loved ones.  Pray that the engineers working night and day at the damaged nuclear plants are successful in cooling down the damaged reactors.  Thank you.

Link to Japan Red Cross

Link to Google Crisis Response

If you read Japanese, here is a list of items people need
(you can buy items online and choose to ship to the following address:

2-8-1, Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 163-8001,
Tokyo Metropolitan Government , Second Government Office bldg.,
1st floor center, North Eastern Pacific Earthquake Emergency Provisions Desk