Hanami, maybe not this spring

Before I set off to this trip to Tokyo I really didn’t know what to expect. What the situation would be like after the quake and the tsunami and the entire Fukushima drama. Now I do.

Just after arrival I noticed that it is the Hanami season, the time in spring when the cherry trees blossom. A time when the Japanese gather together in parks to have family pick-nicks under the trees while the petals gently fall from the trees. A very romantic setting indeed.

Immediately after seeing the cherry blossom I also realised that perhaps this year there wouldn’t be that many get togethers due to the personal tragedies that have unfolded the past few weeks.

As a foreigner you don’t really get to see what’s happening under the surface. The odd quake (7.x on the Richter Scale) makes the hotel shake rendering the lifts inoperable for safety reasons, making you walk up and down the 10 flights of stairs to reach your room. That’s the only thing you really notice.

Though much less busy than normal the hotel is operating as though nothing has happened, it’s all very much ‘business as usual’. All very Japanese I guess.

So having a day of free time on my hands and not being allowed, as per corporate rules, to venture out father than one hour of the hotel for rapid emergency airlift evacuation (an airplane is on 24/7 stand by just for that reason), two of my female colleagues and I rented a bicycle to visit the nearby Naritasan Shinsoji temple and enjoyed the nice weather.

Do I feel any different knowing what’s going on? Not really. I know there are contingency plans in effect so should anything happen the company will be able to my colleagues and myself out of the danger zone ASAP. I do have a bag next to the hotel room door with all my essentials for a ultra rapid evacuation and supplies to last at least a couple of hours outside of the hotel. But other than that, I guess it’s all ‘business as usual’.

See also this post: “For the mouth of Mr. Brûlé hath spoken it“.

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(cherry blossom in Japan, copyright Grisnoir)

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