Tokyo’s doing just fine, thanks!

My Tokyo trip has been both revelatory and mystifying; my only regret being that I listened to scaremongerers and shortened my stay in Tokyo itself. 

Whilst the western media and hysterical people listening to the western media have been shrieking at us to “for god’s sake, get out” or “for god’s sake, don’t go!”, Tokyo itself has been dusting itself off, getting back on its feet and going back about its business, thank you very much. In no way wishing to minimise the devastation wreaked on parts of Japan, let’s remember that Tokyo is not Fukushima or Miyagi.

We read there were food shortages, with terrified people scrambling for dwindling supplies. Uh, not in inner Tokyo. I lived in Shinjuku, where kombini’s are plentiful anyway, so odds on if what you want isn’t in one of them, it’ll be in another. See for yourself:


It was bottled WATER that people were still buying up big on when I first arrived a bit over a week ago, as you can see in this pic:

I too fell for this one, until a friend sent me info indicating that though radiation levels were higher than normal, they were still less than in Austria.

* In terms of public transport, the trains on the Yamanote Line were as accurate as they ever were, although some lines were running at less than 100%.

* Blackouts? Not in inner Tokyo. I had one only in my hotel due to them renovating. My friend who lives in Ikebukuro said they were still waiting for their first power outage.

*However, there were lots of power saving efforts in evidence: no pictures initially on Studio Alta, Yunika Building in Shinjuku or the infamous Shibuya crossing.  This Monday though, Alta and Yunika had their images back. Stores were also closing earlier at night, like 7.30pm instead of 9 or 10pm, so that less electrical lighting was needed to illuminate the store. Little stores, eateries and pubs likewise had dimmer lighting. Everyone was doing their bit so a big blackout wasn’t neeeded.

* There were less hosts on the street, and slightly less people in Kabukicho when I first arrived, but last weekend saw numbers of partyers in the streets of Kabukicho back to somewhere near normal levels.

There’s a lot more I could write about, and will, but I wanted to just let people know that Tokyo itself is NOT a disaster zone, & I’m still mystified as why the aussie government is till advising not to go. I myself am very glad I did, and just wish I’d gone earlier.


  1. Two friends of mine were meant to be there now and were so strongly advised to not go that they have decided to go to Vietnam instead. I guess it is just one way to ensure Aussies are all safe and not getting into any trouble over there. I am not sure if I would have changed my travel plans, but I do feel going there for pleasure when the country is suffering would make me feel a little less comfortable. Another friend of mine was in a train there when the earthquake struck, and he left early because it scared the crap out of him. I was always shit scared of the little tremors when I lived in Tokyo so I think that alone would keep me from visiting just now!
    Glad you are ok and had a good trip though! Can’t wait to see your shopping haul!!

    • They will love Vietnam as it’s a gorgeous country! Very diff of course from Japan, but one I can’t wait to get back to 🙂

      Yeah, I was already booked to fly out the Monday just after the earthquake, so had to make my plans on the fly, and try to decide what was best to do – hence the staying in Seoul longer, and heading to Osaka first. Not going to central Tokyo though because of what’s going on elsewhere in Japan may be a little bit like not coming to Sydney because of the Queensland floods. But everyone has to feel comfortable with their own decisions 🙂

  2. I’m glad you had a great time, and that we were able to meet up! 🙂

  3. Glad to hear. A friend is heading to Osaka- her family is there -will be more than fine

  4. I just met with my friend the other night here in Syd. She’s staying at Tokyo Uni, and said that they did experience short blackouts so I dunno if that’s just her accomodation doing that… Other than that, she said pretty much what you said: the radiation scare is hyped up to be way more than it really is. Water is still good to drink for adults apparently, fresh produce and meat are only banned if it’s from Fukushima, etc…

    I’d love to go back to Japan either December 2011 or January 2012, just in time for the skiing season.

    • Yeah, there might be isolated ones as opposed to full-suburb ones (in the inner ring suburbs I mean, there’s no doubt there are blackouts scheduled in some areas). My hotel had a blackout once when I was there – but as it was 12 midday til 2pm last Sunday, and I only woke up at 1pm to notice, it hardly affected me!

  5. Well it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The problem probably isn’t really the levels at the moment but rather the worst case scenario if a dramatic event happens with the nuclear plants – then that would be very unsafe. Try to be safe if you can 🙂