Monday, June 6, 2011


We flew to Tokyo yesterday.

Waiting to leave Sydney on a blue winter's morning.

Over Iwo Jima in the north Pacific.

At Narita, the customs hall was strangely quiet and even more unusual was that the freeway into the city from Narita was virtually empty. An old woman and a dog could have crossed and made it.

By the time we had reached Tokyo it was getting dark, and it was as if some earth hour had been forgotten to be switched off. There was reduced street lighting, no neons, no advertising, and a spooky dark shadowy pall was falling across the biggest city in the world. All the usual landmarks, building lights, advertising and dazzling neons were unlit. In the penumbra the only concession to the past, or maybe the future, was Tokyo Tower, glowing orange as usual. Peering down into the streets below the freeway was like peering into a Hitchcock film. Very noir.

In Shibuya, street life was more or less as usual, lit by retailers and restaurants and night spots. The hotel porter was quick to point out where the emergency exit was on our floor and where the torch was in our room.

This morning is Monday morning, warm and humid. Life is bustling on outside. Page two of the under-the door-in-the-morning Japan Times, however, has a chart of the last 24 hours radiation levels.

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