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Sunday, March 13, 2011

THE CHICKEN AND CHICKEN LITTLE SCHOOL OF REPORTAGE

I awoke to see Mount Fuji from my hotel room.  It's that whitish triangle to the left



I heard that the French Embassy was urging its citizenry to get out of Tokyo as fast as possible.  As most of their electricity comes from nuclear power, I can only speculate that they know something I don't.

Thus, I skipped breakfast to catch the last Airport Limousine from my hotel, which was departing in a few minutes, hoping Air China would allow me to leave earlier to Beijing.   At worst, I thought I could stay at an airport hotel (this turned out not be possible as all rooms are currently taken).  The bus ride was gloriously uneventful.

I made it to the Air China check-in, but their flights were all overbooked.  So I went to United Airlines, and after a long wait, talked them into allowing me to catch their next flight to Beijing.  They happened to have a seat, so got me on.  As this was an emergency, there was no penalty.

The UAL Red Carpet area was closed because of lack of food/staff/whatever.  However, I was allowed into the the ANA lounge, which is beautifully appointed with an abundance of food and wide assortment of drinks.  The area was expectedly crowded, but I found a choice position in front of the CNN TV with a plug for my computer.  Here is what I had:


Miso soup, clam chowder, soba (there is a special kitchen specializing in various noodles), musubi, kakimochi, Asahi Beer, Bloody Mary and a Japanese white wine. 

What I'm leading to is that, while TIME magazine reporters and CNN staff are trying to get into the Sendai area (and I talked to several of them), I am leaving town, for the second explosion at Fukushima convinced me that the French, indeed, must know something.  This is the Chicken and Chicken Little School of Reportage:  take no chances and assume that the sky could fall.

Here are the latest summaries:

Magnitude:  9.0 (the Japan Times today indicated that the 8.9 will likely be increased)

Aftershocks greater than 4.5:  more than 300

Deaths:  at least 1600, and 10,000 could be possible, if not double that

Work and school:  don't come to work in Tokyo, with all schools closed on Monday

Electricity:  the rolling brownouts were cancelled

Stock market:  Japan Nikkei dropped 6% to 9620

Gasoline:  severe shortage

Convenience stores:  running out of bentos, dry noodles, bread

Tsunami:  Sendai              33 feet
                 Maui                 6 feet
                 Crescent City    7 feet

Here is some colorful input from NOAA regarding tsunami heights:




I'll keep updating this posting until I board the plane, but this will be my final daily blog for five days, as China and Google are still sparring, and portals like this blog site, You Tube, etc., are blocked.  It is possible, though, that I could sneak articles through the Huffington Post, so you can check there.

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