I arrived at Narita Airport from Bangkok on 12March2011, the day after the cataclysmic earthquake off Tohoku, and subsequent tsunami throughout the region causing the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. While that graphic to the left could well also have represented my eyeballs by the end of the day--I was traveling for 18 hours from the time I awoke in Thailand to when I settled into the Tokyo Westin--this is a NOAA map of tsunami heights into the Pacific. I initially seemed inspired to become an on-the-spot news reporter.
The Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami: The Aftermath
Shinkansen to the south. I always get a right side window seat to view Mount Fuji, while consuming a bento and beer or sake or both. The mountain comes up as soon as 35 minutes after departure from Tokyo Station, but usually closer to 45 minutes on the Hikari.
Close by was Suizenji Jojuen Garden, almost half a millennium old. I thought this was a particularly interesting photo.
Next day I was off to Nagasaki. One dish you absolutely must have there is their tonkatsu, or pork cutlet. I keep advising L&L BBQ to improve their version by copying the Nagasaki recipe.
A couple days later I stopped by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, leaving PA#18. Here is where Little Boy was dropped on 6August1945. The Japanese surrendered on 15August1945, ending World War II.
Returning to Tokyo, I inquired how best to get to the Fukushima radiation site, and learned that it would take five trains and eight hours each way. And I would still not be able to get close. I gave up on that and instead went to Yonemura, a Japanese-French fusion gem in Ginza. On Day 26 I trained to Sapporo and had dinner at Mikuni with my mystery lady, Maria.
7.1 earthquake. Not too many reading this has felt anything like this. I stupidly walked over to the glass wall to view what was happening outside. I should have immediately made a dash to the bathroom.
Lost in Translation with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. This was probably Pearl's very favorite hotel, so I dropped PA#20 at the base of a cherry blossom tree across the street in a park.
Her two favorite Sakura parks were Shinjuku Goen and Jindaiji Botanical Park. At this tranquil spot at the former to the right went PA#21.
Here is a grand summary of my Circle-Pacific trip that resulted in Chapters 10 and 11. This might have been my most stressful, yet incredibly enjoyable, trip, ever.
why the A-bomb sites of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were safe, when both Chernobyl and Fukushima will remain lethal for a long time to come. The short answer is that, while the half lives of plutonium and uranium are around 25,000 years for the former and a billion years for the latter, exploding nuclear power plants release more material with isotopes having half-lives of a much shorter period, and therefore more radioactively dangerous. That's Fat Man over Nagasaki with me to the right.
Next week: Rio de Janeiro.