Things have been going well here for us. We have spent the majority of the last week and a half getting paperwork done like alien registration, filing with the city ward, getting our national health insurance card (our first 10 month premium is $290. for 10 months! for both of us!), drivers license, bank accounts, cell phones, etc.
I have also spent most of my home time working on two website/blogs. My friend Steve Rypka has donated his time and expertise to help us set up Renew Yamada (RenewYamada.org) and then he helped me set up this site DriverofChange.net.
JoAnn has been so kind to let us stay here with her. We will settle in our own place sometime within the next 6 months to a year. Depending on how things go in Yamada with Toshiaki and family and my job search. Our immediate plan is to go up north on Saturday morning to Toshiaki’s oldest brothers house in Morioka (large city inland not affected by tsunami). Then he (Isao) will drive us into Yamada as the local train tracks are destroyed. I will stay for a couple of days and try to get as much information and contacts as I can and then come back to Tokyo to look for work. Toshiaki will stay there as long as needed and I will come as often as I can.
So far, my impression here (in Tokyo, at least) is that there are major efforts to save energy. Most escalators in stations and building are turned off, as well as very limited lighting. People are a little anxious about how they will make it through the summer with rolling black-outs. The news is 90 percent about the efforts in handling the Daiichi plant and disaster victims and towns. Parliament had a vote of no-confidence to change PM Kan as he wasn’t working fast enough on these issues. Everything is kind of in a stale-mate as the towns can’t start rebuilding until the Government passes legislation on who will get how much money and assistance and when. Anyway, the frustration is that the politicians are wasting precious time(Sound familiar?).
Yesterday was the first time we felt aftershocks (a little unnerving). We had three of 4 and 5 magnitude. One woke us up at 1am. Peoples nerves are a little on edge due to the aftershocks. Japan has had over 1200 aftershocks since March 11. This Japan Quakes Map shows location, time and intensity of aftershocks and is an interesting website.
I will post more on how things are up north when we go there next week.