March 18th in Osaka!

I love Osaka.  For the simple fact that it’s not Tokyo, I love Osaka.

I wasn’t fully aware of the stress I was under until I got here and started to unwind.  At least 7 of my Tokyo friends are here, with more coming, and five of us met up last night for drinks.  Apparently it was standing room only, and packed, on the Shinkansen – the Japanese bullet-trains.  Our bus was full, but nobody was standing.  I suspect it’s illegal.

As soon as we met there were big hugs.  I felt real comfort and happiness being able to celebrate my escape, if temporary, from constant worry.  I can only imagine how my mother, far away in Canada feels.  She has nowhere to escape to.

Our night took us to a small basement bar on a quiet corner in Dotombori, the southern “party area” of Osaka.  When we finally got our drinks we shared stories and couldn’t stop talking.  Stresses, complaints, and arguments tumbled out of our mouths on top of each other in a constant stream, until finally we were distracted by Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” playing on the large flat screen beside us.  We slowly returned to relatively normal, playing darts, making plans for tomorrow, and talking about other things.

We did some serious sleeping in this morning.  I’m pretty sure I felt a tiny earthquake this morning, but it was maybe a magnitude 3 or less.  We’re all getting very good at estimating their strength.

As it turns out, my manager at work has resigned and is flying back to England with his family.  This make my work situation a bigger question than before, but I really can’t blame him.  Things will hopefully carry on Monday as before, but without the coordination that he provided.  It might get messy.  Trains going to some of the farther stations outside Tokyo where I sometimes teach are still running only at certain times, as far as I know.  I can’t be bothered to do the research right now.  I don’t even know if they’re having rolling black-outs out there.

For now, I’m safe and happy to be away – glad I made this choice.  It looks like things are maybe getting better at the reactors, and hopefully they do.

Time to head out again and do some normal stuff.

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