My husband came on home--trains are shut down going in to Tokyo. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), which services the whole Kanto area cannot keep up with demand since the reactors in Fukushima are shut down. In an effort to keep power supplied to Tokyo and the affected prefectures to the north and the reactors themselves (to avoid a meltdown, I assume), TEPCO announced this morning that there will be rolling blackouts for the entire Kanto area they service (the 23Tokyo wards excepted) starting today until the end of April. Our area is block 3, so we'll be out of power from 12:20pm to 4:00pm. The principal said for the time being, school would continue as normal (5 and 6-hour classes as normally scheduled), but school lunches would be modified because of the blackout--just rice or bread and milk.
I'm watching TV right now--they're showing huge crowds of businessmen milling around Yokohama station, unable to go to work. My husband is complaining that he thinks that's a bad idea--they should at least keep the trains running. I don't know whether they can do that or not. The blackouts are rolling from one area to another all day long, so at any time of day some part of any line will be out and the train won't be able to run its line anyway. It's a somewhat confusing situation. They've said that people should be able to use mobile phones, but internet services may be disrupted. I'll have to go pick up the kids from school (I'm one of the Seiwanin--mom who walks the group to school) because traffic lights won't be working.
The TEPCO spokesman is live on TV right now--and the Group 1 blackout... isn't blacked out. Demand was lower than expected, so they didn't black that area out. And yet--the trains weren't running this morning--my husband said the station was shuttered when he got there. A miscommunication between TEPCO and JR East? Suddenly, things have gotten very complicated...
Gaman shikanai--we can but have patience and fortitude (gaman includes both of those words).
p.s.--you'll have noticed by now that I haven't posted any photos of the disaster. That's because they are all over the news--I don't particularly have any to add, and it breaks my heart to look at them anyway.