The earthquake and tsunami north-east of Tokyo on Friday 11th March was breaking news as Veronica drove in to pick me up from work, to take me to Sydney Airport for QF21 leaving at 10:05pm.
As Veronica rang with the news I was in earnest conversation with my office buddie about disasters and the volunteer emergency services structures in Japan. Another work colleague had just spent 10 days around Tokyo on a disaster management study tour.
We got to the airport about 7:00pm, with news reports describing extensive damage from the tsunami and likely significant loss of life. About 8:30pm Qantas advised passengers that the flight would be re-scheduled for 10:00am next morning.
Ultimately I did fly to Tokyo, arriving at 6:00pm on Saturday 12th. Given the changing and escalating scale of the disaster and the uncertainty that brings for family and friends – I decided to fly home early. I left Japan on Monday evening from Osaka, about 500 kms south of Tokyo – having spent about 50 hours on the ground.
The Blog posts have been done belatedly. The good intentions of setting up a Blog beforehand came to nought, and soon as I arrived hone I was back into the work grind.
Those 50 hours started with hours of uncertainty and contemplation, and ended with the delights of Nara Park. I hope you enjoy these stories.
Friday 11th March, 2011