I finally got to K’s House Hostel in Kuramae about 9:00pm and after checking in, went looking for food and a telephone. I had bought a 1,000Y phone card at the Hostel which should get me about 20 minutes talk time.
Corner grocery and convenience stores are literally on every corner. Going in to the Lawsons I found that they had nothing fresh to eat. I ended up getting the last 2 vanilla creme puddings – which I love but did not expect to be too filling! As I found out later, the lack of food was the first consequence of the earthquake in Tokyo, as workers were stranded overnight Friday, and bought out all the food in the city!
When I did get in contact with home, Liam candidly told me that Mum was not happy (with me being in Tokyo, as well as not contacting when expected) as well as letting me know of the extended family and friends making contact concerned about my welfare.
Veronica let me know the latest about the nuclear reactor problems (of which I had heard very little, as the constant TV coverage was focusing on the personal tragedies unfolding around Sendai).
As a consequence of these home concerns, as well as the uncertainty about the next few days, I decided to look at alternatives to leave Tokyo early. Back at the hostel I got on to the internet. Trying Qantas, I could not get a seat out earlier than Wednesday night.I tried Jetstar and found that I could get a flight out from Osaka on Monday night, so I bought it for $590A. An expensive long weekend was looming.
For anyone traveling to Japan, Hyperdiais a fantastic train timetable website. Using that, I worked out that I could get to Kansai Airport (Osaka) in about 10 hours with 9 changes of trains, if the Shinkansen was not working. I walked to the nearest JR station at Asakusabashi and confirmed that Shinkansen (bullet trains) would be running south on Sunday, so an option arises to go to Kyoto or elsewhere on Sunday. I got a Shinkansen ticket for 10:00am Sunday to Kyoto, with the intention of going straight to Nara.
(Saturday 12th March, 2011)