Monday, 21 March 2011

Tokyo after the quake

As the  media has reported, in the days after the quake food stores in Tokyo supermarkets dwindled.  Food supply uncertainty encourages people to buy more than they need.  It was disconcerting to walk into supermarkets where there was almost nothing left to buy.  The situation has stabilized now and food is being restocked - some items are still in short supply and are being rationed - bread in particular.   This morning Hiro went to the supermarket on his way back from the driving range & said the supermarket was usually busy and bread was rationed to a loaf per person. (Loaves here are usually between 4 and 8 slices).   Realistically though, people can't keep stocking up on things indefinitely, particularly perishables. I am  not particularly  concerned - we have a massive stockpile of pasta here - not because I had any fear of running out of it but because I always buy it in bulk  when I am in Shinjuku where it is usually 40%  cheaper than my local supermarket!
On the matter of prices, full credit to the supermarkets for not exploiting the situation.  There has been no lifting of prices - it's much more humane to be rationing purchases as they are doing than using the laws of supply and demand to reduce demand. 
Stories like the moronic Sydney Morning Herald reports of  people panicking and being gripped by fear are simply untrue.  The other night I was out in Ginza with my my sister and her family who were here visiting & Hiro called to say the Ministry of ...?  had announced that there may be unscheduled power cuts, that many companies had closed early and that Hamamatsucho JR station was limiting the number of people it allowed in because of safety concerns.  The thought of being stuck in Ginza with unable to get home by train with 3 primary school aged children on a bitterly cold night didn't appeal &  we headed straight for the subway. We were the only ones displaying haste as far as I could see.  Everyone has been so calm & civil.

Pasta and tabasco are not so popular

Spicy Pork instant noodles don't seem very popular

Fresh meat, cheese, processed meat, milk, all gone

Some earthquake damage in Ueno park

Earthquake damage in Ueno Park

Not looking very stable

Earthquake damage has put the shrine off limits near Ueno

A sign here says do not stop under the torii (gate) due to
instability from the earthquake

Remarkable patience at Keisei Ueno.  Orderly queues waiting
for it to re-open at 5pm.

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