Post-quake, Tokyo resident C. James Dale wonders: Should we stay or go?
C. James Dale, a frequent contributor to Star Travel. files this report Monday morning Tokyo time...
TOKYO - The sun's about to come up here in Tokyo. It's Monday. The Monday after the worst disaster I've ever lived through, the worst one on record for a country I've come to love and consider home in many ways.
Even after seeing the video, the photos, and hearing the terrible stories, the extent of the devastation in Japan is hard to grasp. The major concern, of course, is for the survivors and the missing. But even though it seems things can't get much worse, people all over this country are worried they just might.
Authorities are struggling to keep some nuclear facilities in Fukushima Prefecture from melting down and spilling high levels of radiation into the environment. Already, tens of thousands of people have been moved out of a large area surrounding the nuclear plants and their over-heating reactors.
The question for those of us further south in Tokyo is: should we stay or should we go? I spoke to a number of ex-pats on Sunday and they're divided. Robert Grou-Szabo, a Montrealer, isn't planning on leaving. Eric Hamilton, a native of San Francisco who runs a business here, has an exit strategy planned so he and his wife, Yuriko, and their daughter can get out if the situation gets worse.
Then there's Sarah Krull, an American who also has German citizenship. Germany has told its nationals to leave Japan, so she's booked a ticket out of Tokyo on Tuesday. Problem is, her fiance, Masa, is Japanese and is torn about leaving his parents. This young couple, who plan to marry this year, is trying to come to terms with what will be an impossibly painful goodbye.
And then there's me and the woman I love. I have to admit I've been working so hard for a couple of news organizations these past few days that I know that, while I've told people in Canada over and over again about the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, I haven't told her enough that I love her and that I couldn't imagine living without her.
She's been pretty brave since 2:46PM on March 11, when our world was shaken hard and changed in ways seen and unseen. We've decided to assess the situation on Monday morning and make a decision about staying or going after we get some much needed sleep. Our families want us back in Canada. Our friends in Hong Kong, Paris, and Los Angeles have all kindly extended their hospitality.
Now we just have to see what we learn after the sun comes up. I'm hoping for a little bit of clarity in all of this confusion.