Thursday 18 August 2011


The radiation situtation is a very real one and one that I find really stressful, far more stressful than the threat of another big earthquake. Trying to find accurate information is like looking for a needle in a haystack, I don't believe that the government or TEPCO can be trusted after all the different stories that have emerged in the last few months and watching video's like the one I posted last week makes me sick to the stomach. This week I leaned that a high school teacher in Fukushima quit his job because he was told not to talk about the radiation issue with the children, although they were running around the school yard in T-shirts and without masks, read the story here.

I used to quite enjoy going to the supermarket for the weekly shop, now I hate it. As much as I feel sorry for the farmers in the affected areas, I don't want to be eating contaminated food and more to the point I don't want my son eating it. Food labelling isn't that strict here and the supermarkets have been caught up in mislabelling scandals in the past, so I don't have that much confidence in them either. I used to buy fruit and veg from the local farmers but now I choose things from the other end of the country or better still overseas.

A couple of days ago my husband had checked the radiation levels in the water and they were higher than normal so we went back to using bottled water rather than filtered tap water. Hubby checks the radiation levels every day, after reading/watching some of the latest news stories and having to go back to using bottled water kind of tipped me over the edge yesterday. I don't know how safe it is to stay but we don't really have an option to leave, we would be homeless and jobless. Selling the house would be difficult and we would most definately loose money on it and the job situation is pretty grim everywhere at the moment.

The worry of another earthquake I can handle, it might happen again, it might not but either way we will handle it when the time comes but having the constant worry of radiation hanging over us far worse. when the quake and tsunami first happened I cried for the victims, now I cry for myself and my family, I don't know what to do and I don't think burying my head in the sand and ignoring what is going on is a good idea either. I worry that in 20 years time we are going to regret staying, I fill up when my gorgeous little boy tells me he wants to be an architect when he grows up because the 'what if's' sneak their way into my head. This situation has changed me, I have lost my 'happy go lucky' attitude, I find it hard to concentrate on the job in hand, my creative umph is in a definate slump. The forums are full of talk about reports in information but not many are talking about what is going on in their heads, or maybe it is just me! So, if you are in the same boat, how are you handling it, are you worrying about everything like myself or just carrying on with business as usual?

Sorry for such a grim post but I need to get this off my chest.


  1. I can't imagine what you go through. I am really sorry that things after the earthquake still make you worry. I think it is such natural reaction of human kind. Let's hope everything will be fine. I am glad at least you have a space here to let your worry off your mind.

  2. Be strong! for your family. I don't know much about what can be done in a situation like this. Just do the best of yourself.

  3. I could have written this! I am so scared that I feel frozen and unable to move... not knowing what to do, or what we can do... I almost fell to pieces last week watching the events in the UK unfold, as I realised that UK is no great place to raise children either - I feel like I have no longer have a place to run to.

  4. namoo and Tsatsral thank you for your kind words xx
    anchan - I know exactly what you mean about the riots in the Uk, it mad me so irrationally angry, maybe it was the idea that my safe haven had been taken away.

  5. I wish I had something of great comfort to say. I really do wish. I am certainly a person who has let worry take a front seat in her life. I know how all consuming it can be, especially in relationship to one's children. I am sorry you are having to go through this! My only advice is this: practice being present in the moment you are in, is all you can do. It is all any of us have. Worry robs us of our courage and strength to face the tomorrows ahead. I speak from experience and I know this much is true. Also, through the magic that is the world wide web, you are never far from a safe haven. Your friend,

  6. I'm so sorry about what you are going through. I'm a big worrier and worry about lots of things. I can't give you any words of wisdom other than the serenity prayer.

    "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference."

    Perhaps, there is something we all can do to make things better...the human spirit is so resilient!

  7. I'm so sorry this has happened to your country and to you. While it's hard not to worry, it changes nothing. It saps your strength and creativity. Easy for me to say. I would be worried too. It sounds as if you are doing all you can do to take care of yourself and your family. You will be in my thoughts.

  8. I am in awe of you Jo - you still have the strength to post here and I think I would have given up months ago in your situation.

    Stay strong - I cannot add to the wise words of the ladies above xx

  9. Jo - I am in Tokyo and I worry all the time. My husband just went on his first trip post earthquake and I did not want him leaving for fear of another big quake. It has shaken me to the core. I too worry about the radiation as I do not know where to go for what info. I cannot say I know how to deal with my worry but if it helps at all, you are not alone in your concerns. There is nothing worse than having to tell your 2.5 year old "I hope it does not shake today."

  10. I have other friends (beside you :)) that live there and they are going through the SAME things you are. We pray for them & your family! I can only imagine what you are going through and I am sure I will be experiencing some fears (not to your extent) but some different ones with our upcoming move. I think it is healthy and good to process all of this and to think about options, so you are completely normal. I will be praying that God gives you a peace that surpasses all understanding and that you feel comfort and peace and you make decisions. hugs

  11. Jo Sorry to hear about your worry. I think the world as it is today is not the world we grew up into.
    I am a worrier too for anything in general since I become a mother. I think about the future every other day and what we can do for our future generations to live happily like we use to. The big companies have so much power today and I don't have any trust of what we eat here too. TOo much pesticides, and crap that we have in our food. Not to mention the processed food that North American is consuming make me sick to my stomach. Obviously you have to deal with another big problem: the radiation levels. I hope that the Japanese government is better at dealing with these issues than the russian government was dealing with Tchernobyl 25 years ago. Europe was exposed to the plume of radiation coming from the plant (I believe you were in UK at the time probably). We did not know at the time if we were exposed to radiation levels or not and if the food we ate was good or not.

    I do sincerely hope that the Japanese government did ask help to any foreign bodies /government to deal with the crisis. It's too bad that we don't hear much from the progress of the clean up and reconstruction. I am not sure if the G8 choose to have a blind eye because in Germany and in France the nuclear power is needed as well.

    It's totally normal to be worried. Stay strong. We don't know what 's going to happen in 20 years time that's for sure. I think you are worried as a mother like we all are in some ways. I also think it's part of growing up. As children we trusted our parents and did not worry about anything. Now we 're the grown-ups;) Take care Jo and remember that it's okay to be blue and talk about it on your blog;) your readers are here to comment for the lovely things that you do create but also to help you go through a period of "sadness". I don't have time to read myself again so my apology for mistakes.

  12. hi Jo, I have not been able to look at your blog for months. since March 11, I guess.
    I too felt the stress of the radiation issue. I had to make the hardest decision of my life to give up my school and move back to Australia to no job. My husband is still over there waiting for his spouse visa. In June, when we applied, they told us will take at least 6 months.
    I totally can relate to how you are feeling because I have been feeling that way for the last 5 months, at least until 3 weeks ago when I left Japan. Now I start to feel guilty every time I go shopping and can buy anything without the stress that you and others like my husband are going though.
    Hang in there Jo. I pray that things get better for you. If you guys ever think of coming to Australia, I will help you in anyway that I can. take care, luv Kim

  13. That is so hard. I worry about poisons in my environment too, and I agree that NOT KNOWING (ugh) is the worst part. It can be so hard to find information that seems trustworthy, whether it is radiation or the toxic flame retardants in the new mattress my daughters are sleeping on, there are people trying to alarm you and people telling you you are foolish to worry. Who to believe? When it is our job to keep our babies safe? Worry worry worry, which doesn't help.

    I would do the same, buy the best food you can, do what you can, and try to forget about it the rest of the time or you go crazy and the family falls apart. It is so great that your husband is helping by measuring the radiation in the water, that is at least one piece of honest information that you can use.

    Good luck, and hang in there!


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