at the grocery store, i was surprised to see the whole store was open and there was no line outside, but INSIDE, man! almost all the shelves were empty, and the lines for the registers were so long that we decided to take turns waiting in line while the other got what food she could find. still, the japanese people were so calm, no one again was panicking, and the grocery store employees were working so hard! they are truly the real heroes here, and i admire them for keeping up such a strong face for everyone buying from them...
we filled up two shopping baskets full of oolong tea bottles (all the water bottles were gone!), some instant ramen, ready made curry, and some cans of fruit and vegetables that we could scrounge up. the line to pay was very long, but we spent the time sending emails to everyone to see how they were doing. when it was finally my turn, i thanked the girl who rang my items up, and told her she was doing a great job, and she gave me a relieved smile from behind her face mask.
we packed our food inside the car, and then stopped by a lawson's convenience store to buy some water there. bought about 12 bottles! luckily they don't seem to be running out of it any time soon. next, we drove to the post office to see if they were open so we could get money from the ATM, and to my surprise, everything was business as usual!! i was able to get more money out, and i resolved to return tomorrow to send a box back home.
my friend and i drove back to my apartment to meet with my cousin and our other friend and we pooled all our food and water together. then my friend went out for a while to gather more things from her apartment, so i sat down and finally was able to watch some news in english. just seeing images of the tsunami in miyagi-ken reduced me to tears, and i was unable to watch anymore after that. i still can't believe the life that we have to lead now, just living in constant unknown. we can't leave, we can't do much to help other people except stay safe ourselves. we feel extremely helpless, but at the moment, at least we have electricity, at least we are with friends and we can keep in touch with everyone. more of our co-workers have been confirmed alive, so that's been a big relief to all of us, but there is still one co-worker left missing... she was living in kamaishi, one of the hardest cities hit, (and i was just there last sunday!!) so we're all hoping she's in a shelter but just unable to keep in touch...
around 1 or so we went in my friend's car to pick up my other friend who had been gathering things at her apartment, and then we stopped by the okonomiyaki restaurant that was selling okonomiyaki bentos for only 500yen each! they looked really happy to see us and happy that they could provide for us. we happily took 4 bentos off their hands and ate it back at my apartment while watching episodes of glee, haha. watching that show actually did us a lot of good, as we had been doing a lot of worrying about everyone and everything and being able to focus on something else, at least for a little while was a big boost.
still, snapping back to reality is very hard. my brother was supposed to visit japan on saturday, but now i really think he should postpone his flight. the three of us, my brother, my cousin and i were supposed to go on a tokyo-kyoto-osaka trip starting from feb. 26th, so hopefully that can still happen, but i'm not holding my breath. who knows what the situation will be like a week from now?? i still am holding out for the best situation, and i know that the rescue workers are doing all they can to save as much people as possible and get life back on track. in morioka today, most businesses were open and i even saw some kids in their school uniforms. i've heard from some of my friends that they actually went to work today, and that school graduations have been rescheduled. life goes on, even here in iwate, and everyone is trying to get as much normality back as possible.
i heard there was an explosion in a department store in morioka. luckily i live no where near that area, but other than that i have no news. whether or not it's earthquake related, i have no idea either. i saw some tanks out on the street when we were coming back from the okonomiyaki restaurant, and i still have no idea what that was about either! still so many unanswered questions.
i'm still really rattled about the whole situation, but everyone is staying together and helping out as much as possible. i can't believe how much facebook is a valuable resource in a time like this, i've been getting good updates from friends all day. hoping for the best for tomorrow. not sure what the plan is going to be yet, but hopefully i'll be able to meet with other friends in the city and find out what they've been up to... still preparing for that strong after shock and staying on our toes.