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Former Saranac Lakers wonder whether to leave home in Japan

March 17, 2011
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - Hirokazu Hikono, a former scientist at Trudeau Institute who now lives with his family in their native Japan, has been corresponding with a number of Saranac Lakers in recent days, updating them on the changing and tense situation in their hometown north of Tokyo since Monday's earthquake and tsunami. This is his latest e-mail message.


Subject: 6th night

Date: March 16, 2011 11:40:17 AM EDT

Dear all,

This is the sixth night. We felt dizzy all day long and thought it was a mental or physical problem. No, it wasn't. The ground still shakes very often. Most were weak, but some were hard.

Good news. The life is getting easier here. Water is fully back. Last night, we could take a bath for the first time after the first biggest earthquake. It is getting easier to get food in supermarkets and convenience stores. We appreciated warm dinner tonight. Electricity is OK because Tsukuba is excluded from the area for rolling blackouts. Schools are opened. Expressways are partially opened. Trains and buses are still stopped. Gasoline is difficult to get. I may need to use a bicycle to commute.

Bad news. The situation of the nuclear power plant is unclear. Horribly, it seems to me that the information of the nuclear power plan is getting less in TV/radio in the last two days. What does this imply? Tsukuba is 150 kilometers away from there and safe at the moment, I believe. However, I am not sure whether Tsukuba is safe if the cover of the nuclear reactor was broken like Chernobyl. The increase of radiation was already detected here. Most people seem very calm now, but I saw a few families left. We have packed cloths, medicines, etc. in a suitcase and prepared a car full of gasoline. Should we escape right now? I am very confused.

Yuki and Mao seem tired. They fell asleep soon in bed tonight without chatting or reading a book. Atsuko is trying to keep the family bright. I appreciate her bright character.

We got to know the catastrophic situation of the north. However, a comforting thing in such a tragedy is that we have heard from old friends. We really thank you for your warm words. We enjoyed talking about the life in Saranac Lake tonight. We would like to show Mao Saranac Lake someday.

Hirokazu Hikono

Tsukuba, Japan



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