(I had no idea it had its own English Wikipedia entry...)
This past weekend, I passed a gas station. There was no long line snaking along the road for half a mile. There was a line of 3 or 4 cars for each of the 4 pumps. I saw the 16 cars at the gas station and thought "wow, no wait at all!"
The scheduled blackouts are still scheduled, but they're cancelled with increased frequency. There hasn't been one since Friday, and tomorrow's blackouts have been cancelled, so that will make 6 straight days that Group 5 has been blackout free. This is a good thing, because one of the generators at work died. We have yet to hear repairs have been successful. We've been only half joking that it was karoshi. I'm not an engineer, but I can't help but wonder if that generator was really designed to run four, sometimes eight hours a day for 2 weeks straight.
On Yahoo! (original USA flavor and Australia/ New Zealand) and BBC websites, the direct aftermath of the quake/ tsunami is no longer to be seen on the short list of current news. The Fukushima nuclear reactor remains. Yes, it is important, but I suppose nice people trying to do their very best to keep their wits and trying to figure out what to do to get their lives back isn't nearly as eye catching as something straight out of a disaster movie. In one of the most developed countries on the planet, 2 weeks after the quake and evacuation shelter residents still only get a slice of bread and a rice ball per person. A day. I wish I were making this up, but I saw it on Japanese network TV. I personally find this far more outrageous than me and my family receiving 1/ 100,000 the amount of radiation in a single session of radiation therapy over the past 2 weeks or so.
Heroic workers, government and otherwise, are working around the clock to try to change this (both the food issue and the radiation issue), but people are just not designed to work around the clock. I hope we don't see any karoshi from these people, either. The generator was bad enough.