Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saving electricity


If you are looking for relevant information about the scheduled blackouts in Japan, please try here.
So here we are with the second workweek (of goodness knows how many) saving electricity. Something about community responsibility makes my workplace especially aggressive in this endeavor.

On the way to work, I encountered 2 gas-station induced traffic jams.

Today's blackout schedule threatened to put our area (group 5) in darkness and silence from about noon until 4 in the afternoon or thereabouts. As yesterday, we obeyed instructions to try to save as much electricity as possible, and turned off most of the lights and all of the climate control. We worked in the darkness wearing coats. One of my co-workers showed up with a fluffy fleece cape. The thing is, so far, there hasn't been an actual blackout in our area yet. Work does the voluntary quasi-blackout by choice.

We'd wanted to get as much done as possible by noon, but we made sure to make a trip to the toilet before that time. Being a large building, the water pressure gets too low for the toilet to flush with 100% certainty when the power is out. We called it a morning when the power cut to TEPCO to backup, and had lunch. I ordered a boxed lunch from a local delivery place which was pretty good. The on-premisis convenience store (residents of Japan: it's a Lawson) was swept clean of rice balls but not egg salad sandwiches. I guess stuff that would keep at room temp like rice is being diverted to the areas hardest hit.

We watched the news over lunch, where the news of the moment was the status of the nuclear reactors in the Fukushima power plant. It's frustrating to see awful stuff going on, and not being able to do anything about it. The debate was whether you could prevent the effects of fallout from a power plant with iodine intake (short answer: yes for thyroid cancer, amount needed is something like a 3 cm piece of konbu)

The afternoon was spent again working in the cold darkness. I am finding working in the cold darkness is depressing. Tomorrow, I am going to try roaming around and find places warmer and brighter to work.

I encountered yet another gas-station traffic jam on the way home. That's how you can tell if a gas station has gas, whether or not there's a line in front of it...

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