Monday, March 28, 2011

Ganbare Higashi Nippon!!! 加油日本

My Japanese scholarship association decided to include the theme of "Ganbare Higashi Nippon!" into our quarterly newsletter to motivate fellow Japanese to overcome this series of disasters. Instead of writing messages, I chose to drew up this poster in hope that it will "ganbare" (cheer up) the people in eastern Japan in a more visual way and impact.

Although I didn't quite enjoy my stay in Japan, I'm still very keen to research on Japanese indie comic artists in Tokyo. I pray that Japan will recover soon from her unfortunate earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear disasters, and hope that the people of Japan will be able to stand united and strong to restore their nation to her former glory.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

15mins of fame 15分鐘的閃亮亮

Through some connections from the Japanese University Graduates Association of Singapore, I was linked up for a brief interview on national TV live show Good Morning Singapore. With me was another renowned Singaporean make up artist, who was in Chiba when the quake happened, and a psychologist. The main topic was about dealing with post-crisis psychological management. (Sorry, I don't have a psychological trauma XD)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Information on Japan disaster 日本大災的資訊

I noticed that donation bins are everywhere around the cashiers so I'm pretty sure Singaporeans are doing all we can to help the Japanese recover from this devastating disaster. However I'm concerned that although there is no shortage of food, water and diapers, I wonder if there's enough gasoline and cleared roads to help transport the aid to the stricken areas. Meanwhile, my language school and Waseda university had already sent out notifications to inform about the possibility of delays in school opening due to electricity shortages and reduction of train frequencies. Hence my return date is still...unknown.

If you can read Japanese, I check out Asahi online news, very reliable and updated as soon as there are any news. Whenever there's an aftershock, I would also check JMA for the intensity:

News updates
新聞更新 (English) (中文)

Japan Meteorological Agency M9.0 portal (English only)

How to protect yourself in a Japan earthquake
如何在日本的地震中保護自己 (English) (中文)

Earthquake updates for foreigners in Facebook (English only)

I hope that Japan will recover soon and restore hope to the survivors. Ganbatte Nippon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

[003] I'm still alive 死不了

When M9 happened, Tokyo experienced a M5 force and I truly thought that we'll end up like Christchurch, buried in rubble and dead. There had been M3 aftershocks in Tokyo almost everyday now and it's really starting to irritate me, as if the whole of Japan is moving constantly.

Overseas media is probably making it sound as though Japan is covered with radiation and so people are panicking world-wide. But remember that the atomic bomb, which hit southern Japan, did not affect people in the upper region and that Japanese elderly continued to live a long healthy life. So what is with the whole world panicking about radiation spreading to them? I should be more panicking instead!

But because of my worried parents, irritating aftershocks and electricity problems, I'll be going back to Singapore tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your well-wishes, see you all again!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nuclear concern from foreigners 外國人對於核能的關注

This is a really terrible photo, but I can tell you that thousands and thousands of foreigners all over Tokyo are flooding into the Immigration Bureau at Shinagawa these days to get our re-entry permit. Most on the queue were from China. Apparently, their media had reported the situation in Japan too sensationally and make it seem as though the whole of Japan is under radiation. In fact, their mentality is to flee Japan asap to save their lives, even resorting to cutting queues.

Tokyo is still safe for now, except... 東京目前還很安全

Empty Shelves 沒新貨
No more toilet papers, facial tissues and diapers.

No more rice and my favorite Yamazaki bread!
There's 2L mineral water, limited to 2 bottles per customer.

Actually there is no shortage of supply within Tokyo, but panic-stricken people are stocking up everything they can, causing a shortage of supplies at the disaster hit zones. Even Facebook's special Japan Earthquake Information notice to everyone told us to stop hoarding the essential items like food and water, as there are actually plenty to go around. However, with the fabled M7 aftershock hitting anytime this week, uncertain radiation, and with the recent appeal to public to conserve electricity, I can foresee that many people will still continue to stock up until M7 and radiation is cleared.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

2 days after the quake

From 8.8 to 9.0
This morning, it was reported that our earthquake had been upgraded to 9.0 from 8.8. The number of aftershocks occurring after this quake that measured above M5.0 had been the most frequent ever since 1923.

Based on the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), there is a high possibility of another aftershock that will hit Japan with a magnitude of 7.0 or above. The possibility of a M7 earthquake happening from 13-16th Mar is 70%, 16-19th March is 50%. My personal take is that this is like predicting whether it will rain next week or not, may not be 100% accurate but it's better to be prepared than caught unprepared.

Earthquakes with the same magnitude since 1900 are as follow:
1960: Chili (M9.5)
1964: Alaska (M9.2)
2004: Sumatra (M9.1)
1952: Kamchatka (M9.0) = 2011: Japan (M9.0)

Ref (Japanese):

Situation in Tokyo
Train service had mostly resumed but a lot of us are staying at home just in case and tuning into the news. There had been announcement every morning from Tokyo Electricity to advise us to use electricity wisely. The big earthquake had caused many of its power plant to shut down so if electricity consumption cannot be controlled, there would be planned power outages at certain times. I'd stopped using my heater and using only one light source at night to conserve electricity.
11pm update: TEPCO has announced rotational power outages. Tokyo 23 wards is spared for now, which includes my Shinjuku. However it is also mentioned that these are subjected to changes and the plan may carry throughout April.

Emergency Bag
I went to the supermarket yesterday to pack some food and most of the bread were gone. Big and cheap bottled water were sold out, leaving the small bottled ones. I'd also prepared my emergency "handbag" just in case another big one comes. The contents are:
  1. Bottled water
  2. Biscuits
  3. Chocolate
  4. Passport, ID
  5. Money, bank stuff, etc.
  6. Mask (in case of debris, radioactive... ...)
  7. Handphone (not sure about the charger, hmm)
Circulation of Prank mail
There had been circulation of prank messages via twitter, facebook, mobile phone and emails that sounds like this:



This is about an explosion that had happened to a Chiba chemical factory on Friday, so there was a lot of worry whether or not its toxic chemicals will contaminate the air and cause acid rain. It advises people to wear raincoat and carry an umbrella to cover the body since it might rain tomorrow. The fact is that there had been no chemical leakage at the factory. But of course, if there's rain, shelter your body and don't get sick. The more worrying thing is below:

Nuclear Radiation Concern
Although Tokyo is far from the 3 nuclear power plants (2 in Fukushima, 1 in Miyagi) that are having problems to cool down their nuclear reactors, we might still be exposed to radiation through contaminated air or intake of contaminated food should the facilities suffer a meltdown. My advise is be vigilant, stay tuned to latest news, and be prepared.

Here are some advises by an expert just in case the Fukushima containers do meltdown and release radioactive particles into the environment. Translated from Japanese blog:

1) Refrain from going out.
If you must, wear a raincoat and 2 layers of mask. After returning home, throw away both the raincoat and masks so as not to introduce any radioactive particles back home. Shower immediately.

2) Stop air circulation with outside air.
Just in case, you might also wear a mask indoor.

3) Wash all food.
If possible, consume food that has been packaged before the accident, for example: canned food, frozen food, cup noodles and bottled drinks. If vegetables are available, wash well with clean water. Drink lots of water to purge any radioactive material from body.

4) Stay away from windows, be as inside the house as possible.
Steel and concrete structure is able to block a certain amount of exterior radiation, but light materials such as glass or wood is completely useless If possible, stay inside the part of your house where sunlight cannot reach.

I think #4 is hard for me because my dorm room is just 9 sqm. Luckily we're far from the nuclear plants so exterior radiation is minimal. Hopefully the nuclear plant problems will be resolved asap. There has been significantly less aftershocks today, but never know about tonight and tomorrow. For now, life goes on as usual in Tokyo.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Biggest earthquake of 8.8 magnitude with aftershocks still occuring

I was cooking nyonya curry when it began to shake and I was in dilemma whether to shut the lid and go hide immediately or hide then wait for it to disappear. I chose the 2nd option but the earthquake (Tokyo magnitude 5?) lasted damn long and the thought that we might end up like Christchurch flashed across my mind. I watched the live news afterward and witnessed the tsunami swallowing all the farms near the sea. My god...

Till now there are still frequent after-shocks, hopefully nothing big happens
Pray that our steel and concrete dormitory is okay.



Thursday, March 10, 2011

[002] So Exciting! 真刺激!

I passed the non-degree MBA program but it was sure troublesome, because I was their first exceptional case. Contrary to the general perception that Japan is an innovative country, I find that if you're different, or if that you're the first exceptional case that the system has ever accounted, you'll have to do a lot of paperwork and negotiation to allow the system to accommodate you.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

[001] To Be Famous like Apple

Finally I have ample time to draw! Though I'm still moody from the interview... Not because that I think I'm not good enough, but because of why did I chose such a XXX university!?!? The results will be out tomorrow and hopefully I'll pass so that I can start learning new things. Otherwise, I would have to either register in some Japanese school again or seek permission to return home for summer due to my expiring student visa.

Back to my comics: It's been such a long time since I last drawn any on my blog. I'm not sure what this series is about actually. I'm not even sure if it's funny or interesting enough. Oh heck, I'm not even sure about the title! Maybe I should name it "Going Nuts", "Smarty Dog", "Smarty Eva", "Smarty Pants", "Eva Diva" or just "Evacomics". Any suggestions? Maybe I'll draw more and see. "Going Nuts" sounds pretty suitable to my current situation.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Think many times before coming to Japan for studies!


I went for an interview for Waseda's non-degree program last Saturday and it went on like this:

Professor A: We understand that you'd already passed the entrance for our MBA program, which will start in September. So why are you applying for this non-degree program, which starts in April?

Me: I'll be graduating from my Japanese school this month (Mar) and the new MBA will only start in September, so I would like to take some classes during this 5 months period. Moreover, as you know, I come from Art and Design background, so I would like to take some classes first as warm up into the business area.

Professor A: (sarcastic laugh) warm up...? ...

Professor B: Well, that's your own personal problem, our program is not for people like you.

Me: (shocked and disgusted) But I would like to take as many classes as possible... ...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kyushu 11: Kyushu Hotel & hot spring 九州旅館和溫泉

At last! The final installment to my (not so popular) Kyushu series! I shall end it with food and hot spring in the Kyushu Hotel, my favorite part from the entire budget trip.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My current key word: Frugality 節儉是美德

(Cont. Rental Nightmare in Tokyo) After my battle with the evil property agent and management company, my dormitory staff recommended me to extend my stay here and then look for apartments/mansions slowly. This is much better than paying a huge sum upfront (4 months rent) for an apartment that I didn't get to see and with the fishy management company not returning any deposit. So instead of sayonara to 270,000yen (SG$4,2000) for a place I didn't get to view, it is better to spend a bit more, but to a place that I could actually see first.

I accepted her kind offer and turned down my contract with the fishy property management company. This whole experience had made me realize one thing: that I hadn't been frugal enough. I'd been spending money too mindlessly and not saving enough for rainy days. More importantly, I'd underestimated the cost of renting a Tokyo mansion (concrete-built apartment in Japanese term) near my university within the great ring of fire (Yamanote line). On top of that, there's new/used furniture cost, electrical appliances and moving fees.

Although I have to continue my endurance with the dorm's filthy public toilets, dirty washrooms and moldy shower-rooms, I'm relieved that the rent here is cheap, the staff are nice, and I could slowly save up (3-5months) more money to prepare for the next battle.




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kyushu 10: Japan and WW2

Ok, I assure you that this is towards the end of my Kyushu series.
We visited the Peace Park in Nagasaki that commemorated its atomic bombing on the 9th Aug, 1945. The government had erected numerous monuments to offer the souls of the dead clean water that they had so desired during their last moments.


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