Back on the Chain Gang

Whoaaaa ooohh ooohh ohhh! (Sorry, my singing leaves a little to be desired).

Things are slowly returning to normal here. Everyone’s a little spooked about the radioactive foods but determined to get on with things now that it’s been determined we’re not going to be nuked at any second. I’m still erring on the side of caution, like not opening my windows and trying to stay inside.

But all of this has taken a bit of a toll on me mentally. I actually had a dream where radioactivity was coming towards Tokyo, and the way to save yourself was to drink a bottle of nail polish. In the dream, you could see the radioactive particles and one particle would disappear if you drank a bottle of polish. I remember being happy in my dream that I had so much polish in the house. My guy grabbed a bottle of Nubar to drink and destroy a radioactive particle that got stuck to him, and I snatched it out of his hand and gave him China Glaze Blue Sparrow instead, because it’s too sheer and gritty. I didn’t want to waste a good bottle of Nubar when an unfavorite cheaper China Glaze would do the trick!

I’m scared to think of the subconcious processes that created that dream. Probably something pretty messed up!

Although the media has moved on, there is still a lot of need in Japan. The cleanup has not really even begun yet, and almost half a million people are still in shelters and evacuation centers. Entire villages and towns are destroyed and the number of dead has not been finally tallied.

Now, I’m painting nails like mad for my Etsy shop, from which I’m donating all profits in March and April (and possibly beyond) to earthquake/tsunami relief. I’ve selected a variety of good causes, including Red Cross International and UNICEF.  There are also some more localized charities helping out people and pets affected by the disaster, including a large foreign run animal shelter, ARK. They are taking in homeless pets and caring for them until they can be reunited with their owners after homes are rebuilt. I have worked with them and donated to them before, and they’re doing a great job that very few people in Japan are undertaking. Of course humans are the priority, but for people who have lost their house and all worldly goods, I’m sure having their animals taken care until they’re back on their feet will be a great relief. I wish there was more I could do but the area is simply not ready for volunteers of any kind, especially foreign ones.

Though it’s not over yet, I can say I’ve learned a few things from these events:

1. If you’re living outside your home country, DO NOT let your exit visa/re-entry permit/green card expire.  You will not be able to get the documentation you need to leave quickly enough, and lots of other unprepared folks will be needing the same things you are.  Instead of leaving and being able to return easily, you might not be able to get back in. This could make you reluctant to leave even when you should be running like mad.

2. You may think you’re staying calm, but really, you’re not. You’ll get the shakies AFTER it’s all over. Expect to be surprised by the heebie-jeebies at very inopportune times, and count on your concentration being wrecked for quite some time. Also, in the case of earthquakes, you will probably dive under the table every time you feel an aftershock.  At least for a while.

3. Listen to news sources from at least 3 different countries if you can. I found the most factual and useful to be the daily updates from the US Embassy in Tokyo.  The host country may underplay the news to avoid panic, and US sources will overplay to get viewers. Try to find a source that has as little bias as possible. Good luck with this. Don’t watch FOX News. Ever. For any reason.

4.  Keep enough cash in the house and gas in your vehicle to get yourself to safety.  Know where shelters or safe areas are. A whole bunch of folks on the street in a panic can be just as dangerous as an earthquake. The Japanese were super-calm and just waited outside in an orderly fashion, but the people were wall-to-wall. It wouldn’t take much to start a real panic and trampling.

5. Know how to get home  or to a nearby shelter on foot or by bike. Public transport generally has to shut down in a real emergency. Lots of folks, including myself, had a 7+ hour walk from our downtown offices to our homes in the suburbs.

6. Your mobile phone will most likely be useless. You may not have a way to recharge it easily, so make sure you know or write down any important phone numbers you may need if your phone goes dead.

7. Ladies who wear uncomfortable shoes to work: Keep a pair of sneakers or good walking shoes in your desk or car where you can access them if you have to move quickly. I was never gladder to have a spare pair of Vans sneeks in my bag than when I had to make a sudden trek across Tokyo.

I know, this advice sounds somewhat paranoid. I would have thought the same thing until I went through all this. I was most grateful for comfy shoes, having proper visa documentation (unlike some people I know ::ahem:: Mr. NeverTooMuchGlitter) and knowing how to walk home from downtown.

And, of course, a great big thanks once again to everyone for all your kind words and concern. It looks like we’ve made it through OK this time.  I think this will be my last newsy-type update and I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled frankening and nail art ASAP.

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About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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12 Responses to Back on the Chain Gang

  1. Si says:

    LOL, your dream is so hilarious. I’m definitely be sharing that one with others! I’ve always made sure to keep up with your blog, even more so after the what happened in Japan. When I first heard about it, one of the very first people I thought of was you. It definitely was a relief to know that you were ok and reading your blog really did help me stay updated on what’s going on in Japan as well. I often find the media unreliable most times on the truth. I think its so amazing you’re donating your etsy shop profits! You’ve always been so kind and giving (your give aways, you gave me a small gift with my order from you a little back lol and for the advice. They’re actually really helpful!) Thank you for shedding some light and I wish you the best in all that you do. 🙂

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Thanks Si! I think my mind must be in a really weird place to have come up with that one!

      And thanks for your kind words! I’ve been given so many good things I like to spread the wealth around a little, and if my tiny nail shop can give something back, I want to do that! I really appreciate your encouragement. 🙂

  2. Cheryl says:

    Wow, thanks for all the tips! It would really come in helpful if anything bad ever happened in Singapore. I’m glad to hear you’re okay and the food’s all okay too. It’s amazing how the Japanese handle such crises. I also like reading your news because it has a personal edge to it that the news just doesn’t. It seems right now that all the news channels are just fixated on the radiation. Anyway, God bless, and take care!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Thank you, Cheryl! I hope Singapore is better prepared for this kind of event- it’s one of my favorite cities.

      Looks like the radiation situation is improving but I still don’t trust the news here.

  3. StephanieCA7 says:

    Thank you for letting us know how you’re doing! I look forward to reading your blog and getting your perspective on what’s going on over there. I’m relieved to know you’re okay!

    I grew up in earthquake country, so boy do I know what you mean about feeling easily startled after all those quakes. It does put one on edge. It’s a normal reaction to an abnormal situation that should get better over time. Another couple of tips that help one cope are to (1) keep shoes by your bed if a quake hits in the middle of the night. Broken glass in one’s feet is a b*tch. (2) Take a bottle of water and a granola bar with you when you leave the house. (3) i know this sounds goofy, but having a growing plant in the apartment sometimes helps the cabin fever. 🙂 I hope this helps a bit – we’re all pulling for you!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Hi Stephanie! Good advice about the shoes- I never even thought of that since we never wear shoes inside a Japanese house. And the plant…that’s a good idea! I have a total brown thumb and kill every plant I get but it’s worth a try!

  4. Lucy says:

    Thanks Jen for updating up each day. I felt like yours was the only source I could count on. You’ve given me a lot to think about. We’re all supposed to have an emergency kit in the house. I also know to add medication to that list. Important to always keep all documentation updated. Especially being a foreignor in Japan. Mr NTMG don’t do that again! I never lister to FOX news. They’re a bunch of lunatics on that station. I can’t imagine the widespread panic that would’ve happened if Japan wasn’t prepared for earthquakes. Very scary. I’m sure many people will fall apart after the fact. Know how many people care about you and your guy. (((hugs)))

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Hi Lucy! I’m glad I could provide some on-the-ground perspective! Yes, Mr. NTMG has been chewed out for his oversight- luckily he’s got everything he needs now in case we need to beat feet out of Japan!

      Thanks for your kind words- it’s always nice to know folks out there care! ❤

  5. linda says:

    Ms.NeverTooMuchGlitter – We are so thankful for your safety! Can’t wait to celebrate with you back in the states. Just thought you should know my whole house is a “Glitter” as we prepare for our first grand-daughter’s first B-Day! Glitter all through the house. Have you ever heard of a machine called Cricket? Fabulous! I won two and they have been chirping day and night. Wish you were here to help me glitter. I NEED SOME NAILS. Too Fabulous for words.

    Love from Farmington CT

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Howdy! Aww, I bet the special day was just adorable! Congratulations on baby’s first! I can’t believe the year passed so quickly!

      I have seen the Cricket- looks like a lot of fun. I bet you have a lot of scrapbooking to do with all those beautiful grandkids! Can’t wait to see them all in person next time I find myself back in the US.

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