Understandably, the crisis in Japan dominated most daily conversation. “We’re so near yet so far away” one subdued friend murmured. I can echo that. Despite the physical distance, I feel no closer than I would if I’d been home; continually exposed to sensationalised media, somewhat rationalised through more factual, (carefully sourced) Internet reports.
There was a feeling of unrest; a new experience for me. During one week, I received countless variations of a panicky text message, warning not “to go under the rain” because of “cancer-causing radioactive particles”. Despite the tell-tale signs of a chain message (later confirmed by the BBC), you could sense the hysteria.
Later, rumour spread that table salt can prevent nuclear poisoning. Salt producers must have been having a field day. I heard of restaurants rationing, stocks depleting and even a black market forming! Prices surged and when people could no longer get hold of salt, they turned to “salty products”, such as soy sauce and salty fish.