On behalf of all of ‘us’, thank you to all of ‘you’, for your messages here & concerns. We are as shocked about ongoing developments on the NE coast as anyone else.
Matsumoto has not been damaged by the major earthquake last Friday (March 11th) nor by the subsequent aftershocks off/near the east coast. The city did feel a jolt 4am Saturday (March 12th) from the quakes which struck on the Nagano/Niigata border.
We cannot advise anyone about travel to/around here or Japan. Suggest you contact your travel agent, follow advisories from your government, and watch the TV. Your information as likely as up to date as ours. Anyone visiting will be warmly welcomed as ever. It is mostly business as usual. No one is panicking. Spring is in the air.
If you are concerned about Fukushima & the unfolding nuclear power plant situation, so are we. However, the wind has been backing from the west throughout.
So far, we are not scheduled for power cuts. This should mean trains run on schedule, but please check locally before you set off.
I think the petrol stations have now sold out locally; if not, they will do soon. Friends in Niigata are already reporting no fuel, and shops bare-shelved, restaurants closed. That is not so here. Yet.
Transport links to the south are unaffected as far as I know. Tokyo is experiencing power cuts which are affecting train services there.
Phones. Not reliable. If you need to make a call, keep trying. If not, assume the system is just overloaded. Facebook is proving it might be worth $64bn and a movie after all. Accessible even if phones not working/power fails. Search #matsumoto on twitter, if anything does change that will be the first outlet.
The local English teaching community is offering to take in any families wishing to flee to safer ground. If you are worried about friends elsewhere, please send them our way or to this link on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=99829128161 We expect our students & local community will already be making similar offers.
Our hearts are breaking to see the carnage wrought further north and east. We all feel a bit useless right now.
Thank you again for your concern. On behalf of all of us locally, Jim G