April 5 – Suddenly, It's a Gas

A hot bath and a cold meal both signify that life in Sendai continues to improve.

Tuesday for Yasue was marked by milestones. Suddenly, many gas stations opened for the first time. After weeks with only one or two gas stations open, long lines and tight rationing, virtually all the stations opened up over night. The stations are not limiting purchases at all and there are no cars lined up waiting. Clearly, a major shipment of gas must have arrived.

The few stations that are not yet open sustained heavy quake damage and will need to be repaired before opening.

Yasue also had some great news to share on the natural gas front. Yesterday, a gas company employee came into her house and inspected the gas line. It checked out OK and the worker turned on the gas. Suddenly, for the first time since 3/11, Yasue was able to take a hot bath at home as well as have easy access to hot water for cleaning dishes, etc.

The gas worker who came to Yasue’s house was from the Shizuoka area, 270 miles south of Sendai. She said that gas workers from all over Japan have come to Tohoku to get the gas turned on as quickly as possible.

After enjoying a hot bath, Yasue joined the Stars and Stripes reporting crew for another post-quake first — a meal of fresh sushi. A nearby sushi restaurant opened with a limited menu of fish flown in from Hokkaido, 450 miles to the north. With the nuclear crisis to the south in Fukushima, seafood from Japan’s northernmost island is in demand and a rare treat for Yasue and her friend Elena.

Suddenly, the weather has warmed as well with daytime highs near 60 and lows near 40.

A hot bath. A warm day. A cold meal of fresh sushi. Happily, life is getting closer to Sendai’s pre-quake norm.

HONOLULU Magazine’s owner, aio, is organizing a fundraiser for Tohoku University Hospital. Click here for details.