This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

Tokyo: day two / 12 March 2011

Earthquakes, tsunami and the unseen threat of radiation; we may not be in the aftermath yet, but jargon is slipping into my conversation.

“Brown-outs” are a big concern. Japan relies heavily on nuclear power and being without electricity is already a problem. Power to communicate; power to produce, store and prepare food and water; power to rescue, to repair and rebuild; power is key to survival and recovery.

I reflect on my earlier use of “meltdown” to describe something that happens to me. I acknowledge that my own personal “meltdown” bears no relationship to the one that is possibly threatening Japan. It is hard to take in the enormity.

How soon can Japanese power production return to necessary levels? Japan and indeed the commercial world depends on it. And how accessible will this crippled be Tokyo for a wheelchair user?

SP tells me that the streets of Tokyo are quieter than normal, but there are still restaurants open and food is available. His phone needs charging; the food in his freezer needs eating, and he is conserving his supplies of bottled water and non-perishable food.

As this day progresses further quakes are being reported, images of flooding and fires dominate the media; images of destruction, warnings of mud-slides and unstable buildings; whole villages and towns wiped away, all these things speak of horror and heartbreak.