As has become a habit in recent days, the first thing that I did when I woke up was to check that Fukushima was still there, (un)surprisingly it was. However, I noticed that the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) had issued a recommendation that British nationals living in Tokyo think about the possibility of leaving the area. I put a swift call into the FCO, who answered at 06:30 local time, the angels, and had a long discussion with a lovely women named Deborah. Deborah informed me that whilst the FCO were still confident that the exclusion zone was sufficient to deal with any nuclear risk, a possible weakening of Tokyo’s infrastructure meant that they were asking British citizens to consider their options. On my morning run, with Fuji-San looking resplendent in the rapidly rising sun, I made up my mind. Whilst I am a very stubborn character, and have absolutely no concerns about the nuclear situation, I had always told myself that I would leave if advised by my government to do so. In addition to this, my scholarship had said that they would pay and organize for my flight home, and under the circumstances it seems churlish to not take up such a generous offer. I realize that after my rants of the last few days I am in danger of being labelled a hypocrite, but this morning was the first since the horrors of last Friday where I have not felt 100% comfortable. I fully intend to return to Japan in the next week or two, but for now there was just that little voice in the back of my head that told me it was right for ME to go. It has been a very difficult, and gut wrenching decision, but I take solace in the fact that as certain as sparking up your last cigarette means the arrival of an overdue bus, the minute I leave Tokyo the situation is sure to dramatically improve.
I am booked on a flight that departs from Tokyo, tomorrow at 11:35. I thus spent my remaining time in Japan doing the things that I love most: cleaning the house, doing the washing, paying the rent, and visiting Shinjuku. Sadly, as far as the first of these two chores are concerned I am not being ironic. The payment of my rent seemed to go fairly well, until I decided to hand my passbook in to ‘Be made new’. At first I thought that the clerk’s look of surprise was related to my bastardization of her native tongue, but I soon realized that it was because of my bastardization of her native tongue, allied with the fact that I was at the wrong bleeding bank. As my flight leaves Tokyo tomorrow morning, I would struggle to get there in time if I left my house early in the morn at the best of times. The current situation, coupled with the strong possibility of black outs in central Tokyo this evening, and my lack of a torch, meant that I set off to the airport (Narita) at 19:00, expecting to spend the night there. For some unknown reason the Skyliner was not running from Nippori to Narita, well either that or I went to the wrong ticket window. Either way I ended up on the peasant train, which at half the price represented about a billionth of the comfort. I also got off at Narita, rather than Narita airport, but thankfully rectified my mistake. However I did have to pay twice for the privilege. Narita airport was nowhere near as busy as I thought it would be, and so I found a quiet corner and settled down for the night. As usual the Japanese excelled with their kindness and sensibility: free wifi and phone use throughout the airport. Now all I need is a bad night’s sleep, thereby hopefully resulting in a very pleasant, i.e. comatose, flight home.