March 19, 2011

The Many Iterations of "Setsuden"

The gorgeous Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple, which I pass on my way to work. I love how the structure evokes everything from the Taj Mahal to a Christian cathedral. (My grandmother says it was built when Japan was in love with everything Western, hence its passing resemblance to a church. You notice it more when you look at it from the back, from far away.)

Since the earthquake, the staff have put up posters on the fence encircling the temple. They all have the same message: setsuden, to conserve electricity and prevent a large-scale blackout. There must be at least 50 posters, and each one looks remarkably different. You wonder how they managed to whip them up.

I'm proud to say that my office is doing all that we can. We're fortunate in that our area isn't scheduled for brownouts, but we use only the minimum amount of lights we need (if we had people tripping in darkness, that would be counterproductive). We've also rounded up a lot of supplies that we had in the office and sent them to the earthquake victims up north. I look at the offices that have lights blazing in the daylight, and wonder if the employees there don't feel completely helpless. Most likely the lights are positioned in a way that doesn't allow them to be partially turned off. At least, that's what I hope.

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