Yesterday afternoon I was meeting travellers at Narita airport. It is usually packed with people at this time of year, but these are troubled times; aftershocks from the March earthquake continue and uncertainty over leaking radiation remains. Perhaps most disturbingly though, we are in the middle of a brownout.
`About Brownout`, says the sign; the word certainly needs explaining. Brownout is the nice brother of blackout; lights and machinery are used sparingly, but they are not switched off. There are brownouts all over Tokyo right now. Unthreatening, most Japanese welcome the setsuden ( 節電 saving electricity) campaign and complain that before the earthquake too much electricity was wasted – like the heated toilet seats in summer.
Extended brownout aside, most things are back to normal, me included. Sitting down at the airport yesterday, I realised I had left my laptop the other side of the terminal in a cafe. Rushing inside the Vie de France, I felt foolish, but I was delighted to find my computer still there, covered in crumbs. I strolled back across the terminal to my seat, laughing at my own stupidity and then discovered I`d left my credit card lying on the table. In most respects, Japan remains a reassuringly safe country.