We’re living in a dark city, says expat who stayed put in Tokyo

WORRIED Nick Clarke
WORRIED Nick Clarke
Picture: Pierandrea Guarnieri

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A BUSINESSMAN who moved from Southsea to Tokyo says the city is far from normal more than six weeks after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Nick Clarke left for Japan five years ago where he set up an events agency which puts on music festivals. The 33-year-old former Priory School pupil was on the seventh floor of a skyscraper when the earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11.

Although there has been widespread panic over radiation from the stricken Fukushima nuclear reactor, Mr Clarke says he is staying put, determined to live as normal a life as possible.

He said: ‘I was on the seventh floor in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku in downtown Tokyo. The building shook a lot and everything from the shelves fell off and the furniture toppled over.

‘I was on a call with my business partner at the time and she was a bit more shaken up than me.

‘Earthquakes happen here quite frequently on a lesser scale, but after around a minute we both realised this wasn’t a normal earthquake and we both agreed to leave the buildings we were in.

‘I had to run down a fire escape which was moving all over the place – it felt like King Kong was trying to wrestle with it.

‘The building I was in housed a lot of the hostess girls in the area so seeing them all piling out without their make-up on and hair in the air, in pyjamas was a scary sight.

‘Out on the street thousands of people were sitting in the roads looking up at the buildings. The ground was shaking a lot.’

Mr Clarke left the city for a few days and says the city has changed.

‘The city has been darkened and they have limited the outside lights to a minimum – it is like walking through a country town now inhabited by millions of people.

‘I’m not really fearful of the radiation. The foreign media over-exaggerate things and the Japanese media are not ever going to tell you the whole truth. The main guy at the power plant coming and crying his eyes out the other day doesn’t exactly breed confidence though. We will see, but for the meantime we are far enough away to be ok.

‘My family and friends were of course very worried. I managed to calm my mum down eventually but it doesn’t help talking on Skype though when she can see the aftershocks moving the furniture around the room!’