In exactly two weeks from today my husband and 13-year-old daughter have tickets to fly to Tokyo, Japan. They have been planning this trip since last summer. The itinerary includes 3 days in Tokyo (Hotel is paid for already) then south to Kyoto and Hiroshima, with another 3 day window for travel back to Tokyo or perhaps elsewhere.
We have not yet changed the airline tickets or cancelled any reservations. Our feelings are very mixed, we are not overly worried yet about the danger of radiation exposure. The feeling seems to be that there is a lot of panic out there, stats I read yesterday stated that the levels being seen now in Tokyo are above normal but not too high. I get more exposure in my biannual mammograms, they would have to be exposed continuously for over 3 months for there to be any kind of health risk.
This would not be the first time our family has travelled, no matter how coincidentally, after a major disaster. NYC and Hawaii after 9/11, Phuket after the Tsunami there, Bangkok during the 2004 coup. In this case we are concerned about what is culturally appropriate. Is it the proper thing to do? Will my husband and daughter’s presence be appreciated during this national time of mourning? It would be terrible to travel there and then feel like they are unwanted visitors.
The few people we know who live in Japan are not in Tokyo and their lives seem to be continuing on as normal–as normal as they can with 4 after shocks a day. In many ways we feel like it would be a show of support to continue with the trip, no matter how small they would be spending our dollars locally and directly.
We (I) would love to hear other opinions, perhaps from folks closer to the event than we are here in the PNW, and I’ll keep you all updated as 3/31 gets closer.