Because the disastrous earthquake and tsunami of March 11 triggered a nuclear crisis, people all across Japan have been doing their part in the urgent need to conserve energy. I’ve been in Tokyo for only a couple of days, but the manifestation of this energy conservation was evident as soon as I stepped off the plane at Narita Airport.
The airport was warm. At first I thought I was working up a sweat taking the long walk to customs and retrieving my luggage. When I saw an airport employee swabbing his face with a handkerchief, it hit me: The AC wasn’t running on high.
My hotel in Tokyo is also in on the act. A note on the vending machine on my floor indicates that since the earthquake, the hotel has been conserving power. As a result, the vending machines on even-numbered floors are not operational. My room is on the 8th floor, so if I want a snack or a beverage, I must go to one of the odd-numbered floors to make my purchase. (I’m pretty sure that’s what the sign says.)
I haven’t ventured to the super-neon sections of Shibuya and Shinjuku yet, but I’m curious to see if the bright lights are a little dimmer than usual.