Near Yellow Mountain

Friday, May 13, 2011

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

I just ended a thirteen day trip to Asia with five days in Tokyo. Over the past 15 years, I have spent at least 30 days each year in the "eastern capital". Based on my experience, I consider myself qualified to judge how the city is operating. It has been 60+ days since "3/11". The aftershocks are detectable but for the most part not felt. Tokyo seems like its normal self.

Typical of the country, individuals and companies are trying to show solidarity with the need to reduce power use in the wake of the nuclear plant shutdown. Company lobbies are much darker than normal; escalators are not running, and certain businesses are running at modestly reduced hours. Beyond the office lobbies - the meeting rooms are bright and the reduced hours at some businesses are more of an excuse to operate more efficiently than anything else.

In the streets and restaurants, things seemed normal. Traffic to and from the golf course on Sunday was normal. Restaurants are full. While Japanese car companies are not producing at normal levels yet - they can see the day when they will be.

It was a pleasure to spend five nights in my favorite Tokyo hotel - the Peninsula. The service was great as usual. Perhaps the occupany was a little less than normal but after the images the world saw after "3/11"; it was hard to imagine the recovery would happen this fast.

One of my customers has a plant less than 15 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Just a  few weeks ago it was doubtful when or even if the factory would reopen. It is operating as I write this.

It was great to see Japan on the mend.