Sorry for the silence... I was really trying to have a more normal day. Not a lot has changed here - they are still struggling to contain and cool the reactors in Fukushima. The smart people who should know what they're talking about are still saying that anyone who stays outside of the exclusion zone (evacuation zone) around the plant is safe.
There have been no explosions or fires in the last 24 hours but the radiation near the plant has been high enough that they've had to stop the cooling efforts a couple of times. One of the biggest concerns right now is the spent fuel rods in reactor 4 because they are relatively fresh (just came out of service in the fall) and they are not encased in a protective housing like the active reactors are. They need to be kept under water for safety, and the water keeps boiling off.
We are safe here. We have had an email from the Canadian consulate in response to a question from Ian. They have stated clearly that they are not recommending that we leave immediately. Nor are there any concerns about us travelling through Tokyo when we do leave. They say very clearly that at this stage there is no radiation health risk for us - particularly because we are in Hokkaido.
Love to all