Before I get back to the serious business of a life attempting to grow cricket in Japan, I could not write anything without firstly acknowledging the response to my last blog.
An incredible amount of people reached out to me, many of whom I had not heard from in years, and in some cases even decades. It was really rather touching. It was also helpful, if a little sad, to know that so many people have been or are going through something similar.
Thank you to everyone who did, it really was very kind of you. In the shortest update I can manage; Dad is halfway through his chemo and is taking it on it the way he would tackle a Cornish Pasty, methodically and with a lengthy nap afterwards. He is halfway through and should be done by mid-October. After that we shall just have to see.
So today was interesting. I awoke at 6:02am with my phone making a noise that I had no idea it was even capable of, and it was distinctly fire alarm-like. Now, occasionally it makes a similar noise when there is about to be an earthquake, so given I was asleep at the time I assumed that was what it was and lay still awaiting the tremor that I was sure was coming.
It didn't come. Instead, as I began to wake up, I noticed that the Public Announcement system, which I had never actually known existed, was also blaring something out. Perhaps I should consider getting out of bed....
I didn't of course. Although I did quietly curse myself for never taking my mates advice and packing an "Emergency Bag" in case of another massive earthquake hitting Japan, which is hardly outside of the realms of possibility. So I started thinking what I would grab if I had to make a quick exit, and whether I would have time to put on underwear or just risk free-balling. Such are my thoughts in a time of danger.
Ten minutes later, as I was beginning to doze off, my phone blurted out again. Right, now I am bracing for a serious quake, it must be coming....but still nothing.
It seemed sensible to look out the window. Half expecting to see people streaming out of their houses carrying wailing children and all their earthly belongings, instead I saw nothing (the PA system is still going off by the way, and hasn't stopped at any point). Then an old bloke meandered serenely passed on his bike. Well sod it then, I'm going back to bed. Thankfully the bloke on the PA soon piped down too.
It's probably just as well I didn't know what the messages said, or at least the first one, so it is a rare occurrence of my being quietly grateful for not studying Japanese hard enough. Here's what the first one said:
"Missile launched. Missile launched. It seems that the missile has been launched from North Korea. Please evacuate to building with strong structure or go to the basement."
I honestly don't know what I would have done if I'd read that in English...get in the bath? Crack open a beer? Not a clue. Incidentally, my building has no basement.
As it happened I saw an alert from the BBC saying that a missile had been fired over Japan, and that everything was fine (which is basically what the second emergency message said).
Living in Japan you get used to the threat of earthquakes and such things, but getting nuked is not something I had really considered before moving here. Strangely enough I'm not especially bothered about it. A number of people this year who have visited from overseas have asked about the "North Korea situation" and I had basically laughed it off. I pretty much still am, and am confident that at least in my town we have this bloke on our side:
If a cuddly mascot brandishing fried potato sticks and with a noodle bowl on his head isn't enough to strike the fear into the very hearts of the North Korean leadership, then I don't know what is.