By now everyone has probably already heard of the disasters happening in Japan, including earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, nuclear reactor meltdowns, and volcanic eruptions. This has left many systems severely crippled, one of which is the Japanese power grid. The earthquakes and ensuing tsunami took out several of the country’s nuclear power plants and the ones remaining are not able to provide nearly enough electricity to supply the country. In order to prevent a complete blackout, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is implementing rolling blackouts where turn off power in certain areas for a few hours per day to ensure other areas have the power they need.
Rolling blackouts are not a desirable situation though, so ordinary citizens are being called upon in an unofficial campaign to participate in “Operation Yashima”. If that name sounds familiar, that’s probably because it comes from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. Specifically, it comes from episode 6 where an Angel attacks Japan and can only be taken down by using a positron rifle that needs to draw all of the electricity from Japan’s power grid.
The real-life Operation Yashima isn’t as extreme as to ask everyone to stop using electricity, but it is asking for people to conserve as much as they can, and only use what is necessary. Information about the project can be found at http://yashima.me/about.html (in Japanese). The operation is being promoted on Twitter using the tag #84MA. The Japanese have suffered tremendously these past few days, so here’s to hoping that they can pick up the pieces and at least return to some normalcy in the following weeks.
If you don’t live in Japan and would like to help out in some way, you can donate to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.