This is a photo looking towards the east side of Shinjuku, where there are shops and bars and all kinds of entertainment. The exciting side. The flashy side. The bright side.
That is, until now.
Due to the earthquake, some of the nuclear reactors were damaged/shutdown and there has been a power shortage throughout eastern Japan. Although Shinjuku is not part of the mandatory blackouts that TEPCO has issued, many businesses have been conserving energy voluntarily.
It's easy to see the difference at night. No neon, no displays. There haven't been many people around at night either because mandatory blackouts also meant no trains running. Some people would have to leave work at 2 p.m. because their trains were only going their way for an hour that afternoon or others would have to wait past 8 p.m. for their trains to run again. It was really hard figuring out the train/subway schedule last week.
But things seem to be a lot more organized this week. The mandatory blackouts still continue and offices and stores are still conserving energy but there haven't been sudden blackout scares like last week (which had all of us rushing back home before the city stalled...only it didn't happen), so I'm hoping this state of calm will continue.
I have to admit, I do miss the lights. I miss our heating system at work, too. But while TEPCO is doing a whole lot of apologizing these days...I actually want to thank them for giving me a chance to see all the things I took for granted. And until electricity has reached all the areas in the Tohoku region which were devastated by the earthquake/tsunami, I can do without lights and heating systems.
(Shinjuku before energy conservation)