Grocery Shopping Without the Panic

10:00 and the local grocery store is open. Time to put my well developed strategy into place. Side door into the store, straight for dairy, juice, on to pasta sauce, dark chocolate and last of all vegetables. As I hustle through the store and make a b-line for the dairy aisle I notice something strange. The dairy aisle is actually full of dairy. All of the usual suspects are gathered: milk (of all kinds), yogurt and cheese. I get a bit suspicious as this is the first time in almost a month that it has all been there. I rush on to the pasta aisle and what do I find? Jars of imported tomato sauce exactly where they are supposed to be with bags of pasta nestled on a shelf nearby. Feeling lucky I head over to the snack aisle and there are boxes and boxes of 72% cocoa dark chocolate, perfect for my afternoon tea time! I casually saunter over to the vegetable section and behold, all of the vegetables in their usual places. I am so surprised by the ease of shopping that I even forget to look for fruit juice. I make my purchases and head upstairs for the final check of the day. No less than 9 kinds of toilet paper on fully stocked shelves! It has been a good day indeed!

It looks like things are getting back to normal here in Tokyo and I have mixed feelings about that. Of course, I appreciate it when my life is a bit easier but there is a layer of unease at the changes. The skeptic in me feels that the more normal things get here the higher the chance gets that people will forget how bad it still is up in Tohoku. The optimist would say that it is possible that when people here are better off they will become even more generous in their help of people in need up north.

I am leaning toward cautious optimism.

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