The main concern currently here in Japan is the issue with the power plants and the potential for radiation exposure. The subject is such an emotive one and for those of us without a university degree in radiation related subjects, we have had to rely on other sources to learn about the risks. The media, especially in foreign countries have been playing it up dramatically with headlines like meltdown and black rain which have not occurred.
The season came to a sudden end this year with most of our hotel bookings cancelling and many foreign staff leaving the country immediately due to the media hype. The snow season continues here with still plenty of snow but as we experienced, cancellations were across the board for most of the hotels and lodges in Hakuba. A lot of this was also due to the change in mood throughout Japan which I had felt. This was not a time to be out on the mountain enjoying ourselves when people on the other side of the country had lost everything along with many losing their lives or the lives of loved ones.
The Japanese will recover and move on from this disaster as they have throughout their history. If you were considering a trip to Japan I can wholeheartedly understand why you would cancel at this point in time however please keep it in mind for the future as this will assist the rebuild of a country deeply affected by this tragedy.
You can check here to keep an eye on the radiation levels in the Nagano and the other prefectures
News update 1st August 2011.