St. Pa­trick’s Day pa­rade scrapped in scary and sub­dued Tokyo - Andy

Bray People - - NEWS FOCUS -

GREY­TONES NA­TIVE Andy O'Do-herty, Chair­man of the Ir­ish Net­work Ja­pan, has con­firmed that this year's St. Pa­trick's Day Pa­rade in Tokyo has been can­celled.

The Pa­rade, ini­tially post­poned for one week, has now been de­layed in­def­i­nitely.

The 29-year-old Wick­low man was work­ing on the third floor of his of­fice build­ing, about 20km west of Tokyo, when the earth­quake struck last Fri­day.

‘Com­put­ers were fall­ing off from all the top shelves so we had to use our safety packs in work,' ex­plained Andy, adding that all com­pa­nies in Ja­pan pro­vide such packs, which in­clude hel­mets. ‘ The place was rat­tling.'

He de­scribed an in­tense feel­ing of fear in the room in the af­ter­math of the quake. Andy said that he was one of five peo­ple hid­ing un­der­neath a ta­ble.

‘It lasted for just a few min­utes, then ev­ery­one left but trains weren't work­ing, nor were traf­fic lights, so the roads were blocked.'

He faced a five-hour hike home be­cause trains and traf­fic lights were out of com­mis­sion.

The at­mos­phere has been ‘scary, (and) sub­dued’, since the week­end, said Andy. ‘You just don't know what is go­ing to hap­pen.'

He said that work has been can­celled un­til fur­ther no­tice. ‘ The Tokyo Power Com­pany has ini­ti­ated a power off to con­serve en­ergy, but we have a back-up gen­er­a­tor,' added the IT pro­fes­sional.

It is un­der­stood that Tokyo's Ir­ish com­mu­nity has es­caped se­ri­ous harm af­ter the al­most 9.0 mag­ni­tude earth­quake that shook the city.

The Ir­ish Em­bassy in Tokyo can be con­tacted on 0081 332 630695. A spe­cial Cri­sis Cen­tre can be con­tacted on (01) 4180233.

Andy O’Do­herty from Grey­stones.

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