As of today, it’s been three months since the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. We don’t see as many bloggers writing about it anymore, and the articles being spread around in social media are becoming few and far between. However, that doesn’t mean everything is okay in Japan now.
Recently, the government in Japan asked people to make some major changes in order to conserve energy. These are changes that would be good for all of us to make, not only Japan. For example, employees are working from 7:30am – 4:15pm in order to optimize daylight hours. From now on, offices won’t be using as much air conditioning or office lighting at night.
Companies are expected to cut electricity usage by 15% and limit air conditioning use. Instead of wearing the traditional coat and tie or dress suit type of office attire, employees are encouraged to wear clothing that will be cooler, like cotton shirts and sneakers. Households are expected to not use air conditioning at all, and switch to electric fans. People are asked to unplug appliances when not in use and raise the thermometer on their refrigerators.
Since the Japanese people are so hard working, most of them are used to working well into the night. However, since they won’t be able to keep the lights on in their office in the evening hours when it’s dark outside, perhaps these new rules will indirectly strengthen family bonds and encourage people to spend more time at home. I don’t know, I’m just trying to look on the bright side of a disaster so huge that most of us in the West cannot truly relate to it.
Since electricity and running water are still in challenge in many places in Japan, I’ve often wondered exactly how this affects daily life. Even simple things like using the bathroom can suddenly become a challenge. Thank goodness there are some designers, who in the face of this disaster, are still able to muster their creativity to solve some of the new problems that the Japanese people are facing.
This emergency toilet by DigInfoTV is one possible solution. It’s very easy to use also. Since the video isn’t in English, I thought I would explain the steps. According to Japan Probe, this is what you do:
1. Place the colored bag over the cardboard stand.
2. Place chemical pellets into the bag. They will solidify any liquids and absorb odor.
3. Place the black poncho over yourself for privacy.
4. Pee in the bag.
5. Tie the bag up. It is now ready for disposal.
For all the most recent information on Japan, you can check out these articles on Guardian.