In his final entry, ex-pat Michael Grist tells how he fled Tokyo in the wake of the nuclear scare.

The former Bolton School pupil, now aged 30, grew up in Egerton and worked as a teacher and writer in Japan.

In the days following the earthquake and tsunami, before the nuclear situation was so totally dominating the news, life in Tokyo continued much as normal, with only the heightened sense of concern that continuing aftershocks brought.

My work was cancelled, so I spent much of Saturday watching NHK news (the Japanese BBC) and trying to re-assure friends and family back home that everything was fine, we were safe.

I could understand their worries - any time I checked international news the situation seemed dire, verging on the apocalypse. But NHK was calm and composed.

Life on the street outside was unchanged, but for temporary shortages of bread, pot noodles and bottled water in the local convenience stores, and a few train lines running only sporadically.

I could walk out of my apartment and see Tokyo's ordered life going on as normal: kids going to school, salarimen commuting, most shops still open for business.

So we calmed down, let the stored water out of the bath, and unpacked the emergency escape bags we'd prepared.

On Tuesday I taught English at a community centre to a group of Japanese retirees.

Of course they were concerned about the devastation in the north, but they were completely unworried about the impact of nuclear troubles in Fukushima.

Tokyo was after all over 200km away. I began to feel just as calm as them.

After class I returned home to find my girlfriend very concerned.

Most of her ex-pat co-workers had already fled the country, her company was recommending she leave, and her family were calling constantly begging her to leave.

I began to think my lack of concern was blase.

We glued ourselves to the news. There had been an explosion in Fukushima, winds were carrying radioactivity towards Tokyo, and there was advice to close windows and doors.

We did so, becoming shut-ins for the whole day, hyping ourselves on the frantic coverage of the growing disaster.

Perhaps we lost our sense of balance a little bit, though the information coming about radiation was confusing.

Micro-sieverts were ten times what they usually were in Toyko!

The fact that that level was completely harmless, far less than a standard x-ray, seemed to slip through the information net.

We bought shinkansen tickets on Wednesday, packed our bags for two weeks, and headed out.

In five hours we were 1000km away in Kyushu, the far west of Japan, and on Thursday we had taken the boat over to Pusan. Now I'm in a hotel in Seoul, still carefully watching coverage of the Fukushima plants.

Part of me feels like I've abandoned Tokyo, that maybe we fled too easily from a non-existent threat.

Another part feels like it's good to be out.

A final part is again watching the devastation, watching the people who really suffered from the tsunami, and wishing things will get better for them soon.

The death toll is rising, some of my friends in Tokyo are organising relief efforts, and the best I can do is donate funds to them. So that's what I'll do.

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