06 September, 2014

Toilet paper vulnerability

We're into another busy weekend, though not nearly as busy as last weekend. Before I go and pack my bag for 24 hrs away, I want to let you know that toilet paper is a high priority in Japan.
Finding toilet paper home six days after the earthquake in
2011 was a big joy.

Three days after the huge earthquake in 2011 I took the kids to the park and watched, to my surprise, a number of people walk past with large stores of toilet paper on their bikes. One lady had about four packets (each with 12 rolls) balanced on her bike (I wrote about it on the day here). I wondered what that was all about.

The next day I realised there were conspicuous absences on shop shelves, toilet paper being one (see a photo here). I presume now that that was because people stockpiled it, but I'm not sure. For weeks afterwards shops had signs up restricting buyers to one packet each and even listing how much toilet paper one person needs. I still remember the joy of being able to buy some toilet paper for my family, so excited that I took a photo!

So it didn't come as a great surprise when I saw this article recently, where the government was advising people to stockpile toilet paper in their disaster preparation kits. One reason being that 40% of toilet paper in Japan is made in a single geographical area, which, like the rest of Japan, is disaster prone.

So, this weekend, appreciate your toilet paper!

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