Danger in the Darkness? No Thanks

The area surrounding Mt. Hakone—an active volcano near the base of Japan’s famously picturesque Mt. Fuji—was put on alert this week after experiencing increased seismic activity and several minor earthquakes.

The Japan Meteorological Agency raised the alert level to 2 (out of 5), which means that no one should approach the crater as the possibility of a volcanic eruption exists. This, rather understandably, had quite the negative effect on tourism during the Golden Week holidays, and many hot springs (onsen / 温泉) had no option but to close due to their proximity to the volcano.


Also in the news, Sakurajima—one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, located in southern Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu—has already recorded its 500th eruption of the year, with ash reaching a reported 5,000 m (16,400 ft). Comforting fun fact: There is a nuclear power plant just 50 kilometers (30 miles) away.

Japan is certainly not alone in regard to natural disasters, with Nepal recently struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and the Philippines hit by a typhoon. In fact, approximately half of the world’s 226 natural disasters of 2014 took place in the Asia–Pacific region. As such, being prepared in case of an emergency is not only a good idea, it’s the only one that makes sense.

Having a (working) flashlight on hand if/when an emergency happens isn’t necessarily going to save anyone, but it’s certainly a useful addition to any emergency kit. While many will no doubt view such a kit as “going overboard with this stuff,” a bit of self-reliance is never a bad idea, especially for those expats living in Asia who might not be able to speak the local language well enough to take advantage of local resources, e.g., shelters or emergency services.

Don’t know which light to get? Perhaps give the new magnesium-battery emergency lights powered by water a look. Yes, you read that right… powered by water. And it doesn’t need to be drinking water either. Any water will apparently suffice (even salt water). Green tea reportedly works as well.

Mizupica, which is a combination of the Japanese words for water (mizu / 水) and flash (pika / ぴかっ), is a reasonably priced light that works for up to a week on just teaspoons of water. Amazon Japan currently has it listed at ¥1,058 (US$9).

If something with more lumens is needed, then Panasonic’s emergency light runs off of regular batteries. Where this light differs from others is that it works individually on one of any four regular-sized batteries. This is done by manually rotating the light-emitting diode (LED) top to the desired battery. It can last 2.5 hours on an AAA, 8 hours on an AA, 25 hours on a C, and 50 hours on a D. That totals 85.5 hours of lighting without the need to change batteries. More than just a bit impressive.

But for those not wanting to find themselves in an emergency situation years down the road with four dead batteries, the ability to store Mizupica for up to five years before initial usage certainly separates it from others.

And while you don’t need drinking water to use Mizupica, you may want to keep some on hand anyway, you know, for drinking.

H/T: Rocket News 24