Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am indeed safe. The quake took out the power in Nanyo, so I went to Yonezawa where utilities were unaffected, and stayed with a friend. I'm still there now. Phonecalls are mostly not getting through, and phone email is getting held up really badly. So I don't know what the situation is in Nanyo now, but I'm in no particular hurry to get back. My house appeared to be undamaged.
Update, 11:30 GMT / 20:30 local:
Power was restored to Nanyo this afternoon, and I am now back home. I'm watching the situation at Fukushima Daiichi quite nervously, as I am only 103km away from the plant.
Update, 23:30 GMT / 08:30 (sunday) local:
Aftershocks keep coming; having quietened down yesterday they seem to be picking up ominously. I was woken by a 6.0 about an hour ago, and as I was writing this, a 6.2 hit. I had the TV on, and the early warning system worked, meaning I was under the desk before the shaking even started.
Some people from home are asking me whether I have any plans to flee the country. I don't. I've seen the terrible scenes from the east coast, but here in Yamagata it's more-or-less business as usual. There's negligible damage to buildings, the utilities are back up, and while there are some problems with keeping shops supplied, I have enough food to last me days. I'm in no immediate danger, so I'm staying put. Having said that, I am ready to jump in my car and drive in the opposite direction from Fukushima at short notice.
Update, 07:30 (sun) GMT, 16:30 local:
After some frantic panic buying, my local petrol station is now out of gasoline. There are some shortages in the supermarket (bottled water, bread, instant noodles, etc), and of course all the refrigerated or frozen stuff had to be discarded because of the power cut, but I wouldn't say it's too much of a problem at this stage.
In more trivial news, I can't get a decent shower at home - I guess pipes must be leaking and the pressure isn't 100%. But it's ok, because my local onsen has reopened. The positive side of living on the Ring of Fire is that 45°C water comes out of the ground.