Enjoying and suffering

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On the weekend we hoopers joined together at Yoyogi Park to hoop and collect donations for the Peace Boat's earthquake relief efforts. They are cooking 500 hot meals a day up in Ishonomaki and we gathered some cooking supplies and cash for them. I am deeply grateful to everyone who contributed and especially to Sareh for rallying the Couchsurfing community to the cause. So many of the CS people turned up with bags of soy sauce and oil. Generous++

While we were enjoying the sunny day in Tokyo, Dee and Tracey from 37 Frames were up north documenting things there. They share their incredible adventure with heart-wrenching tales and photos. There is so much more we need to be doing to help the stricken survivors. I am inspired to do everything I can. I want to go up there and hold hands, boil rice, and muck out the mud, but for the next little while I am more useful in Tokyo, helping to organise the hooping community to do fundraising and good works. My turn in Tohoku will come in a few months, when survival issues have been sorted and I can bring joy and hula hoops while mucking out mud, too.

Tokyo is stuck in a strange place. Fear of radiation* and worries of nuclear doom mix with the practical need to get to work and go out to buy groceries. There's a mood of sacrifice with blackouts, energy conservation and the cancellation of many events, including hanami parties. But there's a counter movement afoot to enjoy life and boost the economy with shopping and gaiety. Sobriety vs hedonism.

When I step back and think about it though, Tokyo has always been "anything goes" and that hasn't changed. With so many people, there are bound to be contrasting views on things. They are all right and all wrong and there is no absolute. Thus are the times we live in.

A friend reminded me today that we are about to go into a month-long period of Mercury Retrograde, a time when communications run afoul and new projects should be put on hold. Unfortunately, I have great need of both communication and new projects at this time, so Mercury be damned. On a related mercurial note, the MESSENGER spacecraft is in orbit around Mercury now, preparing to take pictures and send data back. Mercury is a mysterious planet!

As is our own planet.

* You can't hide radiation. Lots of organizations are measuring levels now, so any concerns about TEPCO/government cover-ups are pretty well undone.  My favorite go-to sites for facts are the MEXT radiation graphs by prefecture, and the graphs of radiation in water and other graphs at that site. The electricity use meter shows how well we're conserving power and this earthquake graph reveals a real downward trend in aftershocks. Check out the other great informatics at fleep.com - they have made the overwhelming amount of data visual.

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