Everything in between

I keep trying to write about the aftermath of the disasters but I have little new to say. Things in Tokyo are fine; disruptions are either settling into routine or are fading away. At the same time, everything up north is not fine.

What is striking all of us now, even in the safety of Tokyo, is how much personal upheaval we are experiencing. Shaken to our core beliefs each one of us is reacting, consciously or not, by reprioritising our lives. I believe that no one is going to come out of this time without some major life changes.

One of the changes I am experiencing is a renewed sense of community and love for Japan. Before the quake, I was feeling fed up with living here. Such a restrictive society combined with my frustrating lack of language skills, put me in a mood to leave as soon as possible.  Tod was feeling it, too, for different reasons. When we returned from our February trip to Australia, we envisioned emigrating to sunnier shores as soon as practical.

And then the earth moved and Japan's restrictive culture showed its good side. I've lived here so long I thought I had the rules figured out, but I was wrong. Now I finally get it. The shackles that restrain everyone in good times are useful training for managing in the bad times. No other people I know of would be so collectively strong in a disaster like this. Nobody is looking out for themselves first. Grief is pushed aside for the common good. People are patient and considerate no matter what the circumstances.

I want to be part of this well-ordered society right now. Maybe not forever, but the desire to leave Japan has faded.

But who knows what the future holds? When we returned from Oz, some doors opened that could have us exiting Japan before too long. Or not. We could live in Japan another decade. Or we could be off to Australia in a month. There's no way to know at the moment, so I am trying to go with the flow and be ready for anything. (Yes, those are completely conflicting actions.)

While we wait and see, I will do everything I can to help the Tohoku recovery efforts. I will find a way in the next few weeks to get up north and muck sludge or deliver supplies or cook meals or lead hoop jams for stress relief. There are a few possible avenues to explore here. I will keep you posted.

One thing I will certainly be doing is decluttering the house and selling off things we don't need. Any money collected will go to fund one of the relief projects. (Thanks to Chris for leading the way on this idea!) Stay tuned for the online garage sale....


I will only let you go to Australian when T & M and I are to go as well. You have to stay here and keep me sane/as sane as possible.....

i love that you're finding new ways and ideas to help others.

I was very impressed with the Japanese reaction to the crisis from day one. They're so stoic and, as you wrote, nobody is looking out for themselves first. Living in Germany that's very refreshing to see, believe me. You may have seen how the Germans have reacted to the same crisis--sheer hysteria. More power to you, Japan!

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  • EP: I was very impressed with the Japanese reaction to the read more
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