Sunday, 20 March 2011

What to say?

I'm a writer. But I have no words for the past week.

Now it is Sunday morning. A 3-day holiday weekend because of the Spring Equinox. A beautiful, sunny day in Sapporo.

A cat is on the computer keyboard, Yujiro's gone ski teaching at Kiroro (people are still coming on holiday and having ski lessons?) and Okaasan is dozing under her heated table.

And thousands of people died this week.
Thousands of people became homeless this week.

We are fine. So fine.
We have electricity, gas for the car, toilet rolls, rice.
We have a life: work, the dentist, a coffee shop lunch, a movie...shit...I even finally made it back to the gym on Friday.

Can't think what else to say.
All my energy this week has gone into endless, endless conversations with students about the tragedy:  information and sister/in-laws/son's friend/golf buddy/old neighbor/fellow teacher/daughter and friend.....on and on and on.
I've donated money. I've put my classroom on the Couch Surfing "Japan Crises Housing" group, I've tried to connect NPO working people I know, I was interviewed by my old newspaper in England.

And Okaasan.
How is she coping?

Ok. We think. Yujiro took her out 3 times this week for shopping/lunch trips locally - to get her off the carpet and into clothes and away from the TV.
But I feel that her conversation abilities have slipped back a notch or two.
She just sits and eats at mealtimes, she interacts if we directly address her - but other times she just sits and eats the food in front of her or just watches us moving around the kitchen etc. LIke having a baby in a high chair who can't converse yet, but watches the family moving around.
Like having a black hole across the dinner table....our conversation disappears into it and nothing comes back.
I actually MISS the hamster wheel stories of wartime life/Nishi-sensei and his wonderful health advice/my New Year cooking routines.

Yujiro may have ski work this coming week because it is spring holidays for schools and colleges, so he may be away a lot. I will try to get Okaasan to respond to more direct conversation and bring back the hamster wheel conversations.

And so. And so.
Onwards Japan. Onwards.


  1. I think despite the tragedies, that everyone is very sorry for, you can't soak up the negativity, you have to stop sometime and get on with your own life. For me it's been very depressing, but the more people talk about all that stuff the more it perpetuates. It's better to get on with life and focus on the positives, because then new positives will flow. :)

  2. I HAVE to move on, otherwise you yourself get sick. We went to see an escapist movie on Wednesday (movie theater was full of likethinking people) and i've been back to the gym....cleared snow....small have to do stuff otherwise the big stuff weighs you down!

  3. We were supposed to be going to Kiroro next week with my parents-in-law, but they and I both felt it would be impossible to enjoy skiing with the evacuees and the nuclear crisis at the forefront of our minds. The kids are sad, but we've canceled and are donating the money we would have spent to the earthquake appeal. I do worry about the economic effect, not only on Hokkaido but all round Japan as people stop going on holiday breaks. Sorry :-(

  4. I agree. I feel like I should be happy to be alive and warm and safe. I can't bear to think about it anymore. f I can find ways to help more, then I will. In the mentime, I'll try to be positive about living where I do.

  5. Yes, living kindly to the world and those around you is important. Hell, I even just sat at lunch and ENCOURAGED Okaasan to blather on about a flowering bush in her garden in Saitama...happy to hear her blathering on and on.

  6. I know and the tragedy is so unreal it is easy to get sucked into it...but after a week of being glued to the TV and tweeting aftershocks and stuff, I'm more than ready to move on... though some of it doesn't feel right. If I could, I'd really like to go up and help.