"In this world
we walk on the roof of hell
gazing at flowers" — Kobayashi Issa ...
It seems strange that the cherry blossoms will bloom after the tsunami. It feels like everything has stopped and yet the moon and the sun appear to be changing positions as usual.
The only way to understand how I feel now is to reflect on the national tragedies that hit my own land: 9/11 and Katrina. It is similar to 9/11 in the way that the bad news won't quit, similar to Katrina in the horrific scenes of destruction. Catastrophic in every possible way.
The difference here is the aftermath. The way the Japanese people are holding up and holding each other up. The held-back tears, the shared handkerchiefs if there is no more strength to resist the grief. All the reporters here comment on the calm manner of the survivors, the way they rally each other, encourage each other and themselves to ganbatte.
These are the qualities that have kept us here and will most likely keep us here.
"A world of trials,
and if the cherry blossoms,
it simply blossoms"
"Ours is a world of suffering
even if cherry-flowers bloom"
-both by Issa
I have no pictures to share because I am too busy watching the news and worrying about earthquakes and nuclear fallout to take pictures lately. I am sure you understand.
I would have taken a picture of our earthquake supplies ready at the door so you can later laugh at my overly cautious nature, but it is too dark since we are saving electricity. We are actually going to bed early because we aren't running the heaters and it is much better to be under the warm covers.
Earlier we had a little scare when our cell phones alerted us using the Early Earthquake Warning system that there was to be a big earthquake in our neighboring prefecture. It turned out to be a false alarm but it was the first time it had ever sounded and it rattled me. Jason ran and fetched Sebastian home and we just tidied up and waited. Sebastian's cell phone also sounded so he was aware of what was happening.
The EEW system has proven to be effective so far so just because we were lucky to have a false alarm today, doesn't mean I have lost faith in it. And today's gave us a nice rehearsal.
We've been nothing but honest with the kids because that is the only way to be, even in the face of such utter tragedy. It is only fair that they know what they are up against.
We went downtown to take care of some errands and stock up on batteries and gas canisters for the little portable stove. It was business as usual in Nagoya but the mood was definitely somber. We have noticed a shortage of bottled water, flashlights, and lighters at most stores. There was a long line at the gas station this evening, but that could have just been normal. There were only 5 people in the grocery store though and at 6 pm, that was completely abnormal and eerie.
I'm trying to keep my Facebook page updated with any news that Japan-based people could use, so you are welcome to find me there more regularly than here. Though most of the time I am watching NHK or checking the earthquake reports.
Tomorrow I have to go to a graduation ceremony at work. Then I am off for a week, thank goodness. I am going to try and distract myself with sewing and preparing for the start of the new school year. Things that go beyond today. Good things, small things, things that I have some control over.
I'll check back in within the next two days. Thank you for all your kind support and prayers for Japan. And for us. Much love to you and yours from us lucky ones, here in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Take care of yourselves.