For a year and a half, we have had unreal threats intruding upon our reality. Unreal in how they feel, how they currently affect our daily lives. It is hard to feel threatened by something you cannot see or feel. Yet I would say that we are in crisis mode here. We never stopped having a nuclear disaster, the media just stopped talking about it.
There are some really scary things going on here. Mutated butterflies, thyroid abnormalities in children, trace amounts of contamination showing up in our food supply. If you read this blog, you might lose more sleep at night. You should see the dark circles under my eyes.
I have been particularly frustrated by the idiotic way the government and TEPCO have handled this mess, trying to clean it up with filthy hands. The people have finally begun to vent their anger with dedicated weekly protests in every major city and town (six o'clock on Friday evenings, like clockwork-this is Japan after all). They work under the banner called the Ajisai Revolution which is just so telling of what is going on here. The ajisai (hydrangea) is supposed to bring hope during the rainy season and this movement is emulating the flower in its duration and subtly.
As proud as I am of the people and as much as I love ajisai, I think we need a more radical bloom. Or maybe just leave out blossoms all together and have a radical revolution. The government is not looking out for the people. They are protecting profits, a popular political motive found around the globe. Money equals speech, corporations are people and all that bullshit. Where is the free market here in Japan?
People don't want to eat contaminated food and avoid it but then get either bullied into it or blinded to its existence. In a land where the government infamously over-subsidizes farmers, why could we not just pay the farmers to destroy their crops until the land is usable again? Why are school districts on the other side of the nation finding cesium in their vegetables? Just because something is under the limit does not make it safe.
I worry that more is going on than they are telling us. I worry they are taking the typical shoganai approach to handling this while also dealing with corrupt people to sweep this under the rug.
Everywhere on the planet there are threats to our food supply from corn syrup to GMO foods but I think cesium and cobalt have greater immediate consequences. I support farmers in general but I think this is getting out of hand. We are dealing with substances we have no business dealing with. The government is gambling with our lives, our future in a game that has no winners.
This goes beyond businesses and borders.
This is not something to be brushed off with the standard "It's not the Japanese way".
This is beyond cultural. It is far beyond criminal.
We have taken steps to avoid contaminated food. All of our food is now obtained from the local organic farmers' market except for certain things that we make sure come from Kyushu or are imported. We are strict vegans at home now though the kids are still eating school lunches. We are keeping our eyes open and trying to stay objective. It is easy to become paranoid when the stakes are so high.
We live here by choice. We chose Japan because we believe it offers our children a great deal of benefits such as a bilingual and bicultural upbringing and living in a society that revolves around family. Though we are always going to be foreigners, we have been readily accepted into every community we have live in and have always been astounded by how kind neighbors, friends, and strangers are to us.
We would like to stay here for a long time. We want Luca to experience undoukai (Sports' Day); Colette to have her own doll collection for Hina Matsuri (Doll's Festival); Nico to graduate elementary school; Sebastian to master kanji and sansu (Chinese characters and math). I want to write stories based here, Jason wants to make a video of Gion Matsuri and be part of the sofubi scene. We have plans.
We have a full and happy life here.
We don't want to go.
But we will if we must.
I am grateful we have options. Most people here don't.
In the end, I know we will do what is best for these guys but I just wish I never had such decisions to make.