It’s hard to put into words all the terrible events that are occurring in Japan at the moment. From the earthquake, to resulting tsunami, the devastating loss of lives and the unstable Fukushima nuclear reactor, it’s been a really traumatic couple of days for so many people.
I was in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, which was one of the most scariest moments of my life. One moment I was pushing pixels in Photoshop in the office, the next the whole room started shaking and we were running outside in our slippers (I work in a Japanese office where we don’t wear shoes inside). We stood outside for a few minutes, some in silence, others giggling nervously and then we moved back inside. AGAIN, the room started shaking and we were forced to run outside. This time I managed to grab my cell phone, shoes and a bottle of water (just in case).
Aftershocks continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Trains weren’t working and many people were left stranded unable to get home until morning. I count myself very lucky to live not too far from my office, so it took me about 2 hours to walk home. Others had to walk much, much further than me.
Over the next few days we had many aftershocks. Some bigger than others and we were waiting around for the next big aftershock. This reduced me into a quivering crazy lady. Two things helped me.
1. On Sunday, my friends decided to get out into the sunshine and have a picnic in Yoyogi Park. This was great, because when you’re living in another country your friends become your family and it was so beneficial to see them. It helped us forget about all the awful things that were going on, even just for a few hours.
2. I relocated to Kyoto. Just for a few days whilst the reactor is being stabilised and to help calm my shattered nerves. My lovely friend Megumi (from Hafu Film) put us up for the night in her parent’s apartment. For that I’m eternally grateful.
So for now I am in Kyoto and trying to work out what my next steps are.
What can you do to help?
Donations are probably the best thing you can do. Here are just a few places where you can donate:
I hope you are able to donate something, however small, to these wonderful people.
I finish this long, long blog post with a snippet of an email I received from my Japanese teacher which got me a bit teary eyed.
I am very sorry to see we are so powerless before these big natural threats like the earthquake and tsunami. But this is our country and we have to live here. Probably we will learn a lot from this, and I think we can make a better and more beautiful Japan in a few years.
I love you Japan and I know you can recover from this.
Photos by Alexis Wuillaume.