Sunday, March 13, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

That phrase has never carried more weight than it does now.

Of all the other pictures I've seen of the devastation brought on by this earthquake (and we've all seen many, I'm sure), the one above touched me the most. The strength and resolve of the Japanese in spite of this event is amazing. Not once on television have I seen a Japanese person in panic or overwrought with emotion (as I would be) - it's as if they know there's not time for that now.

I'm almost embarrassed that I'm in Sapporo - far away from the destruction and chaos and safe in my little apartment. I watch the images again and again on television and it's hard to believe that all of that is happening just 300 (?) or so miles away. Kinda like what I felt during Katrina or 9/11 - it affects you, but indirectly.

Now make no mistake, I felt the earthquake, and it was the strongest one I'd felt since living here. I was at school, and the third graders had just finished having a goodbye ceremony with the first and second graders (and which I was given a lovely book signed by each third-grader, but that's for another blog post). I was walking up the stairs when the students started saying "Jishin! Jishin!" I had no idea what they meant, but I learned real fast. It was subtle at first - I started feeling light-headed, like a dizzyness, then it got a little more shaky. I nervously joked with the kids about it, and then it was over. I really didn't think it was that big a deal until I saw the teachers huddled around the TV in the teacher's room. They explained to me that a tsunami was about to hit Miyagi prefecture, and that it was going to be big. And, well, you know the rest.

And so we watch the news and read as much as we can about it, but sooner or later the media will begin to talk about other things and people will move on. But for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami, there is no moving on from this. But as I'm beginning to learn about the Japanese, they will carry on.

No comments:

Post a Comment