Wednesday, March 16, 2011

To Japan With Love

Normally I would post a Tuesday Tune for you all, but I am taking a time out to do something a little different today. I have yet to write anything about the recent devastation that has hit Japan...frankly I was overwhelmed and at a loss for words.I still feel as if words cannot adequately express what is happening, or my own personal fear and emotional energy. Earthquakes have been an intense phobia of mine since I was a small child, and by intense I really do mean INTENSE. My greatest fear is of being separated from my loved ones and pets during an earthquake, not knowing whether they are alive or dead. It can keep me awake at night if I let it. Add to this the fact that my husband and I have long help a deep love for all things Japanese. It is a culture we love and respect to no ends, and have both dreamed of one day traveling there to experience it first hand. I have spent the past week hiding from the news like an ostrich with my head in the sand, and I am ashamed to admit this. Perhaps it is because I am pregnant and overly emotional/sensitive but I am finding this particular natural disaster (of which their are many happening every day around the world) particularly hard to bare.  But today I put on my big girl panties and read the newspaper...yes it is still scary. Yes it is tragic. Yes it is downright soul churning, gut wrenching horrific! But there is beauty amid even the worst of crisis's and it is this beauty that is giving me hope, that is re-confirming my love for such a rich culture. As nuclear reactors threaten to meltdown and snow now blankets those left homeless and living on the streets,there is a strength and hope shinning through that is truly inspiring. We are not hearing reports of mass looting, rioting or rapes as we did in other natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina (I am not naive enough to think that none is happening at all). Rather we are hearing of an amazing level of calm despite the chaos, of organization and community banding together. As I read this news in the paper this morning I realized I had to take my head out of the sand. I had to offer my love, help, and support to a nation that I love so much, and that is proving to me why I love and respect it the way I do. So rather then focus on fear, I want to highlight the love and joy of those who have been ale to reunite with their loved ones, thanks to the brave souls who are there searching and rescuing.

This four month old baby girl was rescued from a pile of rubble by a soldier from the Japanese Defense Force. Aside from being scared, cold, and wet she suffered no serious injuries and how she did not drown after being swept out of her parents arms during the tsunami, well that is just a miracle. The soldier was able to track down her family and reunite them. This story had me hugging my belly praying I never have to fear my "bug" and I will be separated.

Rescuers are also working hard looking for four legged loved ones, this picture broke my heart at the same time that it restored my faith in humanity.  Just the thought of either of my cats being alone, scared and/or injured without me to help them is enough to give me a panic attack! Do you have pets? Did you know there are stickers you can get from the fire station or your veterinary office that will let people know to look for your pets in the event of an emergency? Stick one on your front door!

I think most of us are overwhelmed by this devastation. It is hard not to be. I will be sitting in my living room, under a warm blanky, cuddling with my cats and eating some yummy food...and the news will come on. I suddenly feel guilty! Horrible! Hear I am sitting in such comfort while their are people living with no food, water, or electricity amid the ruble of their lives. And it is not just in Japan, but anywhere a natural disaster has struck. So what can I do? What can we do? Well the first thing I plan on doing as soon as my husband is home is "earthquake proofing" our walk in storage area, as it is the most structurally sound place in our entire house being that it is fortified on all sides by thick concrete. We are also going to create two earthquake kits, one for each floor of the house, full of water, batteries, granola bars, first aid supplies, candles, matches, lighters, etc.

The other thing you can do is make a donation to a charitable organization such as the Red Cross. I live in North Vancouver which has a population of over 200,000 people...imagine if every one of those people donated just $5??????? I will not wax about how great the Red Cross is as that is who I have personally chosen to support, there are many wonderful non-profit organizations out there. However I do urge you to research BEFORE you donate. Make sure your money is going where they say it is, and this moment the people need food, water, and shelter most of all. They do not need to be preached to about religion or political agendas. They need our love.


  1. What a truly lovely heartfelt and moving post. I volunteer in the UK for the Save The Children charity and what Japan need now in terms of support is incredible. Every little helps.

  2. Touching post! Thanks for including the hope stories too, it's good to see. I loved it

  3. Lovely post and thanks for sharing the stories of hope.

    I'm always so amazed by the Japanese and their culture. Regarding the looting, rioting and the raping, I don't think I'm naive but I really believe that's not happening in Japan now.

    You can feel it when you're there, the goodness of the people I mean. I've never lived anywhere safer.
    People there organize themselves to help each other, especially during these hard times.

    The most amazing story I heard was from an American friend who lived in Kobe during the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, people would go to unmanned grocery stores, get groceries and leave money on the counter for when the owner returned.

    But having experienced the culture for years myself, it really makes sense and fits the kind people of Japan. I really miss Japan and my heart goes out to the lovely people in crisis now.