136 • pearls around the neck
Thanks again for thinking of us. I’ll be in touch later.
Necessities like rice and water and bread have disappeared from supermarkets. Gas stations are
out of fuel. There is panic buying and hoarding. Loyalty to the group is being tested. At present,
though, our greatest concern is the crisis at the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. There is a mass of
confused and conflicting information. Some say the situation is worse than Three Mile Island, but
not as bad as Chernobyl; others say that winds carrying radioactive iodine are headed for Tokyo,
and that everyone should remain indoors and eat lots of kelp, which contains plenty of safe iodine,
which helps prevent the absorption of the radioactive element. Some people are leaving Tokyo, but
most remain. “I have to work,” some say. “I have my friends here, and my pets.” (…)
I want to continue the stance I took in my hotel room: I will trust the words of better-informed
people and organizations, especially scientists, doctors and engineers whom I read online (…).
(…) For all we’ve lost, hope is in fact one thing we Japanese have regained. The great earthquake and
tsunami have robbed us of many lives and resources. But we who were so intoxicated with our own
prosperity have once again planted the seed of hope. So I choose to believe.
Ryu Murakami, the New York Times Opinion Page, 03/16/2011, translation Ralph F. McCarthy.
On Mon, April 15 2011 at 11:21 PM
Cathdb@gmail.com to Sachiko, Tomoko, Akiko, Aline, Kumiko, and Yumi
We hear and see all kind of stories and it is hard to make sense of it...
It is appalling: thousands of deaths, thousands unaccounted for and thousands evacuated. Food
shortages, millions of people without power and water, and entire cities destroyed, wiped off the
map, nuclear treats casting dark shadows and the possibility of another quake...
News agencies over-dramatize, or do they?
It is heart breaking...
We certainly give all our love to you and your relatives and hope that your daily activities and
normal life will soon resume.
Kindness always, Cath
“The multitude of human beings living in the real world are actually dead, as long as you ignore
their names or their faces. And I, who do not know them, I’m even more dead. On the other hand,
the presence of the dead can be even more powerful than the presence of the living and even the
presence of oneself.”