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has gradually come back to normal. We are not concerned about the fresh vegetables or the fish
being contaminated by radioactive doses. Only goods that have been tested and approved are on
the market. People should learn about the matter rather than succumb to panic! I’m sorry to say
that all the foreigners left Japan in a mass exodus; they fled Tokyo (the majority have not returned
yet). I blame the foreign Embassies for giving incorrect information. Here comes a pathetic fact:
the French Ambassador and his wife were the first to flee! This fact spread so fast through the
grapevine in the Hiro district of Tokyo, a major French residential area where the French Embassy
is located! It amazed us all! We wondered if they had come back yet, when President Sarkozy
came to express his grief to our people soon after the event! Can you even fathom a Japanese
Ambassador abandoning his post!
Our Emperor and Empress have been the most comforting and caring figures to the Tohoku
people and to all those working trying to bring ‘safety’ in the area. At their age, it is wonderful and
commendable that they have actually travelled there. The Imperial couple has expressed their desire
to pursue more visits. We all pray for their health.
As for me, the entire month of March has been so sad and I felt so helpless! However, now, I’ve
come out of my ‘cocoon’ and have begun to do research, contact friends and gotten information as
HOW and WHERE, and WHOM I could assist.
At our age, we cannot go to the area as volunteers but we can certainly think of doing something.
I help an NPO, which will start a “mobile nursery” called “Aozora Hoiku”. They contact teachers
who take care of young children left without school buildings. The NPO requests teaching material
and school supplies. I have started to collect money after having sent plea letters to all the people I
Thank you again for your concern.
“We must not be afraid to dream. Do not be caught up by the evil dogs that carry the names of
‘efficiency’ and ‘convenience’. Instead, we must be ‘unrealistic dreamers’ who charge forward
taking bold steps.”
Haruki Murakami, is a translator and a prolific multi award winning novelist. Those words are
taken from his Acceptance Speech at the 2011 International Cataluña prize.
Kumiko@gmail.com to me Sun, March the 11th 2012 at 2:AM
I hope you will forgive me for being late in replying to your thoughtful mail. As you may have read
or seen on TV, we commemorated the first anniversary of the big Tohoku earthquake. It was so
hard to watch the scars the tsunami has left behind. There are still tons of rubbles and debris, which
have not been cleared yet; some places are flat without any homes or buildings, only empty land. In
some villages however, people have begun to slowly rebuild their lives.