Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dear Friends

Today I spent the day with Mariko in Okayama City. We wanted to spend a couple of days in Kyoto/Osaka, but because of the last minute hotel booking and the mass exodus to the Kansai area due to the earthquake, we couldn't find a place for the 20th. We ate lunch at The Market, a cute little shop that sells *actual* sandwiches. Not the sandwich stuff you find in the conbini. Like, Panera/deli type sandwiches. Mariko was happy with it so that made me happy.

It was so weird to see her in Japan. To think that over a year ago we were in Panera Bread talking about hopefully meeting up in Japan. I just wish it was under better circumstances. She's going back to the US on Tuesday and it doesn't look like she's coming back. I don't really blame her. These past few weeks has been crazy. I'm just glad she got out of Saitama safely.

I wish I can see the others as well, especially my friends who are studying abroad. I just found out one of them had to leave Yokohoma today! Perfectly understandable of course, but I know how much my friends wanted to come here and the work they put in to doing that. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Move Along

Being in Okayama all this time, I find it surreal at times to know that all the crazy things that have been happening: the quakes, tsunamis, the reactor explosions, all of it is happening in the same country. As much as I feel for the Japanese who are suffering, all I can think of are my fellow JETs; my FRIENDS, who are in the Kantou/Tohoku area going through all the things I can only see in the news.

For some reason I particularly feel emotionally drained today. It breaks my heart to know that while I'm in the clear, I read tweets from friends saying that they felt another quake, or they can't find what they need at the grocery store because of the shortage of supplies. I feel so helpless. I look at the AJET volunteer doc sheet to see if there's anything that can be done here in Okayama, but for now the best thing is to donate or give blood. I have donated, and I plan on donating 1万 (1 man) for relief funds (Man up for Japan!)

I count myself lucky that everyone I know in the affected areas are safe though I know others have experienced otherwise. One of my friends, an exchange student at Yokohama University, actually has to return to the US.

It's so hard to concentrate on work when all this is going on. I don't want to say it's frustrating, but it's just hard to see everything/everyone here in Okayama go on while s*it's hitting the fan elsewhere in the country. I guess it hits closer to home for me since I actually know people in these areas and that it's especially worrisome for me since I'm a foreigner in a country. To have all this happen in a country you just came to is pretty freaky to me. My close friends and family, my support are miles away, although thankfully technology makes it seem closer. It would be nice right now to get a hug from my Dad or to see my girlfriends.

Ugh, this post is so scattered; it's hard to put my feelings down. I guess all I can do is continue to pray for everyone's safety and that all this ends soon and we can start again. Pray For Japan. A little quote I've seen on Twitter from people who're posting art to show their support for the victims: がんばれ日本。必ず明日来る。I watch the #newday_GEISAI to cheer myself up a bit. Here's one of my favs:

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11 地震

I have a draft on my Hana Matsuri trip, but I just wanted to make a quick post about the earthquake.

This afternoon there was a huge earthquake in the Tohoku region of Japan. I've seen a few numbers, but it looks like it hit 8.8 on the Richter scale. Yeah. It's pretty huge. Enough that even people in Osaka were feeling the aftershocks. Then there's the 10-m tsunamis....and fires in Odaiba. And apparently flooding in Tokyo Disneyland...Geez the footage in Sendai is horrifying. Now there's a nuclear warning in Fukushima due to a cooling malfunction so now people have to evacuate.

Fortunately I live in Okayama-ken which is quite a ways away, but I've been worrying non-stop since I know people in that area. It's times like this where I praise technology because everyone was checking in via FB, or Twitter to let people know how they're doing. Of course, this also meant within the hour my family back in the US started flipping out and asking if I was okay.

As I type this there is a death count of about 60 people from the earthquake. They're still counting bodies being found after the tsunami... I just hope that it ends soon and people get out of this as safely as possible.

Here's a live blog from CNN on the earthquake and tsunami.

Japan earthquake live blog

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