Lessons from Tohoku, Japan
I have been translating select tweets / posts by earthquake victims in Japan (and related quotes) that have touched my heart. -gil kuno
I was on the train platform exhausted, when a homeless person gave me a piece of cardboard.
"Sit on this, it's warmer than the floor," he said.
I was humbled by the man I usually pretend not to see...
When deciding how to take turns cleaning the toilets at the refugee camps, Kikue claimed "If you take turns, the responsibility will be diluted. I will do all of the toilet cleaning."
Kikue has since cleaned the toilets everyday for the 150 refugees. She is 71 years old.
last email message from a 17 year old earthquake victim
I'm almost out of batteries.
A few minutes ago, my sister stopped crying from
the pain – I think she has passed away. (ToT)
Is Saitama prefecture OK?
I wanted to go to Disneyland with you again...
Daddy, thank you for all that you have done. ♥
To the daddy I love so much; thank y
She passed away in Kesenuma City at 17 years of age. The younger sister was 14. The father is 48.
A nearby store had a sign out – "We Are In The Same Boat Sale"
With those prices, there was no way they could make a profit. I was moved watching the lady who was smiling as she was applying the price tags.
I remember what my late mother used to say,
"If people fight over something, there will never be enough. If people share something, there will be some left over."
This was the mentality that was in effect among the Northern Japan earthquake vicims. I am proud of them! Don't give up!
A press crew was reporting on the earthquake damage in Ishimaki City. A lady called for them at the top of her lungs; they approached her, assuming she was calling for help.
"You must be exhausted. Here's some coffee for you." She said.
There must be so much on the victims' minds, yet she still has the heart for hospitality...
Tomorrow, my father will be heading to Fukushima to help stabilize the reactor. I was surprised to find out that he volunteered to do this, despite that fact that he will be retiring in half a year. "The future of nuclear power depends on how we deal with it now. This is my call of duty." he said.
Until now, I never felt I could rely on my dad, but today I am extremely proud. I hope he comes home safely.
A small child was lined up at the register with some candy in his hand. When he saw the donation box near the register, he thought for a bit, put his money in the box, and returned the candy to the shelves. The employee at the register was stunned, and thanked him as the boy ran outside.
I saw a senior citizen at a rescue camp muttering,
"What are we going to do now?"
A high school student next to him rubbed his back and comforted him,
"Don't worry, I promise you our generation will fix things up."
It looks like there will be a bright future after all.
I emailed my husband who hadn't slept in a while, "Are you ok? Don't exert yourself too much."
"I'm in the Japanese Forces – there is no better time to exert ourselves than now." He replied.
Those guys are tough - physically and mentally.
The news anchor was reading news about the victims.
"A mother's breasts stopped producing milk because of the stress from the quake. She lined up overnight at the supermarket and finally was able to purchase some milk for her child."
There was a long pause – I could see that the news anchor was weeping.
Tokyo Disneyland was giving out sweets to the victims. A number of make up clad high school girls hoarded the food. "How rude!" I thought, but they then proceeded to the rescue camp and handed out the sweets to children.
My 2 year old son put on his shoes and was trying to go outside. "I'm going to go arrest the earthquake!" We received strength from the courage and sense of justice residing in this little body.
On my 4 hour journey home by foot (since the trains had stopped,) I saw a woman holding a sketchbook saying "Use my toilet if necessary!" Tears came to my eyes.
Look up, everyone in Sendai! Without power, the stars are so much more beautiful!
from Airi Yotoriyama:
My flight was in May, but I feel foolish to go away from Japan at this moment. Who can reconstruct Japan? Only Japanese people. My thoughts are all about what I can do for the victims in north.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates:
It's obviously a very sophisticated country, but this is a huge disaster and we will do all, anything we are asked to do to help out.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
Japan is one of the most generous and strongest benefactors, coming to the assistance of those in need the world over. In that spirit, the United Nations stands by the people of Japan and we will do anything and everything we can at this very difficult time.
US Army relief efforts:
The name of the disaster relief mission. Translates to: Operation Buddy
Because of the strength and wisdom of its people, we know that Japan will recover, and indeed will emerge stronger than ever. And as it recovers, the memory of those who have been lost will remain in our hearts, and will serve only to strengthen the relationship between our two countries. May God bless the people of Japan.
After that disaster in Japan, they shined like a beacon to us as human beings. No riots, no looting, no hatred, no spite, no rage, no war. They stood up and helped each other. Their country is now in a serious state of recovery – because they love each other. Now ain't that a good example.
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::If you would like to donate to the earthquake victims:
Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.If you have received a suspicious e-mail, or have been contacted by someone claiming to be a victim of a disaster and you are skeptical, the FBI suggests that you contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.
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