Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Aftershocks

Thank you guys for all your concern.

It's been a very emotional time for me, and since today is Monday (well, it's Tuesday here, but Monday was a holiday and we don't have internet at home since the quake...), I'm going to share what's on my mind. Namely lots of emotions.

I FEEL ANNOYED

I have been following the Japanese news (usually with English simul-translation) so I haven't seen the Western Media. But I hear it's a hot fear-mongering mess.

Granted, Japan is a lot smaller than the US, but that does not mean you can see from one side to the next. I live 600 km outside of Tokyo, and that is still close compared to where some of my friends live. I would really appreciate it if someone in the media would point out that outside the tsunami towns (in 3 prefectures) and the radiation possibilities (in about 4 more), the other 40 prefectures are largely unaffected. My friend in Fukuoka (on a different island in the South) felt NOTHING. They watched the quake on tv like everyone else. That's how far away they were.

Honestly, seeing the situation on the ground, and hearing the way the major networks portray it, is making me wonder how much they overblew other disasters.

I FEEL STRESSED

Thanks to the media-induced hysteria, people keep asking me if I'm coming home. I know they mean well, but I am 450 km away from the nuclear plant, and I'm keeping track of the situation. The Japanese government says this distance is fine. The US Government (despite what the media selectively portrays) says this distance is fine. My neighbour's Radiation Safety Specialist aunt says this distance is fine. So all the people calling me in hysterics because supposedly reputable television stations told them that the whole archipelago is going to fall into the sea- yes, I understand you're concerned, but I am fine.

I FEEL USELESS

I live about 100 km inland of some of the places you've seen on tv. (That's just me guessing though.) But I'm right here. I feel like I should be out there doing something. And somehow there doesn't seem to be any way for me to help. I can't find an organisation which wants my assistance and the prefecture has advised not to go out there on our own. I can't donate food because we're affected by the same shortages.

I FEEL BLESSED

In the midst of how bad things are, I keep thinking of all the ways it could have been worse and all the things I'm thankful for.

I'm glad that the grand majority of my friends have been accounted for.

I'm glad I was sitting right next to my neighbours when it happened, so I knew they were safe.

I'm glad we were with Japanese teachers, so they gave us the information which might have been difficult for us to figure out on our own.

I'm glad it happened in the middle of the night for the Western Hemisphere. I can't imagine how much more freaked out ppl might have been watching it live.

I'm glad that I live in a farming town, so while we have shortages on gas and processed goods, we will never run out of pork, chicken, rice and vegetables.

I'm glad that, even though we were so close to the epicenter, my town's only damage seems to be a drink that fell over in the drink machine display case and an antenna that fell off the municipal offices.

I'm glad that I had a Kindle, because when my cellphone died, and the landlines and power were off, it was my only way of communicating with the outside world. (Still kind of is, since my internet home is off.)


I FEEL GUILTY

It's weird living through a disaster (again- guess who was on a plane on September 11, 2001). I feel like I should be more affected. I spend half my time moping around worrying about people. Another chunk I spend wishing life would just go back to normal because I'm so stressed. And then I feel guilty because thousands lost their lives and I'm only mildly inconvenienced by the unavailability of toilet paper, feminine products and New Zealand cheese. I want to get back to regular life. But I feel guilty that my life is so regular. When some of my friends are missing, without power and water, living in shelters.

Monday, that's on my mind. Also don't forget to enter to win a copy of WHAT KATY DID. Remember I'll donate for each person that enters.

8 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Claire .. glad to know you're ok .. we need perspective at times.

However I do feel for all those poor souls who have been completely obliterated, or so disrupted that they can't think about normality.

Peace for us all .. Hilary

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Claire, I am glad to know that you are safe and suffering only inconveniences instead of real hardship. I understand there's a measure of guilt that goes along with that, but it would not help others for you to be suffering the same way. I am glad to hear that -- in spite of what the fear-mongering press says -- life continues (mostly) normally in most areas of Japan.

As for the media, they can sell their commercial spots for more money if more people are watching. In a sick, twisted way, disasters like this are their bread and butter. Savvy viewers should strain their news coverage through a fine screen of common sense.

Peace and love!

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm so glad to know you're safe and I think it's normal to go through all those feelings. However, I understand that you want it to go back to normal. Where I live in Mexico, there is a lot of violence shown on the news and I get the same urgings to go home as well.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'm relieved to hear that things are relatively okay where you are, and I understand how frustrating it must be to not be able to do more to help in the disaster zone. Who would have thought the Kindle would have such an excellent use as a communication devise in a disaster? thank goodness for that. Take care.

Marsha Sigman said...

So glad you are ok!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm glad you're okay and didn't experience much of what happened. Glad to know that your life hasn't been that affected. I'd want to help too. Sorry you can't find a way to help yet.

Gracie said...

Thanks for this... it's good to know how things are going from the perspective of someone who is there in ways that, across the ocean, others can't be. I think I would be feeling the same sort of things if I was in your position.

Glam,Glitz&Gut said...

I'm glad you're okay!!