Letters from Tokyo

Just got an email from a friend living in Tokyo…I won’t copy it literally, as it’s a good deal, private, but I will paraphrase somewhat. From what he’s telling me, the regions hardest hit by the Earthquake are agricultural and seafood production regions for the entire nation. Worse, food shortages are already beginning in Tokyo as supplies are being diverted to the regions hardest hit and people begin to hoard food, buying as much as they can.

He mentioned just a few minutes before writing that a series of 6.0 aftershocks shook the city, halting trains for the day. Japan is STILL being rocked by sizeable quakes?! Insane…Even for a country well-used to earthquakes. He tells me that people are well aware of teh radioactive steam ventings but you can’t get masks in the stores as they are all out of them anyways – not that they would do much, he says. I’m pretty sure one particle type – alpha, is it? (Google says yes) Can’t penetrate skin…I think I’ll mention that to him so he worries less.

There is one thing I want to copy-paste and I do hope he doesn’t mind but it raises a poignant (I think that’s the best word) point.

"Well, I hope things get better. Japan has always survived devastation. This will be just another one."

I was reading an article in the NY Times earlier today about Japan’s response to the events of WWII and how it shaped their culture for decades, using the Godzilla movies as an example. No doubt it was obvious to many but I never really considered how Japan was being destroyed by a radioactive beast – the symbolism it involved. The article talked about how people would go and watch in silence during the very first shows – and often left in tears. Finally, the article touched on recent events and how efficiently and stoically people have begun to pull together, drawing on the strength of the idea of an enduring Japan.

And reading his letter, I see the article was not so far off. All the best, Edo. I’ll keep writing if you do. ~ Earl

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