A Message from Japan

In November 2009 we went to Japan. There are two things I want to tell you about.

One day we left Tokyo on the train and headed into the mountains to visit Nikko–an area that contains many ancient shrines. As our train left the giant, busy Shinagawa station, the countryside unfolded around us. The farther we got from the city, the more lovely it became.

The train stopped in many small towns and villages along the way, and as the distance from Tokyo increased, so did the many glances in our direction. Westerners on these local rail lines were not a usual site. My strongest memories of that ride are of the elderly women getting off and on the train.

They were tiny. Not just petite. They were tiny. Not much more than four feet tall and surely weighing no more than 75 pounds. I think they could’ve worn doll clothes. Think about those tiny women.

The other memory is of a park close to Tokyo. A local man had wanted to save many old, traditional structures from being torn down. He brought them to this park and recreated beautiful settings for them. Some are reached by paths through the woods, others are placed around water. Every view in that park is of something beautiful. Trees are planted just so. Bridges over the streams are cocked at just the right angle. It’s harmonic.

A few days ago, Husband emailed his Japanese business associates  and friends and offered sanctuary for anyone evacuating. Here is one reply–it’s a little tough to follow because of the language, but you’ll understand the general drift of it;

“Actually, by the influence of Fukusima atomic power accident, we have to accept the planning electrical power blackout in Tokyo area. This cause the difficulty for employee to commute the office by stopping or shortage of train. And we are suffering for the shortage of gasoline, mineral water, instant food, dry-cell battery and so on, because of excessive individual stocking or logistics problem by earthquake damage.

On the result of many plant damage, we have to repair at once. In case of the matter under construction with foreign Supervisor, since they went back to own country fearing radioactive contamination, we are facing a big problem and have to tackle this to solve.

Anyway, here is our country and home town. Therefore, we have to re-establish Japan by our selves.

We are receiving many warm comment or proposal from over the world. In order to come through their hope, we should do our best.

If we need your help, we may ask you something. In that time, please kindly understand and cooperate, if it is possible.”

So here’s hoping that the tiny women and their families are all right and that the beautiful park wasn’t shaken too badly.

I’ll leave you with some pictures. You can click to see larger images.


Filed under Travel

9 responses to “A Message from Japan

  1. I went to sushi the other day; it’s my next blog post. I think all of us who are somewhat globally-minded are thinking of our Japanese friends; whether we know them as friends or not.

  2. Julie

    I believe I will keep that last photo in my head (and heart) in the many months ahead every time I think of Japan. You and “husband” and the many people everywhere who offer something of help are that bridge. And indeed it is a beautiful one!

  3. Karen

    I feel so sad for the whole country and the wonderful people there.

  4. made me cry. breaks my heart.

  5. Ellie–I look forward to reading that. You’re right that our travels give us a different perspective. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met that will tell you point blank that the French are rude–despite the fact that they’ve never been to France or even met a French person.
    Julie–As you can see, I’ve made it my header. That’s in Nikko, the area where we visited so many shrines.
    Karen–I know…it really just proves how similar we are under our skin, regardless of where we live or what language we speak.
    DF–I know…the sentiment is so heart-felt. Have your travels ever taken you there? It’s so completely foreign…so interesting.

  6. I was too stunned at the time to take it in or make sense of it. I still am, but thanks for the post. What a lovely sentiment expressed by your husband’s colleague.

  7. This post, and the email from the Japanese businessman, make me want to travel to Japan even more. Lovely, HIF.

  8. Oh, the letter back from him is so heartbreaking. It has been my biggest worry really. Will the people of Japan let us know when they need help? “We may ask you something” is just such a pivotal statement.

    Good Lord! I have a client from Japan; wonderful man, immediately thought of him, called him, and got virtually the same response. Family okay, wife’s family not sure yet, all is okay, will let you know if we need help.

    Culture, so different from our own.

  9. PG–It is lovely, stilted language notwithstanding. I know you’re bilingual, but I am hopeless with my high school French.
    Jayne–Many thanks. I encourage you to visit when the dust settles. It’s a beautiful place.
    Zen–The culture is truly different, but under the skin, we’re all pretty much the same. I hope his wife’s family survived.

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