¬†A week ago, just last Friday, although it¬†seems like much longer,¬†I couldn’t drag myself away from the shocking news unfolding in Japan.¬† Now, I am not a big fan of the media and dislike watching the news, but those pictures and their implication for the Japanese people stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t¬†stop watching the unfolding¬†disaster.¬† The news stories from Japan¬†have affected me deeply.
By way of background, I have been to Japan a few times.¬† I was responsible for the foreign office IT for a large London law firm back in the day, when I had no children and life was very different.¬† I travelled to Japan on several occasions, planning and helping to install a new computer system and training the staff to use it.¬† Then¬†there was maintenance, remotely, at a time when the internet was just being born, SMS messages were brand new and ISDN connections were the only way to connect up.¬† How fast technology has changed!¬† The Japanese people I met were truly lovely, kind, friendly, generous and always helpful to me.¬† I feel a deep connection to them from those days of old,¬†and have been moved to tears on several occasions during the last week.¬† I started to use Twitter for the first time, following @BreakingNews¬†for up-to-the-minute news.¬† I¬†connected with some local tweeters from Tokyo who shared about what it is really like there now, with continued disruptive¬†aftershocks of great magnitude,¬†waking you from¬†your sleep;¬†of food shortages, toilet roll shortages and the real concerns of the people¬†living there which¬†are vastly different from the media hype about radiation and government advice to leave.¬† I’m grateful to those brave people especially @TokyoTwilighter, @FloatingCamera¬†and @tokyofound¬†who have shared their day-to-day experiences and concerns on Twitter and helped me understand and feel close to their situations.¬†
And life, as always, goes on.¬† Over 16,000 people dead and more missing over there in Japan¬†and here,¬†it’s Comic Relief¬†night.¬† They have¬†shown pictures of other desperate situations in Africa. The stark reality of how lucky I am to live where I do and not to have my life affected¬†by such dreadful events is very clear.¬† I phoned, I pledged money and my¬†children invited me to the Youth Club at our local Church, where they raised over ¬£650 to watch various members of the congregation, including the youth leader, the vicar, curate and the¬†80-year old church warden,¬†being splattered¬†with different colours of gunge!¬† It was a very enjoyable time, lots of laughter and the kids all had a really great evening.¬† I’m sure Comic Relief will raise many millions of pounds to help those less fortunate than¬†me and I’m glad to have been part of that local event.¬†
Action, no matter how small, has felt better than the awful, empty, wordless, feelings of helplessness that I experience when watching pictures of towns and villages destroyed by the¬†tsunami devastation, far away,¬†on the other side of the world.¬†Brave people of Japan – you are in my thoughts and prayers, and will be for much longer than the media interest in your current situation. Sending you peace and love!