Friday, March 11, 2011

My Japanese Heart


The news I woke up to this morning was of devastation. A magnitude of which I can't begin to comprehend.

I've never been to Japan, but it is the country that's number one on my list of places to experience. It's been number one for most of my adult life.

It's a feeling I have deep in my bones, an intuition that Japan is a place I'll adore. There is so much that I've come to love about Japanese culture over the years. Their food is an obvious feature, but there is so much more.

So much beauty.

Yet, so vulnerable to the extremes of nature.

Since I began working as an English language teacher, I count myself lucky to have known the loveliest, most wonderfully hard-working Japanese students. Ones who made the brave and difficult step of immersing themselves completely in another country, in order to learn this tricky, idiosyncratic language known as English.

Through these hundreds of gentle souls, the complex spirit of Japan has come to feel strangely familiar to me.

The Japanese have a special place in my heart.

* * *

This is also a scary reminder to me that - as we live on a massive fault line in California - we need to be prepared for the Big One. It scares me to think of it striking, and being unable to protect my little ones.

I don't want to think about it.


  1. Someone else told me that the coastline moved eight feet. It's just a nightmare and I really feel for those people.

    Your fears are not without foundation Mad and it is so understandable. If it was just you and J you probably wouldn't worry as much but the kids are in the forefront of your mind always.

  2. Such a nightmare. The images I've been seeing are so awful.

    Another reason why I feel so familiar with Japanese culture is from all the stories I've heard from friends and colleagues who've lived and taught there. I hope all the language teachers who are over there right now are okay.

    In a parallel universe (no kids) I'd have been living there, teaching. I would still love to, but it'll have to wait another 18 years or so! I might feel differently by then.

  3. I understand this completely.

    Ever since I heard the news there has just been this... feeling of apprehension... in me.

    I am waiting for my own catastrophe.

  4. It's scary, isn't it?

    I don't believe there's some kind of impending armegeddon... but I really hope there are no more catastrophes for a long time.

    And if these catastrophes stay the hell away from California, or loved ones else where? Even better.

  5. Japan is a beautiful country and a definite must to see! I was so sad and shocked to see the havoc that the earthquake and tsunami caused.

    Don't mind my stereotype here, but my experience with the Japanese is that they are beautiful people, they often come across innocent and sweet.Very friendly and welcoming people.

    No one deserved what happened, but for it to happen in Japan made me extra sad.

  6. If it wasn't for social media and the newspaper I have delivered over the weekend, I would have completely avoided all coverage of this.

    I don't watch the news because I CAN'T watch the news. Can't because I find it too upsetting and can't because I need ABC2 on constantly to run interference with the kids.

    But it is inexpressibly sad. And frightening.

    Yeah, global warming is so obviously a myth.....

  7. Bron - I agree with you. The Japanese are beautiful, sweet and friendly. Nothing wrong with stereotypes if they're positive!

    Angie - I've had to take a break from the news these last few days. It got too overwhelming. I don't want to hear about nuclear disasters. La la la la la...