Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fear? Pride?

Sorry. I missed yesterday. Wednesdays are my busiest days with me going in to the next town for kindergarten from 9:30 am. (Meaning I leave home around 8:45 so that I can confer with the teachers beforehand.) It has been a long vacation for me since I opted to skip March's kindergarten graduation soon after the earthquake (no gasoline). Some of the mothers told me yesterday that they'd thought I'd gone back to America. That took me by surprise and made me a bit disgruntled.

"I'm not giving up on Japan!"

You would be surprised how touchy a subject this is right now. People who have left for other places think the people who are staying are foolish... and if truth be told some of those who have moved feel a little guilty it seems because at least people I know write long e-mails justifying their decision.

"You don't have to explain. We all have different opinions, different situations."

But it is true that there are also snide remarks about the people who have fled and their "neurosis". Maybe a little sour grape thinking?

"They don't have children who go to school like I do." or "They have always been spooked easily."

(I have a feeling I'm going to get blasted from some people who read the above. But that's the way I see things right now and that is the sort of conversations we are having.)

Radiation level categories were raised yesterday and the news is as usual, confusing.

"Yes, we are at level 7 for dangerous radiation levels. That is the same as the horrendous Chernobyl accident but no, Japan doesn't have the same radiation levels as then and the Japanese people are not in any danger."


But basically the people who are here aren't really changing their lifestyles. Still taking the dogs for a walk, still buying vegetables in the supermarket.

"For all I know I might be hit by a car tomorrow so why worry about radiation levels in 30 years."

This is another phrase I hear often.

There are numerous evacuation centers in our area for the people from up north. I don't know if the people have lost their homes from the earthquake and tsunami or if they have been evacuated from radiation zones. I do hear of some amazing people who are jumping right in to do what they can...

A Nikko Bangladesh hotel owner who has turned his hotel into a temporary home for evacuees... (Some Japanese hotel owners were at first afraid to do this because they worried about how future guests might feel coming to a hotel that had housed "toxic" evacuees. The Bangladesh man spurred other private hotels to do the same.)

Children in evacuation centers who have started their own handwritten newspaper (complete with editor, reporters and distribution leader) about center news... The colorful pages brighten people's lives.

The TV news stir up either fear or pride in our hearts.
(picture from the Internet)

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