Life in Tokyo Continued – Rain and Contemplations

Posted by Jacinta Hin on March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, Tokyo.

Another calm and quiet day in central Tokyo. At least it is for me. Many others are working hard. Getting supplies out to the North, organizing benefit events, or simply working around the clock to keep their companies afloat.

I walk through the city and notice, as I have all week, that everywhere restaurants and shops are open for business. While many offices have closed down since mid-week, the people catering to our food needs have showed up for duty every single day, making sure we don’t need to miss our favorite Latte or pasta lunch.

It’s raining. Lots of people on the street. We have our umbrellas, as we always have when it rains, but nobody is running indoors to shelter for radiation. Just another rainy day in Tokyo.

I walk through Kabukicho, Shinjuku, and am amused by the many young couples heading for or leaving love hotels. No radiation but lots of love in the air in Tokyo’s red light district.

Myself I’m heading for Shinjuku Kickboxing Gym for a couple of rounds of kicks and punches to squeeze the last drops of stress out of my body. Grateful for my trainer to be here, grateful that he kept pushing me to continue training despite all that was going on the past week.

Two hours later, me tomato red faced but beaming with energy, we enjoy a nice Thai lunch together. We alternate conversation with checking emails and facebook updates on Iphone (his) and Ipad (mine). Under the circumstances bad manners are allowed.

We part ways and I go to Hanamasa supermarket to buy supplies for the Northeast. Later I find out that the group I planned to send it to no longer can accept small packages. Fortunately other groups still do.

It takes a little effort to figure out what to donate where. Needs and directions are changing by the minute. But it’s all good. What matters is the enormous amount of grass root initiatives coming into existence everywhere. And the fact that thousands of volunteers are already out there, driving up supplies, cooking meals, communicating needs. And from what I can see, it’s not chaotic. People work together, share information. Egos have taken a backseat. People adapt, go with the flow. I have nothing but respect and admiration for every single person doing something right now, whatever it is.

I come home and get out of my soaking wet sneakers. I think about how they have supported me through a very difficult week. I almost bow in gratitude.

My faithful sneakers. I’ve not parted with them since the big earthquake of 3/11. Knowing I can run away fast and walk for hours, if needed, made me feel safe and prepared. Every time I see a Japanese girl gracing the streets with her designer stilettos, I want to kick some sense in her. “What if another big one hits the city?” I want to say. But than, who says I’m not the fool trading in elegance for precaution.

I check twitter and catch up on the latest developments around the Fukushima Plant. The situation remains serious. I want it be over. I want to believe things will be okay from now. I want to fast forward to some years from now when Japan is back on track, reborn.

Sigh. All in good time. Step by step. Most important now is to keep faith and look for ways to contribute to rebuilding this beautiful nation.


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