What is the correct response when a student offers you potentially radioactive peach sponge cake?
Despite warnings of an 80% drop in tourist numbers this year, one of my students, a lovely and very generous lady, drove for hours and sat in huge traffic jams to visit the famous 1,000 year old cherry trees of Miharu. They are located just 30 kilometres away from the damaged nuclear power plant. When asked if she felt afraid, she laughed and said not at all, instead she felt it was her duty to support the people of Fukushima. She had brought us all cake as a gift from her trip.
As the Golden Week holiday approached, there was much soul-searching as to whether to holiday or not to holiday. People are torn between wanting to support the tourism industry and the Japanese economy, and the sensitivities of enjoying holidays when others in the country are living in emergency shelters. One way to resolve these competing urges has been to arrange travel in order to help in Tohoku, with large numbers of volunteers heading north this week. I am hoping to do the same later in the year, but for now, will be doing my duty in the tourism sites and retail outlets of Kyoto.
So what do you do when a student offers you cake from 30 kilometres south of Fukushima?
I ate it and can report that it was delicious!
ten minutes hate wishes you a happy Golden Week, however you decide to spend it.