An extract of a post about students sharing stories of everyday life in Japan after the earthquake, from The Teas That Bind:
Teacher, where were you… when big earthquake…?
In case I’m not sure what they mean, the student helpfully makes a motion to demonstrate the shaking with their hands at this point in the question. I was only halfway through my first week back at work when I began to run out of new ways to tell the same stories. Friday 11 March was like a terrible film on almost constant loop in my head.
The students are lucky, in a way, because they only have to tell theirs once. Japanese stoicism being what it is, I suppose this might be their only opportunity to speak out loud and I don’t begrudge them taking it at all. I reflect that I am also in quite a privileged position, being able to listen to voices that aren’t often heard by foreigners. Students have voiced criticisms to me that I doubt they would tell a spouse or a parent if the normal rules hadn’t been suspended for a short time by the crisis.
They tell me of having to sleep in the office, on a piece of cardboard or in a family restaurant because of suspended trains. Of taking in family members from the North who have left everything behind. Of their disbelief at US news outlets thinking Sendai is located in Kyushu in the West. Or they speak of how business is being disrupted, the usual routine thrown into disarray by colleagues relocating, shipments being delayed and a thousand other factors. Everyone is busy, working hard, worrying about the future and where it might lead.
Ten Million Hardbacks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Clicking on an affiliate link to purchase the product will not influence the price you pay but Ten Million Hardbacks may receive a small commission.
Picture from the Yamanote line, Saturday 12 March