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Cause: earthquake

by J. C. Greenway
The Teas That Bind
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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.

To read more of this post, download a copy of The Teas That Bind, the story of my experiences in Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, available now from Amazon and Lulu.

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Picture from the Yamanote line, Saturday 12 March

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Elin 7 April 2011 - 4:47 am

A very well written piece yet again. “Japan feels alone” makes me want to come back, bring lots of friends and make Japan a cup of tea… so that’s what I’ll have to do! xxx

Joanne Greenway 7 April 2011 - 10:55 pm

Elin, if you’re minded to come for a visit, bring friends AND get the kettle on, I have to say: do it! xxx

P.S. Bring Jaffa Cakes 😉


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