Japan: The Importance of Getting Back to Normal

Posted by on Mar 24, 2011 | Leave a Comment

Written by Juliana Rincón Parra

As more time passes since the devastating Earthquake that shook Japan on March 11th, people in Japan are feeling the need to return to normal and put the disaster behind them. Although for many Japanese who lost their homes or loved ones this will be quite difficult, those who weren't as unlucky feel the need to do their part and help the economy get back on its feet.

Spanish writer Hector García has been living in Japan for many years and his blog “A Geek in Japan” has been for many Spanish speakers a window into the daily life of someone living in Tokyo. After the Earthquake he's kept his page updated with information on the effects and aftershocks, giving people the sense of what was happening at ground level in Tokyo after the quake, and through the nuclear crisis.  In his March 23rd post, he writes about the need to get back to normal, since the worry is affecting those they would wish to help, as people stay glued to the TV or news, afraid to leave their homes. Businesses have needed to close temporarily, leaving people who need the money to get back on their feet and help their families in shelters out of work:

Debemos ayudar de forma activa a través de donaciones y otros medios, pero es igual, o casi tan importante volver a nuestras rutinas habituales. Es importante para todos, ir al gimnasio, ir a tomarse unas copas, ir comprarse unos libros. Desde lejos, quizás os parezca una chorrada, pero es la realidad de Tokio, e incluso en todo Japón ahora mismo. Debemos de quitarnos el miedo, dejar de mirar las noticias cada minuto y salir a disfrutar de la diversidad de la vida, de esta forma ayudaremos a las víctimas y a Japón a recuperarse ante lo ocurrido. La salud física de decenas de miles en el área de Tohoku está en peligro, la salud mental de millones de personas y la salud de la economía japonesa también.

We must help actively through donations and other means, but it is just as important, if not more so to return to our daily routines. It is important for all of us to go to the gym, go for some drinks, buy a few books. From afar, this may seem like a load of drivel, but it is the reality of Tokyo and even all Japan right now. We must remove our fear, stop watching the news every minute and go out and enjoy the diversity of life, in this way we will help the victims and Japan to recover from what happened. The physical health of tens of thousands in the area of Tohoku is in danger, and the mental health of millions of people and the economic health of Japan as well.

On the BoingBoing blog, a Japanese video was featured, and in the words of Ayahiko Sato from Rakudasan, the video design unit responsible for creating it:

Now, as you know we are in critical situation by earthquake. However we think that what we can do is to get more attention for Japan and Japanese creativity. We need positive news to get energetic power, because we are showered with negative news.

Chitaka2000 on YouTube, who usually posts about cars and other motor vehicles, uploaded a different type of video instead. He walked around his city of Tokyo and recorded video showing how daily business has changed a bit; with the city's lights turned off and people stocking up on batteries. The video is annotated and he explains signs and other cultural aspects, for example, how Japanese wearing face masks are not afraid of radiation necessarily but are instead protecting themselves from hay fever:

JuneHoneyBee lives in Japan, and on this next video she tries to focus on showing a bit of how life goes on:

While there is soooo much destruction and horrible news to focus on, there are also little things in daily life to appreciate. This video (series) is an effort to focus on things happening in other parts of Japan, as people carry on with their daily lives, and as I appreciate the small things, the everyday things, the things I love about Japan.
This flower shop is a stone's throw from my house. I buy plants here, and sometimes take them back for the magic touch of Takami's green thumb. Today the store was filled with beautiful flowers.

Satomihyde2010 on YouTube also does her bit with her tribute to the Japanese people, who through their suffering are trying to piece their lives together and move on:

Through images, Michael Keferl, Darrell Nelson and Joanne Yu all show in CScout Japan how life goes on as usual in Tokyo as well as in Chiba and Shinagawa. Michael Keferl writes:

Life is certainly different with restrictions on power and limited trains, but if you watch international news you’d think that ALL of Japan is underwater and suffering. Miyagi and Iwate are the center of it all, while we are basically experiencing minor inconveniences. This is important to remember.

Chiba Prefecture shows its pride after the quake, by Darrell Nelson

Even in Sendai, which was partly ravaged by the tsunami wave, life resumes normalcy.Acofromsendai opened a YouTube channel after the quake, and has posted videos of different areas of Sendai in the aftermath, including this one of a Mall near the port of Sendai where the effects of the tsunami can be seen, and the following, where in downtown Sendai it's business as usual.

And to close, we quote Ken Mogi a Japanese Ph.D. and blogger living in Tokyo who inspired Hector García's post mentioned at the beginning of this article:

So one of the difficult but absolutely crucial tasks now is to go back to life's diversity, rather than shying away from it. We need a healthy entertainment industry. The restaurant sector has to flourish. Books need to be sold and read, hotels rooms have to be filled with laughter. While investing a substantial amount of our time and energy on the rescue and relief efforts, we somehow need to keep life's diversity. Apart from thinking about this earthquake and pondering the future of nuclear energy, we need to sing a song of the various joys of living.

View full post on Global Voices in English

Leave a comment

You must be Logged in to post comment.