It was hard to tear myself away from following the news to go to work today, but Mondays happen, even during disasters. Life here in the south of Japan is completely, almost eerily, normal. Nobody at work discussed the quake much, except for a brief conversation with a coworker who mentioned (only after I asked if she knew people in the affected areas) that she had a friend in Miyagi that she can’t get in touch with. Sigh.
Other gaijin friends have pointed this out too, and I agree: Japan definitely has a different way of reacting to tragedies, and it’s refreshing to have life go on as normal. It doesn’t feel insensitive- it feels practical. At my school, we have children to teach, diapers to change, cuts to put bandaids on, and it would be a mistake to pretend that our daily lives don’t deserve attention.
I feel appropriately concerned and sad, plan to do everything I can to help, and I still (when I’m not at work, at least) follow twitter and NKH et al. with rapt attention. But I found myself so engrossed in work today that my usual 10 hour day felt like 5. Then, the moment work ended, I picked up my phone to catch up on the day’s news on twitter- another explosion at the Fukushima plant, new aftershocks. The anxiety is not over yet, not for anybody, but it’s incredible how life is otherwise so normal feeling.
A note about the image up top: from http://setsuden.tumblr.com/ a great collection of Earthquake PSAs by graphic designers.