After nearly nintey-six hours of waiting in uncertainty, I finally got word from Japan. And it’s all good (or at least as good as it can be): my relatives in Fukushima were inland far enough to escape the tsunami and are all alive. A cousin in Tokyo had a better stroke of luck in contacting people by phone, then called us with his findings.
I cannot even begin to tell you how relieved I am that they’re alive. Over the weekend I kept my attention focused on the news, getting frustrated when no new information was coming forward. I had to limit my exposure to just what I found on the internet because I couldn’t stop crying whenever I watched television. One of the pictures that’s been floating around the internet from Japan pretty much sums up how I felt over the weekend:
Sunday night was spent at my grandmother’s house. Originally we’d planned to get together to celebrate belated birthdays (and we still did), but we couldn’t help but keep our eyes glued to the screen: my grandmother has NHK (a family Christmas gift) and it was on the entire time we were there. Pictures of our relatives were on the coffee table and my grandmother was pointing out the ones she hadn’t heard from. It was surreal: potentially a quarter of my heritage had been completely destroyed by a natural disaster, but all we could do was wait.
Monday night we’d finally heard from most of the relatives in Fukushima, which was a relief. The only one we hadn’t heard from was Fukui-chan, my grandmother’s cousin, who lives in the Sendai area. She’s probably the same age as my grandmother (who just turned ninety), and all I could think of was what I’d seen in pictures: old people being carried out on the backs of soldiers (best case scenario).
Last night we got a call around 9:30 on the landline. Usually that means something bad has happened, but this time around it was good news: Fukui-chan is okay and is currently staying with her daughter. With that, I felt like I could finally stop worrying about a small part of the tragedy and start worrying about my country of culture as a whole.
Japan has a very, very long road ahead in the recovery process. If the threat of nuclear distaster wasn’t in the air, I’d recommend that they burn the debris and try to start from scratch. There’s too much damage everywhere to even start picking things up and disposing of them properly. How any of those people have the willpower to go back to where their house stood to look for something to salvage is beyond me. And since I can’t go over there and phsyically help, I’ve sent donations through Red Cross and World Giving (found via this link on CNN).
Of course, there’s a very big THANK YOU to everyone who sent good vibes and well wishes during this whole thing. There’s a huge comfort in knowing that I’ve got support from the internet, especially when I’ve done little more than interacted with you through Twitter. I sincerely believe that this helped me find my family safely, and that if we keep sending positive thoughts, the other missing people will be found as well. (At the very least, the dead will be found and identified so that they can rest in peace.)
My only bit of humor at this point is that the nuclear crisis may bring Godzilla into being and that he could save Japan. How, I’m not sure. But he’s done it before.