Letter From Japan – Lessons from the Tsunami


Kishi Kaisei
Wake from death and return to life
(Coming out of a desperate situation, making a complete return in one sudden burst.)

It’s just over a month ago since Japan was hit by one of the biggest tsunami disasters ever seen on the face of the earth. 11 March 2011, 14:46:23 JST (Japan Standard Time), will be a moment in time that Japan never will forget… and neither should anyone else.

While most mainstream newspapers and television channels struggled to keep afloat with their typical sensationalist reporting on the aftermath of this disaster, it’s safe to assume that no-one will ever know what the people of Japan went through in the past 33 days. None of us will have an understanding of their level of fear, anguish, sense of loss and hardship. Unless of course, if we had been there ourselves.

I watch the news headlines slightly bemused as the rest of the world is trying to calculate the cost of the tsunami’s global economical ramifications. Clearly, for the majority, money still is the only thing that makes the world go round. Second to this, is the radiation threat from the Fukushima nuclear plant — which in fact is a genuine concern that deserves accurate and factual reporting (don’t hold your breathe though).

Sadly, it’s the human stories of resilience, survival, hopefulness and unconditional altruistic love, that get’s little or no airtime. Yet, these are the events that hold the true message and lesson from this disaster.

Like the restaurant owner who lost his entire livelihood in the earthquake, yet he still gave out food to the earthquake victims.

Or the sports shop owner and his wife who’s home and business was destroyed by the tsunami. They were in tears… their business had been destroyed… everything broken and muddy. But still, whatever goods and wares they managed to save, they put out for everyone to choose from. Every item was donated to the victims in their town.

A family of four went back to their home, amidst all the debris they started looking for their belongings… things they could keep and save. The two children found some of their baby photos and showed it to their parents. The mother and father were just so happy to find something familiar. The mother said: “We lost our home, our car, and everything but we are happy to find bits and pieces of the memories we had in our home. Without these photos, I am not sure I can create these images again in my mind.”

Perhaps the most poignant of all is this letter, which I found through a friend on Facebook.

From Anne Thomas in Sendai, Japan where she has lived for the past decade teaching English:

Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,

First, I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am very touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all. But it seems the best way at the moment to get my message to you.

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.

During the day, we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get drinking water when a source opens. If someone has water running in their home, they put out sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.

Utterly amazingly, where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another.”

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The mountains of Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.

And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend’s husband came in from the country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow, at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an Enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan , I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that is much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.

Thank you again for your care and Love of me,

With Love in return, to you all,


To help the victims from the Japan Tsunami, please see the links below.

1. Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

2. American Red Cross

3. Give 2 Asia

4. British Red Cross


Fukushima – the aftermath

Images: Media Stock Image. No Copyright.
Text: Francois Lubbe


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