Japan Update from Martha

Got this from Martha for those who want news from our colleagues and friends in Japan:
Hey Ben,
The tone that you are hearing is Japan. It’s how we could become a group so fast in one day with Susie. It is what is going to power everyone to rebuild. I’m bone tired and I’m on a different island. I can only imagine how people in Tohoku are feeling. We see stories on the local news of the army building bath houses like in the old TV show Mash, and mothers sharing what little milk they have with each other.
In Tokyo I know it’s gotten easier in the last few days. My closest friend is there and she said there is rice on the shelves for the first time. She had 8 people staying with her. People would burst in the door shouting “I found a loaf of bread!!” We wanted to send things to our friends and family but the delivery services weren’t working.
There was a big chunk of the last week that was very very difficult. The news fed a panic that took the attention away from where it should have been and blew the big problem of the reactors way out of proportion.There is now a very healthy contempt for American mass media. Happily things seemed to have turned a corner, and everyone has been able to take a big breath and exhale together.
My adult students have each one cried in class, and we have had great conversations. The tone is maybe that people are collectively rethinking what is important. Rethinking the collective consumption and waste, the thirst for more in this contemporary world we have made that mother nature doesn’t seem to much care for. They are hoping to reconnect with times when connections between people were most important and they didn’t need much. My older students are waxing poetic about the deprivations during the war when they didn’t have anything and didn’t know it.
I took Laurie’s advice and made a reading last week about the disaster for all my school age classes. With a few new words we could talk about it. That was good for everyone. I had three prospective elementary students observing with their parents. Usually when I have observers who I know are looking at me to see if they want to buy my product, I get nervous, but I just said, sorry we are going to be talking about the disaster today so it will probably be sad. All three kids signed up. Good. How we teach works and they could see it.
Dominic and his family were able to get out of Sendai last week. The British embassy sent a bus there, how the bus got in is a miracle, and it took them all to the airport in Tokyo so they could fly back to England. He said see you in Shimabara, I think he meant this fall for our next workshop. I hope he comes back. The rest of us have been pretty quiet. I saw Shef is blogging about the situation, I haven’t had time to read it yet. We have one more week of school and then spring vacation. I am putting in a victory garden. Much of the food for Tokyo came from Fukushima around the reactors. The Tokoku region lost huge swaths of farmland. People down here are talking about sending our food north. We are all in this together.



6 thoughts on “Japan Update from Martha”

  1. My school is collecting money for Japan. We’re going to have a big push on Friday. I’m very pleased with how willing so many of our students are to help out. We raised $6,000 in two minutes for Haiti, so I’m hoping we will do as well for Japan.

  2. Martha, I am so glad to hear your words of encouragement. I am thrilled that the news reports here have been hyped and that all of us can direct our attention and efforts where they really belong – with the victims. We too are collecting money at school. I pray for healing for the people of Japan.

  3. Robert that is great! Amazing! Thank you!! I told my high school students last week and they were shocked you could raise so much. They will be thrilled.

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