20 Mar 2011

First dark days after the quake

Woke up the next morning, still no electricity, a deceptively quiet day.  Saw the first images of destruction in the news paper.  Not until 17:30 when the power comes back and I get on the computer do I start to realise the full extent of this disaster.

Next the worry of a possible nuclear meltdown 100kms from me becomes eminant.  Panic.  Lack of information.  Avidya, ignorance, the master affliction. I know it is meant in a different sense in the yoga sutra, but I have never felt such fear at what I don't fully understand.  Hours and hours scouring the web trying to get a handle on the situation.  Clear, accurate information is hard to come by in the first few days. 

More news of utter destruction, whole communities gone, it's like a war zone.  Gasoline has run out here, shops are emptying.  The worry of what will happen is unbearable.  Lots of talking to friends, so much -s-upport in this difficult time.

A midnight call from a friend, saying that one of the nuclear power plant workers is at his house. Scared.  News of far spread radiation, conspiracy, cover ups and a deserted power plant. 

This is the night I panic. 

I ask my husband would he come away with me.  No, is the definite answer.  Could I leave, No.  I surprise myself.  No way could I leave and ever like or respect myself again.  To stay with the people who support me in good times, to leave them. No never. 

Still filled with fear,  evacuees from near the plant start arriving in Yamagata, first stop radiation checks, all clear.  Nerves fill me, I can't eat, lost 4 kilos.  Minimal yoga practice has kept me from tipping over.

It's the unknown, the worry, the fear.  Yet the Japanese people around me are wonderful, calm, friendly, helpful, ready with a smile.  This is a very transformational time to be here, to be with the peoople in their darkest hour. I am inspired by their nobleness in such dire times. 


  1. Being there must be so emotional! thank you for writing, I'm really interested in hearing more when you can ... The Japanese are an amazing people, their response is so inspiring. Stay safe!

  2. Thanks, it has been emotional, heartbreakingly so. Shall try to write more, I have been so inspired by this amazing society, love it even more now I've seen it in action. x

  3. So good to hear from you, that your ok and how things really are. Tired of the media, the editing, focus, choosing whose stories to tell to fit in with their copy. Yamagata seems to have become a bit of a center/hub.

    I'm reminded of Kobe and how quickly it was rebuilt such that you could hardly believe there had been such devastation only a couple of years before and yet I still came across student files where a teacher had scribbled 'Don't ask about the quake'. It's stupid but I think both Misa and I feel almost guilty that we're not there, if only to show support with so many leaving.Wishing you strength