Here’s how things have unfolded:
We visited Tokyo and Kyoto in June of 2010 and fell deeply in love with Japan and its people.
In November of 2010 we were hired to work at an international school in Yokohama. DP and I were absolutely ecstatic.
On 11 March 2011, Japan suffered an unprecedented earthquake and tsunami that triggered the beginnings of a nuclear crisis.
Shortly after the earthquake, we received word that our friends in Yokohama were safe! They stayed in touch via Facebook and shared lovely stories about how people had worked together to keep everyone safe and calm during the earthquake. (God bless Facebook!)
Over the next few days, I watched far too much CNN coverage and felt increasingly paralyzed by the terrible images of devastation and loss of life. When Anderson Cooper showed up in Japan, we finally turned the television off. A sensationalist approach to the reporting of these tragedies helps no one.
A friend living in Japan recommended that we follow @TimeOutTokyo on Twitter for a more balanced account of life as it is currently unfolding in the Tokyo/Yokohama area.
We sought out more information about the nuclear crisis and find that not everyone is predicting the end of the world. Read more here.
Friends and family expressed concern about our move to Japan and our visit in April. (Thank you for your kind messages… we know that you love us.)
We assured others that it’s okay to feel whatever you feel in response to the events unfolding in Japan. Fear, loss, empathy, anxiety, confusion and anger.
But we’re still going!
The people of Japan are graceful, gracious and resilient. They are profoundly committed to the communities to which they belong. I’d like to learn how to be more like them.
When we move to Japan in four months, we hope to help in some small way. Moving and working there… spending a portion of our salary on groceries and travel in Japan will help.
The students at our school in Bangkok helped by working together to make thousands of paper cranes; they also donated money to the Japanese Red Cross.
Ultimately I believe that optimism helps. Having hope helps. Caring and praying and tweeting and blogging and sending your thoughts and best wishes to the people of Japan helps them know that they are not alone.