Remember a little goal I set for myself to update my blog every day for 21 days leading up to my vacation? Well, today marks three weeks: I did it! I waxed poetically, prosaically, informatively and unnecessarily for 21 days straight… YATTA!!! :)
While I definitely gambarimashita-ed, Japan as a country still has a long way to go til the end of this nightmare. Let alone three weeks, it’s incredible how drastically things can change in the span of ONE. As I sit here writing this, it’s been almost exactly one week to the hour since the big Sendai earthquake and its resulting twin, the monstrous tsunami, which wreaked havoc on March 11th and left an entire country to deal with aftershocks, mass death and destruction, and further uncertainty regarding its residents’ life and health in its wake.
Three weeks ago, I was tremendously looking forward to spending this weekend in Tokyo with a dear friend who was coming to visit from San Francisco, followed by meeting up with my parents from Honolulu who I haven’t seen in over a year (they’d also been planning their first trip to Japan for many months). Because of all that’s happened, however, and with good reason my friend ended up cancelling his trip to Japan altogether; my parents are still planning to fly into Tokyo around 10pm next week Tuesday, so I rescheduled my flight to come in just a couple of hours before theirs. The plan is to get out of Tokyo as quickly as possible–we hope to catch shinkansen to Kansai early the next morning, where we’ll spend five days before continuing on our planned itinerary to China.
While there may not be reason to worry about that short time in Tokyo, I obviously still do–we’re in a position of privilege just to HAVE the choice to travel or not, to stay in Tokyo or not. Others aren’t so lucky. I just hope everything turns out ok. For us, for the tens of millions of people who fear for their lives and livelihoods in the inconclusiveness of the nuclear crisis on Honshū, and for the tens of thousands more whom barely have access to warmth, food, clean water, and decent shelter in the Tōhoku and Kantō regions right now.
Three weeks ago, I committed myself to writing daily, a goal meant to challenge my inner self-critic as well as distract myself from the weight of a personal hardship that had just happened to me (which rest assured I am recovering from beautifully). Within these three weeks, while sleep and exercise were lost as a result of the “21-Day Blogging Challenge”, what was unexpectedly gained was a reconnection to who I am–what’s important to me, what I enjoy thinking and talking about, the satisfaction I find in communicating just that. I’ve relished the opportunity to self-indulge in my own life for the past three weeks; but while that phase has ceased, another begins. It is a phase, or the process it takes to answer a question, that I now share with the rest of the country where I currently reside: that is, how do we fix this mess? In my relatively luxurious life of health, freedom, and choice, what can I do to help those who’ve had these privileges ruthlessly taken away from them? How do we rebuild Japan?
It’s (one) Challenge Complete. But, to be sure, it’s also Onto the Next.