Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Two years on

It's only been a little over two years since the earthquake and fallout in Fukushima.

Strangely, it feels like it's both been a much longer time since then, as well as much shorter.

I've forgotten most of the Japanese that I'd learnt and picked up, vocabulary and grammar being pushed out by learning German. It feels so long since I last spoke and wrote with relative ease in Japanese.

Yet some words remain solidly in Japanese, and come out when I try to speak German, thanks to watching Japanese anime in the evenings, and occasionally using Japanese vocab apps.

I only occasionally hear from (or write to) my friends and colleagues in Japan - life everywhere is always so hectic and overloaded. But I'm still waiting on my tax refund, due well over a year ago.

My body remembers the shaking, vividly, thanks to my current building shaking every time a truck or tram passes. With the skyrocketing prices in the rental market and poor customer relations from the real estate agents thwarting our attempts, we are still looking for a new apartment that doesn't shake and is quiet - 8 months and counting.

Every time the building shakes, and my body holds a bit more tension, I think of the evacuated Japanese from the coast and towns around Daiichi. They still can't go home, some probably never will. I think of my friend who was waiting for over a year - when I last contacted her, her roof had still not been fixed due to a shortage of roof tiles.

I feel for the school kids in Fukushima, and hope that the school yards have been successfully contaminated. Being stuck inside is not fun, or healthy, and is dreadfully uncomfortable in summer. I wonder if produce from the region is still being tested, sold and eaten. And if it's being included in school lunches without notifying the students.

I rarely eat Japanese cuisine, and I miss it! Ingredients are nigh impossible to buy here, and Japanese restaurants are prohibitively expensive. I do get treats and tea sent to me (thank you Kaori!), and try to make these last as long as I can. However, this is one area I am starting to correct, as it is healthier than my current diet (as long as there aren't the unhealthy school lunches to gobble!) I'm following along with Makiko's free Japanese Cooking 101 on Just Hungry, albeit at a slower pace, as I have to find and then order ingredients!

Red Cross Japan has extended their aid project until March 2014, helping the tens of thousands who are still displaced, as well as those rebuilding their coastal communities. 
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