I was cleaning my room today in preparation for my departure to India and came across some old essays I'd written when I had passable Japanese, as well as postcards and photos from Japanese friends. The Sun newspaper used the headline "APOCALYPSE" to describe the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on the 11th. I resented the use of the word. It felt like someone was denigrating family. Yes, there is destruction on a massive scale, whole communities have disappeared, and the authorities are battling a meltdown at a nuclear power plant, but haven't the Japanese faced worse and pulled through? Why hint at the end of the world?
I think one of my crewmates was based in Sendai, one of the areas worst affected by the tsunami. I was looking at a picture of us together today. I haven't been able to get in contact with him. Last Friday I logged into Mixi, Japan's biggest social networking site, for the first time in about 9 months. I only have 4 connections, a fellow Brit who was working in Kansai through the JET programme, and three members of my old breaking crew. "Sure, I'll join Mixi. I want to keep connected." The words seem bereft of substance now after being out of contact for such a long time. I could write about how I dislike using Mixi, how in my depression since moving back to Londinium I've been loath to contact people, but it would do little to mitigate my feelings of guilt.