Ganbare Nippon!

The immigration officer at Chennai Airport asked me whether it is safe to go to Tokyo now. I told the situation is getting improved. That might be what anybody could have said on 26th March. Things were uncertain when started to Tokyo. Uncertainty prevails even now to a ceratin extent. Today’s live radiation levels in Tokyo showed a higher value, but still well below the permitted safety levels.

More than three weeks from now, the disaster had shaken the world’s second strongest economy. The fear of nuclear radiation has not gone and an uncertainty prevails all over. The Japanese televisions presents the actual facts on a daily basis. There is bilingual service available in NHK that helps foreigners to understand the situations in Japan.

Looking back three weeks, it is a  pure coincidence that we planned our vacation on 11th March to leave to India to perform my father’s 10th annual death anniversary rituals. With kids we left Tokyo at 11:00 AM on 11th March. We heard the news after landing at Chennai Airport and by seeing the scenes at the hotel television we were literally terrified. With teary eyes, we went to bed. Next day, while traveling on domestic flight to Kochi, we could read the headlines on a leading Malayalam daily about the earth quake and tsunami in Eastern Japan. The heading conveyed the magnitude of the tragedy happened in Japan, the country we left hours before. We could read the heading as ‘Japan was swallowed by tsunami’.

The foreign media had done more damages to the Japanese business than the nature. The foreign media were irresponsible in reporting the facts. The other side of the story is the lack of tmely information in English that spread pessimism among foreigners staying in Japan. Foreign embassies also started issuing advisory notes to its citizens to leave Tokyo and the affected areas.

We were at home getting updates from friends who were still in Tokyo. The after shocks were going on and there were shortage of some of the food items and bottle water for some days in Tokyo too. That might have created more panic among the foreigners than the earthquake. The news from Fukushima nuclear reactors were also scaring as the reactors were not under control. Even now the hard and dedicated work is going on in Fukushima to prevent bigger damages.

Personally I was under pressure to decide not to return to Japan from all quarters. Suddenly Japan has become an unfavorable place in the world! We heard that people from Japan returning to their countries through some South East Asian countries were being checked for possible nuclear radiation. The food and other imports were also checked for radiation. These things created more panic in the world outside Japan.

We can not change the past and things happened very bad in the Eastern Japan. Some how the nation has to recover soon to stop further tragedies. I have been sure of the spirit the Japanese people possess especially during crisis. The disaster areas are silent, The shelter camps are silent. People wait for water and food with patience. Patience is required at these tragic moments. Panic will create more troubles. Discipline has not gone from the daily life in Japan.

Tokyo has been slowly coming back to normal life. Food items are available in stores. Bottle waters are also available now. People save electricity by not switching on more lights. Only necessary lights are on. Trains are running in normal schedules. Escalators are not operated at some stations to save energy.

TV programs show songs that encourage people to reconstruct and come back to normal life faster. The Japanese spirit will reborn with more energy. Japan is like a phoenix bird, that can come out even from the ashes! Though Japan is not my mother country, I believe the people Japan are gifted with the kind of energy that will make the rebuilding faster. Japan will be back soon. Ganbare Nippon!

Author: Jayaprakash

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