Friday, March 18, 2011

haibun: Today We are All Japanese

As a Californian, I have often told Americans and Europeans that we feel more deeply connected to Asia than to Europe. We face west, we share an ocean, and a great many Californians trace their heritage to Asia. So much of what makes California what it is came originally from Asia, and a great deal of what makes my California comes from Japan. The tsunami touched Santa Cruz, another link in the pattern that connects California to Japan. It feels so close, that country on the other side of our ocean.

hakone garden
spring rain falls lightly
on the maples

A woman at dance class greets me and I ask how her family is doing. Tears fill her eyes as she tells me that they are all safe in Tokyo.

opening dance
tani takes her place
next to mine

The American media puts its own surreal stamp on things.

tsunami spin:
bay area foodies face
a sushi shortage

Outside it is raining, a soft steady rain that has come in from the Pacific. A week ago, some of this air was over northern Japan. I think of my father, gone now, who grew up in Japan and introduced me to samurai films, the correct way to use chopsticks, and a certain esthetic that remained from his boyhood. Towards the end of his life, my father would become unmoored in time and space.

cancer ward
he thinks he's a boy again
in japan

When he learned of the earthquake, George Takei said “Today, we are all Japanese.” As a child, George lived in the WWII Japanese-American relocation camps.

Watching the moving footage of the moment of silence in Japan, I cannot help but think, as I have thought often in the past week, that the world would be better if we were all Japanese.

silence ~
all the prayers that don't fit into words

1 comment:

Gabi Greve, Japan said...

Thank you so much for your thoughts!

Here things are still turning from worse to a little hope to much worse considering the power plant in Fukushima ...

waiting for Godot
waiting for the meltdown
waiting for a miracle

My daily updated from Japan are here

Gabi from Okayama, about 1000 km away from the main center.