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Smell of tatami and thoughts of sorrow

Once I lived in Japan. I love that country. I love the people, the smell of tatami, the delicate way green tea is served, and the women who laugh with their hands covering their mouths. I love sitting on the floors in the tiny houses for hours, eating small portions of exotic delicacies prepared by the women in their doll-house-sized kitchens. I love the small dishes each piece of food is served on, and the elegant way chop-sticks make you eat.

I love the narrow streets full of people on bicycles, the small shops with cloth banners and writing in kanji. I love March in Japan, with it’s crisp air and blue skies, the cherry tree blossoms just around the corner, anticipation in the air. I love the small houses, so narrow that the beds have to be folded up during the days in order to make room for the living-room.

Most of all I love the Japanese people. They are hardworking, hospitable, generous and proud. They have a rich culture and tradition that they have managed to preserve in spite of great progress. And they have the cutest language in the world.

So it hurts to watch the devastation in Nippon—lives shattered, hopes torn to pieces. I don’t know if my friends have been affected.

It also reminds me of this: We are people and nature is nature. And when nature strikes, we are nothing more than match sticks in a fire. We can flex our muscles and it will do us no good. It’s an oxymoron, because we are so valuable and each cell in our body has a purpose, and yet, when an earthquake and a tsunami occur, those valuable cells can do nothing to stop the destruction.

I sure wish I had been powerful enough to stop the wave though. And now I wish I had the power to find all the missing moms and dads, the missing sons and daughters, the missing friends and colleagues.

I will pray, but let me tell you a secret: It’s hard to pray because I don’t always get the right answers.


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One Comment Post a comment
  1. It’s hard to pray when you don’t know exactly what to ask for. My heart is broken for the people in Japan. I have a faux-woodblock print which I painted in watercolor recently which sits on my dresser at the foot of my bed; I never hung it.
    I love it!
    It makes me sad, now, though.
    Maybe I won’t hang it.
    I’ve never lived in Japan – but my heart is broken for Japan’s people.

    March 14, 2011

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