Four days after the quake

Thank you so much for all your messages and comments! I’m sorry that I can’t reply to every messages so please accept our deepest gratitude!

We are still here in Tokyo. My husband hasn’t gone to the office because of limited train schedule but his job allow him to work from home. Stores are started to run out of food now because people are buying more than what they usually need. The sights of empty stores shelves, not to mention the dimmed light to save electricity, has caused more panic buying. This is bad for people in the disaster area where everyday food is scarce now.

I think the best thing to do now is to stay calm, not panic, and find the correct information before making any decision. The nuclear situation is worrying but so far everything is still safe here. My highest respect to the people who’ve been working hard at the nuclear reactor risking their own lives to keep the reactor cool. We will certainly leave when the situation become too risky to stay, but now is not the time yet.

Meanwhile, the disaster coverage has been running continuously on television, each time with new footage and stories from people who have had a close encounter with the disaster. People who have managed to escape, but lost their loved ones, their homes, their everything. I can’t imagine how that might feel.

But it is amazing to see people ‘s reaction towards the horrible event. We don’t see hysterical crying on television, although you can feel the unbearable sadness through their eyes and maintained words. News are delivered matter-of-factly, no gasps, no drama, and especially no dramatic music background. People turn to helping each other and everything is still kept in order.

My husband walked for 5-6 hours that night, but he didn’t have to worry about other things except walking. A lot of people were walking with him, no one was taking advantage of the other, no crime happened that night. No cars ran through red lights and no accidents. When the red lights for pedestrian turned on, everyone stopped walking and did some stretching. And when it turned green, they walked together again, in silence. You might think it is eerie, but that is what I call efficient. Don’t waste your breath talking or even crying because you need it to do more important thing.

Now that the disaster-stricken areas need electricity badly, the blackout schedule is started to roll this week. People cooperate by turning off unnecessary lights and limit using electrical devices. Stores are doing the same by turning off electrical doors, store signs, and background music. We try to do the same by staying in one room most of day, at night we only use one lamp in the room. The heater is off most of the day, after all we still have jackets to wear when it is too cold.

I looked out of my bedroom window last night and everything seems darker than usual. The spot where sign stores usually blinking were black. I don’t know, it is somehow beautiful that everyone is together in this, and everyone can participate in helping others even by only turning off the lights.

This is a strong and well-prepared country. And while I’m not a Japanese, I’m happy to be part of it right now. Ganbatte, Japan.

I’m joining the Japan Quake Appeal in cooperation with A Bit of This and A Bit of That, and will host a raffle for a bag of goodies. All you have to do is make a donation to GlobalGiving to enter the raffle. The raffle will be posted tomorrow after I take the pictures, so stay tuned. Please note that we are in no way affiliated with GlobalGiving, that’s just our chosen method of getting funds safely to the affected area.


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  • Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative.
    I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future.
    Many people will be benefited from your writing.

  • Lynn

    Hello, I came across your blog by chance, while browsing amongst like miinded crafters ( I love your blog by the way ). I just want to let you know that we here in Dubai in middle east are watching the updates on the news, every day. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people in Japan. You are a strong people over there. Your dignity and way you are presenting your selves in the midst of this terrible time is touching the hearts of people all over the world…..we see people in Japan coping calmly and with dignity and strength. God bless everyone….God bless…..Lynn in Dubai

  • I think that through this disaster Japan is setting an example for the rest world of how to handle unimaginable hardship with sacrifice, kindness, a strong sense of community and dignity. Thank you for sharing your hope and experience. You are all in our thoughts and prayers!

  • Alex

    Mbak Novita,
    glad to hear that you and your little family are safe.
    Saya kagum sama Jepang, rasanya orang2 di sini (Jerman) lebih panik dan heboh dibanding mereka yg di Jepang.
    Our prayers are with all of you, please stay safe.

  • carmen

    Mis mejores deseos para que poco a poco todo vuelva a la normalidad. Rezo por vosotros y vuestro pueblo, que esta dando un ejemplo único para el resto de la humanidad.
    Un beso

  • Wish you all the best! It’s really amazing how disciplined people in Japan are.

  • Your post made me smile. It’s true that during these very hard times, Japan has shown strength, discipline and courage–truly admirable traits that every nation must learn from.

  • Happy to hear you’re safe, those are hard times for everyone there. Your post deeply touched me, it’s a shame for human race that symphathy and brotherhood shows only facing such a disaster, but I feel full of hope when reading that despite desperation people are helping each other. I have always taken for granted that people deserve a dinner, a warm place and a roof to stay, I’m very shaken now. Please ganbatte.

  • Oltea

    Dear Novita, I read this post and I said to myself: What a lesson!! I was thinking these days… Japan sacrifice shows the world how important is the awareness of love (connection, acceptance, joy, respect, etc.) for all the humanity and the Earth. And now japanese people show this, bring this in life, even it is so horrible what actually happened. Your husband’s story about people walking together on and on, in silence, about how everybody save the electricity so it is still some for everybody, how people stay calm and save their energy… What a lesson! This can really change people’s view about beeing human.

    I also follow your blog for about one year. I learned a lot from you and you and your family became familiar to me. I am also a mother, my son is a very bit younger than Sidra, and I have a girl of 19 months. I am so happy you and your family are safe.

    I send my prayers to you and all Japan, all the angels be with you! Thank you for who you are!
    Lots of love, from Romania,

  • Good to here from you. The Israelis are watching the news all the time to get updates from Japan, we cross our figures for you. And in more personal note: I hope for the best, in the morning news I heard that the radiation level in Tokyo is now 40 times higher then usual, I do think you should leave if you have the option. Your safety is the most important thing. Keep us posted.

    • verypurpleperson

      Thank you so much for the concern! The radiation level was peaked for a while early this morning when a fire broke but it has since gone down again. Even at 40 times higher, the radiation is still lower than having an X-ray taken. I find that the foreign press tend to sensationalize a little bit.
      We follow all the development carefully and will certainly leave when it is become too risky 🙂

  • Tiffany

    Thank-you for this post! Sending lots of love and prayers your way! Please keep us updated!

  • I am praying for all those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Glad to hear your family is okay. And yes I absolutely agree that the Japanese handle this situation well. People are calmed and they are working together and help each other out during this difficult time.

  • Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad to hear your family is safe.

  • Sending positive thoughts for the continuing safety of yourself and your loved ones, and my heartfelt sympathy to all of Japan. Thank you for posting about Global Giving. I have made a donation. It is good to hear from you in Japan, about a charity that you believe can be a particularly good help right now.

  • giusy

    hi Novita, today for the first time I’ve realized that you live in that area, so I jumped here to see if you’re safe, I’m glad to know that you, Sidra and your DH are ok, I have the maximum respect for Japanese people, I really love their culture and I always thought that they are a great people. stay safe and calm, and of course leave if it’s necessary to do it. Love and huges, Giusy
    PS: I will donate!

  • Jackie

    Dear Novita
    Thank you for your update.
    Over here in Switzerland we have been following the news. It is so horrible. I am so glad you and your family are okay.
    Best of luck to you all. Our thoughts are with you. Be safe.
    I just hear on the news that the Swiss journalists have all left Tokyo now because they fear that there will be an exodus out of Tokyo in the upcoming days. So make sure that you and your loveones leave early enough if possible!
    Take care. Hoping to hear from you soon again.
    Love, Jackie

  • Farah

    First off, HAPPY WHITE DAY!!
    I am glad to hear ya’ll are safe and well!
    They way you described everyone walking home and on TV is very dignified. Ya’ll are very strong people, our hearts are with you.

  • Amanda

    Sending loveing thoughts…you are beautiful and strong