By now, everyone is well aware of the multiple crises that have struck Japan. One of our contributors, author Mark Lee Pearson, lives in Japan. He responded to my query regarding his safety with a moving email, which he gave me permission to reprint here in the hopes it will encourage readers to contribute to the Red Cross’s efforts in that devastated nation. Please read about Mark’s first-hand experience and consider making a much-needed donation here: Red Cross.
As thanks, I will send you a link to a free .pdf copy of Issue 106, in which Mark’s excellent, surreal story Hideki Desu appears. Simply send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and a copy of your receipt from your donation (the Red Cross sends them electronically), and I will send you the link. In addition, for every one or two year subscription received from now until the end of April, a dollar will be contributed to the relief efforts in Japan.
Here is Mark’s email (edited for relevance and space):
It is very kind of you to think about us at this time. Everyone is being so kind. Luckily, I live in Kanagawa, which is a little West of Tokyo, so we didn’t get the worst of it.
I was teaching a class of 12 year olds when the earthquake hit. The entire building shifted, everyone was knocked off their feet, and the quake seemed to go on forever. In fact it was two huge ones in close succession. I was preparing myself for the worst.
I’ll never forget the experience, especially the look of dread on those kids’ faces. And it was only a five on the Richter scale where we are. It was closer to seven in places in the North.
As for the radiation, although traces of radiation have been found in Tokyo, we are nowhere near the critical zone, thankfully. The British and American media have been in more of a panic than we have here. I think the main problem is that the Japanese government doesn’t tell the foreign media clearly the true situation about a lot of things. This needs to be resolved in the future and they are working on it.
The entire infrastructure has been affected, but the only thing we are short of here is gas for the car, milk, bread, and cup noodles! Every day we thank God that we are all together and all okay. Unlike those affected in the North. My heart goes out to those thousands of people who lost their homes, families, and lives.
It is one thing to write about this kind of thing. Another to live it.
A terrible, terrible tragedy.
The Red Cross is, of course, the best place to send money. That’s what most people over here say, because it gets where it needs to be in the least possible time. And, judging by the way that many hospitals in the North are functioning right now, they need it yesterday. There are doctors and nurses working alone 24 hours a day in sub-zero temperatures, with no rest and appalling hygiene conditions–they have to clean the silt off the equipment before they can use it and there is nowhere near enough medication to go around! And it is not only that there isn’t enough to go around, the problem is getting help and support out to them. So many evacuation sites are in places that cannot be accessed.
There were more earthquakes today. Only small ones. Aftershocks. But it is mentally draining. Every small quake sets the heart racing and more than once I have found myself diving under the table for cover only to find it was a two or a three. We are told to expect another big one soon. I am constantly on the edge of my seat. So are my colleagues, Japanese and American.
But, in spite of this, I am optimistic. At least my family is together and alive and my house is still standing. As I say to everyone who expresses concern, it is not the problem of radiation that takes its toll on the majority of people in Japan, it is when the next quake will be.
Anyway, thank you for your continued interest and support. It sincerely means a lot.