Silly Grins

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quite a Surprise...

Just after the quake and just before the subsequent tsunami that would literally wipe away entire towns... an e-mail came through, asking if I was okay... having no idea what was going on, my reply went something like this:

"My left hand is not pinned beneath the rubble, so I am still able to type... most importantly, my Mac is not even scratched... should be okay for at least a few more hours... we're good" 

You see, I'd had no clue as to what was going on.  After a severe scolding for such a crass remark, and after watching the footage of the devastation unfold on the numerous television screens... I realized that it was nothing to joke about.

I'd had no clue. No clue at all.

Watching as the ocean turned dark and washed everything away...

That's when the music in my head started playing...

That tapping sound... tapping... tap... tap... tap...

For years, I thought it was just the sound of scratch on an old record...

One of many songs I'd listen to on a worn-out cassette sold in the discount section. The song is a story, a story of loss, a story of loss sung in the way that only a genuine voice can recall:

There are some places in Tohoku that have always been tough for people to live in. 'Old school' up in the north meant not much more than an inch of wood between the elements and the kids. Below freezing in the hallway and ice on the gym floor till spring - when the birds fly in to make their nests.  There's some deep poverty in Japan, poverty that goes a lot deeper than most would be accustomed to... perhaps even willing to endure. Yeah, beyond the comfort zone for most.

People get by, sometimes barely.

Some people here are pretty tough. You might be surprised.

I've heard so few of those voices in my short lifetime, only two of which I can recall hearing live, and each time... only once. No encore. 

And funny enough, the guitar he plays here...

Brings back those faded memories.  Japan gets all mixed up with something I thought I heard back home.

And the tap... tap... tap... when I close my eyes to listen again...

.... and listen for it in the song, that tapping becomes the  slow and steady click... click... click...

of this.
Nowhere near the danger.

(Over 70 people sent messages out on FB asking if I was okay, asking what they could do. I answered each and every message. It took two days. And I basically told them all to look around them and take care of who they are with. That's the best way to help. Start living within your means. Whatever...)


  1. Some folks is good for killin' Will.
    Lotta pedo's,rapists,and abusers washed away that day too.

    If I had a score to settle I woulda stuffed my enemy among the debris and rubble. One persons misery is another persons chance to end theirs.

    Just sayin'

  2. Yeah, I felt the same way. In the first, say, 2 hours after the quake I was just so happy that things weren't *worse* you know? In Tokyo the power and water and gas were still running, and there wasn't any damage to my house. I feel a strange guilt even now that I "escaped".

    I've been thinking about going recently to volunteer in Tohoku. From what I've read they still need a lot of help, but my Japanese is beginner and I don't want to cause more problems with my ignorance. So for I send my good vibrations.

  3. Chris: When I read you comment earlier this morning...I was thinking. Now I realize how lucky those of are who don't have any scores to settle. And I was also thinking how I'd sure like to keep it that way. Don't want to be sleeping at the wheel. Life's way too short. This blog started in June... maybe all that cold water just woke me up after I was kind of pushed out of the cargo hold. Good timing. Thanks.

    T: Working on followup to your thoughts... will take just a few more minutes.

  4. Amanda: Here’s a story of two guys, not quite at retirement age, but ‘getting up there’ for some. Tough as nails in terms of endurance, judging by the number of miles they’ve run, swum, and cycled even with never-again type of hangovers (on an occasion or two).

    After the initial dust had settled, the chaos was more or less over, they packed up their van, tents, supplies, and headed up. Because that’s just what they do, the way they run. Wouldn't be surprised if they go up again.


    Still plenty of work to go around, I’d imagine. If you can’t handle the cold, perhaps now is as a good of time as any. Brooms, shovels, and soup ladles seem to work well regardless of what language you are speaking. I’d be willing to bet that there are plenty of places organizing trips up north for anyone who is willing to spare a week.


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