(The Guardian just published an inspiring article, the first in a series that will follow seven survivors of the Tohoku disasters.)
Yesterday afternoon, I went to hear the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra at Suntory Hall. They played a program of Debussy and Ravel that was truely ethereal. The Finnish conductor, Pietari Inkinen, was unable to come because of his country’s warnings against radiation, but Hirokami Junichi, the current conductor of the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, stepped in and created a magnificent performance, and as planned, Kosugi Yu was on piano for Ravel’s Piano Concerto.
Of the three times I’ve heard the Japan Philharmonic, this was definitely the best. Their technical skill set off the deep, emotional waves of sound into full expression, a balance they were not quite able to achieve with Haydn a year or so ago. This time is was like entering a transient dream.
At the end of the performance, they announced the program they have started that sends musicians to the evacuation shelters in Tohoku. The sincerity of their effort moved me to tears. . .
(Video of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Namie, Fukushima, from their blog.)
The aftershocks are slowly becoming part of the routine. It all goes something like this now:
1) cell phone earthquake alert
2) grab cell phone and computer
3) check surroundings for the possibility of falling objects and move to a safe place
4) shaking starts
5) assess strength of shake and take appropriate actions
6) check Twitter and the Japan Meteorological Agency site for information
7) wait for it to end
8) pick up whatever fell
9) report situation to parents
10) go back to what I was doing before the alarm.
We’ve got roughly two more months of aftershocks ahead of us, say experts. It’s a matter now of balancing precaution with a return to getting things done.
Update (4/22): NHK seems to have removed this report, including the image, from its online archive. The Asahi article is still there.
According to this NHK interview with Donald Keene, in a time when over half of foreign residents have fled the country, he will take Japanese citizenship and will move to Japan to show his solidarity with the country.
That’s exactly why I didn’t want to leave right after the disaster and why I still don’t want to leave until I have finished my degree, to be a member of this society and to lend whatever support I can while it gets back on its feet.
Update (4/19): Here an article about Keene in English on asahi.com.