Still thinking of going to help in Japan

     What about the most northern part where there was damage? Aomori-ken? Isn’t it away from prevailing radiation winds? What if I brought a tent and a sleeping bag, maybe a little camping stove, a few jugs of water, and box yakisoba or ramen? (I’m having flashbacks to sophomore year in college.) What demands would I be making on local supplies other than an occasional shower or using the toilet?

     Hitchhiking through the area in better days

     I haven’t thought it all through about how I can be useful, but I like the thought of clearing debris from foundations and hauling it away so they can make a fresh start. I might have to borrow a small truck from my friend Greg and then I might hit up everyone for small donations for gas and incidentals like this.
     Japanese bureaucracy would have to cut me some slack. I doubt tourists can drive cars long without insurance and I have seen firsthand several times how asinine city dumps are about what they accept and what they charge.
     There was an argument on the Couchsurfing Tokyo or Japan group about the wisdom of going up to try and help if you aren’t fluent in Japanese, but I don’t buy that. If I was a nurse, OK, but is miscommunication when doing manual labor so fraught with peril?
     Japanese aren’t big on asking for help. Once I visited Greg and during a big storm the tiny river next to his place burst its banks. Water was rising at a nearby elderly couple’s house so we went over to make sure it didn’t get high enough to enter and destroy their tatami (woven reed floor) mats. I don’t remember what we did to divert it, but they would have suffered in silence if we hadn’t been proactive and saved the day, as little a gesture as it was. Japan is full of old proud people who could use a hand.
     I haven’t followed the news very much. It makes me berserk when I see TV reports about the economic cost of the disaster. How can anyone care about that? It seems the government doesn’t know or is negligent about how much radiation is getting out. Imagine being a worker trying to stem the radiation leak at that nuclear facility? That’s bravery. I would have abandoned ship and raced as far away as possible.

     I started the ball rolling by posting this on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree and Couchsurfing’s Japan group. I quote myself liberally, a sure sign of megalomania, but already opinions are flowing in. What do you think?

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Still thinking of going to help in Japan — 4 Comments

  1. Not sure if it matters, but Greg is currently in the US You may want to cintact him before you go. Also, it’s COLD there right now, like snowing.

  2. Hi Tom,
    I am thinking it might make more sense to go in summer since I have to
    be in Europe in early June anyway. Not a big fan of snow and radiation
    Or it might simply be a bad idea.

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