Hearts for Japan

Its taken me some time to find the right words needed to express my heart felt sadness for the beautiful people of Japan.

My husband and I have been to Japan twice and ask anyone that knows us and they will tell you what massive amounts of love we have for this beautiful country.

Our first trip to Japan was sort of like a crazy sale 'impulse buy'.  Jetstar released their very first ever flights to Japan for $500 return, and we bought them quite literally on the spot, without thinking it through at all.

We spent much of our first trip gobsmacked at the genuine kindness of the people of Japan and still to this day we praise Japan to anyone willing to listen.

My husband and I love snowboarding so our very first trip included an hour bullet train ride out of Tokyo to a small old school town called Yuzawa, in the Niigata prefecture (small town, BIG mountains). It was late in the season so we pretty much had the runs to ourselves. We stayed at a lovely big hotel (NASPA New Otani) just outside of town and even though the daily shuttle buses were no longer running to and from the resorts, they offered to drop us there each and every day.  One morning the driver was a little late to work and we were patiently waiting (and doing our stretches)  out front for about about 10 minutes. The driver arrived at work, saw us waiting, jumped out of his car (super speed), ran inside, dropped his things, got the keys to the shuttle bus and apologised profusely for being late and took us on our way. At the end of a long day on the slopes, pick up was just a phone call away - whenever we were ready, we called the hotel and he would return for us.

During our time on the slopes we also learnt from a fellow Australian that we could leave our backpack at the bottom of the run - not in lockers or secured in any way! This really is unheard of in any other place I know and he even promised us that if it was not there at the end of our day, he would pay for it and all of its contents. He was so very sure it would not leave the very spot it was in ... and he was right.

This is Japan. They are kind, respectful, honest and do whatever they can to make sure you are ok. And no matter how many times you are treated this way, each time you are equally as shocked as you are delighted.

And now tragedy has struck these kind, loving, warm people and our heart breaks to see such terror inflicted upon such a gentle, giving country.

Japan has given us so much joy over the years and it will continue to do so - I just hope that the rest of the world keeps on loving Japan because the last thing they need on top of an already dire situation is for us to abandon them. They need our help and so many of them do survive purely on tourism.

My husband and I were due to fly into Japan on the 17th March but given unstable nuclear situation at that point in time and the ridiculous amount of (mostly scare mongerish) media reporting on the situation, it was very difficult to know for sure what was fact and what was purely sensationalised for a good story. So we postponed our trip until April 10 and it was not so much that we didn't want to go, but for our families we figured it best to save worry.

Having said that, the nuclear situation has never been quite what the media made it out to be.  Yes it was dangerous to the immediate surrounding area and not at all good situation, but if you put it in perspective in terms of how much danger it presented to the outside world, the levels of radiation that made it past the exclusion zone was generally less then the average amount of radiation you would be exposed to when standing in rome on any given day.

What i hate about the amount of coverage this nuclear situation received was the fact that it really was all everyone cared about - all the media reported on. A 18 meter wall of water wiped out entire towns, 500,000 people were displaced, 10's of thousands dead, families destroyed and all I kept reading in the media was about other people in other countries freaking out because a small amount of (heavily dispersed) radiation may travel across the sea to where they live. Meanwhile ENTIRE TOWNS ARE already GONE, people have DIED horrific deaths, people are still DYING, TRAPPED, unable to withstand the freezing temperatures, without HOMES, FOOD, WATER and without their dearly loved friends, pets and family.  The lack of human compassion towards those that had already lost so much, for me, was another horrible tragedy.

Has anyone noticed that now Japan is in the post disaster / recovery stage and all 6 reactors are at temp levels that are stable and with power almost restored to all of them, we have stopped hearing about it?? Good news does not make the news pages and bad news just ends up worse and worse like a bad game of chinese whispers it seems.

Our hearts go out to Japan and my husband and I will be there soon to support Japan and their people as be much as we can.

We of course have also given to the Red Cross Appeal.  I would urge you all to give just a little if you can as they need our help now more than ever. I think about the children that about to grow up with out their parents, oets, siblings, who are without a home and without the community that they grew up with. This will change many lives and we CAN help!



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