Not a Weekend Getaway

(Edit: Ended up going to Iwate prefecture which is much farther up north.. And also quite badly hit. Making our way to a coastal town called Otsuchi. 50% town was destroyed, 600 dead, 1000+ still missing)

Just a short post before I cram all the assorted junk spread about my room into a backpack, and rush out the door. I was lauded, appreciated, back-patted and many goods things were said when I opened this blog Vada-Pimpin and then I was suitable chastised when I promptly ignored it. My defense being circumstances etc etc. But now I do have a thing to talk about that is blog-worthy.. and definitely worth me spending time to write about.

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I leave in a few hours to a place called Ishinomaki in Miyagi-prefecture, north east of Tokyo. This used to a seaside town before the March 11th tsunami. The waters destroyed everything that was near the water and much further up the coast. 4 months since then the place has seen slow improvement and there are indeed many many small towns, villages, communities that suffer the same fate and worse.

The government does what it can, apparently, and the balance falls on the people who survived. And some help comes from students/volunteers etc who travel from places that were not ravaged to try to rebuild/cleanup. This weekend I spend my time with one such organization Nikkei-Youth . Its tough work I am sure. Summer is in full swing, its humid, but most importantly the place is still devastated. In nearby Iwate prefecture, they found 19 bodies in one pond... in the month of July, 4 months since the incident. The fact that the still unstable Fukushima Daichii nuclear plant is 100km away does not improve my nerves.

But I think this is still worth it. The actual physical contribution may be close to zero, but the people living there need to know that they are not forgotten, and not abandoned.

"My home is where I live now, and my kinsmen are the people around me", - someone intelligent


The rain. Today would make it the 6th day of non-stop rain in Tokyo, ranging from an incessant battering on windows panes and ineffectual umbrellas, to the even more maddening dribbling that is almost never, but quite close to, no rain. Finding your bearings, geographically and metaphorically, in this massive mega-city in such weather is a pain. Last night I set out for a popular hangout, got lost, and arrived 30 mins late soaked to the nether regions and grumpy. Wet socks make me grumpy. I imagine that the multitude of unsmiling Tokyoites that one sees in the metro are all silently plodding about in squelchy socks. Why else would they be so somber?

Without bothering to transition from that uninteresting anecdote, to another uninteresting piece of information.. let me say that my chief concern at this moment is not the possibility of radiation raining down on me (that topic is for another post another day), but that this effing rain, storm etc dies out in time for the flight to my third most interesting city in the world. Tomorrow I leave J-land briefly for a friend's wedding in NY. This friend is a Mangalorean-American marrying a German-American, and between the two of them they don't speak a word of Tulu or German! I am superbly chuffed about going to the US of A again, its been almost 2 years since my last debacle there where I almost died from drowning in a frigid Alaskan glacier lake (again, another post another day). This time the most dangerous activity planned would be the said friend's bachelor party.. the boy has been known to go crazy.. and I wholeheartedly approve of such debauchery.

Perhaps I will post of such inappropriateness, but if I don't, assume that my nether regions are well cared for and that I am certainly not grumpy anymore.

Tokyo, Day 24

Hilarious, bizarre, frustrating, enticing, risky, coy yet brazenly sexual and always buzzing like a bee, my experience of living in Tokyo for the last 24 days has brought me to an uncomfortable and edgy truce with myself.

As I re-insert myself into the world of blogs, a small speck again in the massive deluge of brilliance and bullshit in equal measure, I believe I have something useful to say.

Perhaps the words that will fill these digital scrolls would be useful exclusively to myself. But here's to the hope that they bring some sliver of joy, humor, sadness or reflection to someone out there.