Saturday, March 12, 2011


I've been watching the news coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan with a heavy heart. We were watching on Thursday night when that wave of water, mud and debris swept across the land. To see people in cars driving on the road as destruction barreled toward them was gut-wrenching. I kept wondering how much warning they had and if people had heeded it.

Fortunately, the employees in Japan who work at the same company as my husband and their families are accounted for and safe. Huge relief there. But so many others are missing or gone. The more we learn about what happened, the worse it gets. I have readers in Japan and my thoughts and prayers are with them, too.

I love Japan. I was fortunate to spend time there in 1995. I'd gotten married in April. I quit my engineering job to write full-time in September. And found myself in Japan in December. My husband was assigned there. He'd work several weeks in Japan then fly home for a couple in the Bay Area then return.

What I remember the most of my few weeks were the people and it's those people I can't help but think about as I watch the news coverage.

My husband was working so I spent my days on my own sightseeing. But I always found people with friendly smiles, others who wanted to practice their English and many who didn't mind helping an American find her way after getting lost. Something that happened almost daily there!

My first day in Yokohama, I took a bus tour. You could get on and off at various spots around town. I didn't understand that I'd have to get off somewhere different to reach my hotel. I ended up back at the transit center. The bus driver didn't just point to where I needed to go. He escorted me to another bus and explained to the driver what had happened. That driver made sure I got off and knew exactly where my hotel was.

When I was trying to get to the Tokyo Stock Exchange a few days later, I ended up totally turned around. A well-dressed Japanese man in a suit carrying a leather briefcase saw me. I must have looked distraught because he hurried across the street. I told him where I wanted to go. Again he didn't just point me in the right direction. He went so far as to escort me inside where I needed to check in.

Once I'd explored the cities, I headed out a little wise to the countryside. Riding the local trains was a total adventure. But again, so many helpful people, especially students, to make sure this American could find her way back.

I continue to pray for all of those impacted by this horrific disaster. Many countries are sending urban search and rescue teams, military support, supplies. If you want to help the people of Japan, this is from the American Red Cross website page about the earthquake and tsunami:
Those who want to help can go to and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.
It's not going to take a village to get through this, but the entire world.