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March 17, 2011

REACHING OUT TO EVERYONE IN JAPAN

17 March 2011 REACHING OUT TO EVERYONE IN JAPAN I have spoken to some friends in Tokyo, and they are OK as of today, but I have had no replies to messages I sent to two Japanese business friends in the north. It is worrying to think that in effect the country is divided in two now – north and south. We are all very worried for the people we know, but of course also for everyone in Japan today. This is a disaster of such massive proportions that it is hard to find appropriate words to say. The fact that the problems of radioactive contamination is now an issue makes it even harder to feel anything but impotence – not only at the scale of the problem but also at the sheer distance between our two countries. Rachel, my partner has sent money (out of her own pocket) for animal rescue services, and I will contribute a sum that hurts to the Red Cross to assist the paramedic services. The Who only started their performing career in Japan fairly recently. I fell in love with Japan and its people as soon as I arrived there. I have made new friends, and felt a strong sense of kinship with the Japanese, despite our cultural differences. What I loved the most was its sense of order. It must be so hard for the regular Japanese person to abide the sheer mess that the sea made when it crashed into Tohoku. Yes, people died, and there is terrible suffering, but what we see here in the media are images of an awful mess. That is what brings tears to our eyes. Japan is a serene and spiritual country, modern in many ways, but with a great sense of tradition. I hope that these two qualities, a respect for the old and a drive toward what is new, will help the people of Japan in their struggle to reestablish their sense of safety and order. When the ground shakes beneath us – I have experienced earthquakes in California – we suddenly remember we live on a planet made of boiling lava!! We are tiny creatures on this globe, being told every day that our presence is rocking the world. What has rocked Japan is not what we tiny creatures have done. For those who have died, been injured, lost homes or loved ones, lost jobs or have had to find refuge in unfamiliar places – we send out our deepest sympathy. We live on the same planet of boiling lava, and we spin together. My cheque is in the post, sent with love, respect and gratitude that I am able to help in a small way. — Pete

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