Saturday, March 31, 2018

With a little help from my friends

Sometimes you need a little help. There's nothing wrong with that; if you're in a hole, your friend's hand can always help you out. And you can pay forward the favor one day. To quote the "West Wing", 'when your neighbor's house is on fire, you lend them your bucket'. We all need a little help sometimes. And this is role a man called "Shoe" set out to fulfill. And Fukushima-ken was the friend needing a hand one day. And he reached out.
Iwaki FC - 'We Will'

Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima are impregnated in the minds of the collective. But Fukushima was, is and remains, a beautiful location. And here I'm not talking from imagery, it's a place I've visited many times in the years after it was cursed with an axial changing quake, tsunami and ultimately the possibility of armageddon. But it was only a dirty bomb, leaving the land alone. Fukushima-ken is beautiful.

I once took nearly 500 people there for three days, a year after the disaster. There was a lot of fear and trepidation but at the end, all gained a little insight and illumination. But that was simply three days although it became more. Shoe built a home for 400, he built a football team and he built a destination for families. And then he took us to a baseball game. When your neighbor's house is on fire, lend them your bucket. And then help them rebuild. And then help them take their lives back. Little by little.




Sunday, March 11, 2018

So run, run uphill

So run, run uphill, don't look back, just run. And then you can tell others. Because you lived.

I'm simplifying a memorial to those who were caught by the wave seven years ago. But still I remember the moment when, walking home as the roads had choked and the trains sidelined for twenty fours hours, I saw that wave crossing the land. A store had turned a TV to the window and a crowd had gathered around. I had just spoken with my son via Skype and he'd said it was reported at an 8.4M. But the helicopter was now flying above the water. Which used to be land.

A tsunami wave isn't like another. They simply don't stop. Yes, you can surf a three meter wave on the beach of Hawaii, but how about a fifteen meter wave two miles inland? And then you can't find the ones you love, you know, or even your house or town. The trains are gone, and so are the rails, and the roads. No power or gasoline and no one to help or hold your hand. Tsunami are merciless. And we watched one that day; the world's first digital disaster. The Fukushima nuclear disaster didn't kill people. Water did that all on its own.

And I look back on that moment frozen in time. A life defining moment like few others. And all I can think is "run, run uphill, don't look back, just run".