Tuesday, April 12, 2011

When fairies go nuclear & We help each other

フィギュア ベニキノコビト
A Japanese kobito garden fairy
"I know why the kobito fairies look different in Japan! The kobito in Japan look different because of the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima," said the Moose. My heart skipped a beat. Kobito, Japanese garden fairies, do not look like any other fairies. An exception might be the mushroom cap headed kobito that resembles the elfs in Elsa Beskow's Children of the Forest.  Maybe.

When my kids ask questions, I limit explanations to their age level. I know its enough information when they start to walk away.  When they are ready for more details they instigate the revisiting of an idea.

We have talked about how the US and Japan used to fight, but now they are friends, staying with the logic that fighting solves nothing as eventually the only resolution is to work at being friends. That sort of stuff has lead to talk of nuclear bombs, warfare, and the idea for learning to get along. The news about the Fukishima reactor moving up to a level seven nuclear disastar some how works itself into nuclear garden fairies when you're six. Now we are talking about nuclear reactors and meltdowns, it's in the news, it's a  topic of conversation.
The Daily Yomiuri lists the daily "quake-tsunami toll: killed, 13,228; missing, 14,529; injured, 4,735;" and from yesterday, the number that have died post disaster from "unsanitary conditions, cold temperatures," 282. I am impressed that only 282 people died after the disaster. How many survived? How many lived there? I'd like some comparative statistics to use in talking with my children. They can read numbers now, but they want good news. Why should we encourage them to like just reading and hearing the bad news? There is as much good in this world as bad if not more and so the stories and news could reflect this reality. It feels so distorted when you read the screaming headlines of diaster and destruction day after day and then look around at the reality of life.

People are trying to get food, aid, water, fuel, and medicine into the affected areas. It has been difficult. For all of the mistakes made and being reported on, way more effort has been put into trying to help.

Our friends, working through Care International, took a truck filled with supplies and drove it to Iwate and started a food program- leaving a job, an apartment, and a vacation behind without hesitation. My friend said, "I have traveled the world helping other countries with disasters, now it is my country. I have to help." The pictures of destruction are gripping, but so are the pictures of making meals and delivering boxes. They are one of many.

My neighbor, an architect, is designing temporary shelters, trying to make something warm as in soft and embracing to the soul and eye as an alternative to the metal and plastic shelters being used. We need these stories too even as adults to make sense of tragedy, to see where we can and do help each other. The grim stats and blame games of who did not do enough take away from the many miracles, the many acts of kindness, the many efforts to help pull each other along.

The earth keeps shaking in Japan, aftershocks. My house may be cold, but at least it can shake. The garden fairies may have been nuked and may be ugly, but they still inspire little kids to find them, to see them.